Mentor in Residence

Meet the artists and arts workers offering free mentorship in 2021!


*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

*no longer accepting mentees

Alize Zorlutuna (she/her) is a queer interdisciplinary artist, writer and educator whose work explores relationships to land, culture and the more-than-human, while thinking through settler-colonialism, history, and solidarity. Having moved between Tkarón:to and Anatolia (present-day Turkey) both physically and culturally throughout her life has informed her practice—making her attentive to spaces of encounter.

She enlists poetics and a sensitivity to materials in works that span video, installation, printed matter, performance and sculpture.The body and its sensorial capacities are central to her work. Alize has presented her work in galleries and artist-run centres across Turtle Island, including: PlugIn ICA, Doris McCarthy Gallery, InterAccess, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Art Gallery of Burlington, XPACE, Audain Art Museum, Access Gallery, and internationally at The New School: Parsons (NY), Mind Art core (Chicago) and Club Cultural Matienzo (Argentina). Alize is currently based in Tkarón:to where she has been a sessional instructor at OCAD University since 2015.

Connect with Alize if you want support with :

  • Textile Art Projects
  • Online Presence
  • Grant Writing
  • Project Design
  • Strategic Planning
  • Communication Skills Improvement

*no longer accepting mentees

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 of mixed ancestry and brings many bloodlines and heritages together in a holistic way to teach and support all beings. Aqua is particularily passionate about working with Indigenous and Queer folk, as well as all marginilazed 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 honour and rewarding role to play as she shares her life experience in a very truthful and powerful way. Aqus 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! Priority will be given first to Indigenous folks, then anyone who identifies as part of the Queer community or IBPOC folks.

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. 

*not taking new mentees until September 2021

Derek Spooner (he/him) joined the team at Scarborough Arts in 2018 and has since had the privilege of working alongside talented colleagues, community members, collectives and artists in delivering several community arts projects and installations across Scarborough and the GTA. Derek has over 17 years of experience in the non-profit, post-secondary and corporate sectors with a focus on management, fund development, operational design, research, data analysis, communications, marketing, arts and cultural programming and advocacy, and team building. Derek has built profitable fundraising teams and his portfolio includes over $10M in fulfilled gifts between 2011 – 2021 for Scarborough Arts, the Toronto International Film Festival, Save The Children Canada, We Charity, The New England Aquarium, The Boston Museum of Science, The Chicago Memorial Children’s Hospital, The Canadian Music Therapy Fund, and Mirvish Theatre Productions. A trained actor, Derek studied theatre and film at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and the New School University in New York City. He loves to paint, draw, sing, play music, act, and write.

Connect with Derek if you're an arts administrator looking for support with:

  • Non-profit and Arts Management
  • Fund Development
  • Operations, Budgeting, Board Governance
  • Research and Data Analysis
  • Communications and Marketing
  • Advocacy and Strategic Planning

*no longer accepting mentees

Emily Gillespie (they/them) is an author, disability activist and professional daydreamer. Their work explores themes of memory, identity and mental health journeys. Emily enjoys working in community spaces and examining individual and collective experiences. Their view storytelling as a tool for resisting predominant social narratives. Emily has a BA in English, and an MA in Critical Disability Studies from York University. Dancing with Ghosts (Leaping Lion Books, 2017) is her first novel. In 2018, they won a contest for their short-story “D is for Despair,” sponsored by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization. Emily's poetry was featured in the Inkwell Anthology, I Am a Lake. “No Room at the Inn,” a short-story adapted from her second novel is part of the Nothing without Us, anthology by Renaissance Press fall 2019. Their writing also appears in Open Minds Quarterly and Monstering Magazine. They are part of the travelling multi-year performance art piece Intangible Adorations, The Icon Experience. Emily is currently drafting their second grant funded novel, teaching creative writing, and experimenting with zines.

