The UpstART program provides youth in the York South-Weston area, aged 18-29, access to creative mentorship and training opportunities that enable them to grow their creative career and reach new audiences.  The intensive program will provide structured one-on-one mentorship with professional creatives in their field, capacity-building creative entrepreneurship workshops with internationally-renowned artists and facilitators, connections to arts sector leaders and industry opportunities, and a supportive peer network. DEADLINE EXTENDED!  Apply by September 16th

Setting up a business // Marketing // Brand Development // Fundraising // Pitching // Media Training // Event Coordination // Budgeting 


Program Overview

Key Components:

  • (6) Creative Entrepreneurship-based workshops - UpstART professional development 
Topics such as financial literacy, fundraising, creative thinking, accessing government supports, running a small business, marketing, event management and more. 
  • Mentorship xCHANGE 
All program participants are matched for one-on-one coaching with a member of our UpstART mentorship network, typically working in the desired field of aspiring mentee. 
  • (3-5) Industry Field Trips 
ALL-ACCESS Experiences through our partners  
  • (2) Industry Talks (Open to All) 
Open panel discussions that focus on creative sector trends and issues. The content of these open conversations are subject to change for each cohort. (e.g. Anti-Black Racism in the creative industry).  
  • Access to Artscape Daniels Launchpad for all participants:   
All program participants will be provided with access to Artscape Daniels Launchpad, including access to 5 creative studios, unlimited learning events, coworking space and credits for use in the Digital Media Lab. UpstART will provide access to resources and equipment for skill-building and an opportunity for participants to work on final projects to be showcased at the closing event 
  • Final Showcase event 
Artist showcase planned by participants 

At UpstART, you will learn how to leverage creativity for business innovation and career development. By the end of the UpstART program, you will be able to: 

  • Develop a vision and “story” for your business
  • Create a brand and develop messaging for your creative work
  • Develop a simple marketing plan, artist statement and basic press kit
  • Leverage social media to enhance customer reach
  • Put together an effective pitch presentation for your creative business
  • Prepare for media opportunities
  • Understand basic legal considerations, financial management, budgeting and fundraising
  • Build the right networks
  • Present your art or creative practice in a showcase event

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR UPSTART?  Take look at the criteria. Applicants must: 

  • Be an emerging and/or practicing artist, designer or creator  
  • Have an entrepreneurial desire to advance their creative practice/business 
  • Be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident 
  • Be 18 years of age or older 
  • Have not received a Launchpad Bursary in the past year 
  • York South-Weston residents will be prioritized 

How to Apply If you interested in participating in the UpstART program, you are invited to complete an online application form. Application questions will give you an opportunity to demonstrate what makes you a great candidate for the program and to describe your creative work, activities and entrepreneurial vision. All applicants will also have the opportunity to upload examples of their creative work (eg. PDF of visual images, audio/video files or in another appropriate digital medium). Web and social media links will also be accepted. Limit of 4 examples. Application Deadline (EXTENDED): September 16th 2022 * APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN *

The selection process will be led by the Artscape Weston Commons Community Advisory Committee. After reviewing the applications, Artscape will reach out to a short list of candidates to conduct interviews. Successful applicants for the UpstART program are selected on the following criteria: LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL & ENTREPRENEURIAL VISIONDemonstrate that you have the potential to inspire others with a passion, innovative approach, and a strong commitment for the creative field in which you plan to work. RESILIENCE AND GROWTHShow us that you are receptive to feedback and can learn from past experiences. ABILITY TO COLLABORATEDo you have the ability to resolve conflict and bring together the necessary people, money, and resources to create your venture? DESIRE TO PARTICIPATE IN A COHORT EXPERIENCEShow us how you will both gain from and contribute to the cohort learning experience.

There are NO fees associated with the UpstART program. Selected participants will enjoy all business training, mentorship opportunities, access to Artscape Daniels Launchpad studios & facilities (3 months), networking events and showcase opportunities for FREE thanks to our incredible partners and supporters. All program participants will receive $500 for their engagement and successful completion of the program.

Anticipated Program Schedule

Date Activity 
August 31st, 2022 Call for Applications EXTENDED
September 16th, 2022 Deadline for Applications
September 20th, 2022 Participants Selection Complete
September 23rd, 2022 - December 16th 2022 Creative Workshops/Learning & Industry Talks, Virtual Field Trips/Networking Opportunities  –      * Schedule TBA


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