Mentor in Residence

Meet the artists and arts workers offering free mentorship in 2022! Intake for Spring/Summer mentors is now OPEN!

Spring/Summer Mentors

Offering support March-July 2022. 

*No longer accepting mentees.

Alexia Bréard-Anderson (she/her) is a writer + arts administrator of Argentinean descent, born as a settler to Tkaronto. She is dedicated to forging space for emerging creatives through intuitive + collaborative arts programming based in care and equity.

Alexia has a web of experience overseeing group and solo exhibitions, talks, workshops, events, screenings, publications and mentorship programs.Alongside a BFA in Art Criticism & Curatorial Practices from OCAD University, she recognizes the abundance of ancestral, community and earth-based knowledge that informs her everyday learning and unlearning; and is currently the Director of Xpace Cultural Centre.  Alexia is offering consultations in English and Spanish.

Connect with Alexia for support with:

  • Curation
  • Equitable Arts Programming
  • Editing or Proofreading for Grants
  • Arts Administration and Networking
  • Writing Artist CV’s, Artist Statements and Artist Biographies

Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone (she/they) is a free spirit and allows each individual to be the guide for their own discovery and journey on mother earth. She is mixed ancestry and brings many bloodlines and heritages together in a holistic way to teach and support all beings. Aqua is particularly passionate about working with Indigenous, BIPOC, Queer, and those living with different abled bodies, as well as all marginalized communities and people who don't always feel welcomed or accepted in many of society's circles. She has a philosophy that music is the universal language of love, however she is coming to realize that all artistic expression is varying forms of love. Aqua has many years of experience mentoring people inside and outside of the artist community. This is a honor and rewarding role to play as she shares her life experience in a very truthful and powerful way. Aqua focuses on empowerment before refining skills. She understands that self-belief, worth, and radical self-love is where it all starts. She is excited to create magic with you! 

Check out her website to see more of the diverse work she does and services she offers to our community:

Connect with Aqua to get support with:
  • Art & Activism
  • Indigenizing and decolonizing art and artist practices
  • Empowering artists (working on self-belief and value), and Balancing mental health, artistic practice and expression, with culture, family, and spirituality. 

Jeanette Kong (she/her) is a Jamaican-born, Chinese-Canadian documentary filmmaker based in Toronto. Recently, she completed 'A Brief Record of My Father’s Time at Sea', a feature documentary about her dad’s intimate account of his immigrant journey from China to Jamaica in 1949 — and then Canada — as told by the filmmaker herself. The film premiered at the 2021 ReelWorld Film Festival. In 2012, she directed and produced the documentary Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China about an African-American family’s search for their Chinese grandfather. In 2015, ReelWorld Film Festival selected the documentary (the first to be chosen in the festival’s history) for its Opening Night Gala Film. It won the ReelChoice Audience Awards for ReelWorld’s Toronto and Markham Festivals. The film was broadcast on PBS, The Africa Channel and Flow Network in the Caribbean. It was also shortlisted for Best Diaspora Documentary at the 2014 Africa Movie Academy Awards. Her two short documentaries — The Chiney Shop and Half: The Story of a Chinese-Jamaican Son — screened at many international film festivals and museums including Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, Regent Park Film Festival, Art Gallery of Mississauga and Penn Museum. In July 2014, the documentaries were chosen to commemorate the 160th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Chinese to Jamaica at the Institute of Jamaica.

She has more than 20 years of media experience in Canadian public television as a producer and director at TVO and as an independent artist. She earned her Master of Arts in Media Production from X University in 2010 and holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University. Previously, she taught in the School of Design at Beijing Normal University in Zhuhai, China and in the Media Foundation Program at Humber College.

Connect with Jeanette if you're a filmmaker or film industry worker looking for support with:

  • Marketing, including Navigating Film Festival submissions
  • Ideating, Visual Storytelling and Creation Processes

Julian Carvajal (he/him) is a Toronto-based award-winner creator & producer of experiences. This Queer Latinx Colombian Canadian Arts Manager/Producer has over 21 years of experience managing, curating and delivering arts festivals and cultural events. He is the Event Producer of the largest PanAmerican Food and Music Festival in Canada, Mentor in Residence at the Neighbourhood Arts Network while working at North York Arts,  StreetARToronto and producing "In My Element(s) Symposia" for ArtWorkxTO.

