Advisors / Judges
Our advisors/judges are industry experts who have developed a successful artistic career while developing and enhancing community access to the arts. We have partnered with organizations and industry experts to advise us on building a community-focused, sustainable foundation that maximizes its potential to provide the opportunity to the next generation of artists.
Michael Martchenko - 2021 JUDGE
Michael Martchenko is the award-winning illustrator of the Classic Munsch series and many other beloved children's books. He was born north of Paris, France, and moved to Canada when he was seven. He lives in Toronto with his wife, Patricia. He was most recently a Judge for the 2021 NextGen Artists Awards.
Michelle Ku - 2021 JUDGE
Michelle Ku is a storyboard artist and corporate owner of Michelle Ku Studios. She has worked for top animation companies such as DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros and Nelvana with the purpose to educate and entertain children. She started her career working as an intern at Nickelodeon on Kungfu Panda Legends of Awesomeness and since then has over 8 years of storyboarding and supervising experience in television. Her technical training comes from feature mentorship from Robert Koo and traditional hand-drawn animation working as an animator for Warner Brothers on Green Eggs and Ham. She is currently working as a feature storyboard artist for DreamWorks on an unannounced feature movie and bases her studio in Toronto.
Suzanne Carte is an award-winning curator and cultural producer living in Toronto, Canada. She is currently the Senior Curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington, an institution at the intersection of contemporary art and craft. She was the Assistant Curator at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) focusing on the integration of exhibitions and public programming for over a decade. Within her independent practice, she has curated exhibitions in public spaces, artist-run centres, commercial and public art galleries. Previously, she held positions as outreach programmer for the Blackwood Gallery and the Art Gallery of Mississauga, and as professional development and public program coordinator at the Ontario Association of Art Galleries. Her critical writing has been published in the AGO’s A.I.R. publication for Meera Margaret Singh as well as in Magenta Magazine, Art Writ, and Huffington Post. Suzanne holds an MA in Contemporary Art History from Sotheby’s Art Institute in New York and a BFA from the University of Windsor, and she was a member of the 2017 Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab.
Christopher Knights is a Toronto-based artist who has exhibited extensively in major Canadian cities as well as NYC and China. He studied at Sheridan College of Applied Arts and has been recognized with awards such as “Best Painting” and “City Archive Purchase Award” at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. Selected Exhibitions:
2018 • Represented by CK Contemporary, San Francisco • Canadian Fine Arts • Windsor Fine Art, New Orleans. • One Belt one Road China - Canada Art Exchange Exhibition. Lingnan Museum of Fine Art Donguang, China.
2017 • Modern and Contemporary Masters Group exhibition. CFA Toronto
2016 • “Exhibit EH” Painting Centre. NYC
2015 • AFCY Auction, Angell Gallery.
2014 • Art Toronto: Represented by CFA, Toronto
2013 • ” Reclamation” Solo Exhibition CFA, Toronto. • Fountain Art Fair. NYC
2012 • The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. • The Artist Project, Toronto
The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. -Received best of painting award. TOAE 2011 - Received City Archive Purchase Award: 1989
Cheryl C. Giraudy B.Arch. MSc. OAA MRAIC Associate Professor OCAD University, is a practicing architect engaging in inclusive design research and advocacy practice for equitable built environments and public space. For over 20 years, Cheryl was design consultant for an international facility planning organization employing human-centred and serviceability standards for large complexes such as government and corporate offices, embassies, and more. She contributed to the Ontario Association of Architects as Chair, Honours and Awards program for several years bringing about the award category of Best Emerging Practice, and more recently as a guest juror. Cheryl is delighted to be part of the NextGen Arts Awards and looks forward to the creative and exciting outcomes this program generates.
