It’s Ok* Studios, is a new independent Black-led and operated,
interdisciplinary, multipurpose arts space, that will open its doors in
Toronto’s historic Queen West Neighbourhood this summer. Transformed
from a vacant retail building in the historic Queen West district, the
space will be a hub for artistic growth and development, a vibrant
gathering place for Toronto’s Black artistic community. This space is
developed and managed by It’s Ok*, a successful performance series and
collaborative led by cultural programmers Said Yassin and Chris
The contributions of Black artists to culture in Toronto are priceless.
From the Caribbean diasporas’ impacts on music, language, and food, to
the early days of hip-hop, and through incredible multi-media, award
winning productions and exhibits, to musicians consistently topping
charts around the world.
The arts and culture sector in Toronto has been the hardest hit through
the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, space was already at a premium, and
with lockdowns, the sector has been one of the slowest to recover. At
the same time the realities of anti-Black racism have gained mainstream
attention, the pandemic has made it harder for Toronto’s Black artistic
community to gather, create, and to support one another.
It’s Ok* Studios is creating a space for Black artists to invest in
themselves and the community, and make art with unbridled
self-expression. When fully operational, the Studio’s main 10,000
square-foot space will include a gallery, photo studio, social gathering
space, and a flexible venue for projects such as installations,
interactive works, and events. The space will host rotating programs
focusing on the concept and development of work from Black grassroots
emerging artists and musicians, and developmental workshops for
creatives to gain valuable skills and insights on creating and
sustaining a creative practice.