This is VIBE Spotlight: a weekly series that celebrates and shines a light on VIBE Arts’ roster of talented artists. Each Monday, our Instagram and website feature a different VIBE Artist and provide a look into their craft. Stay tuned and get to know the diverse talent that makes up our organization and community with #VIBESpotlight.
On this VIBE Spotlight, we’re shining a light on Jennalee Desjardins, a dancer and arts educator on VIBE’s Established Artist Roster.
VIBE: What has been one of your greatest accomplishments to date?
Jennalee: Every day I get to dance is a gift; be it with my daughter in the kitchen or on stage under the lights.
VIBE: What has been one of your favourite moments while being on the VIBE roster?
Jennalee: When I was new to Toronto, VIBE sent me to communities all over the city, many of which I never would have gotten to know! And there was one community that I got to return to 2-3 times and really got to know the participants.
VIBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to share?
Jennalee: I am running an online Waacking course called Waack For Joy that anyone is welcome to try. I also have some video projects coming up that are so fresh they don’t have a name yet!
VIBE: What are some of your future goals?
Jennalee: To create some longer format video pieces with my favourite collaborators. And to create a piece with live instrumentation in the next year!
VIBE: What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned thus far?
Jennalee: There will be no one moment where the world gives you permission or momentum; you’ve got to do it for yourself. Every. single. day.
VIBE: What changes would you like to see in Toronto’s Art community?
Jennalee: More diversity! Especially in high-level decision-making positions (i.e. boards, grant givers, arts councils). And dance needs more room, funding, respect. The work opportunities, especially for performing, are few and far between, and many have embarrassingly low pay.
Support Jennalee by following her at @jennalee_d!
Stay tuned for more VIBE Artists on VIBE Spotlight.
This summer, VIBE Arts is excited to present The Heart of the Nest, a free online art-making program for children, youth, adults and elders living in the Etobicoke neighbourhoods of Eatonville and Rexdale.
Happening July 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, this program will provide participants with a free birdhouse art-making kit to create their own birdhouse sculptures. Each art-making kit will come in a backpack generously donated by Herschel.
The four online art-making workshops will be led by professional VIBE artist, arts educator and Etobicoke resident, Akshata Naik, facilitated through Zoom. The workshops will highlight the migrant nature of birds to move around and make homes in all sorts of environments, which celebrates the high newcomer and immigrant population of these neighbourhoods.
This community-engaged approach to public art will culminate in workshop participants creating their own birdhouse sculpture that can be displayed in the participant’s own space (lawn, window, balcony) or given back to the artist to be incorporated into a larger temporary public exhibit at Montgomery’s Inn.
If you are a resident of Etobicoke neighbourhoods – Eatonville or Rexdale or know someone who is, click here to register and for more information.
We plan to hold a public event on August 26 to launch the Heart of the Nest installation, which will run from August 26 until September 24, 2021. Details are still to be announced but stay in the know about this program by following us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and signing up for our newsletter.
If you have any questions about the program please contact, email@example.com
The Heart of the Nest is A City of Toronto Arts & Culture Signature Project.