Avi Dunkelman - 2021 JUDGE
Avi Dunkelman has taught; graphic design, typography, thesis and branding at OCAD University since 1987 and in 2001 he became an Associate Professor and a permanent faculty member. He has lectured at the Faculty of Landscape and Architecture at the University of Toronto. He is respected by his clients and the Graphic Design industry for his strategically driven and collaborative process, and for delivering successful and revenue-driven design solutions. In October 2010 he formed a creative collaboration with his business partner Joseph Gault under the brand of MIX Design Group. It has designed extensive projects for Canadian Crown Corporations such as; Canada Post, (2011 Year of the Snake as part of the Chinses Lunar Calendar stamps program), a five-year project leading to the 100 Anniversary of the NEL (designing 72 stamps commemorating legendary NEL Canadian Hockey players), The Royal Canadian Mint, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, just to name a few.
Saskia van Kampen
Saskia van Kampen (MDes, RGD, AIGA) has taught graphic Design at OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as an Assistant Professor since 2014 and is now Assistant Professor of Visual Communication at the School of Design at San Francisco State University. Her research studies critical design studio pedagogy, Creative Practice as Protest, and Ethical Design. Her pedagogy focuses on supporting the next generation of designers to be socially and environmentally aware. Before moving to California she was the Vice President of Education and board member of RGD (Registered Graphic Designers). Her role in RGD was to create programs that support both students and academic professionals in design. As such she created a Canada-wide Designathon and set up yearly academic awards of excellence. Professor van Kampen is also a contemporary feminist artist, using traditional creative practices such as needlework to deconstruct contemporary design methods and messages.
John Kokkinoswork has been exhibited in Canada, USA, and China, with representation by art galleries as Leo Kaman, Evelyn Amis Fine Art, and others. His work is found in many corporate and private collections, and most notably by the Canada Council Art Bank in Ottawa, Lingnan Museum of Fine Art in Donggguan, and CP Rail in Montreal. Over the years his work has evolved from figurative to abstract. Since 2010 the subject of digital air waves transmitted by computers, has inspired him, as they are moving in all directions, speeds, and sizes. Through the years he had numerous exhibitions and received many awards.
Midland, Ontario, Quest Art Gallery. Annual Juried Exhibition 2012. (first place in2D category)
Toronto, 20th & 22nd Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. (first prize for Best Drawings)
Stouffville, Ontario, The Latcham Gallery, Annual Juried Exhibition 2011. (Third Prize)
Clarington, Ontario, Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, 29th Annual Juried Show. (Honorable mention
Brampton, Ontario, Art Gallery of Peel, 34th Annual Juried Show. (Best in Show)
JJ Lee (BFA, NSCAD ‘92, MFA, York U ’99) is an equal opportunity appropriator who explores the intersection of Chinese and Canadian cultures in mixed media paintings and drawings. Lee has exhibited extensively in both public institutions (eg Vancouver Art Gallery) and artist-run centres across the country; recently at the Asian Arts Alliance, Philadelphia curated by A. Luis, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Lee is the recipient of several awards both for her individual work (e.g. Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, RBC New Canadian Painting, Asian Canadian Artists Fund) and her collaborative work (with dancers S. Liska and S. Lee; and with The Drawing Board Collective with N. Waldburger and A. Swartz). Lee’s work is in public (RBC, York University, Canada Council Art Bank) and private collections in Canada and the USA. She is included in the Magenta Foundation’s “Carte Blanche: Painting, a survey of contemporary Canadian painters”. Ms. Lee is an Associate Professor, Contemporary Issues of Representation in the Faculty of Art, OCAD University.
Anya Mielniczek is a Canada based multidisciplinary artist who combines her fine art background with raw material grit in both private and public sectors creating mixed-media installations, mural work and facilitating community art programming and activations. A 2012 Queen’s University graduate, Anya’s worked with various organizations, municipalities, Councillors and businesses creating public art within communities around Toronto and internationally. Recent corporate projects include production and collaboration with Humber College, HideSeek, BACARDI, QUO Makeup, Moroccanoil, DELL, RBC, 1800GOTJUNK and Chevrolet.
