Animating Historic Sites: Return and Relearn at Zion Schoolhouse

Through February and March 2019, VIBE Arts teamed up the Toronto Arts Council to Animate the City of Toronto’s historic Zion Schoolhouse. This project took shape as four, day-long artist residencies culminating in three days of public March Break programming where VIBE Artists reimagined and re-constructed traditional subjects of the 1910 schoolhouse.

VIBE Artist Ruben Esguerra and Assistant Philip Estrada led a group of students in Arithmetic in the form of Latin percussion.  Artist Paddy Leung and Assistant Josephine Mwanvua worked together to rethink history through contemporary paper-craft. Igho Item was assisted by Ammarah Syed to reframe traditional reading and writing into spoken word, while Sandra Tarantino and Assistant Jason Julien turned traditional nature studies into a workshop where participants used found materials to draw with natural ink.

Photographs courtesy of Maggie Newell, Zion Schoolhouse

The program successfully drew a large number of participants to the schoolhouse, engaging them with hands-on, educational activities for three days throughout March Break. We thank the families, participants and school partners who participated in Return and Relearn, as well as Maggie Newell and the Zion Schoolhouse. This program would not have been possible without the Animating Historic Sites initiative of the Toronto Arts Council.

Looking back at VIBE Arts’ ‘The Chronicles’: Black History Month Programming 2019

VIBE Artists lead youth in free art programs at Scarborough Town Centre’s Black History Month Celebration on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

This February, VIBE Arts earned an outstanding opportunity, in collaboration with community arts organizations RISE and Freedom Fridayz, to host a three-part series of Black History Month programming. Funded by Canadian Heritage, The Chronicles series set out to honour the legacies of Black Canadians, past and present, through artful activities, activations, and conversations.

Part one of The Chronicles took place at Oshawa’s Eastview Boys & Girls Club on Monday, February 11th. This iteration featured a group of VIBE Artists who performed African drumming, dance, and beatboxing before leading participants in hands-on activations in head-wrapping, visual arts, Caribbean folk and West African dance.

The second installment of The Chronicles took flight at Scarborough Town Centre on Saturday, February 23rd, and had VIBE artists performing on the Scotiabank Live Stage. Monique London kicked off the festivities with a musical performance while VIBE Artist, Shashann Miguel-Tash, led an arts activation on Adinkra symbols. Other performances included African dancing and drumming performance by VIBE’s CoCo Murray (of CoCo Collective) and VIBE Arts Drum Maker and Master, Saikou Saho.

The final event took place at Black Creek Community Health Centre at Yorkgate Mall, on Monday, February 25th, where a panel discussion dove deep into topics of resiliency within Black History and the surrounding community.

Thank you to those who supported, participated in and engaged with VIBE Arts’ Black History Month programming. The Chronicles was proudly funded by Canadian Heritage.

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