Press release: The Gathering

For immediate release
November 15, 2019

A Convening of Indigenous, Black / People of Colour With a Focus Of Women In The Arts Geared At Exploring Methods Towards Increased Inclusion

(Toronto, ON) Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario launches The Gathering (Fall 2019) as a platform for exploring frameworks for understanding the potential of working toward further inclusion of IBPOC women in the Arts sector. A powerful, positive and supportive convening of arts practitioners geared towards sharing strategies in the engagement of Indigenous, racialized, deaf, disabled and mad, women and other historically-marginalized artists and communities. This convening features showcase performances by South Asian dance artists Mushtari Afroz and Deepti Gupta.  Black poet Andrea Thompson and Asian writer, Vicki Zhang will offer literary writings and poetry, while an exhibition of visual artists from Asian to Indigenous backgrounds exhibit their work for a week at Bathurst 918, one of the Pluralism for Organization Change (CPAMOPOC) participating organizations. Emily Jung, Vero Diaz, Diane Montreiul and Florence Yee visual arts investigations come from a diverse set of practices rooted in their identity as women IBPOC artists.

Diverse in its offering, The Gathering will also feature two plenary sessions focussed on the topics of (i) Programming / Artistic Direction / Community Engagement and (ii) Strategic Planning / Organizational and Sectorial Change. Pulling together from across the Arts Sector a wide range of women in these roles, the plenaries will feature women leaders of colour like Alica Hall (Nia Centre for the Arts), Vivine Scarlett danceImmersion),  Marjorie Chan (Theatre Passe Muraille), Tanisha Taitt (Cahoots Theatre), Sadia Zaman (Inspirit Foundation), Karen Tisch (Koffler Gallery), Camille Georgeson-Usher (Aboriginal Curatorial Collective) and Zainub Verjee (Ontario Association of Art Galleries).

The Gathering also offers a space for networking with artists and organizations asking the same questions about IBPOC visibility, inclusion and their intersections with artistic/organizational practices. Aimed at providing professional development, building organizational and artistic capacity, this edition of the Gathering Fall 2019 will animate the many ways in which IBPOC women in positions of leadership speak to many perspectives in the arts and the changing demographics of audiences and participation within the cultural sector.

The Gathering Fall 2019 | IBPOC Women in the Arts, December 2 – 9, 2019

VISUAL ARTS EXHIBITION | December 2 – 9 |  918 Bathurst Centre (918 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5R 3G5)

FREE EXHIBITION RECEPTION | December 4 | 6pm – 8pm | 918 Bathurst Centre (918 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5R 3G5)

PLENARIES, SHOWCASE, READINGS | December 5 | 10am – 5pm | Transac Club (292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 2M7)

TICKETS: General Admission $20 | Students/Seniors/Under-employed $15


FOR MORE INFORMATION: | 416-899-9448

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CPAMO is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and English Testing Canada.

The Gathering – meet our panelists!

Banner for website updated

The Gathering
IBPOC Women and the Arts: Thinking and exploring the ways towards increased inclusion in the Arts Sector 

Opening Reception for Art Exhibition
December 4, 2019 | 6pm-8pm 
918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media and Education
918 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON M5R 3G5

Panels and Performances
December 5, 2019 | 9:30am-6pm 
Tranzac Club
292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y2

The Gathering Fall 2019 IBPOC Women and the Arts will explore frameworks for understanding the potential of working toward with the further inclusion of IBPOC women in the Arts sector. Held over a day, the convening will feature showcase performances, plenary sessions and networking with artists and organizations asking the same questions about IBPOC visibility, inclusion and their intersections with artistic/organizational practices. Aimed at providing professional development, building organizational and artistic capacity, we aspire to enliven the many ways in which IBPOC women in positions of leadership can speak to many perspectives in the arts, and how these intersect with and provide public impact.

The Gathering will begin with an art exhibition reception on December 4 from 6-8 pm at 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media and Education (918 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5R 3G5). Free admission to the exhibition (cash bar during the opening).

Panels and performances will take place on December 5 from 9:30 am – 6 pm at Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y2). Tickets: General Admission $20 | Students/Seniors/Under-employed $15 .

The panelists are:

  • Sadia Zaman, Inspirit Foundation
  • Camille Georgeson-Usher, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective
  • Alica Hall, Nia Centre for the Arts
  • Vivinne Scarlett, danceImmersion
  • Marjorie Chan, Theatre Passe Muraille
  • Zainub Verjee, Ontario Association of Art Galleries
  • Karen Tisch, Koffler Gallery
  • Tanisha Taitt, Cahoots Theatre

Panels moderated by Ilene Sova and Patty Jarvis.

RSVP online:

Please note: lunch is not provided on Dec. 5.


Sadia Zaman brings a wealth of arts, media, and not-for-profit experience to her role as CEO, Inspirit Foundation. Before joining Inspirit, Sadia was Managing Director, ROM Canada at the Royal Ontario Museum where she focused on digital content and Indigenous narratives. Before the ROM, Sadia commissioned documentary and current affairs projects from across the country as Director, Original Program Development, CBC News and Centres. She also led Women in Film and Television-Toronto (WIFT-T), a not-for-profit that supports the training and advancement of women in the screen-based industry.