Julián has collaborated with organizations and artists from 5 continents in multiple artistic projects. He has mentored over 400 self-identified artists for the past 10 years. He is passionate about building meaningful relationships; helping others to navigate the art sector in the city while collaborating with others to co-create an anti-oppressive and more diverse and inclusive vision of the art sector in Tkaronto.

Connect with Julian if you're an artist or arts worker needing support with:

  • Project design and event production
  • Technology
  • Strategic planning
  • Volunteer management
  • Communication skills improvement
  • Professional Network Expansion
  • Evaluation and reporting

Kayla Besse (she/her) is a cultural producer, writer, and digital accessibility expert working at the intersections of disability justice, communications, and arts administration. Kayla currently lives in Guelph, Ontario, and works as the Public Education Coordinator at Tangled Art + Disability. She co-produces and co-hosts Crip Times, a podcast interviewing artists, academics, and activists navigating their practices amidst COVID. She is also an Access Activator—a person trained with the British Council Canada to deliver Relaxed Performance facilitation. She completed her Master of Arts in the School of English & Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph, where she was studying representations of disability in literature and film.

Connect with Kayla if you want support with:

  • Accessible communications practices
  • Accessible podcast production Integrating principles of Relaxed Performance in your work
  • Using social media for social justice education

Image description: A photo of Kayla sitting outside at a restaurant table, with a brick wall to the left and lush green plants in the background. She is wearing glasses (as always) and a terracotta-coloured dress, looking at the camera and smiling.

Mona Afshari (she/her) has worked as a marketer, art administrator, and art educator in Ontario, Québec, the Northwest Territories, and Washington D.C., developing and implementing strategic plans as well as programs for diverse audiences over the past 15 years. She has a Bachelor’s in Visual Arts and Art History from Western University, a Master’s in Art Education from Concordia University, and a Graduate Diploma in Management from McGill University. Mona is passionate about bridging the gap between the arts and business through her marketing efforts. As the Marketing & Communications Manager at WorkInCulture she supports the professional lives of artists, creatives, and cultural workers. 

Areas of interest and experience include:

  • Develop and execute marketing plans
  • Content creation
  • Rebranding
  • Data analysis
  • Digital marketing
  • Sales
  • Business/strategic planning
  • Entrepreneurship 

PUFF Paddy (they/them) is a Queer, Asian-Canadian Artist and Arts Educator. Their work focuses mainly on project design for commercial and community events, and installations for public spaces. Their work explores the balance between the ephemeral nature of experience and the joyful permanence of memory. Paddy is passionate about bringing the arts to their community and creating community through the arts. In recent years, Paddy’s practice has focused largely on community-engagement and providing inclusive programming. Working with STEPS Public Art, VIBE Arts, AGO Youth: Free After Three, Xpace Cultural Centre and Design Exchange, among others. Paddy is helping to transform the landscape of Toronto’s community arts scene.

Connect with Paddy if you're a community engaged artist wanting support with:

  • Project Design for Public Spaces, Installation, Commercial, Community and Public art
  • Program Development
  • Project Management
  • Studio Projects
  • Entrepreneur Skills

*no longer accepting mentees

 Veronica Johnny (she/they) is a two-spirit, multi-disciplinary, Cree/Métis Indigenous artist. Veronica is a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation; and presently lives in Northern Ontario. From humble musical beginnings, Ms. Johnny has emerged as a dynamic force in the Canadian music & arts industry, working as a performer, producer, manager, promoter, writer, arts educator, workshop facilitator, speaker, entrepreneur, youth mentor, cultural knowledge keeper, and Cree language advocate. She is a singer/songwriter, contemporary Indigenous hand-drummer and also the frontwoman, vocalist, co-producer and manager of The Johnnys. Known for their high-energy performances, The Johnnys are an Indigenous-fronted, rock’n’roll band based in Ontario featuring all original music. Veronica has become a seasoned performer as both a solo artist and a member of groups, amassed studio experience on either side of the mixing console, manages several artists & facilitates various workshops for hundreds of people, each year.

Connect with veronica if you are an Indigenous, Black, and/or a Person of Colour artist or arts educator looking for support with:

  • Self Care
  • Arts Education


Registration for Fall/Winter mentors will open in July 2022. To stay informed, follow us on Instagram or subscribe to our newsletter.