#ArtTransforms July 24, 2020

Donor of the Month: Maggie Selma


This month’s feature donor is SKETCH board member, Maggie Selma! Passionate about fostering opportunities within marginalized communities, Maggie supports SKETCH in building impactful relationships with other Toronto organizations. Read on to learn more about Maggie as she sits in conversation with SKETCH’s Communications Specialist Jonsaba Jabbi, to tell us what she thinks makes SKETCH so special.


Jonsaba Jabbi: How did you hear about SKETCH?

Maggie Selma: Through a program called Board Match. Although I’ve always been quite involved in the community, volunteering my time across various initiatives such as Therapy Dog Handling and volunteering as a Meal Server, I was looking to give back more from a strategic perspective. I found SKETCH on Board Match and began attending various events to learn more about the community and the organization’s mission. I immediately fell in love with the impact SKETCH drives and how genuine the organization is in fulfilling its purpose of empowering youth. 


JJ: What was your first impression?

MS: ‘Wow, I feel so warm and welcomed!” Bright smiles seemed to greet me everywhere, from program participants, to staff members. Smiles that still give me a sense of warmth whenever I’m at SKETCH. 


JJ: What attracted you most about SKETCH?

MS: I’m attracted by the art, the broad definition of art which I have now come to learn so much more about! I always appreciated art and music, but with SKETCH, I realized that there’s so much more to art than I ever imagined. The definition of art and how SKETCH captures it is so fundamentally present.


JJ: Why did you first give to our organization? 

MS: I can see the direct impact. I know that my donations will impact arts programs in the Toronto community.


JJ: Why does this cause matter to you? 

MS: Personally, I’m very passionate about people. I have worked really hard in my life, but I can also see that I’m incredibly lucky that my hard work has been recognized and that I’ve been presented with great opportunities. I want to be part of the SKETCH community to drive the luck I have been so fortunate to receive to others. I want to be part of the SKETCH community that creates access to opportunities for others.


JJ: What are you involved in at SKETCH?

MS: I’m involved in Resource Development planning, which means I’m helping to create opportunities for different members of the Toronto community to come together, realize their similarities and drive their impact through donations and sponsorship. An example of this is SKETCHTalks, where we bring various members of the Toronto community to engage in conversation around various topics that span the community and arts. The event is open (and free) to all, and is a great way for members of the Toronto community to engage and really break down systemic barriers that may have otherwise hindered conversations to take place between these groups.


JJ: In your opinion, what is the most important work SKETCH does?

MS: Creating opportunities for the less served. Opportunities that span personal and professional development. 


JJ: Tell me about your life and your upbringing?

MS: I am super fortunate to have two parents and an older brother who have always supported me. Regardless of the high hopes and dreams I’ve had, they were (and still are!) always willing to provide guidance (along with some hard reality checks) and direction to help me tackle my aspirations. Because of their support and belief in me, I feel strong and confident in my voice – unfortunately this is a luxury that not many have and I hope with SKETCH we can continue to change this! Through my upbringing I have witnessed my parents work extremely hard, literally building a life from scratch, after our small family of four immigrated to Canada. I think that witnessing their perseverance and their willingness to always help others before themselves is what has truly shaped me into who I am today and who I hope to be in the future.

Likely because of the circumstances of our move to Canada, I was always encouraged to ask questions (often to store clerks) in unfamiliar settings as a child. Looking back, this is a key reason why I have such high self-confidence in reaching out to others. This, coupled  with my genuine interest in people has made it easy for me to create lasting connections with others. 


JJ: Why do you donate/volunteer?

MS: It’s important to give back. Everyone has a social responsibility to help others and help each other grow, and when we do we are also recipients of other’s help! Everyone should give back in the medium that they can. If you’re worried that you don’t have enough to give, say goodbye to those thoughts! Something is always better than nothing, and we always have something to give! Trust me, people are so grateful for the help they are given, regardless of how big or small YOU may think it is, to the recipient it makes a WORLD of a difference! 


JJ: What do you hope SKETCH will achieve in the future? 

MS: For me, the ideal would be that SKETCH can exist to empower people. That the notion of needing to exist to serve marginalized young people wouldn’t be necessary, because everyone would have equitable access to opportunity. That the notion of needing to serve the less served communities wouldn’t exist, because there would be no less served communities. I wasn’t lying when I said I have some ridiculous high reaching dreams. 


JJ: Why should someone make a donation to SKETCH?

MS: You can directly see the impact that the donation will make in the community.


JJ: What other organizations or causes do you support?

MS: I volunteered with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital as a Catalyst Member, driving awareness of the hospital’s efforts to the public. I also made lunches for the homeless through the Miller Group. Personally, I’m working on a social initiative that aims to expose youth to different areas of opportunity. 


JJ: What motivates you to stay involved?

MS: My passion for people and life. I feel a lot and I want to help people in whatever way I can.


JJ: What do you tell others about SKETCH? 

MS: SKETCH is a community that welcomes you all. I guess it’s more than a community, it’s truly a welcoming, if you would. This is what I try to tell people about SKETCH, that they are WELCOME! I also encourage others to come and visit SKETCH for themselves, as words really don’t do SKETCH justice when trying to capture the organization’s essence. If you haven’t already, and are interested in feeling this warmth and welcoming for yourself, I invite you too, to visit SKETCH! 


JJ: What are you most passionate about?

MS: In addition to being passionate about people and life, I’m also passionate about learning. I’m incredibly curious and love exploring new ideas, thoughts, and concepts!

"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 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