Sadia began her career as a journalist, creating hundreds of hours of original, critically acclaimed current affairs and documentary content for Vision TV, CBC and TVO. She has won dozens of awards for her journalism, and has been honoured for her leadership. She sits on many juries and advisory committees and is often asked to speak about media, equity, and leadership issues.

Camille Georgeson-Usher is a Coast Salish / Sahtu Dene/ Scottish scholar, artist, writer, and Director of Programming for the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective from Galiano Island, BC which is the land of the Pune’laxutth’ (Penelakut) Nation. Usher completed her MA in Art History at Concordia University and is currently a PhD student in the Cultural Studies department at Queen’s University. She has been awarded the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Scholarship for her research-creation work around urban Indigenous experiences within Indigenous communities, groups, and arts collectives through both little and big gestures that activating public spaces. She was awarded the 2018 Canadian Art Writing Prize and most recently has had work exhibited in Soundings: an exhibition in five parts at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, ON.

Alica Hall strongly believes in the transformative potential of the arts to empower and strengthen communities. As the Executive Director of Nia Centre for the Arts, Alica is leading the development of Canada’s first professional multi-disciplinary arts facility dedicated to supporting and showcasing African-Canadian art. This $5-M capital project will transform 15,000 sq. ft. to create a 150-seat theatre, artist studios, a digital media lab, a recording studio, rehearsal, co-working space and gallery space. As a leader with deep roots in the community, she most recently served as the Co-chair of Pride Toronto, the largest LGBTQ+ festival in North America. Under her leadership, the festival grew from 10 days to a month, by increasing sponsorships and partnering with cultural institutions to bring queer artists into new venues. She attended York University and completed an Honours B.A. in International Development Studies.

Vivine Scarlett is an administrator, facilitator and choreographer, whose artistic goals and aspirations are rooted in the love of dance. She is Founder, Executive Director and Curator for dance Immersion, an organization that presents, produces and supports dancers and dances of the African Diaspora while providing a number of diverse programs that enhance careers for emerging and professional dance artists. For 25 years this organizations unique mandate and vision has provided Canadian and international dance artists with opportunities that have laid a foundation for continued growth and representation. Vivine’s contributions to the field of dance are generated from an energy that has fuelled her passion manifesting many experiences that have served Canadian and international artists of African descent.

Marjorie Chan was born in Toronto to Hong Kong immigrants who arrived in the late 60s, and settled in Scarborough. As a theatre and opera artist, she works variously as writer, director and dramaturge as well as in the intersection of these forms and roles. Her award-winning work has been seen and performed in the United States, Scotland, Hong Kong, Russia and across Canada. She is passionate about inclusive and collaborative theatre practices for artists, administrators and audiences alike. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of her new play, Lady Sunrise (Factory Theatre) and the remount of The Ward Cabaret (Harbourfront Centre). She is the current Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto

Zainub Verjee’s (Executive Director, Ontario Association of Art Galleries) work has shaped culture policy at all levels of government as well as growth of cultural institutions and organizations. As the inaugural Director, Office of Arts and Culture at Mississauga, Verjee set up the city’s first Culture Division and developed the first comprehensive Culture Master Plan. As Senior Policy Advisor, Arts Policy Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage and Program Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts, she served on cross-sectoral portfolios and developed initiatives in Digital Culture and Artist as Researcher. Prior to her work with the Federal government, she was the Executive Director at the Western Front, Vancouver, and co-founder and Co-Director of In Visible Colours. She was engaged by Gordon Campbell, Canadian diplomat and the 35th Mayor of Vancouver on his landmark Vancouver Arts Initiative, and among many appointments to Boards, she is proud of her work at the B.C. Arts Board that led to the formation of the B.C. Arts Council. She is published widely and is invited to speak nationally and internationally on culture policy, contemporary art and cultural diplomacy.

Karen Tisch is an arts manager and programmer with over 25 years of experience in the Canadian arts sector. She is currently the Executive Director of the Koffler Centre of the Arts, a multidisciplinary arts organization that presents ideas-based programming that promotes social justice and intercultural understanding. Karen’s past roles include: Managing Director of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Programming Director of the Images Festival, Executive Director of the Ashkenaz Foundation, and Program Officer and Policy Advisor for the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. She also founded an independent arts consultancy practice, with a specialty in equity and inclusion policy. Karen has served as President of the Toronto Arts Council, Chair of the Toronto Book Awards, and President of A Space Gallery, and is a current board member of Red Sky Performance. She is an alumna of OCAD and Canada’s National Ballet School.

