Andy Moro, Artistic Director, Red Pepper Spectacle Arts
“Some of my family came from overseas, some were always here. Miners, bricklayers, factory workers – they built community through hard labour. I arrived in Toronto in 1988, to an inspiring industry of artists committed to their disciplines. Through our work we honour our past and for the future. Our children know that life is art – and they can live it here.”
For over 20 years community artist Andrew Moro has worked independently and in collaboration with numerous organizations toward accessibility in the arts. With partner, Gabriella Carusowith, Red Pepper Spectacle Arts has earned six Dora nominations and one win plus international acclaim for their multi-disciplinary work. It had long been their desire to focus extensive professional experience and creative resources on an inclusive cultural practice.
Founded in 2002, Red Pepper is now a creative home for an always growing community of emerging and established artists. Based in a 1300 square foot storefront studio in Kensington Market, Red Pepper provides resource sharing and collaborative opportunity in diverse media.
Hundreds of artists and thousands of community members have worked with Red Pepper toward individual expression, collaborative endeavors and community celebrations. Numerous individuals and organizations have learned and implemented methods and ideologies with the guidance and ongoing support of experienced Red Pepper practitioners. Our current staff consists entirely of First Nations youth who have trained and worked with Red Pepper and/or its partners over the years.
We have facilitated large-scale engagements in a wide variety of media including story creation, mask making, movement, mosaic, sculpture, pottery, printmaking, painting and drawing, magazine creation and publishing, puppetry, digital media design and technology, photography, recording and music creation, video creation and production, textiles, theatre design and community-wide festivals. Red Pepper’s popular Kensington Festival of Lights attracts 10,000 people annually for a hand-made, commercial-free peoples celebration in Kensington and Alexandra Park on the Winter Solstice. It is now in its 20th year.
Ongoing programming partnerships include Tumivut Youth Shelter, Project Random, Gaa Dibaatjimat Ngashi, the Native Canadian Centre, the Native Mens Residence, the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and with the community at large through various arts activities at the NaMeRes PowWows, Native Child and Family Services PowWows, First Nations School, Nibinamik, Moosefactory, Wikwemikong, Wasauksing, Garden River, Shawanaga, Six Nations and especially through its ongoing “NDN Media Project” developed in collaboration with Stacia Loft and the One Nation in Unity Youth Program at the Native Canadian Centre. We have partnered and collaborated with a number of local arts organizations including ArtStarts, Jumblies Theatre, Shadowland Theatre, Theatre Direct, Project Random, Regent Park Focus, Harbourfront Centre and Arts Etobicoke. Partner agencies have included St. Stephen’s Community House, CAMH, Toronto Community Housing and York Community Services.
Red Pepper programming enables a sense of belonging, creates new productive uses of underutilized spaces, encourages creative problem solving, develops leadership and decision-making skills, provides space for cross-cultural dialogue, encourages collaboration in a democratic creative processes and provides a safe haven to learn new skills and express oneself.
For more information on Red Pepper Spectacle Arts click here.