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Art Mentorship Project


In the summer of 2013, we partnered with the McMichael Canadian Art Collection to launch the Art Mentorship Project to provide support to emerging artists and foster professional development, production and exhibition under the guidance of local, established artists in a distinctly Canadian context.  

Each year, an artist is paired with an established Canadian artist and given professional development assistance on-site at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in several one-on-one sessions. The mentor and apprentice collaborate on a piece or body of work that is showcased at the McMichael gallery.  

2015 Art Mentorship Project

Mentor: Césan d'Ornellas Levine                                                                                                Césan d'Ornellas Levine is an experimental visual artist based in Richmond Hill and Toronto. She is known for her large-scale expressive abstract paintings, and more recently, for her original mixed media work.

Césan has had a studio practice for more than twenty-five years. As a self-trained artist, her work is grounded in a self-imposed regimen of 'above the wrist' disciplines inspired by influential Russian artist and art theorist, Wassily Kandinsky, such as meditation, fasting, and personal development.

Her analysis and practice of this rich process has made her a sought-after and inspiring artist-presenter.

Highlights of Césan's career include international representation by notable public and private galleries, and invitations to participate in various artist residency programs, including two consecutive sessions at Trent University. Césan also supports numerous charitable organizations through donations of time and artwork. Her work can be viewed online at

Apprentice: John Lowndes                                                                                                            An emerging Canadian photo-based artist, John Lowndes works in transforming the
traditional photograph. Through various collage, sculpture, multi-media and installation strategies, Lowndes seeks to create enigmatic experiences of photographic imagery. Often contemplating themes of memory, mortality and perception of the external world, Lowndes pursues unique experiences which shed light upon daily life. Receiving his Bachelors of Fine Arts from York University in 2014, he has garnered recognition within the Toronto art community as a finalist in the Untapped Emerging Artist section of the Toronto Artist Project 2015, and a solo exhibitor in the Toronto Contact Photography Festival 2015. See Lowndes work at

2014 Art Mentorship Project

Mentor: Bonnie Devine                                                                                                             Bonnie Devine is a member of the Serpent River First Nation of Northern Ontario (Ojibwa/Anishinaabe) and is an installation artist, curator, writer and educator. Her work is rooted in sculpture and site-specific installation, but also includes video, drawing, and painting. Devine’s art is about stories – especially the narratives, history, or legends of the land - and has been exhibited in Canada, the US, and Europe. She is an Associate Professor at OCAD University in Toronto. 

Apprentice: Kevin Yung                                                                                                                 Kevin Yung is a Markham based sculpture/installation artist who focuses on process-based explorations through mold-making, casting, and printmaking. Conceptually, Yung’s most recent work explores cultural identity through an examination of personal language barriers. Devine will help Yung fine-tune his artistic practices through technical assistance, theoretical discussions, critiques, and exhibition preparation. 

2013 Art Mentorship Project

Mentor: David McEown                                                                                                             From Antarctica to the North Pole and with great emphasis on the Canadian wilderness, artist David McEown celebrates some of the most beautiful, yet fragile, natural heritage of our planet though the creative act of painting.

After graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1992, David spent his last 2 years off campus pursuing independent studies at the Algoma School of Landscape Arts based in the remote wilderness of Northern Ontario.  After completing these studies he stayed several more years teaching and wilderness guiding.  For his body of work done in this Lake Superior region steeped in indigenous culture and Canadian landscape painting history, David was awarded the Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation Grant in 1994 and again in 1999.

Also in 1999, he was elected a member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour for which he served as a director from 2002 to 2007.

David's work has received national and international awards, in various juried shows.  His most prestigious award came in 2005 with the A.J. Casson Medal from the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour.

Since then he has earned a reputation as one of Canada's most accomplished and travelled landscape watercolourists, represented with paintings in many public and corporate collections worldwide as well as articles published in numerous magazines. See his website at

Apprentice: Ben Barak                                                                                                        Although at a glance you may think he is a painter, Ben Barak considers himself an Installation artist: He creates surreal narratives that engage the viewer as both painting and artifact. Barak is intrigued by the nature of truth; the manner in which ‘truths’ are both disseminated to the public (the viewer), and become additionally distorted by our own prejudices.  His works are “visual conspiracies” which guide the viewer to narrative conclusions with incomplete or erroneous information, and involve both the viewer and their surroundings in their dilemma.  View his work at

York Region Arts Council, YRAC

1310 Kerrisdale Blvd., Unit 200
Newmarket, ON. L3Y 7B3

Phone: 905-726-3278
Fax: 905-726-2788

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