Arts Leadership

NextUp! Leaders Lab

Welcome to NextUp!

What is NextUp! Leaders Lab?

NextUp! Leaders Lab is a 12-month pilot co-learning initiative beginning July 2022 involving training, mentorship, and skills exchange that supports young racialized arts leaders and managers age 18-35, with a priority on those identifying as Black and Indigenous, strategically leading their own arts initiatives and preparing for senior-level positions in the arts & culture sector.

Who is NextUp! Leaders Lab for?

Our next cohort has 12 spots available for someone 18- 35* who:

  • Identifies as Black, Indigenous or a Person of Colour
  • May identify as trans or non Binary
  • Is holding coordination or management-level positions in an arts organization seeking to step into executive leadership in their own or other arts & culture organization
  • Is seeking to transition their arts based initiative/practice into an organization

NextUp! Leaders Lab Goals

  1. To support increased skill development in art leadership and management
  2. To build shared critical analysis and sense of belonging amongst a new generation of arts leaders

Applications are still open for the 2022 Cohort!

How to apply:

  1. Fill out the application form.
  2. We’ll be in touch with next steps.

*If you’re over 35 but NextUp! Leaders Lab is for you, let’s talk!

Contact Felicia at Felicia@sketch.ca for more info.

Apply Today!

Meet our 2022 Cohort!

We’re excited to meet our new cohort for 2022-2023!

Ammarah Syed (she/her)

Ammarah Syed (she/her)


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Ammarah’s practice in arts based wellness explores how modern-day discourses such as capitalism, colonialism, and various power dynamics have developed to inform the way we perceive mental health, identity, and sexuality. Ammarah explores in their work, how words among other factors, influence emotion, culture, and politics. Through a mix of calligraphy, photography, movement, somatic experiencing, and the written word Ammarah strives to decolonize and deconstruct the margins through wellness arts.

Ashley Thomas

Ashley T. (she/her)

Ashley Thomas

Ashley T. (she/her)


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As a young, Black Biracial, Bisexual Woman with Type II Bipolar Disorder from Toronto, Ashley T. has coined herself as the “Bi-Fecta.” She is a multidisciplinary artist who creates within the realms of abstract visual art, literary art, and performance art. She works with diverse materials spanning from acrylic paints on canvas, to ink on paper, to her voice on the mic, to her body on the stage. She uses art to ground and remind herself of the power she possesses to be a positive change in this world. Each piece she creates is a small chapter of her visual memoire.

Christina de la Cruz (she/her)

Christina de la Cruz (she/her)


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My name is Christina de la Cruz (she/her), and I am a practicing dance artist, working in both the commercial entertainment industry, as well as the street dance community. My interests revolve around Black diasporic cultural production, archiving street dance, caring for/curating dancing bodies, and Black identity in Canadian art.

On a personal level… I take steps every day to move closer to my core values of abolition, care and freedom. I am a terrible but persistent baker. I am curious about the way we, as a society, value knowledge. I am a Prince fanatic.

INSTAGRAM

Glamma (she/they)

Glamma (she/they)


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A renaissance woman of many talents, Glamma (@GlammaGirlSwag on Instagram) is a dynamic speaker and storyteller drawn to perspectives that are seldom heard. Glamma’s multidisciplinary artistic approach is informed by Black culture, traditional First Nation teachings, and her multi-cultural upbringing. As a 2 Spirited, Afro-Indigenous Bear Clan woman, activism comes naturally to this writer, facilitator, musician, photographer, DJ, jewellery designer, and proud Torontonian.

A community based artist and grassroots development practitioner, Glamma has designed and presented a host of events as well as workshops that cover a wide breadth of subject matters. These activations range from practical life skills and traditional teachings, to anti-oppressive training and frameworks. Some notable organizations that have benefited from her personable, kind and clear disposition include: ODE Remembered Voices, ENAGB, Thunder Woman Healing Lodge, Sketch Working Arts, UforChange, Children’s Peace Theatre and Elections Ontario, just to name a few.