Tanisha TaittTanisha Taitt is a director/actor, published playwright, singer-songwriter, essayist, audiobook director for Penguin Random House Canada, and the Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre in Toronto. She spent five years as a Dramatic Arts mentor with the Toronto District School Board, and as a theatre artist & anti-oppression educator has worked with companies including Young People’s Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, Buddies In Bad Times, Toronto Fringe, Musical Stage, The Theatre Centre, National Arts Centre, Nightwood, and Soulpepper. Tanisha has been nominated as a director for the Pauline McGibbon Award, and is a recipient of the Canadian Music Publishers Association Songwriters’ Award. Tanisha was keynote speaker for the inaugural Canadian Theatre Educators’ Conference, and is a faculty member of George Brown Theatre School, where she teaches 1st Year Contemporary Scene Study. She is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence and social justice.

Ilene Sova is the Ada Slaight Chair of Drawing and Painting OCAD University. Ilene identifies as a person of Mixed Race with Afro-Caribbean and settler ancestry, who lives with a disability. Sova is the founder of both the Feminist Art Conference and Blank Canvases. As a practising artist, Sova has exhibited her portraits MOCCA, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and Mutuo Centro de Arte in Barcelona. Her art has been featured in local and national media and been featured in the Journal of Psychology and Counselling, the Nigerian Arts JournalTabula and the Italian feminist journal, Woman’O’Clock. Through her activist work, she has worked with members of provincial and federal governments and the City of Toronto to speak the art and social policy. Additionally, Sova sits on the board of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Ontario advocating for diversity and inclusion. Sova spoke at the first TEDxWomen event in Toronto, as well as a Southern University New York Geneseo on the topics of the power of Art and Social Change.

Patty Jarvis  Supporting Arts Education and Community Engagement. With a deep commitment to meaningful partnerships that support equity and collaboration, Patty has worked across artistic disciplines with numerous arts organizations, schools and community agencies including; Interim Associate Director, Education and Outreach, Canadian Opera Company; Executive Director, Prologue to the Performing Arts;  Director of Education/Outreach – Canadian Stage; Audience Development Manager – Studio 180 Theatre.

Affiliations: Co-founder/Past Chair of Professional Arts Organizations Network for Education; Board member Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement in Ontario; Advisory Committee member of the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning, Past Chair of the Toronto Theatre Alliance (now TAPA).

Currently:  Independent arts education and community engagement consultant. Program Manager for Listen Up! Etobicoke, an artist run, in-school residency program, founding member of Culture/Shift collective focused on cross-sectoral exchange for increased arts access for young people. Faculty member at Centennial College in both the Arts Education/Community Engagement and Arts Management Programs.

Connect with us on Facebook Twitter | Instagram @cpamoontario

CPAMO is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and English Testing Canada.

Artist Talk by Gordon Shadrach on Nov. 21 at OCAD University


Artist Talk by Gordon Shadrach
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
OCAD University
100  McCaul Street, Room 230, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

How We Paint Artist Series

Have you ever looked at a painting and wondered ‘how did they do that?’; “How We Paint” is a unique artist speakers series presented by the program of Contemporary Drawing and Painting at OCAD University. Unlike a traditional artist talk, this programming invites esteemed local Toronto artists to share their materials and processes with the arts community at large. This dynamic programming will pull back the curtain on the artist studio and instigate conversations around our creative decision-making processes.

Funded in Part by the Slaight Family Foundation

In Partnership with Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario

Gordon Shadrach’s work has always focused on the ways people communicate non-verbally. Inferences are made daily by people when they interact with others and Shadrach invites viewers to utilize those skills when engaging with his portraits. Shadrach’s early works explored portraits that focused on the wearer’s shoes and clothing with no face shown, enabling the viewer to complete the portrait; imagining the unseen, and deciding on the race, gender, and social status of the sitter. Shadrach continues to investigate the semiotics of clothing and its impact on how Black men are portrayed.  Clothing can change how someone is perceived and relays information to others; however, society can reduce someone and make superficial judgments based solely on cultural biases. Shadrach’s portrait series of contemporary Black men dressed in historical clothing are framed in damaged antique and vintage frames. The patina and wear of the frames suggests historic weight and places the portraits during a time when Black people were rarely depicted in Western portraiture. Shadrach also explores color and pattern in the backgrounds of his portraits of Black people as a way of examining the innate bias of Western Art and Colour Theory. He invites viewers to reflect on their own interpretation of colors and how they relate to the subject.

Portrait artist Gordon Shadrach was born and raised in Brampton, Ontario in 1966 and has lived in Toronto for over 25 years. Gordon started painting in 2013 and paints in oil and acrylic on wood. He has exhibited in solo and group art shows in Canada and the United States. He works from photographs at his in-home studio in Toronto’s East end. He received his B. Des. (MAAD) from OCAD University and has a Master of Education degree from Niagara University. In the Spring of 2018, Gordon’s painting, “In Conversation”, was included in an exhibit developed by the Royal Ontario Museum titled, “Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art”. In the Summer of 2018, the exhibit went on tour and was presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and opened at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in June of 2019. Aside from his portraits, Gordon is known for his insightful artist’s talks and has appeared as a panelist on the TVO’s the Agenda (Reinventing the Museum) and CBC Radio’s Metro Morning (Group of Seven Out, Under-represented Artists In at the AGO).