As a mix of artists, planners and community developers, our work sits at the intersection of public art, urban planning and civic engagement.

  • Alexis Kane Speer

    Founding Director. Inspired daily by the city and the people who bring it to life, Alexis has a wealth of experience leading community-based public art, space and capacity building initiatives and has received numerous awards recognizing her work as a city builder. She has an MA in Geography & Planning from the University of Toronto.

  • Anjuli Solanki

    Director of Community Programs. A painter and public artist, coming from a background in community engagement, public programming and urban research. Anjuli holds an MSc in Urban Planning from Oxford Brookes University and a BA in Human Geography from the University of British Columbia.

  • Vera Belazelkoska

    Community Projects. Bringing extensive experience in community outreach, project coordination, and field research in parts of Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, along with a Masters in Political Science from the University of Toronto, Vera is passionate to collaborate on projects that address structural inequalities and foster social change.

  • Carolyn Rowan

    Community Projects. Passionate about the potential for culture and art to effect and express change, Carolyn is excited to collaborate, make connections, and build understanding while developing rich creative relationships. She has a background in film and art history and holds an MSc in Urban Planning from the University of Toronto.

  • Vadim Taraskine

    Systems Coordinator. A self-taught web developer from Toronto, Vadim has a long-standing interest in urban spaces and the potential for community development. He is excited to be part of the STEPS team, where he brings forth strong IT skills, assists with research and helps co-ordinate ongoing public art projects as part of his commitment to social change.

  • Winnie Bower

    Community Projects. Bringing extensive experience in community engagement and social work, honed both locally and internationally along with a Masters in Social Work from York University, Winnie is an advocate for public art, community organizing and social change.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  • Dave Kranenburg

    Founder, Rhizome

  • Annabel Vaughan

    Project Manager M.Arch, ERA Architects Inc.

  • Adam Molson

    Manager of Project Implementation, The Daniels Corporation

  • Caroline Birks

    Board Treasurer / Artist

  • Rich Appiah

    Lawyer and Partner, Israel Foulon LLP

SPECIAL PROJECTS

  • Mojan Jianfar

    Mojan has a passion for city building, community empowerment and youth leadership. She is a cultural anthropologist/urban planner working towards bringing social equity back into planning by focusing on how community groups can better engage with and participate in building their city.

  • Helen Huang

    Helen, a founding member of steps, has 4 years of community development and architectural design experience. She also works as a land use planner and academic researcher.

  • Nick Sweetman

    Nick is a painter comfortable with a wide variety of media, but focuses on acrylic, oil, and aerosol paint. He is completing his Masters of Art, Media & Design at OCAD University in their Interdisciplinary program where he is exploring ways of pushing his painting practice into new areas such as video, installation, and urban intervention.

  • Sean Martindale

    Sean is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary artist and designer whose interventions activate public and semi-public spaces to encourage engagement, often focused on ecological and social issues. He frequently uses salvaged goods and live plants in unexpected ways that prompt conversations and interaction, and was the Lead Artistic Facilitator on our Tallest Mural in the World project.

  • JAH

    JAH is an artist, youth mentor and designer whose work is fundamentally connected to the streets - through graffiti art, youth empowerment and currently, and an emerging career in architecture. As a street artist, JAH has been painting murals under his alias for over 12 years, in Toronto and abroad, blurring the critical lines between graffiti, mural art, vandalism and beautification.

  • Rodrigo Marti

    Rodrigo is a Mexican-Canadian artist working between sculpture, performance and drawing. His practice looks at and involves itself in the cultural and aesthetic dimensions of political struggle.

  • Andrew Chiu

    Andrew is an architectural designer, painter and artist known for his views on environmental, social sustainability and cultural diversity. He was the Lead Artistic Facilitator for the Salvaged Sculpture project.

  • Danilo McDowell-McCallum

    Danilo is a painter, videographer, illustrator, graphic designer, muralist and art mentor whose work reflects the city's diverse landscape of people. He has collaborated on our community-engaged PATCH Project in Alexandra Park.

  • Carolin Taron

    Carolin is a community garden activist, coordinator of West End Flower Fairies (WEFF), health care practitioner and collage & mixed-media artist. She believes in growing and sharing beauty, and good food, along with play and passion in our urban community.

  • Les Luxemburger

    Les a visual artist and Artist Educator, trained with the Royal Conservatory, passionate about using art to engage people on environmental issues as well as painting and hosting art shows. He has supported the activities of our Emerging ARTivist Program.

  • Ananna Rafa Oisharja

    Ananna is a visual artist who works with a variety of media and has been instrumental in the production of several community-engaged public art installations across the city. Having lived in many places and soaked in many cultures, her passion for photography and documenting the world around her has brought her to study at Ryerson University.

  • Naomi Tessler

    Naomi is a Theatre Educator and the Artistic Director of Branch Out Theatre, she has collaborated on our Emerging ARTivist Program and Culture Days activities, through which we have facilitated public space performance workshops.

