Corporate Teams Feed Creativity at SKETCH!

By Dale Roy

When you think of staff team-building activities, you might think trust falls, rope climbing, or expensive offsite retreats.

But what about baking a good focaccia? Or making homemade pasta? Can’t you teambuild while icing a vanilla-pear-ginger loaf?

Food making-as-team building is at the core of Nourish, SKETCH’s corporate-engagement program where workmates become cooks-for-a-day and prepare nutritious meals for youth.

serving food

Young people getting nourished, thanks to Nourish

About 1300 homeless and marginalized young people come to SKETCH each year to channel their creative energies into new artwork and performances, projects for social change, or their own creative enterprise. It’s often access to the free nutritious lunches and dinners made in-house that helps youth commit to SKETCH long term. In many ways, these meals are the gatecrasher to our programs.

Nourish, now in its second year, invites companies to play a crucial role in that food making so they can help feed creativity at SKETCH.

SKETCH’s Culinary Arts Specialist Quina Gutierrez leads corporate guests through an afternoon of learning new culinary tricks and processes, fun staff food-prep competitions, and the ins and outs of working in an industrial kitchen. The outcome: over 100 meals created for youth, served on the next day of programming.

Zero Gravity Labs staff suits up for food prep

Quina says a big part of the program’s success are the guests own transformation. “People come to Nourish and they don’t know what to expect. They’ll often say, ‘I don’t have cooking skills’ or ‘I won’t know what to do!’ But once they get the hang of it and they see the volume of great food they’re creating, you see a pride emerge from their hard work and new cooking skills.”

Companies like Telus, Salesforce, Apple, and FORREC have sent staff to Nourish at SKETCH. Quina and our culinary artists always align the theme of the afternoon’s activities with the visiting organization’s product, service or brand. For example, the staff from Apple Store Eaton Centre moulded pie dough into unique-looking app logos atop of the apple pies they were baking.

Salesforce gets busy in the kitchen

At the end of Nourish, everyone gets to taste a hearty sampling of their hard work. It’s often at this stage that guests start to marvel at the volume of food they created together and the real impact it will have on a young person’s day at SKETCH.

“Our team did a Nourish last October,” says  Alex Chepovetsky, Chief Digital Officer of Havas Canada, “We loved the work space, the staff engagement and the food making. But the dishes we all made together–baked meatballs, roasted cauliflower and beans, casserole and salads–fed over 125 young people! It was the best feeling.”

meatballs with salad

Havas’ meatball dish

Does your staff or group want to get Nourished? SKETCH has the following Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 dates now open for bookings: Dec. 13, Jan 17, Jan 24, Feb 7, Feb 28, March 27 and April 3. Contact for details today.

"You really want that utopian ideal of what our world could be? You want to be proudly and ACTIVELY anti-racist, more than fearing being called a racist? I want that for you too. If so, then do the work, educate yourself and others stand by us loudly, consistently, FOREVER." - Clara Amfo, BBC 1 Radio Host

Dear SKETCH Community,

The last two weeks have been yet another reminder that the Black community continues to be under attack by white supremacist systems. SKETCH's board of directors and staff sends their deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who we have most recently lost including Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and D’Andre Campbell, and all those whose deaths have not been televised.

In our grief and anger at these senseless murders committed by the police, SKETCH is ensuring that we stay accountable to our Black youth artists, staff and the Black community at large, by taking swift action to ensure that folks are supported, uplifted, taken care of and their voices amplified, as they continue to organize and march on the front lines for justice.

As an organization that is led by mainly white leadership, we are deeply committed to examining and activating our role as an accomplice to address violence, racism, oppression, and discrimination in our sector, in Toronto and in society generally.

This Means:
  • We will continue to look within and address our own biases and the ways that systemic and structural racism plays itself out in SKETCH;
  • We will increase investment and resources to young Black Artists;
  • We will endorse Black leadership in SKETCH and in arts and culture;
  • We will support self-care and resources for our Black staff; and
  • Our leadership will connect with other white leaders of arts and culture organizations to support Black leadership in the sector with resourced opportunities to lead in meaningful ways.

We want to acknowledge the trauma and grief of those who create with and work at SKETCH, who are Black. We know you endure violence on a daily basis. We want to reach out to support you, stand and work together with you, to fight for justice, for your health, and for your futures.

We seek to learn daily, with you, how to enact a more just present and future. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for calling us to be better. All of our liberations depend on it.

We join the movements for prison abolition, and for strong redirection of funding for policing to go toward community-based transformative justice efforts.

We call on the Arts Councils to create a Black Artists Fund to support Black Artists and Black Arts and Culture Organizations, recognizing and investing in their leadership in arts and culture, and in building fair and inclusive communities.

We encourage the non-Black community members of SKETCH to stand with us and take action by:
  • Educating yourself on the issues;
  • Supporting your Black staff with personal time for self-care;
  • Supporting the community by buying from Black-owned business (which include Black artists at SKETCH);
  • Donating to organizations that are directly supporting Black folks;
  • Reposting and resharing information on your social media feeds;
  • Having constant conversations with your peers, families, and friends; and
  • Signing petitions that call for justice.

With so many ways to actively support the dismantling of systems that continue to oppress the Black community, silence is not an option.

We welcome you all to join SKETCH in allying yourselves with the Black community in the fight for liberation for all, not as a token event, but one that actually leads to a re-education, re-evaluation, and unbiased and selfless action.

In solidarity,

SKETCH Working Arts

Artwork: Egwu Ogwu Mystic Dance by Kanna Anigbogu

Dear Friends and Investors,

Greetings from the SKETCH Project Home Team! We hope that you and your family are keeping well and safe during this time.

UPDATE: SKETCH is placing the capital campaign to purchase our studios on brief hiatus until the fall.

Our campaign has been a great success so far, with over $370,000 raised in funds and Community Bonds! However, in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, SKETCH is taking action to suspend the campaign to allow the time needed for those excited about our campaign to be in a more secure position to participate.

If you have already donated to the campaign, or purchased SKETCH Community Bonds, we deeply appreciate your commitment to Project Home. If you've just recently submitted your bond-purchase documents, we will still process your investment.

Have any questions about your donations or bond purchase? Please do not hesitate to contact SKETCH Executive Director, Rudy Ruttimann at

This summer, we'll be working with our campaign partners and SKETCH community to determine exactly when we relaunch in the Fall. We'll be sure to keep you posted over the summer.

You can still inquire about SKETCH, our capital campaign, and its progress at or by following us at @SKETCHToronto.

Thank you for your time, and we wish all the best for you and your family.

-The SKETCH Team & Campaign Advisory