Photo Credit: Culture Days @ Toronto Public Library.

Since 2011, we have hosted the successful Culture Days @ the Library program in partnership with Toronto Public Library (TPL). This community-focused initiative connects artists with TPL libraries and communities to provide hands-on programming. In 2020, Culture Days @ the Library brought us 5 fantastic workshops held fully online. Check out the programs below!

Dance with Ballet Creole

Ballet Creole was founded in 1990 by Patrick Parson, a Trinidadian-born dancer, choreographer, drummer and educator. Ballet Creole’s versatile dancers and musicians perform traditional and contemporary dance and music from around the world, with a particular emphasis on the Afro-Caribbean diaspora. In this workshop, the company combined structured contemporary dance techniques with the physicality of traditional movements derived from the African Diaspora. Participants discovered the dance traditions and their surrounding folklore through a live demonstration, movement tutorial, and a Q&A with the performers. Read more about Ballet Creole here.

You can enjoy the full performance here.

Poetry with Paulina O’Kieffe-Anthony

An award winning spoken word artist, Paulina is a member of the League of Poets  and arts educator who aims to teach, support, engage and inspire youth with alternative methods of education are not available. In this workshop, Paulina O’Kieffe-Anthony led a poetry and spoken word workshop for young adults. 

Read more about Paulina here.

Beading with Naomi Smith

Naomi Smith is actively involved in sharing traditional teachings with audiences, focusing on the ways of the Indigenous people of the Woodlands and Northeastern region from a historical and contemporary perspective often through the story of beads. Her artwork embraces ancestral designs in the form of bags, adornment, and accessories using quillwork, beadwork and other Indigenous methods and materials. Naomi Smith hosted a virtual bracelet-making workshop based off of traditional beading techniques, and bead kits were mailed out to all registrants.

Storytelling with Sage Tyrtle

Sage Tyrtle is a professional storyteller who tells stories all over the world. Her stories have been featured on NPR and CBC radio and she is a Moth StorySLAM winner who has also appeared on the PBS tv show Stories From The Stage. She teaches The Art of Storytelling in schools, to individuals, and in corporate settings.

In this workshop, Sage Tyrtle led a kids storytelling program, using prompts to invite the kids into the creation of a contemporary fairytale. You can read more about Sage here.

You can enjoy the full performance here.

Writing Workshop with Living Hyphen

Justine Abigail Yu is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Living Hyphen, an intimate journal that explores what it means to live in between cultures as part of a diaspora.

In this workshop, Living Hyphen led participants through a digital writing workshop specifically for IBPOC storytellers of all ages and writing levels.

Read more about Justine’s practice here.

Culture Days @ the Library programming is made possible thanks to the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario Library Association.