Left of Centre - Nia Centre for the Arts

Left of Centre

Left of Centre is an incubator to help advance the careers of emerging Black artists.

Left of Centre is an artist incubation project which combines professional development, creative consulting, critical feedback, and seed funding to support the careers of emerging Black artists living within Toronto or the GTA.

With multiple streams, Left of Centre allows artists to locate themselves within the incubator, making use of elements that are best suited towards their needs – whether that be funding, consulting, critique, or inspiration.

Developed in collaboration with Black artists and advisors, across a wide range of disciplines, Left of Centre seeks to support emerging Black artists in navigating traditional and non-traditional art spaces and institutions, securing funding for their work, developing their artistic practices, and continuing to inspire our creative community.

The Left of Centre incubator offers the following programming streams & opportunities. Continue reading below to learn more about each offering:


Consulting for Emerging Artists

Through our Creative Catalyst stream, a cohort of emerging artists will work directly with a group of 8 established artists and consultants who will provide feedback, guidance, and mentorship over the course of 7 months. The Creative Catalyst stream supports the following artistic disciplines and entrepreneurial areas:


  • Curatorial Practice with Chiedza Pasipanodya
  • Visual Arts with Gordon Shadrach
  • Photography with Djenabé Edouard and Ishmil Waterman
  • Site Specific & Experiential Art with Ashley McKenzie-Barnes
  • Creative Writing with Fiona Raye Clarke
  • Grant Writing with Paulina O’Kieffe- Anthony
  • Arts & Cultural Business Development with Amoye Henry


The Creative Catalyst stream is application-based, and best suited towards emerging artists who have made a commitment towards establishing their artistic careers, are currently working on new work or building on existing work, and looking to regularly engage an artistic consultant.


Applications are now closed.

Meet the Consultants


Apply Today

Left of Centre: Conversations

Wondering what the differences between artist statements and artist bios? Interested in learning how a studio visit – in person or virtual – can help you build deeper connections with your peers, curators and buyers? Or maybe you’re looking to better understand how flash assessments can support your creative writing career. In these series of videos, we explore ways that you can better understand and articulate who you are as an artist, and how to feel empowered to take the roles, space, and energy you deserve as a creative.


Featuring conversations with:


  • Liz Ikiriko
  • Sarah-Tai Black
  • Sara Elgamal & Imad Elsheikh
  • Kevin Reigh
  • Pacinthe Mattar
  • Fiona Raye Clarke


Learn More

Discipline Specific Feedback and Critique

Whether you’re preparing to showcase and/or publish your work, respond to a call for submissions, or just looking for critical feedback on a new or existing piece or body of work, we know that feedback is essential to developing as an artist.


As part of Left of Centre, we will be presenting a series of discipline specific ‘Crit Nights‘, hosted by established artists working within each discipline.


Sessions will begin early 2021.

Seed Funding for Emerging Artists

As part of Left of Centre, Nia Centre will be providing a number of micro grants to emerging artists to be used to propel their artistic careers. Seed funding will be allocated through an application based process, and can be used in a wide variety of ways, including purchasing small equipment, artist supplies & materials, submission fees, leveraging other funding, and more.


Seed funding will be made available in early 2021. Preference will be given to emerging artists who have participated in previous Left of Centre programming, including the Creative Catalyst stream, Crit Nights, and more. Details TBA.


Left of Centre is for emerging artists from across the African Diaspora, living within Toronto or the GTA.

How does this program identify artists as “emerging?”

Under the Left of Centre program, emerging artists are identified as:

  • Artists in the early stages of their careers, usually within the first few years pursuing a career in the arts
  • Demonstrated commitment to devoting time to artistic activity
  • Is involved, or looking to be involved in the artistic community at large
  • Devotes a minimum of 6 hours a week to the pursuit of their art
  • Relative to their means, shows a financial commitment to their practice, and seeks income through their artistic work
  • Has a small history of presentation, publication, or showcasing
  • In addition to the above, self-identifies as an emerging artist


Nia Centre for the Arts recognizes the ongoing support of the Left of Centre program by advisors Anique Jordan and Desmond Miller.

Left of Centre is made possible through the support of:

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Wellness Connect

October 5 - November 23, 2022
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