DesignTO Youth is a community engagement program which offers youth access to creative disciplines and professionals, culminating in a public exhibition of their work. Working in partnership with SKETCH Working Arts, this year’s DesignTO Youth program focuses on place making, involving critical reflections on our individual and collective relationships to space.
Delivered in the form of a six-week residency program plus DesignTO Festival exhibition, youth artists are given opportunities to engage with and discuss civic issues and public space through talks and workshops. The program features talks with Gallery TPW Executive Director Noa Bronstein, artists Benjamin de Boer, Phat Le, Florence Yee and Arezu Salamzadeh, and planner and community organizer Chiyi Tam, plus an empathy mapping workshop with Urban Minds, a non-profit youth engagement organization.
Youth artists include dairysam, Yasmine Hassen, Brian Jiang, Enna Kim, Winston LeYonnick, and Ashley Meza-Wong working across different artistic and design disciplines.
Established in 2019, DesignTO Youth is a program that provides youth with access to creative disciplines and professionals. The program works with local artists and designers and community collaborators like schools, non-profit organizations, and community groups that are already actively engaging with youth.
‘DesignTO Youth’ is organized by DesignTO in partnership with SKETCH Arts, and supported by the City of Toronto (Economic Development & Culture), Pivot Design Group, Spin Master and Shopify.
dairysam is a brown, disabled and queer artist who loves working with all mediums, such as illustration, print, ceramics, poetry, textile arts, and much more! They play with colours, character and stories.
Yasmine Hassen is a multidisciplinary artist, mover, and maker rooted in decolonial approaches to bridging gaps and finding intersections between Black liberation, belonging, and community. They live and create on the stolen land of Turtle Island on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ, Wendake-Nionwentsïo, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, which has been the meeting place and land of Indigenous, Inuit, and Métis peoples from across Turtle Island since time immemorial. Yas stands in solidarity with land defenders, water protectors and Black freedom fighters. Their work is often grounded in multisensorial mediums as a way to tell stories that centre 2SQTBIPOC experiences of resistance through the intersections of movement, sonic production and collaging.
Brian Jiang (they/them) is a queer Tkaronto-based multidisciplinary artist and designer of Chinese descent. Their works explore topics such as identity, queerness, and community building through illustration, painting, and animation media. Brian finds inspiration in the formal qualities of folk art, 60s Japanese graphic design, Surrealism, print ephemera and the natural world. They hold a Bachelors of Design (Illustration) from OCAD University. Brian has created work for LinkedIn, StreetARToronto, Pride Toronto and more.
Enna Kim (fongkikid) is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist, researcher and storyteller. Enna explores the dimensions between her hyphenated Korean-Canadian identity through animation, world-building, long-distance running, murals and zines. She has painted outdoor murals for The Patch Project, StreetARToronto, STEPS Public Art, Riverside BIA, Cabbagetown BIA and Burning Man. Enna has exhibited work at the Art Gallery of Ontario, CNE, Trinity Square Video, InterAccess Gallery, OCAD University and Xpace Cultural Centre. Enna is currently pursuing a master’s degree at York University.
Winston LeYonnick is a multidisciplinary artist from Toronto. He began taking art lessons from an underground art school on Queen Street, where he learned realism. He organized an art fundraiser for “LGBT hotline” where he auctioned images of the African diaspora and their identities through portraits. As a multidisciplinary artist, he expresses himself through paint, digital art, photography, graffiti and film. Winston navigates and adapts to new techniques, skills, and technology naturally as needed, while staying authentic to himself, his roots and the arts he displays to the public.
Ashley Meza-Wong is an Ecuadorian Canadian artist based in Toronto/Tkaronto, Canada. Her work encompasses a mixture of images, sounds and writing. Driven by curiosity, her pieces explore the complexities of identities and belonging through stories seldom represented. Ashley’s projects have been exhibited at Gallery 44, Inside Out Film Festival, and Ryerson University. She is currently forging design pathways using several materials as an inquiry towards equitable urban systems.