Media Release: VIBE Arts Completes OTF Grow Grant for Arts Programming in Northern Ontario Communities

Sault Ste. Marie, ON (February 3, 2023): On Tuesday, MPP Ross Romano tuned in to VIBE Arts’s Woodland Drawing workshop led by artist Lucia Laford to congratulate the group on the work done using a $201,900 Grow grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that was awarded in 2018. The grant’s focus was to deliver community-driven arts education programming (Boreal Creates) to young people ages 10 to 19 in Sault Ste. Marie, Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay.

“Congratulations to VIBE Arts on the successful realization of the Boreal Creates program. Although access to community-based arts education can be a challenge in Northern communities, participatory programs, such as Boreal Creates, help to foster community collaboration,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “It is wonderful to see Sault Ste Marie’s Lucia Laford (Waawaaskone Qwe) and the other Indigenous artists involved, connecting our communities through meaningful artistic partnerships here in the North.”

Since 2019, VIBE Arts has collaborated with Indigenous artists and arts assistants in Northern communities through Boreal Creates. The grant enabled VIBE Arts to build relationships and expand its reach and impact, tapping into the creative potential that lies in every corner of the province. Over 40 free arts programs have been offered through Boreal Creates in schools, community centres, artist run centres and more. Program offerings included: Beading, Medicine Bag Making, Woodland Arts, Printmaking, Drawing, Lacrosse Stick Making, Filmmaking, Wood Carving and Mitten Making. These programs have reached 1152 participants in Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste Marie.

On Tuesday, VIBE and artist Lucia Laford (Waawaaskone Qwe) led an online Woodland Arts drawing workshop, open to all ages and artistic abilities. Lucia is one of the talented artists who has led Boreal Creates programming over the past few years with programs ranging from Medicine Bag Making to Woodland Drawing and painting to Feather Wrapping.

L: Lucia in front of “Exploring Woodland”, a mural created with students at École Notre Dame Du Sault R: Woodland drawing from Tuesdays workshop. 

VIBE Arts operates at the intersection of arts and belonging. It knows that not all have access to the arts; this is felt especially by people who live outside of the urban core. Members of equity-seeking groups, including newcomer Canadians, racialized young people, Indigenous youth, the LGBTQ+ community and individuals living in poverty face complex barriers. VIBE works directly within these communities to involve thousands of people each year in free arts experiences. We bring young people together to collaborate in safe and accessible spaces and tap into the creative potential that lies in every corner of our province. VIBE programs develop life-long skills, nurture community connections and spark creativity. Together, it works to realize a future where every young person is equipped to contribute creatively to society. Learn more at or follow: @VIBEArtsTO.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grantmaking in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested nearly $209M into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit to learn more.

VIBE Arts Media Contact
Emma Gaudio, Communications Manager
[email protected]

Press Release: Introducing VIBE Arts’ RBC Desire Lines: Women’s Work II Artists

November 17, 2022… VIBE Arts is pleased to introduce the second cohort of RBC Desire Lines: Women’s Work Artists. 

You can see their work at The Gallery at Mason Studio until November 30, 2022. Learn more about this exhibition here. Their time in the program has culminated in a city-wide public exhibit. You can view their original artwork in TTC stations across the city starting February 6, 2023. You can also see their work online all year round, click here

RBC Desire Lines: Women’s Work was born out of the disproportionate effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women and the BIPOC population. VIBE identified an urgent need to support and platform BIPOC female-identifying artists. Desire Lines: Women’s Work was specifically designed to provide young female artists the opportunity to grow their careers in the arts through networking, mentorship, professional development and exhibition opportunities.

RBC Desire Lines began in 2019 as a two-year art-in-mentorship program awarding young, emerging artists the opportunity to exhibit their work in subway stations across Toronto after attending a wide offering of professional development workshops. The program is now wrapping up its fourth cohort thanks to funding from RBC Foundation.


Get to know the RBC Desire Lines: Women’s Work Artists:

Chawntay Barrett: “My ultimate goal is to create more of the art that I want to see in the world. I want to see more art with subject matter that resonates with my community. I hope that having my artwork in such a public space provides access to people who identify with the subject matter of my work to feel seen and empowered.

Dominic Justina: A creative originally from Jamaica, Dominic was born into a musical family where reggae music put bread on the table. She dabbles in poetry and digital media, currently producing the Life on Hifi podcast inspiring others to create. ”Years ago when I would take the TTC religiously, I’d stare at panels that resonated with me in the station and these would evoke emotions to help calm me, bring me joy or make me think as I waited for my train. Now I will be the artist that can influence commuters in this way and that feels incredible.”

Jade Kent-Brewster: Jade Kent-Brewster is a self-taught mixed media artist and dancer based in Toronto, Ontario. As an artist she works hard to produce pieces that speak to who she is as a creative and are impactful to the viewer. “Being able to have the opportunity to exhibit my work at a large scale makes me feel proud because I am able to share my craft and inspire others.”

jadyn machiinegunfunkk hardie-bardy: A self-published poet and beadworker exploring culture, land, adversity faced while navigating colonial institutions and beating those barriers. “It’s an opportunity that I’m super honoured to have and I’m excited to see what doors it will open if any.”

Janine Ilya: J. Ilya’s practice centers around capturing the concept of intimacy and vulnerability, in relation to place, others and oneself. “This experience has taught me a lot about my engagement to public transport and the importance of honouring the hundreds of body’s that pass me by on a daily basis. I feel a deep honour to be a small part of these people’s commute and to be able to engage with them through my work.” 

Jasmine Vanstone: Jamaican-Canadian Multi-Disciplinary Artist & Arts Administrator. “I’m grateful to exhibit my art in the TTC because this opportunity allows me to take up space both literally and figuratively!“

Kanisha Dabreo: A Caribbean-Canadian multidisciplinary artist, digital designer, and muralist. “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity! I never expected my love of the arts would lead to so many unforgettable interactions and experiences.”

Mennen:Conceptualizing work around the human figure or condition and the desire to make social commentary are my drive. My work is explorative, subjective and thought-provocative, revealing playful intent. It’s such a privilege that I didn’t think I’d be getting so early on in this journey. To have my work/message put in a place of that nature is pretty special!” 

Rare: A Toronto creative who is passionate about community work, poetry, photography and storytelling. “I can say I finally feel that I could represent for my inner child and feel complete as a person. This is a key in my purpose, my future and makes my heart feel fulfilled.” 

Shelly Grace: Shelly Grace uses her art for community building and healing, focusing on the experiences of women and the Black community. “Having my work exhibited in the TTC is a dream. Having that many people view my work is both wonderful and terrifying.”

Want to look back at the previous Desire Lines cohorts? Visit the online gallery showcasing their work.


Desire Lines is made possible by RBC and presented in partnership with PATTISON Outdoor Advertising.