Connect with Emily if you're writer looking for support with:

  • Grant Writing, Creative Writing, and/or Communication Skills Improvement 
  • Learning more about Accessible Program Design and/or Strategic Planning
  • Tips for Art Facilitation, including Designing Accessible Classrooms 

Jaene Castrillon (they/them) is a multi-disciplinary artist who explores their relationship to the world through Indigenous teachings of Elder Isaac Day of Serpent River First Nations and the wisdom of the land. Jaene identifies as mixed race (Colombian/Hong Kong Chinese), Trans, queer person of color living with disabilities (physical, cognitive & psychiatric). Jaene believes in sharing the brilliance and heart-break of living a life less ordinary. Story-telling through art I express what is an internal journey of exploring the spiritual, social, political and cultural issues concerning social justice, advocacy, poverty, marginalization and equality. 

Jaene examines the relationships they have to these different structures organically and present it to the audience through an experiential journey. Jaene surrender themself to a vulnerable and visceral process while presenting it publicly to challenge preconceived notions. They aim to lay bare before the audience the complex relationship they have with themself and the world around them as someone who is 2Spirit/Trans/queer, disabled, and a mixed race person of color with Indigenous heritage living in a place that is neither their Father’s or Mother’s ancestral lands.

As a person who has survived a long, painful history of abuse and trauma, Jaene feels being an artist is a radical and revolutionary act. Through their art, Jaene gives voice to those living with mental illness, from psychiatric survivors to sex workers. Jaene feels people like us are relegated to living in the margins of society in silence enveloped by misconceived notions of wellness and illness. By creating and performing art, they are adding to the current dialogue on these topics while shedding light on our experiences of living on the fringes. The lack of lived voices feeds into the continuing oppression and impression of us as “less fortunate”. For Jaene to present works of art that are raw and real, challenges the audience to see these issues in a different light and encourages them to overcome their own limitations, bias and misconceptions while experiencing an accessible and cathartic experience. Their goal is to shift the paradigm from “marginalization” to acceptance and understanding that people like me are part of the fabric of humanity and history of the lands.

Connect with Jaene for support with:

  • Filmmaking (fiction and documentary)
  • Grant writing
  • Accessibility

*no longer accepting mentees

Jeanette Kong (she/her) is a Jamaican-born, Chinese-Canadian documentary filmmaker based in Toronto. Currently, she is in post-production on 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.

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 Ryerson 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

*no longer accepting mentees

Jenn Paul (she/her) is a highly creative and versatile Producer with experience in film, television, and agency environments. With a specialty in Film Production, Jenn's career spans development, production, post-production, marketing, distribution and exhibition.

She started her career producing a number of internationally screened short films before working as a Film Marketing and Distribution Manager, travelling across the country with Canadian films and running market test screenings for films such as MAUDIE. She also worked as the Digital Media Supervisor on CBC’s KIM’S CONVENIENCE, before working as a Unit Manager at Bell Media for CTV’s YOUR MORNING, SIDES* on MUCH, and various Branded Content projects with large brands. During her time at Bell Media she also co-founded their first and largest Diversity & Inclusion employee resource group, representing 5000+ employees in all Bell Media offices across Canada. In 2018, she produced the first Canadian-Caribbean Afrofuturist feature film, BROWN GIRL BEGINS, which has screened at 20+ cities internationally and was nominated for two CSA’s including Best Adapted Screenplay. Jenn is a passionate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion advocate, most recently being appointed as ACTRA Toronto’s Industry Relations Specialist for Anti-Black Racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Connect with Jenn if you:

  • Have questions about film school
  • Are considering a career in film, television, marketing, or communications
  • Are Producing your first film and don’t know where to begin
  • Require feedback on scripts or in-progress cuts of your recent film project
  • Are a Board member or employer and want support with implementing Anti-Black Racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advocacy in your workplace

*no longer accepting mentees

Jonathan Bunce (he/him) a.k.a. Jonny Dovercourt) is a writer, musician, and concert presenter based in Toronto, who has been active in the city’s local independent music community since the 1990s. He is a co-founder and the Artistic Director of the groundbreaking Wavelength Music Arts Projects, a 20+ year non-profit Canadian indie music institution, and has also worked for arts organizations including the Images Festival and The Music Gallery. His first book, Any Night of the Week: A D.I.Y. History of Toronto Music 1957-2001, was published in 2020 by Coach House Books, with an accompanying podcast commissioned by the Toronto International Festival of Authors.