  • Roozbeh Nayeri

    Roozbeh is a visual artist and an urban planner by training with an interest in the use of art to build communities and improve social inclusion. Over the past 7 years, he's worked on a variety of urban design, advocacy and academic research projects.

  • Carla Weinberg

    Carla is the Founder of the Toronto Design Nerds and also consults on environmental, design and architectural activities. She facilitates design workshops as part of the ArchiTEXT team and holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Waterloo.

  • Darren O’Donnell

    Darren is the Artistic Director of the Mammalian Diving Reflex, as well as a novelist, essayist, performance artist, playwright, director, actor and urban planner. He has collaborated on our Emerging ARTivist Program, through which we've facilitated youth-led "social acupuncture" workshops.

  • Zahra Ebrahim

    Zahra is the founder and Principal of the design think tank and creative agency, archiTEXT, and an instructor in in the OCAD U Think Tank Program. Along with her colleagues at archiTEXT, she collaborated on the Lakeshore CI Schoolyard Sculpture project by facilitating youth-led design workshops.

  • Diego Rojas

    Diego is a Colombian-born photographer with a passion for capturing the essences of cultures around the world. He has provided support in documenting several of our programs and projects.

  • Lori Smith

    Lori has a wealth of experience in strategic communications, event planning and partnership development. She is affiliated with Design X Nature, an innovative design competition that creates furniture and public art using salvages materials, through which she has collaborated on our Salvaged Sculpture project.

  • Toronto Muralists

    Jason and Ryan of the Toronto Muralists are talented artists who have worked on large-scale works across the GTA, including our Tallest Mural in the World project.

  • Mahmood Popal

    Mahmood is an Afghani-Canadian artist and designer practicing in Toronto. He received his Bachelor of Design at OCAD U, and  in 2011, founded Craft Studio -- a multidisciplinary art and design studio that focuses on the design of interiors and custom art installations. Popal's work can be seen throughout Toronto in various commercial venues; his collage and sculpture works are in private collections locally and internationally.

  • Gloria Zhou

    Gloria, a former member of STEPS’ youth program (TEA), is driven by the integration of art and design into public spaces and building youth capacity in community settings. She works to strengthen communication and outreach through design and assists in administrative work and project planning.

  • Adam Harrison

    Adam is completing his degree in urban planning from Ryerson University and is working with STEPS throughout the Winter 2016 semester. His professional and academic interests lie at the intersections of design and social equity in public spaces.

  • Beth Dawson

    Elizabeth is a Toronto-based Illustrator and Fine Artist. She is currently in her fourth year pursuing her Bachelor of Design degree in the Illustration program at OCAD University. She is a true multi-disciplinary artist, and her 8 years of experience in teaching children’s programs throughout numerous camps, community centres, and art galleries has informed the nostalgic qualities in her work and has further developed her artistic skills and artistic direction.

  • Zarish Asif

    With degrees in fine art, government relations and city studies, Zarish comes from a multidisciplinary practice that melds a diverse skill set. With international experience in stakeholder engagement, policy analysis and communications, she brings a unique perspective to stakeholder engagement.

  • Elden Chan

    Elden had fortified to become an Urban Planner after the humanitarian outreach trip to Dominican Republic in 2014. He is completing his undergraduate degree in urban planning from University College London (UCL). Elden is driven by a strong interest in all the possible dynamics regarding urban planning. Currently, he is working as a Community-Planning Assistant with STEPS.

  • Becky Fallis

    Becky’s educational background spans from theatre to law. Having recently moved to the Advancement and Development of non-profit organizations, such as Luminato Arts Festival, she is thrilled to provide this support to organizations having a great impact on our glorious city!

  • Stephanie Bellefleur

    Stephanie is not only a visual artist and muralist but is a certified Reiki Practitioner & Gemologist. She incorporates in much of her work primary colors with strong graphic lines and works to positively capture the nature of one’s life experiences, turning them into healing manifestations.

  • Daniel Taylor

    Daniel focuses on public space and community engagement, Daniel's work revolves around the potential of local communities to shape their city for the better. Also active in the sustainable food movement, he holds a BA in Environmental Studies and an MA in Urban Planning from York University.

TORONTO EMERGING ARTIVISTS

(our award-winning youth led arts collective)

  • Sara Ayub

    Thorncliffe Park based visual artist from Saudi Arabia, as well as the former Youth Leader for the award-winning Toronto Emerging ARTivist collective; currently studying Engineering at Ryerson University.

  • Idris Ali

    Flemingdon Park based artist interested in photo and video; Documentarian TEA. Intern at Manifesto, soon to be studying Business at Ryerson University.

  • Masooma Shah

    Flemingdon Park based visual artist from Pakistan, currently enrolled in her last year at MGCI.

  • Ameerah Rashid

    Former Youth Leader for the St James Town Emerging ARTivists and the World's Tallest Mural project; currently a student at McMaster University.

  • Saif Shah

    Flemingdon Park based MGCI Grade 11 student from Pakistan; very active on the Thorncliffe Fence Art project.

