Supporting Prologue: Where does your money go and why does it matter?
When you choose to support Prologue Performing Arts, you are supporting one of the leading and longest running not-for-profit arts education organizations in Ontario.
It all started in 1966 when five young mothers met around a lunch table and shared their dream of providing access to the best in the performing arts to ALL young people in Ontario. As volunteers with other performing arts organizations, these dedicated women founded one of Canada’s most important arts education resources.
In the first year, Prologue placed 81 performances in Toronto schools reaching 24,000 students; in the second year, the numbers doubled. Now, almost 60 years later, Prologue places over 1,000 engagements in schools and communities across Ontario, reaching 300,000 young people annually.
It is amazing to think of the hundreds of thousands of young people that have been inspired by the virtuosity of a singer, joyful movement of a dancer, magic of a puppet, or the power of a drum. We often wonder here at Prologue about all those children, most of whom are adults now, and how that moment in their school gymnasium may have influenced their lives. This impact is hard to measure but we believe that the lasting inspiration is unlimited.
We have grown and developed into a dynamic and progressive charitable arts education organization, recognized for excellence in representing a diverse selection of professional artists and companies in schools and community venues across Ontario. We are constantly striving to find more ways to provide young people with access to the performing arts.
When you support Prologue, you are supporting what we believe is a fundamental part of a young person’s life.
Accessible Performing Arts for Everyone!
Prologue believes that the performing arts play a vital role in the development of healthy, creative and responsible members of a diverse society, and because of that, we continue to grow and support a program that is nearest and dearest to our hearts – The Possibility Program.
The program began in 2006, and is inspired by the founding vision of Prologue; that every young person should have equal access to performing arts opportunities that inspire, spark imagination and build self-confidence. The Possibility Program subsidizes a Prologue performance or workshop in schools that are identified as underserved, addressing issues of equity due to limited school arts budgets and other socio-economic factors.
We feel a deep connection to the work we do as administrators here at Prologue through the ongoing development of this program; ensuring that all young people get to experience the magic of the performing arts; advocating for the arts as a fundamental part of any young person’s education.
The program underwent a revitalization period through fundraising strategies in 2017 in order to further grow the program in the GTA and beyond. This year we will see one of our more impactful school years in a while with over 30 schools and over 9,000 students impacted by the program.
It is by far one of Prologue’s most meaningful and successful programs running to date and we couldn’t do it without the ongoing support from our donors, funders, partners and family foundations. Each year we hear of the impact these experiences have on the growing minds of our young audiences, and this is just one of the many ways in which we are giving back to our community.
Building Future Arts Leaders!
With equal access being top of mind for Prologue, in 2019 we undertook a new strategy to develop experiential learning opportunities for our school communities by creating a leadership mentorship program through the performing arts.
The Leadership through the Arts Program was conceived in 2019 with the goal of inspiring future arts leaders. Despite the widely recognized importance of arts education and extra-curricular arts activities, arts programs in schools often seem to be the first to go when budgets are strained – making equitable access to programs and resources a challenge for schools.
At Prologue, we recognize the importance of developing strong leadership skills among youth and we understand the positive impact the arts can play in developing our future leaders, creative thinkers and problem-solvers. So, we wanted to create a program to supports these hard skills at the school level, and to better address extra-curricular setbacks within the arts.
In its first iteration, Prologue Performing Arts partnered with the School of Toronto Dance Theatre to work within the Algoma District School Board.
The program supported 2 classes at the high school level, and 2 classes at the elementary school level, with 80 students participating in workshops designed to develop leadership skills. With the support of their teacher and a LAP artist from the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, the high school students developed and facilitated dance workshops for elementary classes (grade 6).
Through workshops, project planning, and facilitation experience, students developed critical skills in arts management while also exercising transferable skills, such as communication, creativity, teamwork, and leadership. This experience and exchange allowed students to expand their skills, grow as arts leaders in their school community, and feel prepared to develop and execute their own arts based school project.
We are now in the development stages of expanding the Leadership through the Arts Program to include more opportunities for young people develop leadership skills through the arts.
We are thrilled to introduce the first new branch of LAP; The Prologue Club.
Inspired by a pre-existing program at Kimberley Junior Public School, and envisioned by Prologue Arts Champion Kate Cullen, The Prologue Club is a fully realized, student-led initiative that encourages students to develop and utilize leadership skills through the selection and planning process of bringing performances and workshops to their schools.
Through participating in a Prologue Club, students will connect with their peers, and gain skills in arts management such as budgeting, public speaking, programming, and project planning, resulting in improved leadership skills through the arts, and the enrichment of their school community with performing arts experiences.
We can’t think of a better way to connect students to the performing arts than by having them be the leaders in choosing their own in-school opportunities, and we are incredibly excited to realize the potential of this new initiative!
Supporting our Artists and Reaching New Audiences!
Another area of growth and development stemmed from the need to continue our work outside of schools; to showcase the talent and work that our artists do in schools each year; to connect with our broader community.
Through a formal partnership with the City of Toronto’s Cultural Hotspot Series, Prologue was chosen to activate Eglinton Square in the Golden Mile neighborhood improvement area every Saturday morning in July and August, 2022. We named the series Summer Arts Break in the Square and showcased eight Prologue artist companies: Sultans of String, Tribal Vision Dance, Kune, Rukhsana Khan, Little Pear Garden Dance Company, Joaquin Nunez, Njacko Backo and Maestre Sergio Xocolate and Suzanne Roberts-Smith.
Summer Arts Break in the Square became a Saturday morning staple for community members around the Golden Mile, attracting over 500 people and recruiting approximately 20 volunteers. The engagement was well received and we were lucky to get positive feedback from community members who attended more than one engagement with family and friends.
Prologue continued the momentum and success of the first installment of Summer Arts Break and partnered with Evergreen Brickworks for the second installment; with recurring performing arts experiences in the summer of 2023. We activated Evergreen’s Community Spotlight Series every other Saturday from June-September during peak farmer’s market hours at the Tiffany Commons and the Children’s Garden.
Summer Arts Break at Brick Works saw a consistent attendance of over 500+ community members, families and regular market-goers enjoying the space and performances.
The goal of Summer Arts Break is to develop recurring summer engagements across the GTA and Ontario more broadly that help animate beloved spaces that bring communities and families together and make an impact through transformative performing arts experiences. Summer Arts Break also aims to celebrate the different cultures in our community, encourage intergenerational arts engagement, and allow the opportunity for people to connect and participate in the power of the arts.
Summer Arts Break will continue for years to come, through the generous support of our donor community and summer partners. We hope to animate new spaces and foster long term friendships with other like-minded partners.
Why Your Support Matters!
As a not-for-profit charitable organization, we receive some operational funding from the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council, and while these funds help us out immensely, it is not enough to support the ongoing sustainability of the programs listed above.
We need the support of donors, friends, community members and teachers, who value the ongoing development of performing arts programs in their communities and schools, to help support the longevity of these impactful programs; securing access to performing arts experiences for years to come.
Monthly donations can seem cumbersome, but even a modest donation each month can impact students’ accessibility to the arts throughout the entire province all year long!
- $5 monthly donation – $60 annually/ 100 donors = $6,000
(supports 12 Possibility Program engagements)
- $10 monthly donation – $120 annually/ 100 donors = $12,000
(subsidize 24 Prologue Club leadership opportunities in schools)
- $25 monthly donation – $300 annually/ 100 donors = $30,000
(contributes to an entire season of Summer Arts Break performances)
There is power in numbers, and when you support Prologue, you support what we believe should be a fundamental part of any young person’s education – the performing arts!