Community Voices

Date: January 25–March 15, 2017
Artist: Toronto Artists Inspired by Sheila Hicks

Community Voices is a celebration of the ongoing local impact that senior textile artist Sheila Hicks (Paris/New York) provides wherever her work is exhibited. Through a collaborative approach between the Textile Museum of Canada, local professional artists and social agencies in Toronto, Community Voices supports skills-based learning and creative enterprise for adults. This project continues our commitment to providing access to the Museum’s rich exhibition programming while supporting the organizations that provide invaluable services to underserved and newcomer communities.

Community members from ArtHeart, Sistering, Workman Arts and the YWCA were invited to visit the exhibition Sheila Hicks: Material Voices. Education Programs Coordinator Susan Fohr provided a tour of the exhibition, focusing on the range of materials and techniques used by the artist, and sharing biographical information about Sheila Hicks – her life of global travel, her formal education and her keen personal sense of observation – which inform the artworks. Inspired by the exhibition and their own personal art practices, local textile artists Kate Jackson, Joanna Schleimer and Carmen Vincente developed immersive four-week workshops for the community organizations with which they were paired.

Hands-on workshops took place in a variety of settings, and the common thread that emerged is the enthusiasm with which community participants embraced the techniques of tapestry weaving, embroidery and wrapping that are the hallmark of Sheila Hicks’ work with textiles. Individuals who were already engaged in painting, sewing, knitting or performing arts, and those just starting their creative journeys, discovered a new artistic vocabulary through which to express their own personal narrative and sense of identity. Community Voices is a multigenerational celebration of the diversity of these expressions and Toronto’s artistic community.


Sheila Hicks: Material Voices was on view at the Textile Museum of Canada from October 4, 2016 – February 5, 2017.


This project is generously supported by the United States Consulate General in Toronto, Partners in Art, the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation and the Toronto Arts Council.


Photos: various works by participating artists, TMC 2016