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September 20th, 2023


The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has demonstrated its commitment to creativity, arts, and community building by offering substantial support to Sistema Toronto with funding from an OAC grant. Sistema Toronto is a community-focused organization that uses ensemble-based music education to enrich the lives of children from Toronto’s underserved communities. The OAC’s investment in this important programming reaffirms the critical role that provincial arts funding plays in nurturing artistic excellence, enhancing education, and building strong, inclusive communities.

Sistema Toronto offers free social development and music education to children in some of Toronto’s most underserved communities with the goal of promoting transformative social action. The impact of this programming extends far beyond the world of music: Sistema students work together for 10 hours each week where they not only exercise their artistic talent, but develop essential life skills such as teamwork, discipline, and self-confidence. The generous funding from the Ontario Arts Council will allow Sistema Toronto to provide more opportunities to young musicians, and continue fostering a culture of inclusivity, creativity, and growth in their programming and beyond. The funding will also serve to benefit the 35 professional musicians Sistema Toronto employs as teaching artists by allowing the organization to continue providing them with robust opportunities for professional development.

"We are so grateful for this funding from the Ontario Arts Council," said Shawn Earle, CEO of Sistema Toronto. "It will allow us to continue our work to bring ensemble music education to children and youth who would not otherwise have access to this type of programming. We are immensely thankful that this support will allow us to continue creating a positive impact in the lives of our participants, their families, and their communities."

“I am so pleased that Sistema Toronto is a recipient of this Ontario Arts Council grant” said Bhutila Karpoche, MPP for Parkdale–High Park. “This grant has been essential in helping Sistema Toronto employ professional musicians in vital teaching roles, and continue their important work providing cost and barrier-free music education to children in our community.”

The significance of this grant extends beyond its impact on Sistema Toronto; it is a testament to the crucial role that the arts play in Ontario’s cultural landscape as a source of inspiration and connection. Giving young people the opportunity to contribute to Ontario’s arts scene via programs like Sistema can transform lives, uplift communities, and affect positive change. The Ontario Arts Council's continued investment in arts and culture exemplifies the provincial government's recognition of this transformative power.


For media inquiries or more information, please contact:

Kelsy Vivash
Marketing and Communications Manager
Sistema Toronto
[email protected]


About the Ontario Arts Council:

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is the province of Ontario's primary funding body for professional artists and arts organizations across all disciplines. The OAC's mission is to foster the creation and production of art for the benefit of all Ontarians. With funding from the Government of Ontario, OAC provides grants and services to artists and arts organizations that contribute to the vibrant and diverse arts and culture sector in Ontario.


About Sistema Toronto:

Sistema Toronto is a free after-school music and social development program for children living in underserved communities with the end goal of transformative social change. Students have the opportunity to learn together for 10 hours each week where they play in orchestras, sing in choirs, and beat drums in drum ensembles. Through their programming, Sistema Toronto aims to build stronger communities by enabling children from marginalized neighbourhoods to grow and thrive as engaged citizens and future leaders.