May 2015

Alumni Benefits Alumni Events
Recap: Alumni Lounge at GradEx 100

 Illustration by Gary Taxali

The annual Alumni Lounge at GradEx 100 was another huge success. We had over 260 alumni drop by with their friends and family. It was great to see familiar and new faces. 

Visitors to the lounge received VIP treatment, took guided tours of the medal winner’s exhibition, connected with other alumni and learned about all the benefits and services provided by our affinity partners. They also enjoyed delicious snacks and drinks from Underwood's Catering. Kids (and adults) had a great time colouring in the Gary Taxali characters and loved the handmade alumni buttons! 

Congratulations to our raffle winners! 
Morgan Bentham (BFA, 2011) won the Continuing Studies Course. Eva Gerold (AOCA, 1997) won a GradEx 100 t-shirt. Jill Hendry (AOCAD, 1999), Jasmine Hum (BFA, 2010) and Patricia Wylie (AOCA, 1985) each won the Flash Forward Tenth Book.

Recap: Alumni of Influence Awards 2015

 Photo provided by Martin Iskandar

On the evening of Saturday, May 2, Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, and Maggie Broda (AOCA, 1972), President, OCAD U Alumni Association honoured the recipients of the 2015 Alumni of Influence Awards. It was a lovely evening where over 130 guests enjoyed complimentary hors d'ouevres from Underwood's Catering, refreshments, and live entertainment by jazz trio Aurochs. Cheryl L'Hirondelle (Medal Winner, MFA, 2015) performed an Aboriginal welcome ceremony.

These five exceptional alumni have made an impact across a wide range of fields and pursuits, including landscape painting, higher education, interior design, illustration, photojournalism, Aboriginal art and culture, and art for social change. Each of them inspires us and we are so proud to celebrate their achievements. 

View photos of the evening here

The videos of the 2015 recipients are now up!  

Make a nomination for the 2016 Alumni of Influence Awards! 

Q&A with Trailblazer Award Winner Gracia Lam (BDes, 2009)

 Photo provided by Gracia Lam

We caught up with Gracia Lam (BDes, Illustration, 2009) after the awards reception to ask her a few questions. 

AN: What does winning this award mean to you?
GL: Winning this award is an immense honour. I am humbled to be recognized alongside other notable creatives and graduates in the field. Winning the award means I need to continue working proficiently to improve on each project and to be on top of my own game. My goal is to to keep progressing to spread the knowledge on the importance of illustration in the industry.

AN: What advice would you give to recent alumni?
GL: I would say it's important to keep producing work and promote your work. It's essential to set short-term and long-term goals. Try to be committed to create one or two pieces of illustrations a week, create a larger project for yourself to add to your portfolios, find magazines or clients you want to work with and send them polite emails and promos, and be fearless about entering work into annual shows. 

AN: What is one of your most memorable experiences at OCAD U?
GL: My most memorable experiences from OCAD are the interactions and community that is built throughout the years. After 6 years since graduating, I am grateful to be connected to many friends and professors. This network creates an immeasurable amount of support and encouragement. The sharing of creativity, and knowledge is very meaningful for me to sustain and propel my passion in this field.

View Gracia Lam's full profile and video here and her website

Alumni News

 Illustration provided by Kimberly Myrans

Teresa Aversa, (BFA, Criticism & Curatorial Practice, 2009) graduated with honours and started an art consulting firm, Art and Objects Inc., that creates custom art work and art programs for interior design agencies as well as private clients. Teresa continues to practice her art, and is Co-Chair of the moccamigos, a young patrons group at MOCCA.

Shelley Beach, (AOCAD, Drawing & Painting, 2004) had 3 paintings accepted and won an award of merit from the juried exhibition at the Art Gallery of Bancroft

Robert Frederick (Fred) Down, (AOCA, 1949). The late Robert (Fred) Down's work is being exhibited at The Gates until May 23. 

Kyle Martin, (AOCAD, Integrated Media, 2002), earned the prize for best picture editing in a reality/competition program or series for The Amazing Race in March 2015, at the recent Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto.  Read more

Kimberly (Deir) Myrans, (AOCAD, Illustration, 2001) has recently written and illustrated a children's book, The Star Breasted Blackbird. Her book tells the story of a young bird who learns how to earn its stars. Website

Lisa Deanne Smith, (AOCA, 1993, MFA, Cranbrook) is engaged in a cultural practice that moves between mediums — art, curating, writing and community events — exploring issues of voice, experience and power. She has exhibited internationally including White Columns, The New Museum, and Mercer Union. Currently, she is the Curator at Onsite [at] OCAD U.

Share your news with Alumni Relations 

Alumni in Action: Christina Kostoff (BFA, 2009)

  Photo provided by Christina Kostoff

After graduating from OCAD U, Christina Kostoff (BFA, Sculpture & Installation, 2009) studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she earned her MFA in 2013. During her studies in Chicago, Christina developed her studio practice as well as studying art history. She received a nomination from the Clay Morisson Scholarship for her outstanding research in the area of L’Art Brute (European ‘raw art’) as well as American outsider art. Within the local Chicago scene, Christina began curating screenings and exhibitions showcasing artists working in all media.