His writing has also appeared in Exclaim!, Eye Weekly, Huffington Post, Musicworks, Now Magazine, and Spacing. He has performed with numerous indie bands, including The Hidden Cameras, Republic of Safety, Secret Agent, Several Futures, and A Tuesday Weld.

Connect with Jonathan if you are an arts writer, musician or arts worker looking for support with:

  • Grant Writing
  • Strategic planning
  • HR and Communication Skills Improvement
  • DIY Event Production
  • Concert Booking
  • Media/Publicity

Juan M Gonzalez-Calcaneo's (he/him) first passion was filmmaking; his appetite for storytelling is one that transcends forms and platforms. He believes in the power of a well-crafted story that can be told in multiple ways while resonating uniquely with each member of his audience. Juan has worked tirelessly assisting brands in finding their core identity while leading them into the growingly complex and often puzzling world of brand communications, helping them direct their message to desired, targeted audiences. He began his career working in some of the most recognized non-profit arts organizations in Canada. Juan’s dynamic career also includes a successful four-year run as a panelist on a hit MTV show, which allowed him to build strong relationships with journalists and other key media leaders and tastemakers in the country. Spearheading campaigns with brands such as Bandit Brewery and Buffer Festival, has established Juan as a creative force and a unique voice in the industry. When not working behind his computer or at a client meeting, you’ll find Juan exploring the city’s best breweries, watching a classic film, or meticulously planning culinary escapades. 

    Connect with Juan for support with: 

  • Media Relations and Pitches
  • Communications and Messaging Skills

*no longer accepting mentees

Julian Carvajal (he/him) is a multifaceted, colourful and vibrant queer Latinx Canadian Arts Manager/Producer with over 19 years of experience managing and delivering arts festivals and cultural events. He has worked across the city leading large high-level events, coordinating personnel, producing shows, developing marketing concepts and has significant experience budgeting, managing staff, and building a strong community and media relations across cultural boundaries.

He has worked for 5 years at Art Starts as a Special Projects Manager, while also producing the largest PanAmerican Food and Music Festival and mentoring people through the Neighbourhood Arts Network & other organizations. Julian is currently working at North York Arts as the coordinator of their Seniors Animation Program & Second Act Program, which focuses on youth and seniors who are learning English. He is also facilitating digital storytelling program he has curated exclusively for seniors experiencing isolation due to Covid19 for Latin American Community. 

    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

Katia Café-Fébrissy (she/her) is a bilingual award-winning Writer, Director and Playwright, who tells stories on screen and on stage. Her directorial credits range from cinema verite, experimental docs and docu-drama to VR projects, corporate and institutional films to music video, episodic web series and plays. Katia is a member of the Directors Guild of Canada, the Canadian Media Guild, the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the French Language Writers' Guild of Canada (SARTEC).

She’s also an alumna of Women in the Director's Chair (WIDC) and Director's Lab North, and has recently joined the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the DGC. Katia holds an M.A. in Literature and Languages from the Université of Paris VIII, France as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Documentary Filmmaking from the Varan Doc Film Centre, France.

