AROBA: A Room Of Black Artists Black Mental Health Online Symposium and Action Event


Registration Now Open for AROBA: A Room Of Black Artists Black Mental Health Symposium and Action Event, presented in Association with Workman Arts

WHEN: March 1, 2021, Black Mental Health Day, 11 AM – 7 PM
WHERE: Online via Zoom
Pay What You Can

Black Artists have and continue to play an essential role as leaders in building communities and producing hallmarks of cultural expressions and yet continue to face a plethora of blatant to insidious forms of anti-Black racism and mental health discrimination.

AROBA: A Room Of Black Artists, in association with Workman Arts, brings to you a Black Mental Health Symposium and Action Event. It is the first of an annual symposium that promotes Black mental wellness in the arts community. AROBA advocates wellness in Black communities by increasing awareness and reducing stigma around Black mental health issues. In this first symposium, AROBA will facilitate discussions around anxiety and depression experiences that Black Artists face as they navigate their lives and careers in the arts sector as a whole.

We invite Black Artists and Arts Workers, as well as the wider Black community, to join us on March 1. The symposium is divided into three sessions; you may attend all three or register only for the sessions that are of interest to you or fit with your schedule. Attendance at AROBA is Pay What You Can.

Register Now!


Through participatory artist activations and peer-based, trauma-informed discussions with Black artists, we will explore critical paths to healthier realities. The AROBA panels explore the experiences of Black artists’ creative and mental health journeys.

Opening & Closing Guided Meditations: Fimo Mitchell
Artist Activators: Kay-Ann Ward (Dance); Yvonne Francis (Drumming)

Panel Discussions

Re-claiming and Re-imagining Space: The Performers – Panel members share how they re-claim and re-imagine performances and physical spaces to make sense of their craft and enhance their mental wellness in hostile environments.
Panelists: Nicky Lawrence, Kevin Ormsby, Amanda Vil
Moderator: Lana Lovell

Telling Beyond the Trauma: The Storytellers – In this panel, you’ll learn the ways artists empower stories, make relevant connections with Black communities, and navigate past mental health issues that impact the creative process.
Panelists: Keosha Love, Victor Stiff
Moderator: Kais Padamshi

Affirming and Amplifying Visions: The Visual Artists – This panel discusses the pathways that affirm and amplify an artist’s vision and mental wellbeing.
Panelists: Gordon Shadrach, Apanaki Temitayo M
Moderator: Lana Lovell

To view the full symposium schedule and bios for presenters and panelists, please click here. We continue to update the website regularly; please check often for the most up-to-date news. To receive email updates about AROBA, please sign up for the mailing list.

To view or share this event on Facebook, please click here.

This symposium for Black Artists and Arts Workers is also open to the wider Black community. Non-Black Artists and members of the wider community are welcome to attend but are reminded to be mindful, respectful of the conversations, and the privilege of being able to witness the experiences openly shared by our participants.

ACCESSIBILITY: If you have any accessibility requests or questions, please contact Justina Zatzman at ASL interpretation is available by request; if you require ASL interpretation, please let Justina know by Monday, February 22, 2021.

QUESTIONS? If you have any questions about the AROBA symposium, please contact Kais Padamshi at

AROBA is produced by Lana Lovell in association with Workman Arts.

Lana Lovell is a writer, producer and director whose career has spanned three decades. Born in England, Lana is of Jamaican and Guyanese ancestry. She has made a career in factual and fictional storytelling dedicated to exploring the lives and times of Black folk across multiple media platforms and continents. Some of her more memorable experiences as a director, producer and writer include works: the CBC series The George Stroumboulopoulos Hour, the Omni television documentary Resilience, the Bravo musical documentary The Incomparable Jackie Richardson, the award-winning documentary Underground, and the Bravo documentary series Caribbean Tales. Lana owns and operates Gloria Grethel Inc., an independent production company based in Toronto, Canada. She is the creator and producer of the theatrical play Elbow Room, as well as, the writer and producer of the digital media theatre production of The Sophia Pooley Years.

Workman Arts is a multidisciplinary arts organization that promotes a greater understanding of mental health and addiction issues through creation and presentation. We support artists with lived experience through peer-to-peer arts education, public presentations and partnerships with the broader arts community.


Workman Arts
1025 Queen Street West, #2400
Toronto ON M6J 1H4

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