In 2020, we worked with 91 artists;
We organized 101 workshops;
We hosted 166 workshop participants;
We counted 2300 audience members;
We produced 34 public events,
We were the Recipient of the 2020 Commnity Arts Award by the Toronto Arts Foundation
And all of this, during a pandemic.
By Isorine marc
Founder, Executive and Programming Director
Excerpts from Acceptance Speech - 2020 Community Arts Award
“Jamii is about to celebrate its 10-year anniversary (2011-2021) and this award feels like a recognition for and appreciation of the artistic quality, the depth of our social contract, and our commitment to the Esplanade community. It is also an energizing wind blowing our sails as we look ahead to the next 10 years.
This award goes to the hundreds of artists who define Jamii; to the hundreds of Esplanadians who have participated in arts-making with us; to those who have worked with us through the years, paid or unpaid, including directors of our board; and to those who kept on encouraging us in their own way during our journey.
At Jamii, we define our success by the legacy of qualitative memories we ignite for all “Esplanadians” - people of all ages who have taken part in the Jamii’s journey. By creating shared memories, we are creating stronger connections and bonds between people. In doing so, we create a sense of belonging, ownership and identity for the people engaged in the work we do in the community. This circles back to our mandate of enhancing social cohesion through the arts.
A “memory” doesn’t happen overnight. It lives through time – and often enough, it changes and transforms with time.
My hope is that, as we celebrate our 10th anniversary, people will be sharing “Jamii memories”: things they have done with us that will connect all of us together: “Do you remember when…?”. This “thing” they’ll remember will be the social glue that keeps us united - even in challenging times.
And I hope, I sincerely hope that Jamii will continue building the capacity to pursue its mandate, continue collaborating with creative people to create the qualitative memories we will share, and continue building a legacy for all Esplanadians.
Oh, and on a personal note, something else I shared in my acceptance speech for the award: my hope is to inspire my daughters with the work I do. If I inspire them, chances are that Jamii will inspire countless other girls and boys. And this is the the ultimate goal - so that the work carries on to the next generation.”
2019 Season Review
By Isorine Marc - Jamii’s Founder, Executive & Artistic Director:
Reflecting on 2019 is inspiring: it has been a beautiful year for Jamii; one of growth, enriching partnerships, exciting projects in our community, and throughout the Province. A year during which one of our dreams came true: the creation of a mobile theatre for our community, the Kisanii Hub. Last but not least, in 2019, Jamii refined its goal of both building community through multiple artistic initiatives, and nurturing young women in leadership.
In 2019, we continued collaborating with our key community partners: the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, the Toronto Public Library (St Lawrence Branch), the St Lawrence Market BIA, and our local schools: Market Lane P.S., Downtown Alternative School, and St Michael’s Catholic School. We also developed partnerships with artistic institutions local to The Esplanade: Soulpepper Theatre Company; Canadian Stage; Meridian Hall; Young People’s Theatre; Théâtre Français de Toronto; and Canadian Opera Company. We met regularly throughout the year and organized together, in Crombie Park, projects such as “Discover Dance”, a community choir and Indigenous Day celebration. These partnerships will continue flourishing in 2020 with the common goal of igniting more artistic experiences for all Esplanadians.
Jamii increased the number of projects and events in Crombie Park, especially through programming with the Kisanii Hub; and by creating an outdoor stage for our community. With “The Stories The Wind Carries”, we shared our expertise of community engagement through the arts with other communities - Wolfe Island, Wawa, Michipicoten First Nation and Pikangikum First Nation – sharing our multiple stories through the process. It is yet another project that will continue expanding in 2020. Taking Jamii beyond the borders of the Esplanade, as far as 1000kms away, is a big deal and we are extremely proud.
Jamii’s commitment to young women in our community is not new. However, in 2019, we took it a step further by asking 20 young women
how Jamii had impacted their lives and the community. We acted on their feedback to develop a Women in Leadership initiative named LAINI, which will be launched in 2020. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the dedicated women who have made a huge impact to Jamii in 2019, including Mio Miyake Muyoboke and Yusra Yacout (Summer Project Coordinators), Angel Narick and Zarita Adhiambo (Community Outreach and Project Coordinators), Kerryn Graham (Ambassador to Wolfe Island), Sharon McMillan our new co-President (along with Jim Adams), and a special dedication to Georgia Reynolds our past President, who has been on Jamii’s Board of Directors since its very first year in 2011.
Jamii continues to bring a lot of personal growth for me. I am grateful to have such a meaningful job in which I can pour all my passion. A job that I feel makes a difference in people’s lives and impacts positively on our community. I am looking forward to both celebrating Jamii’s 10th Season with all of you, and seeing the organization continue to thrive in our blooming and dynamic community.