Press Releases

Celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

March 30, 2011

‘Celebrate 27 Arts Fest’ will feature 54 events across Toronto in April

The first annual Celebrate 27 Arts Fest – “C27” – will celebrate the universal right to participate in arts and culture by presenting 54 free and ticketed events across Toronto throughout April.

Inspired by Article 27 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, C27 will promote Toronto’s vibrant cultural communities by raising awareness of the rich diversity of programs and services offered through the City of Toronto, local arts organizations and the Neighbourhood Arts Network. These groups use local arts initiatives to strengthen communities and to engage youth, seniors and people with limited access to arts programs. In 2010, more than 1.2 million people attended activities presented by these community arts providers.

C27 will begin with a free event on Thursday, March 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Brookfield Place (181 Bay St.). The event includes Toronto/Milano – The Urban Landscape, a photography exhibition accompanied by music provided by DJ L’Oquenz, vocalist Tanika Charles and young performers Samba Kidz. Gadfly will also showcase its innovative urban dance.

At the March 31 inaugural event, Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee, will announce 12 local Community Cultural Champions. Selected by the festival’s participating arts organizations, the champions are dedicated volunteers and advocates for the arts from neighbourhoods across the city. “Their achievements are a testament to the impact committed people can have in their communities,” said Councillor Thompson.

Joy Apparel will print the champions’ images on limited edition T-shirts and scarves to raise revenue for community arts programs.

Details for selected C27 events:

A photographic exhibition called “Toronto/Milano – The Urban Landscape” contrasts the urban landscapes of the two cities through a series of six large-scale photographs by Michael Awad, an internationally acclaimed Toronto photographer. Awad has also mentored four young Toronto photographers (Gabriella Abis, Julia Soudat, Mapela Uhindu-Gingala, Hawa Yusuf) to produce four large-scale works that will be featured alongside his photo series. The exhibition will reside at Brookfield Place until April 2. It will then be on display at Pearson International Airport through the end of September.

“Swimming for Shore – Stories from the Lakeshore” is a 10th-anniversary restaging of the popular community play that opened the Assembly Hall community cultural centre in 2001. Produced by Humber College, the Assembly Hall and Lakeshore Arts, the play recreates the history of Toronto’s Lakeshore neighbourhood through funny and poignant tales that bring to life local heroes and villains prominent in the area’s folklore.

Swimming for Shore was written by nationally acclaimed playwright Rex Deverell and is produced by Humber Theatre’s creative team under the direction of Diana Belshaw, with roles performed by Humber students. Performances are scheduled at the Assembly Hall on April 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. with matinee performances slated for April 10 and 16 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students/seniors and $12 for children 12 years and under. Assembly Hall is located at 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Dr. Call 416-338-7255 for tickets or information. The opening gala on April 8 at 6:30 p.m. is a fundraiser by Lakeshore Arts for their arts programs. Gala tickets are $50. Call Lakeshore Arts at 416-201-7093 for tickets or more information.

Metro Music Box: Running from April 4 to April 8, this music series features free lunch-hour performances by Toronto musicians such as classical sitarist Anwar Khurshid and vocalist/guitarist Ania Soul in the rotunda at Metro Hall at 55 John St. Concerts run from noon to 1 p.m. From April 17 to May 22, the Blackwood Gallery will turn one of Metro Hall’s revolving doors into a “Revolving Door Music Box” audio installation.

Cedar Ridge Creative Centre: This Scarborough arts hub at 225 Confederation Dr. will present free activities for people of all ages. From April 3 through April 29, the Cedar Ridge Gallery features an exhibition of silk-screen prints representing Yasmine Louis’ artistic vision of 13 Toronto neighbourhoods. Nearly every day in April, Jumblies Theatre, Cedar Ridge’s artists-in-residence, will engage young and old in art-making. People can help make costumes, puppets, masks, fabric and pottery creations, and try out different types of performance art. Contact Jumblies Theatre at 416-203-8428 or visit the C27 website for more information about event schedules and art workshops registration.

Merging & Emerging: The Etobicoke Civic Centre Art Gallery, in partnership with Culmix Arts Alliance Inc., brings together established and emerging artists to visually translate Article 27 into their respective works. Curated by artist Chris-Alade Zeaqraht, this free exhibition runs from April 7 through April 29 at 399 The West Mall, Etobicoke. An opening reception takes place on April 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. Gallery hours are weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and weekends and holidays from 2 to 5 p.m.

C27 will also showcase numerous visual arts, dance, music and theatre projects across the city throughout April. More information about all C27 events is available at

On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Within that declaration are 30 articles that outline basic human rights. Article 27 of the declaration states: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

C27 is organized by the City of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture division with program partners Arts Etobicoke, Lakeshore Arts, Urban Arts, Scarborough Arts and the Neighbourhood Arts Network, Joy Apparel, the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario and the City of Milan. The festival is sponsored by TD Bank Group, Canon Canada, Alitalia and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.