Joy Brown (she/her)

Joy Brown (she/her)


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I am an ever-evolving being, learning and unlearning, and growing in love and light. I am the dream that sprouted from concrete, rooted in the belief that it is my birthright to thrive. I am JOY personified.

My purpose is embedded in my name, and it is to be Joy, experience joy, and be a joy to others. I have been on a journey of reclaiming, releasing, and remembering. The Creator and Mother Earth are my greatest teachers, they invite me to be in community, share my gifts and receive wisdom and love from others. It is in community where I remembered and reclaimed my power.

I am a poet, community healer, creatrix, and spiritual and physical being invested in the liberation of all from systems that keep us disconnected from each other and ourselves.

May we all rise, fully empowered, with open hearts and hopeful eyes.

Blessings!

Justine (she/her)

Justine (she/her)


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“Art gives space to the unheard voices – art is a way of sharing and honouring stories.”

Justine is a Colombian refugee, community member and artist who does not like labels or talking about herself, and identifies as a person who is trying to live and create in an often-unkind society. Justine is an outreach worker, devoted to carving out creative drop-in spaces in shelter hotels that support creativity, community, and social interactions. Justine hopes to continue to inspire people to share their stories through creative mediums that honour creation with equity, love, and respect. Art inspires dialogue toward social change.

Meena Rizwan (she/her)

Meena Rizwan (she/her)


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Meena Rizwan (she/ her) is a multidisciplinary artist, project manager, and consultant based in Tkaronto. Her practice involves installation, film, audio, woodwork, metalwork, web design, photography, and performance.  Her work examines themes of alienation, race, sexuality, consciousness, play, and displacement, and by doing so, aims to engage and connect communities. Meena’s work is informed by her positionality as a woman of color and newcomer settler born in Pakistan and raised on Long Island and in Tkaronto. She strives toward accessibility and inclusive design in her practice and has consulted for various organizations on issues pertaining to anti-oppressive practice and strategic planning. She additionally has hosted and managed events (including DIY and conference), coordinated exhibits, produced curriculums and facilitated workshops, and created employment opportunities for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ community members. Meena has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts degree in Gender Studies and Feminist Research from McMaster University.

Paddy Leung (they/them)

Paddy Leung (they/them)


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Paddy Leung (they/them) is an Queer, Canadian Chinese professional artist, arts educator and community leader. Working with mixed media, sculpture and installation. Paddy’s work explores experimental artforms and ideas through an activist lens. Their socially engaged practice aims to strengthen the communities that they serve. Paddy design projects and hosts community events that are intended to get people engaged with the creative process, while sharing their own experience of art as a tool for growth and positive change, both personal and collective. Their practice has focused largely on community arts and providing inclusive programming, primarily for youth. Working with, AGO Youth: Free After Three, VIBE Arts, Xpace Cultural Center, Visual Arts of Mississauga and Design Exchange, among others, Paddy is helping to transform the landscape of Toronto’s community arts scene.

WEBSITE INSTAGRAM

Susana Meza (she/they)

Susana Meza (she/they)


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Susana Meza (she/they) is a mad and queer artist, poet, and educator from Venezuela. Susana’s work is infused with intentional happiness and it responds to her recovery journey, and the desire to spread joy. Susana is currently preoccupied with the preservation of memories, retracing family migrations, and diasporic trauma. Susana is a Yale University fellow and founded ReclaimedArts.ca as her final project, she sits on the Member Advisory Committee of Workman Arts, and is a Writers Collective of Canada facilitator. Susana is actively working on various solo and group shows and is on the 2023 cohort of the Global Leaders Program.

Tafari Hall (he/him)

Tafari Hall (he/him)


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Tafari Hall  is an active member of Ottawa’s underground music scene organizing live events, offering services as a live audio technician and mentoring young artists. He is the lead coordinator and co-founder of a youth-led organization called “Produced By Youth”, where he fulfills his passion for serving Ottawa’s creative community. He mentors, teaches and facilitates Black youth like himself — giving them the tools and resources to create and release their own music projects