Connect with Katia if you are:

  • Film or theatre artist and/or want support Directing Digital Mediums
  • Grant Writing
  • Project Design

Konrad Skorupa (he/him) is a Cultural Development Officer in the Economic Development and Culture Department at the City of Toronto. His primary role is to develop and implement cultural programs and projects that foster and enhance the growth of Toronto as a creative city. Currently, he works on the City of Toronto's cultural grants portfolio (operating, capital, project and Indigenous), develops cultural policy, and oversees the City of Toronto Cultural Community Space Tenancies. He is a graduate of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education with a Master's in Education and Community Development and the Graduate Professional Certificate in Cultural Sector Leadership from the University of Victoria, B.C. Konrad is committed to elevating the creative and cultural identity of the city. 


Connect with Konrad if you're an artist, artist collective, or arts worker wanting support with:

*no longer accepting mentees

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 

*no longer accepting mentees

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

Parul Pandya (she/her) has been skillfully working in non-profit in various roles through the past decade, including as a community builder, consultant, programmer and producer. After managing in community granting for the largest government funder in Canada, she seamlessly transferred her knowledge, passion and skills to open her own consulting practice. Community Impact Consulting strategically enables community engagement and equitable innovation. She has had the honour to work with such clients as StreetART Toronto, North York Arts, WorkinCulture and many other local service organizations. Parul is a highly in- demand teacher and facilitator, delivering over 30 trainings around anti- oppression, equity and community-engaged arts education. Her attraction to advocacy emerged with her work as a Queer South Asian freelance writer/poet, over a decade ago. She strongly believes representation matters and it’s important to share stories. She has a deep passion for ethics and social justice, which she teaches at Centennial College. She feels fulfilled when using community arts as a tool for community engagement and colourful expression. Her approach to exchange is a high-engagement approach, encouraging participation through self-reflection, empathy, creativity and common understanding. She is also lending her expertise to a variety of Canada-wide initiatives to foster better understanding towards social justice when working with racialized communities. You can check out her work here.

Connect with Parul if you're an artist or arts worker wanting support with:

  • Grant Writing
  • Project design
  • Communication Skills Improvement
  • Professional Network Expansion
  • Community Arts
  • Cultural Competency for Non-Profit Boards and Staff

Sean Lee (he/him) is an artist and curator exploring the notion of disability art and accessibility as the last avant-garde. His methodology reframes embodied difference as a means to resist traditional aesthetic idealities. Orienting towards a “crip horizon”, Sean gestures towards the transformative possibilities of a world that desires the way disability can disrupt. Sean holds a B.A. in Arts Management and Studio from the University of Toronto, Scarborough and is currently the Director of Programming at Tangled Art + Disability. Previous to this role, he was Tangled’s inaugural Curator in Residence (2016) as well as Tangled’s Gallery Manager (2017). Sean was involved with the launch of Tangled Art Gallery, and has been integral to countless exhibitions and public engagements throughout his tenure at Tangled Art + Disability. In addition to his position at Tangled, Sean is an independent curator, lecturer, and advisor, adding his insights and perspectives to conversations surrounding Disability Arts across Canada and the United States. Sean currently sits on the board of CARFAC Ontario, Creative Users Projects and is a member of the Ontario Art Council’s Deaf and Disability Advisory Committee and Toronto Art Council's Visual and Media Arts Committee. Sean is the current Director of Programming at Tangled Art + Disability.

Connect with Sean if you're a Disabled artist, visual artist, curator or arts worker looking for support with :

  • Disability Arts and Culture
  • Accessible Curation
  • Crip Aesthetics

Syrus Marcus Ware (he/him) is an Assistant Professor in SOTA at McMaster University. He is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture, and he’s shown widely in galleries and festivals across Canada.

He is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto, a part of the Performance Disability Art Collective, and an ABD PhD candidate at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. His on-going curatorial work includes That’s So Gay (Gladstone Hotel, 2016-2019) and BlacknessYes!/Blockorama.



Connect with Syrus if you're a visual artist, performance artist and/or activist looking for support with:

  • Studio Practice
  • Grantsmanship
  • Intersectionality Work and DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
  • Arts Networking

*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

Not sure who is the best fit for you or how many sessions you'd like to book? Fill out the registration form and we will make a suggestion.