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.

SKETCH COMMUNITY UPDATE (as of August 14, 2020)

Thanks to all who participated in Creating Against the Odds! Our online experiments offered May, June and July. Thanks to everyone who made those experiments during these challenging times.

SKETCH studios at 180 Shaw Street will remain closed to public access until further notice. We are forced in this time of pandemic to rework and consider our sustainability given public health priorities and resources. We will keep you posted on new designs in September.

Connect here for wellness supports.

We've launched our Equity at SKETCH Web page to be in dialogue with you about our Equity goals.

Black activists and communities everywhere are working hard to lead all society to call out and authentically address the violent impacts of White Supremacy in policing, justice, education, health, community and in all systems and infrastructures across Turtle Island (North America). Anti-Black racism is deeply embedded in every fabric of our society. This, as well as our violent colonial legacy of Indigenous erasure, constant gender discrimination and violence, and the violence and mistreatment of those in the disability community, are pervasive pressing truths that we need to face and address, daily, to make change in real ways. We need boldness, energy, honesty, deep listening and accountability, to generate sustained action and inversions of power in the immediate, medium and long term.

What can a community-engaged arts organization in Toronto like us do, to take up its role in this critical renaissance of justice? Join us in learning together with us, what this means.

SKETCH is deeply committed to supporting, learning from and amplifying the brave and creative leadership of young Black Artists and Activists. Check out Art in Pandemic and be inspired by the incredible work of young artists creating during this time.

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.

Follow us at @SKETCHToronto, and reach out if you have any questions at

Please support us to be a just, accountable and vibrant arts platform for young people on the margins! We need your help now more than ever!

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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