Established in 2019, DesignTO Youth is a program that provides youth with access to creative disciplines and professionals. The program works with local artists and designers and community collaborators like schools, non-profit organizations, and community groups that are already actively engaging with youth.
Working together to create a more sustainable, just and joyful future, we craft a program that teaches art and design skills through hands-on workshops, talks, studio tours, and mentorship. Youth work together with their mentors to create work that will be presented at the DesignTO Festival each January.
If you are interested in participating in DesignTO Youth as a community collaborator or sponsor please contact [email protected].
DesignTO Youth Mission
Connect youth with creative learning opportunities and their local communities. Connect artists and designers with opportunities to engage with new creative communities.
Share the skills and expertise of design professionals. Share the skills and creativity of youth with designers.
Engage youth and designers in community-based arts creation.
Improve the chances of youth pursuing creative sector education or employment and designers’ likelihood of working with new communities.
For 2022-23, DesignTO Youth collaborates with JAYU, a charitable organization that shares human rights stories through the arts and engaging conversation. Delivered in the form of a six-week residency program plus DesignTO Festival exhibition, youth artists are given opportunities to consider the future of Toronto as they envision it.
Inspired by talks and workshops from Em Dial, jade guthrie, Aisha Jallow, Pree Rehal, Chiyi Tam, and Urban Minds (Jane Law and Patti Menko), the youth were prompted to engage with the city and think about its future through urban planning, community initiatives, food security, disability justice, creative storytelling, and different artistic mediums.
Launch September 2022
Group Exhibition ‘Blueprint’ Youth artwork presented at the DesignTO Festival. January 20 – February 11, 2023. NAMARA Project Space 915 Dupont Street, Unit 103, Toronto
The 2022-2023 DesignTO Youth program is organized by DesignTO in partnership with JAYU. Supported by the City of Toronto (Economic Development & Culture), Government of Ontario, Pivot Design Group, and Entro.
For 2021-22, DesignTO Youth collaborates with SKETCH Working Arts. Delivered in the form of a six-week residency program plus DesignTO Festival exhibition, youth artists are given opportunities to engage with and discuss civic issues and public space through talks and workshops.
The program features talks with Gallery TPW Executive Director Noa Bronstein, artists Benjamin de Boer, Phat Le, Florence Yee and Arezu Salamzadeh, and planner and community organizer Chiyi Tam, plus an empathy mapping workshop with Urban Minds, a non-profit youth engagement organization.
Launch October 2021
Group Exhibition Place Making Youth artwork presented at the DesignTO Festival. January 21 – 30, 2022 The Gallery at Mason Studio 91 Pelham Avenue, Toronto
The 2021-22 DesignTO Youth program organized by DesignTO in partnership with SKETCH Arts. Supported by the City of Toronto (Economic Development & Culture), Pivot Design Group, Spin Master and Shopify.
For 2020-21, DesignTO Youth collaborates with SKETCH Working Arts to offer a six-week residency program focused on public space and public art. Keen observations and critical conversations about public spaces nurtured the youths’ imagining of ideal futures, and re-imagining of cities, spaces and homes, culminating in a group exhibition.
Youth visit to The Bentway for a guided tour with co-executive director Ilana Altman and Public Space fellow Gelila Mekonnen. The Bentway is a new public space underneath the Gardiner Expressway, providing a year-round program of events and activities.
Ekow Nimako is a Toronto-based, internationally exhibiting LEGO artist who crafts futuristic and whimsical sculptures from the iconic medium. His large-scale public installations have been exhibited at Nuit Blanche Toronto.
Youth visit Stackt Market for a guided tour with founder Matt Rubinoff and architect Janna Levitt. Stackt is an all-season outdoor public market, and unique urban space, formed by 120 reclaimed shipping containers.
Youth were through an empathy mapping workshop with Ryan Lo from Urban Minds. Urban Minds works with youth, governments, schools, and community organizations to transform underperforming public spaces into delightful and inclusive places for all.
The Commons: Public Space, Public Art
Youth artwork presented at the DesignTO Festival.January 22 – February 15, 2021
28 Bathurst St, Unit 3-114
The 2020-21 DesignTO Youth program is supported by the City of Toronto, Economic Development, and Shopify.
For 2019-20, DesignTO Youth’s community collaborator is Oasis Skateboard Factory, a Toronto District School Board alternative school program where students earn high school credits by creating their own brand, and running a skateboard business and design studio.
Launch September 2019
Speaker 1 Rob Elsworthy, video game designer and Program Director, Toronto Film School, talks about creative projects and his exciting career.
Studio Tour Students visit Toronto studio House of Cool to learn about a career in animation.
Speaker 2 An unnamed Toronto-based artist speaks about her animated projects, and how tech, art, and animation intersect.
Animation Bootcamp Students work with local new media artist and educator Tommy Truong to learn animation methods and skills, such as stop-motion, rotoscoping, sound recording, and editing.