  • Aniqah Rahman

    Regent Park-based Ryerson University Psychology student interested in social justice issues; very active on the World's Tallest Mural project.

  • Fahad Mahmood

    Thorncliffe Park based MGCI Grade 12 student, from Pakistan; very active on the Thorncliffe Fence Art project.

  • Samantha Goh

    Graphic designer currently enrolled at OCAD U as an international student from China; formerly lived in St. James Town and was very active on the World's Tallest Mural project.

  • Quincy Lam

    Grade 12 TOPS student at MGCI in Flemingdon Park interested in linguistics, programming and music; very active on the Thorncliffe Fence Art project.

  • Sara Azimi

    Flemingdon Park based visual artist from Iran; entering Grade 12 at MGCI.

  • TianYi Ma

    Classically trained musician, writer and photographer; enrolled in her final year in the TOPS program at MGCI in Flemingdon Park.

  • Rohith Hrishikesh

    St James Town based Jarvis CI student who has been in Canada for six years. His interests include the sciences and the language arts.

  • Khadeeja Muzammil

    Thorncliffe based poet and musician from Pakistan, currently enrolled at MGCI.

  • Hima DeSilva

    Currently a student at Guelph University, Hima is from East York and was active on the World's Tallest Mural project.

  • Maria Kashif

    Student Council President and Grade 12 Student at MGCI; interested in raising awareness on important issues and adding public art to her community.

  • Samrajya Shivakoti

    St. James Town based Jarvis CI student from Nepal. He would like to go to Dubai and see all the skyscrapers.

  • Sehrish Mahmood

    Thorncliffe based University of Toronto Health Sciences student from Pakistan interested in creating more safe spaces in her community.

  • Rabia Mahmood

    Thorncliffe based, originally from Pakistan and a currently a student at MGCI; passionate about making her community a safer and more beautiful place to live.

  • Prasad Srikugathasan

    St. James Town based Danforth CI student from Sri Lanka with a strong passion for technical science and a desire to travel the world.

  • Salina Duong

    A 'let's try something new' type of girl, Salina is inspired by STEPS to have fun with art and share it with others to make a difference in her neighbourhood.

  • Zarnab Afzal

    Thorncliffe based Grade 12 MGCI student from Pakistan interested in business and improving her community; active on the Thorncliffe Fence Art project.

  • Talha Malik

    Thorncliffe based, originally from Pakistan.  Currently enrolled in his last year at MGCI, he is interested in improving public infrastructure in his community.

  • Michelle Akakpo

    St. James Town based Jarvis CI student who was instrumental to the World's Tallest Mural project.

  • Faisal Feroz

    Thorncliffe based visual artist and MGCI Student.

  • Zoha Afzal

    Thorncliffe based, from Pakistan, and currently a Grade 11 student at MGCI; active on the Thorncliffe Fence Art project.

  • Yilin Zhu

    Visual artist and student at UT Schools, she is interested in the impact of video games on the brain's ability to improve language retention and coordination.

  • Mohsen Assaqqaf

    An artist an MGCI student, he is interested in the impact of art on communities.

  • Mariam El Serafi

    An artist and student at MGCI, she is interested in improving her community.

  • Uroosha Lailun

    An artist and Grade 11 student at MGCI, originally from Pakistan, she is interested in making her community a place of beauty and fun and volunteers with many community groups through which she has the opportunity to make an impact.

  • Goutham Sureshkuma

    St. James Town based Jarvis CI student, originally from Sri Lanka, he plans to travel the world and give back to his community through volunteering.

  • Lelandra Samlal

    Artist and recent graduate of Jarvis CI who likes learning about different cultures and wants to explore the world; active on the Tallest Mural in the World project.

  • Jenny Le

    Jenny loves being involved in the arts and working with children. She became involved with STEPS as it combined both of her passions and is now studying to become a teacher.

  • Shazde Mir

    Flemingdon based Grade 12 MGCI Student; Interested in smiling, art and music; In her free time her mind is occupied with social issues and her Tumblr blog.

  • Ezana Michael

    Aspiring spoken word and hip hop artist, who got involved with TEA to help raise awareness on environmental issues and inspire people to make a change.

  • Rida Kashif

    Grade 10 Student from Flemingdon Park. She is a dedicated hard worker who enjoys spending her leisure time being actively involved in her community and aspires to teach.

  • Hilal Ulla

    Grade 10 student from Marc Garneau interested in art and social justice issues.

  • Arshiya Bawajir

    Indian-Canadian grade 12 student at MGCI residing in Flemingdon park. Her interests lie in the social service sector and helping others. She is a cat enthusiast and a lover of chocolate.

  • Jessica Ramdhanie

    Grade 10 MGCI Student dedicated to her work, who enjoys working as a team on personal or community projects, and never fails to solve problems!

  • Katrina Ha

    Key Club President and Grade 12 MGCI Student who strives to raise awareness on world issues within the school and aspires to work in business.

  • Noreen Alidina

    Art Council Vice-President and Student at MGCI with determination and enthusiasm to express the freedom of thoughts and ideas of public issues within the community.