Carlington Arts Initiative

Carlington Arts Initiative Plugs into the Power of the Arts

In a community centre tucked away near Merivale Road and Carling Avenue, there is music and song and smiles on a sunny Saturday in the fall. Friends from the neighbourhood greet each other and strangers share their first conversations. Artists display their work and attract many compliments and encouragement. Dancers of different ages take to the floor to perform and, as the afternoon progresses, a spontaneous dance party breaks out. There is a buzz of positive energy in the room and a tangible feeling of celebration.

This fall 2016 showcase marked a milestone for the Carlington Arts initiative, a program established by Kitchissippi United Church (KUC) to support individual and community health through the arts. The event demonstrated how the Arts Initiative engages Carlington residents in arts pursuits to foster joy and inspire each other, while building connections and community.

The Program’s Beginning

Our church sits just north of Carling Avenue, on Island Park Drive. On the other side of Carling lies a large pocket of social housing and low-rent units. KUC launched the Carlington Arts Initiative there in 2013, using some of the proceeds from the sale of the former Westboro United Church.

The Initiative has supported numerous programs and special events, including a Creative Path Arts program, music nights and a drumming group at the Carlington Community Chaplaincy; a mural and arts days at the Carlington/Bellevue Community Centre; a Hip-Hop Dance Program with Christie Lake Kids, and arts programs at Lepage Manor. As well, the various arts initiatives have come together for special community-wide events such as a May Fun Fair Day and the fall Arts Showcase.

Who Makes it Work?

The Arts Initiative’s part-time paid Coordinator is key to its success. The Coordinator collaborates with community members and groups. A high priority is to foster leadership from within the community — supporting residents to organize and host the events and programs. KUC volunteers manage the Arts Initiative and help at events, and some join the programs and learn to paint or sculpt or drum with our Carlington neighbours.

How to get involved

There are many ways to support the Carlington Arts Initiative! Do you have a passion for the arts? Maybe you want to explore your own creative talents? Do you want to help occasionally at an event?

Contact the Coordinator Linda Vanderlee at

Visit the Carlington Arts website or follow the initiative on Facebook.

You can also contact the Chairperson of the KUC Committee that oversees the initiative, Nancy Brodie, at