A year ago, Christina opened Yellow House Gallery, borrowing its namesake from the historic Yellow House, a studio founded by Vincent Van Gogh at the turn of the 20th century. In this house Van Gogh and other artists such as Paul Gaugin hashed out some pretty modern ideas concerning the art of their time. In honour of the original Yellow House, her gallery aims to carry on the tradition of fostering a supportive space for new and exploratory practices. 

AN: What led you to pursue a career in the arts?
CK:  Growing up I had many different creative outlets. My interest in performing on stage led me to study at George Brown Acting Conservatory. However, I would spend all of my time outside of acting school painting and drawing, and eventually I discovered that I’d rather study art than acting. 

During my time at OCAD U, I fell in love with the Sculpture and Installation program. I found an art form that married my passion for narrative and the dramatic in theatre, with my love for visual and surreal environments. Art is an experience and not necessarily a discreet thing. 

AN: Looking back, what was most resonant or pertinent from your OCAD U experience?
CK: The greatest thing I learned was to look at things using both intuition and critical thinking in tandem. My program put great emphasis on concept and a keen awareness of how your work fits into the grand narrative of sculpture and installation as a practice. I was taught to follow my own voice and push the boundaries, but also understand exactly what boundaries are being pushed. 

AN: What has been the most exciting (and possibly intimidating) project you have taken on?
CK: Opening my own gallery, Yellow House, has been so exciting and terrifying at the same time. My OCAD U professor Collette Whiten (AOCA, 1972) said to me years ago, “If you can think your way through a project from beginning to end, then there’s a problem. It won’t be alive.” Looking back on the last year of Yellow House being in business, I feel this exact way. I celebrate the small successes, which is something that  Maggie Broda (AOCA, 1972) taught me. Those little successes add up over time, and soon the gallery will be something that I couldn’t possibly have imagined. I make sure everyone that walks in my gallery feels respected and satisfied with their experience. Thus far, this attitude has served me well, and the arts community has been so supportive. 

AN: What advice would you give the class of 2015 as they approach starting a professional art or design practice?
CK: Trust your own voice and what feels right for you. Your path to success can take on many forms; a show, a residency, a commission, or making art in your spare time while working another job. Success is taking your practice seriously and watching it grow day by day.  Don’t just talk about ideas, create them and share them. You define your own success.

Share your journey since graduation with Alumni Relations and we might profile you in the newsletter! 

Giving News: Canada's Walk of Fame


Canada’s Walk of Fame is delighted to partner with OCAD University to award two scholarships, each valued at $2,500, that will help cover tuition fees. These scholarships are presented annually to two third-year undergraduate students who have achieved the highest academic success in the Material Art & Design program.

As a national registered charity, Canada’s Walk of Fame is committed to not only celebrating Canadian excellence, but also inspiring the next generation of emerging talent. Through scholarships and programs such as the Canada’s Walk of Fame Scholarship at OCAD U, Canada’s Walk of Fame offers support to engage, inspire and mentor young Canadians. Read More

If you want to learn more about supporting students contact Michelle Kim. 

Build those business skills! 


The Artists' Health Alliance is hosting a weekend seminar designed to help you, as an artist, revitalize your career. Facilitated by Jack Cunningham and special guest speaker Jorge Lee. 

During this weekend seminar you will go through activities helping you take five distinct steps for your career: analyze and define yourself for the marketplace, clarify your offering, make solid plans to get more business, manage your finances, and managing day-to-day operations.

Friday, June 12:  6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 13:  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 14:  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

OCAD University
100 McCaul St.
Room 190 (Auditorium) 

This $350 value seminar is available for only $80 thanks to sponsorship by AFBS and OCAD U Alumni Relations. 

Register Today!

Call for Application: Take It To Market Incubator

 Photo provided by Imagination Catalyst

In the Take It To Market incubator program, operated by OCAD U`s Imagination Catalyst, participants commit to working on their venture intensively for up to one year with the aim of launching an enterprise or licensing successfully within that year. Participants accepted into the program are provided with work space plus relevant business education, skills training, one on one personal and business development coaching and, most importantly, access to experienced, accredited pool of investors and advisors who can provide further support, guidance and access to funding. We also offer access to OCAD U studios for prototyping, legal formation and IP/patent process assistance, plus extended student benefits during your IC year.

"Take It To Market" 2015 application deadline:
May 22, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.

Apply Today! 

Volunteer for O-DAYS! 2015


Would you like to get involved, have fun with your peers and make new alumni friends while helping behind the scenes? Join the O-TEAM and volunteer your time and energy to help welcome new students to the OCAD U community this September! 

Submit your volunteer application before Friday, August 14, 2015. Join the O-TEAM!

In Memoriam


Mary Gay Brooks, (AOCA, 1964)
Passed away peacefully in the Palliative Care Unit at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on April 17, 2015 with close friends by her side. Full Obituary

William Gordon McIntosh, (AOCA, 1984)
Passed away early March 19, 2015 in his 100th year. Full Obituary

Joshua Peltier
(AOCAD, 2003) Joshua (Josh) Peltier passed away peacefully on Monday April 20, 2015, at Health Science North in Sudbury, Ontario at the age of 38. Beloved husband of Jessica Wilde-Peltier and loving father of Caleja Peltier. Full Obituray

, (AOCA, 1942)
Beloved wife of the late Derek McLaughlin Phillips and greatly loved mother died peacefully on March 10, 2015. Full Obituary 

Special thanks, as always, to alumnus John Ellis (AOCA, 1961) for keeping us informed. 


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