July 31, 2014
July 31, 2014
Provincial government shows off proposed $100-million Ontario Place transformation
Do Make Say Think, August 1-3
Standard Interviews: Robin Molly of Descendants Beer and Beverage Co
July 30, 2014
Whether it’s on Simcoe or Adelaide, the city’s new bike lanes are being misused
TIFF announces this year’s Midnight Madness lineup
A Hip-Hop Community Takes Chinatown
Building opportunities for youth to engaged and give back to the community.

A notch north of constantly-humming Queen, brushing up against Spadina, is the eerily quiet Bulwer Street. At one end, pleasant newish row houses face a parking lot, part of a residential mass that stretches up Soho Street. But walk west past a fenced-off concrete schoolyard and bar and restaurant backdoors and you’ll come up on a series of silent, abandoned-looking buildings. Rumour goes that the Weeknd recorded part of House of Balloons in a studio ensconced behind one of the tagged up doors. And not too long ago, splintered steps and shuttered windows were part of the faade at 37 Bulwer. Now restored, it’s the cheery HQ for Manifesto Community Projects, and a beacon signifying the nondescript street’s transformation into our city’s own Diagon Alley. Since late August, the building’s been in quiet use (with the exception of one raucous Halloween party) by Manifesto and POUND Magazine staff who’ve relocated from the cluster of industrialized workspaces that dot Queen and Dufferin. The move is a coup for the five-year-old nonprofit, which hosts the Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture – and a massive free outdoor hip-hop show – every year and is sustained, resolutely, by a seemingly bottomless pool of volunteers. So to toast next steps, the team invited a small group of philanthropists, community leaders and Manifesto supporters to an unveiling followed by a public art auction last night. Che Kothari, executive director of Manifesto Community Projects, has been there since this entity, which continues to unfurl new roots throughout the city, was just an optimistic seedling. It’s time, he says, to move the organization forward. “We really believe that we can be the next TIFF or Caribana if the right support came around,” he explains, standing next to a giant seven-panel Rubix Cubed portrait of Canadian hip-hop icons, created by Toronto’s Cube Works. “And that’s why tonight we’re really seeding the idea of our philanthropy wing, the Leadership Gifts Council.” Since 2006, Manifesto’s subsisted on volunteer support and corporate partnerships, but mostly grants, explains fundraising director Jason Eano. “But there’s a natural system of support that exists through the Toronto arts scene and everyone that Manifesto, which operates year-round, touches,” he says. “So we’re trying to get into that psyche and really engage the financial cycle.” There’s no dearth of limbs for donors to support when it comes to Manifesto, which Kothari insists, should be owned by the community. There’s the festival itself, the mentorship and education focused Manifesto School, the media wing, 37 Bulwer as a public, youth-focused arts hub, and satellite projects in places like Jamaica and Barbados. The various wells for support reflect a shift toward social enterprise, says Eano, where people want to spend their money in a way that supports a passion. “Key here is creating opportunities so that youth are engaged in the community,” he notes, “or that those who aren’t young anymore but want to support youth in the arts can financially engage because this is something they believe in.” Midway through the evening, as I’m deep in a tte–tte about Camus and Didion with Big It Up founder Dameion Royes, Kothari addresses the intimate assemblage. He talks lovingly of Manifesto’s growth, acknowledging the gorgeously preserved new digs and the art up for auction (photography and prints, some directly produced as a result of festival, by local ingnues like Giles Monette and Rajni Perera, Jalani Morgan and Javier Lovera). But everything about the organization and its city-potential clicks when he notes the west-facing mural on the building’s exterior, painted by Elicser and Indigo. “It’s beautiful, but in six months we plan to refresh it with another mural,” he says, announcing the organization is working with Councilor Adam Vaughan to extend art along the street. “We want Bulwer to be known around the world for its art and we want this building, like the organization, to be a living, breathing thing.” Anupa Mistry writes regularly about music, especially hip-hop, for Toronto Standard.

  • TOP STORIES
  • MOST COMMENTED
  • RECENT
By Igor Bonifacic
July 17th, 2014
Editors Pick How a Toronto company is helping the world's creatives showcase their work
Read More
By Brian Tavares
July 31st, 2014
Editors Pick Standard Interviews: Robin Molly of Descendants Beer and Beverage Co
Read More
By Igor Bonifacic
July 29th, 2014
Editors Pick Free outdoor movie festival coming to Fort York this August
Read More
By Lauren Pincente
July 31st, 2014
Editors Pick Do Make Say Think, August 1-3
Read More
  • No article found.
  • By Igor Bonifacic
    July 31st, 2014
    Editors Pick Provincial government shows off proposed $100-million Ontario Place transformation
    Read More
    By Lauren Pincente
    July 31st, 2014
    Editors Pick Do Make Say Think, August 1-3
    Read More
    By Brian Tavares
    July 31st, 2014
    Editors Pick Standard Interviews: Robin Molly of Descendants Beer and Beverage Co
    Read More
    By Igor Bonifacic
    July 30th, 2014
    Editors Pick Whether it's on Simcoe or Adelaide, the city's new bike lanes are being misused
    Read More

    SOCIETY SNAPS

    Society Snaps: Eric S. Margolis Foundation Launch

    Kristin Davis moved Toronto's philanthroists to tears ... then sent them all home with a baby elephant - Read More