Worked as a curator at the Contemporary Art Centre in Holguin, Cuba for over 6 years, Diana Rosa then pursued various courses like that of Modern Art and Ideas, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016) and Art History: Renaissance Art to present at the Sotheby’s Art Institute, New York (Online learning Department). Her work has been included in many publications and online periodicals such as Home and décor magazine, The Brampton Guardian Newspaper, Now Magazine and Toronto Life Magazine. She has exhibited in the USA, UK, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and many more.
Spent over 18 years studying and painting various forms of art, Ghazaleh Naderian an Iranian/ Canadian from Toronto is a member of the Society of Canadian Artist and Toronto Watercolor Society and has also been honoured to receive the Toronto Watercolor Society Award. An instructor of painting in various groups and private studios in Toronto, Ghazaleh has now switched to being an online teacher. Her works are varied from realism to impressionism in different mediums like watercolor, oil, acrylic, pencil color, pastel, and gouache.
Michel Bouchard studied Fine Arts and History of Arts in Paris where he held several art shows and is an Educator in Art with the Royal Conservatory. After working as a silk screener, a graphic artist and an art director in Toronto, he decided to go back to his first love, teaching art. Traveling to public and private schools, he teaches in French and English woodworking, visual art, comics, cartooning, architecture and clay modelling to children 5-12 and hosts several art camps for CPF (Canadian Parents for French), Alliance française. He now teaches art online to CPF, Lycée Français de Toronto, TDSB, CSDC, York University and private sessions.
Sylvia is an Award Winning Artist and Ontario Certified Teacher who creates opportunities for people to get in touch with their inner artist. She was selected as one of Canada’s Top 150 featured artists in the first Canadian-wide Art Catalogue in 2017. Owning and operating successful community art initiatives and events, Sylvia Chan is a professional artist and educator from Markham with over 10 years of painting and teaching experience. Sylvia has created over 500 custom original commissions to beautify the home and office spaces. She is also the founder of Paint A Smile, a non-profit committed to providing art workshops for kids with disabilities, building confidence and creativity. Her goal is to inspire youth to make a difference in the community with their creativity and imagination.
Daniel Turres is a Canadian pop artist. He draws iconic characters combined with re-purposed materials. Daniel travels all over Canada exhibiting at a variety of events showcasing his artwork. He has also been featured on several articles including The Cineplex Magazine, Film Fatale, Rue-Morgue and more. Daniel is currently working on his next upcoming feature film for 2021.
Maryam Ebrahim explored her love for creativity and art by learning graphic design, and soon after she started mentoring elementary students on the fundamentals of drawing and painting. She went on to graduate in fine arts from the University of Tehran. For over twenty years, Maryam has been passing on her passion for painting to her students through her patient guidance and her teachings of painting principles. She has to date sold many of her unique paintings to private collectors locally in the U.S.A, Mexico, China and Germany
Tamara Harutyunyan is an artist and Visual Art Teacher. She graduated from Yerevan University (Master of Fine Arts), and Saint Petersburg Art Academy. She is often inspired by jazz, rock and classical music. Tamara has more than 20 years’ experience teaching visual arts in different schools in Toronto and GTA and in Colour Wheel Art School.
Lesley Seitz has been creating art her entire life. She has experience using a wide variety of art mediums, which include charcoal, acrylic paints, coloured pencils, and many more. Due to the high demand for her work, she created a website to showcase her art for all to see. Lesley Seitz enjoys art, tennis, fashion, baking, and reading in her spare time.
Growing up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Keto’s masterpieces are heavily influenced by Samba, his spiritual Orisha worship, and by American graffiti. Understanding his full purpose was life altering for Alexandre. This knowledge resulted in his having an ambition far superior than just being recognized and pleasing art critics – he discovered the desire of changing the lives of the people he encountered, interactively doing his small part to manifest a better society. In the last ten years, Alexandre Keto has completed more than 1,000 murals and paintings in over 21 countries - collaborating on social projects with notable organizations such as United Nations, The United States Consulate, The Brazilian Embassy, and Doctors Without Borders. Keto has also partnered with several grassroots organizations, helping to spread his message of community in overlooked neighborhoods and sections of the world