Join the Markham Creates Community Challenge

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti has announced a new initiative for artistic residents in the community – the “Markham Creates” Community Challenge. This collaboration brings together the performing arts, visual arts, exhibit design, and creative writing sectors in our community. Flato Markham Theatre, Varley Art Gallery, Markham Museum, and the Markham Public Library have joined forces to give the community a chance to work and learn with other professional artists.

“Share your story; tell us about your experience living in Markham,” said Scarpitti. “Submit one original painting or piece of creative writing, be it a poem or nonfiction. [Or you can create your own museum exhibit!] Dance, sing, act, or do whatever inspires you. Five finalists in each category will be chosen to receive one on one coaching sessions and one live streamed group master class.”

Markham Public Library

The library invites you to submit one piece of original unpublished creative writing focused on your experience arriving and settling in Markham. You can submit a poem or fiction piece, under 5000 words, written in the past 12 months. Send this to Markham Public Library via the Markham Creates website (

Five finalists will receive an opportunity to learn from an author or writing group, a chance to have the work exhibited at the library and other City of Markham cultural venues, and the work admitted into the library’s ebook collection.

Varley Art Gallery of Markham

The Varley Art Gallery challenges all artists age 13 and up, of all backgrounds and abilities, to send examples of their paintings, which can be any theme, created within the last 12 months. Go to the Markham Creates website, and upload up to three images of your artwork as a JPG or PDF.

There will be a panel of judges, professionals in the field. They will choose five finalists who will receive technical guidance and feedback from established artist John Abrams to discuss their work. Their work will be shown on the Markham Creates website and they will also receive a one on one session with the director of Varley Art Gallery to develop a professional artist’s statement they can use when showing their work. They will also receive a virtual studio visit with the gallery’s art curator to discuss the artwork they painted for Markham Creates and their other work as well.

Markham Museum

The museum invites you to create your own exhibit – tell your family history story using words, images, and artifacts to describe your family life in Markham. You can submit a series of JPGs or PDFs; one of these should be a short story panel of no more than 150 words, and the other panel should be collections of photos and artifacts that graphically illustrate that short story. Alternately, you can submit a video through the website.

Markham Museum will choose five finalists who will receive mentoring from the museum curator, designer and programmer on how to develop what you’ve done into something that can be exhibited at the museum.

Flato Markham Theatre

The Flato Markham Theatre is calling on all residents of Markham, including vocalists, dancers, singers, actors, choral groups and other talented members, to submit an online performance via the Markham Creates website. Finalists will receive a mentorship program of three one-on-one coaching sessions in their respective discipline, at least one master class or workshop with a professional artist, along with a unique opportunity to perform live on stage at the Flato Markham Theatre.

Mentors include:

  • George St. Kitts, Juno Award nominee, producer and singer (music)
  • Emily Cheung, Artistic Director of Little Pear Garden Dance Company (dance)
  • Alan Kinsella, Director of Lower Ossington Theatre, Toronto Youth Theatre and Artistic Director of Flato Markham Theatre camps
  • Jully Black, Platinum recording artist, multiple Juno and Gemini Awards nominee, singer-songwriter, producer, and actress (all disciplines)

Submissions for Markham Creates are due no later than Sunday, June 14 through the website. In addition to mentoring, finalists will receive a signed certificate from Mayor Scarpitti.

“We’ll announce the finalists on July 1 – Canada day, a fitting day celebrating our Canadian identity and shared multicultural values,” says Scarpitti. “We are a warm and welcoming community, and we make a point of recognizing and celebrating all that defines who we are. Art in all its forms has the power to lift us, to take us on wondrous journeys, transporting us to different worlds, and that’s exactly what we all need right now. This is your opportunity to show us who you are. Express yourself and share your talents with us. Let’s create, Markham!”

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