Through the support of generous donors and the Toronto Artscape Foundation, the Ada Slaight Youth Arts Mentorship Program has announced its 2019 participants. Starting this month at Daniels Spectrum, 12 aspiring youth artists from the Regent Park community will have the opportunity to unleash their creativity and learn about developing a career in the arts.
The young artists chosen to participate in this year’s Ada Slaight Youth Arts Mentorship Program are: Sephanie Xu, Illham Suleman, Jahsent Hussey, Marsha Shanita, Janet Lawrence, Mystic Haynes, Liyah Simbulan, Micaiah Beausoleil, Emmanuel Beausoleil, Kiduse (Ducey) Gezahegn and Vicky Wang.
The youth will gain free access to arts and cultural events across Toronto and the chance to meet international rising stars in the arts. The program also pairs youth with industry mentors in their fields for a five-month period to enable them to learn what working as a professional artist is all about.
“I was surrounded by a lot of people with talent, and I got to watch how they express themselves,” says Charita, a former program participant. “And people were just having fun and being proud of what they do. It was not about getting it right and being perfect.”
Here’s an intro to some of the inspiring young artists chosen to participate in this year’s program:
Vicky Wang – A singer and songwriter from Toronto, Vicky performs under the name “Earlybird.” Her classical training as a vocalist mixed with her love for jazz and soul results in groovy melodies and heart-to-heart narrative song writing about love, life, and truth. Vicky’s visual art is often expressed in alluring, intricate drawings of faces. She is pursuing a degree in Creative Industries at Ryerson University. Her goal is to create and develop beautiful, touching, and meaningful moments, relationships and art in the future.
Stephanie Xu – Stephanie has been a photographer since she received her first camera at age 16. From that moment, she has been fascinated with photographing people, moments and their stories. Stephanie hopes to pursue photography as career in the future. Meanwhile, she is in her final year of her undergraduate degree and majoring in Peace, Conflict, and Justice.
Kiduse (Ducey) Gezahegn – Ducey is an up and coming recording artist born and raised in Toronto. As a singer/songwriter, he infuses traditional Pop with Soul R&B to create an incredibly unique music experience. Having already released four singles to date, Ducey is looking forward to growing his skills and accelerating his career.
Liyah Thomas-Simbulan – Liyah began studying ballet at the age of six at Sean Boutilier Academy of Dance, where she continues to dance competitively. Liyah expanded her repertoire, adding Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Acro, Contemporary and more styles over the years. Among Liyah’s biggest accomplishments, is her dance team’s win in the dance competition at the Hall of Fame Nationals 2017 in Florida.
Ilham Suleman – Ilham is an 18-year-old spoken word artist from Toronto. The inspiration for his art comes from real life experiences and events happening around the world. In addition to creating art, Ilham is enrolled in the Health Studies program at York University.