When Inside Out discovered that they would be one of the organizations to receive a portion of the $25M from the Ontario Arts Council Covid-19 recovery fund, they made a decision to pay it forward by reallocating more than 10% of their funding to to an emerging arts organization. They selected Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism, an artist-run centre that seeks to nurture Black radical creation in Toronto and beyond.

“We are hoping to create a ripple effect with other large cultural institutions across Ontario taking up our challenge,” says Executive Director Lauren Howes. “If we all pay forward 10%, this could potentially put $2.5 Million into smaller arts organizations that are equally impacted by effects of the pandemic.”

“It’s an honour to be supported by a fellow queer arts organization, especially recognizing that Inside Out is all too familiar with the impact of exclusionary funding cuts,” says Managing Director Jessica Kirk. “Their donation will greatly benefit future planning for our Black Arts Fellowship program.” Through residencies, workshops, and support sessions facilitated by over 25 artist and activist leaders from around the world, the Wildseed Black Arts Fellowship is a 20-month paid program for emerging and mid-career Black artists to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and play. Meet the 13 artists from the inaugural program. 

Photo from the Wildseed Centre launch event on March 7th, 2020. Days before the pandemic shut Toronto down.

Inspired by Octavia Butler’s evocative novel, Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism aims to be fertile ground for Black creativity and organizing. The centre was birthed by Black Lives Matter activists who hope to build an enduring space that cultivates the most transformative and radical ideas from Toronto’s diverse Black communities. 

If each organization who received part of the 25M fund also committed to allocating 10% to grassroots and emerging arts organizations, it would shift power in the Ontario arts and culture sector, dramatically altering the landscape while also creating  exciting opportunities outside known establishments. We love that Inside Out is leading the charge. Learn more about Wildseed here.