Mentorship Opportunities

SAVAC keeps an open door policy for mentorship. SAVAC staff are equipped to provide guidance, develop goals and share skills, knowledge and expertise with the artists of colour working in a visual and media arts including: photography, video production, sculpture, painting, animation, digital media, performance amongst others. We attempt to meet our communities’ needs by connecting artists with individuals or institutions that will benefit them. SAVAC staff are more than happy to talk through any barriers that artists of colour are facing.

Learn more about individualized mentorship for artists; portfolio review; curatorial opportunities; meet and greet events; and skill building workshops by browsing through the tabs on the right. Feel free to get in touch with our Communication Coordinator Sophie Sabet if you have any questions by emailing


Individualized Mentorship

SAVAC keeps an open door policy for mentorship. SAVAC staff are equipped to provide guidance, develop goals and share skills, knowledge and expertise with artists of colour working in a variety of visual and media arts. If you are an artist with a project in progress or development and would benefit from artistic mentorship, please get in touch with our Artistic Director at to arrange for a meetup. Read through SAVAC’s Artistic Vision to familiarize yourself with our artistic interests and frameworks at this time.

We support  our communities’ needs by connecting artists with individuals or institutions that will benefit them. We are happy to connect and introduce you to curators, arts administrators and other artists within our network. SAVAC staff are more than happy to talk through any barriers that artists of colour are facing. We are also committed to supporting other practitioners of colour working in the arts. Please get in touch with our Communications Coordinator at to start the conversation.

Portfolio Review

Portfolio review is a great opportunity to meet other artists from the SAVAC community in an informal, relaxed, and supportive environment. Every year, selected artists have the opportunity to present their work during the portfolio review session to mid-career artists and curators. The facilitators engage with the artists, ask questions and give specific feedback on the work presented. Geared to emerging and established artists alike, this program aims to catalyze an open discussion on areas of interest to individual artists, including feedback on past/future projects, suggestions for how to connect with audiences, recommendations for trajectories to explore and advice on to how to install the work in various contexts.

“In the Fall of 2019 I attended several events at SAVAC with visiting artist Michael Rakowitz, including a screening, a community dinner, and an individual studio visit. As an emerging artist in Canada, the chance to share my practice and receive critical feedback from mentors who are willing to offer their insights and support is significant to my artistic development. Toleen Touq and Michael Rakowitz were intuitive, responsive, and encouraging.

 SAVAC staff were warm, welcoming, and generous with their time and hospitality. They invited me to attend dinners and receptions where I had critical and heartfelt conversations with artists and community members. In a short amount of time, I created lasting relationships with the SAVAC team and their extended community. I feel a sense of ease in reaching out and connecting with them, and I am confident that I can always have their support and advice as I continue to grow my artistic practice nationally and internationally.”    

–  asmaa al-issa

“My time spent learning from the staff and other members at SAVAC was instrumental to the development of my artistic practice. As an artist from the Pakistani diaspora who received only a western education in Art History, it was very difficult for me to find relevant examples of contemporary artists working in the same themes that I was engaging with. SAVAC was able to provide me with resources that were not available to me though my BFA. With their programming, archives, portfolio reviews, and general support, I was able to discover other artists also engaging in themes related to diaspora, migration, gender, labour and much more, that directly informs the artwork I am making now.”

–  Zinnia Naqvi


Curatorial Opportunities

Throughout the year, SAVAC provides emerging curators various opportunities to work with established curators to hone their skills. In 2016, our members show, Terraforming, at Trinity Square Video provided emerging curator Maria Coates a mentorship opportunity guided by the artistic directors of SAVAC and TSV. Starting in 2019, we have been mentoring Maria Coates on her next project ADA-DADA that examines the intersections of data collection and racial capitalism. The project has received funding through TAC’s Open Doors grant and will take place over the course of 2020-2021. 

In 2015, SAVAC and the Robert Mclaughlin Gallery supported curator Ambereen Siddiqui’s successful application for the OAC’s Culturally Diverse Curator’s grant. This resulted into the Beyond Measure exhibition presented at Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa) which went on to win the Ontario Association of Art Galleries award for Short Curatorial text under 2000 words.

In 2019, SAVAC mentored Montreal-based curator Prachi Khandehar through her successful application for the same grant. The resulting show Flight Mode looked at artists’ relationships to solitude, and was installed in shipping containers at the waterfront. 

If you are an emerging curator and would like to collaborate with or receive mentoring support from SAVAC, please get in touch with our Artistic Director at with your proposal.

Meet and Greet Events

Every year, SAVAC hosts an open house to meet art students/recent graduates, newcomers to Toronto and old friends. You will get the chance to meet SAVAC staff, board and community members, learn about the artist-run centres ecology and get oriented at The Commons at 401 Richmond. Every year, we give away a few select items (artist books, posters, etc.) from our archives –so make sure to stop by.

If you are an arts college and/or university administrator and would like to organize a visit to SAVAC for your students, please get in touch with our Communications Coordinator at

Skill Building Workshops

Every year, SAVAC organizes a series of introductory workshops geared towards building foundational skill-sets for artists to help them navigate working in the Canadian art world. The workshops include: grant writing, financial management, and conflict resolution. 


Suite 450
401 Richmond St. W.
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8

1 (416) 542-1661

Office Closed
Monday – Thursday
by appointment only


Stay up to date about upcoming submission deadlines, workshops,
exhibitions, and events at SAVAC.