Since the boom of the Creator Economy, and after the toll that the Covid-19 pandemic had on all fronts of the creative industries, more and more artists and creatives are following an entrepreneurial path. But many of them realize that the formal education or technical training they received was not always up to speed, or particularly focused on their career from a business perspective.

Val Duarte – Researcher and Project Manager at the Creativity Everything lab – noticed this in her independently run projects, where she focuses on providing learning opportunities for artists and creatives in Toronto:

“I’ve witnessed and heard this on many occasions over the years, as I’ve worked with artists from various industries. We need more inviting spaces where youth creators, and emerging artists, can explore and learn the skills that will catapult their careers and creative practices from a holistic, nurturing, and collaborative approach. Especially for BIPOC folks.”

That’s why Val and her friend and colleague Fernanda Sierra Suárez – an arts administrator working at Culture Days – designed Project Crea 2024, a mentorship program for Latin Youth Creators where 10 mentees who were selected through an open application process, learned about centering community and engaging with others in their practice, mental health, sharing their art with an audience, approaches to managing projects and finances and grant-writing, to name a few. The project was part of the educational programming at Creato, an organization dedicated to connecting, supporting and amplifying Latin American creators in Canada.

During the time of the program –February and March of 2024 –  mentees were part of weekly group meetings facilitated by Val, Fernanda, Creato team members and Artist Mentors Camila Salcedo and Laura Rojas.  Also, the emerging artists worked on and developed personal creative projects that were exhibited in a final showcase event that took place on May 4th. 

Project Crea 2024 was possible through a grant Val & Fernanda obtained from ARTreach and Toronto Arts Council, as well as the support of the Creativity Everything lab.

Photography by Luisa Cruz.

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