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Equity and diversity in performing arts examined

by Eleni Kanavas

A town hall meeting on equity and diversity in the performing arts will take place on January 29 and January 30 at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). The first of its kind, it is being organized by Cultural Pluralism in Performing Arts Movement Ontario (CPPAMO).

The two-day event includes workshops and development sessions, enthralling dance performances and notable panelists that will bring together a vibrant and diverse community of art innovators, creators and enthusiasts to examine equity and diversity in the performing arts.

Cultural Pluralism in Performing Arts Movement Ontario (CPPAMO) is a movement of Aboriginal and ethno-racial artists working with presenters to empower the performing arts communities of Ontario. The movement seeks to open opportunities for Aboriginal and ethno-racial performers to engage with presenters across Ontario and to enable presenters to develop constructive relationships with Aboriginal and ethno-racial performers. The University of Toronto Scarborough offers courses on cultural pluralism in the arts through its Arts Management program, the largest and most diverse co-op program of its kind in Canada.

On January 29 at 7 p.m. in the ARC Theatre (AC223), a panel discussion and performance will be chaired by Kathleen Sharpe, president of the Canadian Conference on the Arts and executive director of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF). The panelists include: Ajay Heble, artistic director of the Guelph Jazz Festival; Santee Smith of the Kaha:wi Dance Company; Brian Webb, artistic director of the Canadian Dance Festival; and Tim Whalley, director of the Scarborough Arts Council. These panelists come with a passion and energy for the arts, and hope to create an open atmosphere to discuss topics such as audience development, marketing and promotion, as well as how to develop collaborative projects between Aboriginal and culturally diverse performing arts organizations and performance venues. There will also be a solo dance performance by internationally renowned Kevin Ormsby of Kashedance Creole.

On January 30 at 9:15 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., a variety of workshops and development sessions will take place on campus with the opportunity to discuss issues facing culturally diverse organizations and create an open forum about passion for the arts. Sara Diamond, president of the Ontario College of Art and Design, will also present a keynote address at 11:30 a.m. An exciting dance performance by Sampradaya Dance Creations will take place at 1:15 p.m., as the performers unite South-Asian, First Nations and African-Caribbean cultures through dance, music and visual arts in SAMVAD. The keynote address and dance performance will take place in the Leigha Lee Browne Theatre.

The event is supported by Arts & Events Programming and the Doris McCarthy Gallery. Admission is free for students and $40 for faculty.

For more information and to register, visit and

© University of Toronto Scarborough