Toyin Oladele at an Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation event
Toyin Oladele | Photo: Motif Photography

Toyin Oladele

Founder and director of the Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation shares her story

Cherie McMaster

Filling an important gap for new Canadians like herself, Toyin Oladele stepped up and created the Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation (ICAI) after getting wrapped up in a scam.

“I’m a performing artist,” she says. “So, I act, I sing, and I dance. The stage is basically where I live. And also, most importantly, I’m an arts administrator.”

But, after arriving in Calgary from Nigeria a couple of years ago, she found that getting accurate information on the local sector was very difficult.

Because of this, Oladele started to reach out, make connections, and build the foundation for a new kind of place for newcomer and immigrant artists—the ICAI.

Providing resources, mentorship, and opportunities, ICAI offers a friendly space in Calgary where all immigrant artists can feel free to create, connect, and display their works in an environment that fosters support and inclusion. It also encourages a local community of artists to develop, perfect, and market their arts while exposing these distinct cultural identities to the people of Calgary.

“I know that if the people are diverse, the arts can also be diverse.”

Tune in to learn more about Oladele’s journey, how ICAI was born, and what’s next for the organization.


About The Storytelling Podcast

Sharing diverse stories of creativity in our city, The Storytelling Podcast shines a spotlight on artists and projects that connect Calgarians to the arts.

Part of The Storytelling Project, this series raises awareness about Calgarians who, by living creative lives, are making Calgary a better city, effecting positive change and enriching others’ lives.

Have a story to share? Email us at news@calgaryartsdevelopment.com.

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