Creative Communities Committee

Victoria Mata (Chair) ​is a Venezuelan-Canadian settler in T’Koronto. ​Poly-lingual ​choreographer, dance artist and activist with a background in expressive arts therapy. Mata’s career was first sculpted by pedagogic, self-directed training, which proceeded with internationally renowned residencies and choreographers at ​the Banff Arts Centre, Counter Pulse, African American Art & Culture, Centro de Investigación Coreográfica del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes de México, The Biggot Foundation, Ballet Creole, Aluna Theater and Teatro Delle Radici. ​Mata’s sensibility to inclusion and border stories is due to her eclectic upbringing in three continents before the age of fifteen. Intersectional, multi-framed community-arts and the abolishment of violence against women are some of Mata’s passion. She has intricately weaved these themes in her MFA in Contemporary Choreography and is foundation for some of her recognitions such as being a recipient of the Metcalf Foundation, a finalist of the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award and 7 Dora nominations. Mata deeply believes in the arts as core and tangible mode of sustaining and transforming paradigms of exclusion. Currently, Mata is developing a full-length production called Cacao | A Venezuelan lament, which​ illuminates the vibrant and resilient stories of cacao farmers in Venezuela whose labour and sweat are behind every bite of chocolate consumed worldwide. 

Monique Aura Bedard a.k.a. Mo Thunder (BFA, DTATI Cand.)  Mo (they / them) is a neurodiverse Onyota'a:ka x French art-maker x visual storyteller who is currently based on Dish with One Spoon Territory (Tkaronto). They grew up on Anishinaabe aki, down river from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, where they have family ties. Mo holds a BFA in studio art with a focus on silkscreen printing, photography and ​video from Fanshawe College and Lethbridge University. They are a DTATI Candidate with their major project / thesis being a community, art and land - based creative expression program for Indigenous youth in Tkaronto called Our Stories Our Truths (OSOT). They are currently working on a visual art journal with / for Indigenous youth.

Natasha Eck is a passionate arts educator and advocate for girl’s health & well-being. She has created & facilitated creative arts programs for communities across the GTA for well over a decade and is currently an occasional teacher for DDSB. She is a York University alumnus with a BFA in dance and a Bachelor in Education. Natasha is also a graduate of the Sacred Leaders Training Program which explores leadership from an ancient African perspective combined with contemporary leadership practices. Ms. Eck believes that dance/movement provides opportunities to enhance a sense of community, and deepened self-awareness. Natasha recently created a program called ShEmpowered™ which provides support for girls and young women in accepting their bodies, expressing emotions, and experiencing a greater sense of community amongst other girls.

Marta Keller-Hernandez  - Originally from Spain, Marta Keller-Hernandez holds Degrees in Tourism and Humanities, a Masters in Social Media Marketing from the University of Alicante (Spain), and a Graduate Certificate in Culture and Heritage Site Management from Centennial College. In Toronto, Marta has worked with a wide range of arts and culture organizations such as Black Artists’ Networks Dialogue, Latin American Canadian Art Projects and Sur Gallery, Heritage Toronto, and Art Starts. Currently Mural Routes’ Managing Director, Marta is also the co-founder of Paralia Newcomer Arts Network, the recipient of the Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grant in the capacity of mentor and a Toronto Arts Council 2018 Leaders Lab fellow.

Amee Lê is a cultural producer working in contemporary visual, film and media arts. Having been a programmer and a board member of arts organizations in Toronto including Rebels With A Cause Film Festival. s.o.s. curatorial collective and Whippersnapper Gallery, Amee accumulated a wealth of arts administration and curatorial experience in community art. Previously Festival Director of Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts, Amee is now Operations Manager at imagineNATIVE Film+Media Arts Festival. Amee holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business with a specialization in Arts, Media and Entertainment Management.

Felicia Morrison has been engaged in community-oriented work since 2010. Her entry into community work began with her studies In Community Arts Development. Felicia served as a Program Manager for the Markham House City Building Community Hub and has also worked with not-for-profit art organizations such as Nia Centre For The Arts (Communications Committee), 3004 Art Studios, Band Gallery, Placemaker/Urbanist Jane Farrow and Private Real Estate Investors in varying capacities which relate to creative placemaking strategy, digital and communication strategies, and social media tactics to improve reach and capacity. Felicia has managed art, design, and operation based projects inside and outside of the typical agency environment. Felicia has experience leading teams across London, Nantes, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Toronto. Her work experience is a convergence of Art, Design and Technology.

Mahad Shoaib is a passionate non-profit fundraiser, wizard of evaluation and music producer. After immigrating to Canada in 2008, one of his fondest memories is experiencing Hip Hop through Unity Charity’s in-school day program and has since gone from being a program participant to volunteer to Unity artist, and now works full-time as Unity's Development & Evaluations Manager. Community arts had a profound positive impact on Mahad’s physical and mental health and ultimately gave him a platform to channel his energy into supporting others around him. Graduating from York University with a focus on public health and community work, he uses his skills in research, writing, and statistics to grow and scale Unity’s impact. To date, he has raised $2.5 million for the organization and implemented various research-informed program evaluation methods and practices to evaluate the effectiveness of Unity's programs. As an artist, Mahad goes by "Arxade," a Toronto-based Synthwave artist who brings back nostalgic vibes from the future. Deeply inspired by retro video games and movies like Blade Runner, Terminator, Earthworm Jim, Shinobi, and Outrun, Arxade creates music with the purpose of synchronizing with video games, shows, and movies. He wants to remind people what it’s like to be a kid again and bring back feelings of nostalgia, curiosity, and awe. Despite no formal training in music production, composition or arrangement, Arxade learned by doing and created over 60 complete tracks in 2019 alone; in August 2020, he released his top 5 tracks as part of an EP called “Round 1”. Currently being mentored in sound design by Fresh Kils, Arxade is looking to release a full-length album in 2022.