#ArtTransforms February 28, 2020

A time to be courageous: Interview with SKETCH Board President & Chair Charlene Quincey

By Jonsaba Jabbi

We’re excited to introduce Charlene Quincey as SKETCH’s first female President and Chair of our Board of Directors! We spoke to Charlene about her career as a lawyer and what excites her the most about SKETCH’s future.

SKETCH: How did you hear about SKETCH? What made you want to get involved?

Charlene: I was first introduced to SKETCH by a colleague who had long been a supporter. Given my legal and artistic background she thought I would be an excellent fit for the organization and would bring a new and diverse skill set to the board of directors.

SKETCH: Describe what your first time at SKETCH was like?

Charlene: I remember being amazed with the facilities and the amount of thought and care given to the space. The Weave and Mend garden, the pottery studio, recording studio and the modern commercial kitchen were inspiring. Supporting such diverse spaces to allow young people to engage in all types of art is something we should all want to support.


Charlene Quincey

SKETCH: Why did you become a lawyer?

Charlene: It’s funny as I did not initially set out to be a lawyer. I moved from Canada to New York City a week after my 18th birthday to study classical theatre, and I continued to pursue a life in the performing arts after graduation. It was not until later in my twenties after spending a year in Italy teaching English and earning my philosophy degree that I knew I wanted a career in service of human need – this lead me to apply to one of the top public interest law schools in the US where the focus is on training lawyers to service the public interest.

SKETCH: On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Charlene: Don’t compromise who you are. Do what you love and in doing so, be authentic, embrace diversity and champion inclusiveness. This is the time to be courageous – we can do hard things!

SKETCH: What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women today?

Charlene: Pay equity and access to leadership positions – a real seat at the table. A lot of progress has been made, but we still have a way to go. I see and experience small wins but until women get fair representation in all institutions all at levels we are going to continue to struggle for meaningful fair representation.

SKETCH: How has art transformed your life?

Charlene: Art in its many forms inspires us all. Whether it be cooking, painting, sculpting, crafting, sewing, drawing etc., art not only allows for self-reflection and healing but also builds community. It gives us an alternative form to express our ideas, fears, hopes and desires and sparks conversation. It can make friends out of strangers instantly. I am inspired by those who create change through art and harness their creativity to do big things, even hard things! It’s a common language but also one that is so diverse that you are always learning and growing with exposure and experience.

SKETCH: How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?

Charlene: Everyone has a responsibility to support and encourage others to be their best selves. I strive every day to support all the women in my life in whatever they choose to do – we are not competitors but allies and when we treat each other as such, we can accomplish so much!

SKETCH: As the first President and Chair of SKETCH’s Board of Directors, what does the future of SKETCH look like to you?

Charlene: The future is so bright! We have so much to learn from young people – they truly are the changemakers and future-makers. I believe that the world will be a better place because of them. Providing a stable home for the youth of today and tomorrow will ensure SKETCH continues to grow and thrive. I am excited to see what SKETCH and the youth of SKETCH accomplish over the coming years!

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 info@sketch.ca.

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 rudy@sketch.ca.

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 invest@sketch.ca 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