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Michaëlle Jean Foundation, the Art Gallery of Ontario and WorldPride 2014 Toronto Team Up For Pan-Canadian Youth Solidarity Initiative

Online submission for national youth art competition opens today at 

TORONTO, March 27, 2014The Michaëlle Jean Foundation, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and WorldPride 2014 Toronto are proud to announce that they are teaming up to launch a groundbreaking new initiative entitled the 4th Wall Youth Solidarity Project. Promoting safe, inclusive and healthy communities for Two-Spirited and LGBTTIQQ* youth, the project is actively supported by over 50 human rights, faith-based, arts, newcomer, Aboriginal and health organizations across Canada.  

Launching today, will be the portal to the project. It will inspire Canadians of all ages and backgrounds to voice the importance of establishing and safeguarding an open and inclusive society for all. The initiative will include:

  • A National Digital Arts Competition inviting youth, aged 14-30, to express themselves creatively on the theme “Solidarity with Canada’s Two-Spirited and LGBTTIQQ* Communities.” Six jury-selected finalists will each receive $1,000 and see their artwork displayed in a special WorldPride Toronto 2014 exhibition at the AGO! Artwork may be submitted online at The deadline for applications is April 25, 2014;
  • An online vote for Canadians of all ages to select the artwork that best reflects the contest theme. The winner will be flown to Toronto, awarded a $1,000 cash prize and see his or her artwork featured as a public outdoor mural. The online vote at opens on May 14, 2014;

  • A WorldPride 2014 Toronto Exhibition, which will feature the artwork of the six competition finalists. The exhibition will be on at the AGO from June 22 to Nov. 15, 2014;

  • A High Energy Youth Solidarity Forum, taking place on June 22, 2014, at the AGO in partnership with Jer’s Vision, to discuss strategies to create healthy, safe and inclusive communities through the arts in Canada.

For a full list of project collaborators, please visit:

* LGBTTIQQ is an abbreviation used to represent a broad array of identities such as, but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning.

About the 4th Wall Program
In theatre, the “fourth wall” is an imaginary screen that creates a virtual separation between actor and spectator. There are many ways to cross the fourth wall and to make the invisible visible. The Michaëlle Jean Foundation chose to do so through the 4th Wall: Make the Invisible Visible program, in collaboration with several prestigious Canadian museums and art galleries. The goal is to invite young creators to break down the invisible walls that create solitudes between individuals and communities across Canada, by opening the doors of our major cultural institutions to emerging creators from marginalized backgrounds. The Foundation offers museum and art gallery space and bursaries to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, often cut off from museums, so that they can produce original art that conveys their experiences, ideas and challenges. On display for the public to see, their work provokes debate and builds solutions. The first 4th Wall exhibition was launched on Feb. 5, 2014, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, to mark Black History Month in collaboration with FRO Foundation.

About the Michaëlle Jean Foundation
The Michaëlle Jean Foundation supports youth arts initiatives that transform young lives and revitalize underserved communities across Canada. Through our programs, underprivileged youth are using their creativity to build new solutions to pressing social issues, like poverty, social exclusion and mental health. In so doing, they are catalyzing innovative community renewal projects, driving crucial Aboriginal cultural resurgence initiatives, and kick-starting cutting-edge business ventures, all over the country. For more info:

About the Art Gallery of Ontario
With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

About WorldPride 2014 Toronto
WorldPride 2014 Toronto (WP14TO) is an international celebration taking place from June 20 – 29, 2014, that incorporates activism, education, and the history and culture of global LGBTTIQQ2SA communities. WorldPride 2014 Toronto is presented by Pride Toronto, producer of Canada’s largest annual festival of LGBTTIQQ2SA culture and human rights, under license from InterPride. Pride Toronto is the not-for-profit organization that hosts the city’s Pride Festival, an annual event in downtown Toronto during the last week of June and one of the premier arts and cultural festivals in Canada. It is also one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world with an estimated attendance of over one million people. It celebrates the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto's LGBTTIQQ2SA communities. See more at:

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For more information, please contact:

Peter Flegel
Director of Communications & Programs
Michaëlle Jean Foundation

Caitlin Coull
Communications Manager
Art Gallery of Ontario
416.979-6660 ext. 364

Trevor Hampden
ommunications Manager
World Pride 2014


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