Black Artists’ Network In Dialogue announces funding for gallery renovation

For more information, please contact:
Andrea Chin, Communications Director

Dami Akinbode, Architect

February 28, 2023

Toronto, ON - Black Artists’ Networks in Dialogue (BAND) formally announces financial support for capital improvements to the BAND Gallery and Cultural Centre in Parkdale. The design of the new gallery is being led by architect Dami Akinbode of Diamond Schmitt.

In 2017, BAND—a charitable organization in support of Black artists and cultural workers—moved to their permanent Parkdale home thanks to generous support from Scotiabank. Current improvements to the Victorian house that BAND occupies will maximize its footprint from the basement to the attic; adding new space, updating existing space, and enhancing outdoor space. All aspects will meet current museological standards, with enhanced security, lighting, safety for artwork, environmental controls, and accessibility, including making the historic building wheelchair accessible. The result will be a more functional gallery, with multipurpose community areas, and brand-new artists' studios and workshops.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the support of our funders, neighbours, community, staff, and board members, as well as our design team,” says Karen Carter, BAND co-founder. “We’re thrilled to be working with Diamond Schmitt and Dami Akinbode, who understand the requirements and vision for the space. These renovations will improve our ability to meet the needs of our community of emerging artists, curators, and cultural workers through expanded and improved offerings.”

“Diamond Schmitt’s design will provide BAND with a distinguished community landmark and broaden our contributions to community arts organizations in our city,” says Greg Colucci, Principal, Diamond Schmitt. “It also enables our firm to advance the careers of our young Black architects on a project that has particular resonance for them on a personal and community level.”

“As a Black architect, it’s a unique and refreshing opportunity to lead a project that means so much for the community I am part of,” says Dami Akinbode, Project Architect, Diamond Schmitt. “I’m able to develop the design alongside my Black colleagues at the firm, working with a client group that looks like me on a unique space for emerging Black artists in Toronto. Our design will allow BAND to expand its capacity both functionally and culturally, providing the Black arts community with a state-of-the-art gallery that feels very much like home.”

Support for this project comes from Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative, and Scotiabank.

More about the Black Artists' Networks in Dialogue here.