ArtHeart has nourished the creative spirit of children, youth, adults and seniors in Regent Park since 1991.
Originally called A Home for Creative Opportunity, ArtHeart was founded in 1991 by Seanna Connell and a group of dedicated volunteers, including the homeless, community residents and families from the inner-city community of Regent Park, Toronto, Canada’s oldest and largest Government Housing Project. This group believed that an inner-city arts centre could be an oasis for learning and creativity in an under-resourced and under-serviced neighbourhood.
ArtHeart became incorporated in 2003 as a not-for-profit charitable organization and in 2004, the organization relocated from its original studio, as a project of 40 Oaks into a new space two blocks away. As part of the revitalization of Regent Park, in 2012, ArtHeart was invited to move again, into the wheelchair accessible Daniels Spectrum to become part of a dynamic arts and cultural centre.
In 2018, Artscape funded the “Halo Project” to assess the socio-economic impact that each of the Daniel Spectrum tenants contribute in services to the Regent Park community. We can now say, through rigorous external evaluation by Sphaera Research and Consulting that ArtHeart contributes over $2.3 million annually in value to the community.
The year 2023 marks ArtHeart’s 32nd year of providing free visual arts programs in Regent Park! Since its opening, ArtHeart has engaged thousands of children, youth, adults and seniors in community-engaged arts programs, worked with three generations of Regent Park residents, and been an anchor in a changing community.
In 2023, we’re fully reopened back inside and we’re building programs back to capacity. We launched: ArtHeart moves forward! Reuniting our community through art and wellness.
We are presently seeking additional community partnerships to address the changing needs of our participants resulting from the pandemic, i.e.; mental health and wellness, food support and increased opportunities for social connection.
Through our programs and projects, ArtHeart provides participants with a supportive environment in which they can create and learn, build self-esteem and develop skills. By putting their hands and imaginations to work, our participants are empowered to engage with their community in a meaningful way. Year-round programs and projects include: Children, Youth and Family Arts Program, Youth Employment and Arts Education Program, Art on the Terrace, Adult’s Arts Program,Seniors Arts Program, "No Starving Artists" (Meals and Snacks Program), Indigenous Arts - Council Fire Native Cultural Centre Collaborative Programs, The Legacy Program, Digital Arts and Communications, Arts and Wellness.
It is believed that when the body and soul are treated with kindness, imaginations soar and beautiful art is produced. ArtHeart participants come from many backgrounds and life experiences. All are talented artists who have discovered a safe space at ArtHeart to explore their creativity.
Many forms of visual art are enjoyed at ArtHeart. Watercolour, acrylic, mixed media, screen-printing, collage, photography, fibre and digital arts are explored. Stories are told with paint, paper and canvas. ArtHeart is a unique community sharing the love of art, good food and warm relationships.