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East End Spotlight is a monthly news piece where we highlight east end artists, arts organizations and creative spaces & professionals that we want to shine a spotlight onđź’™!

For April 2020, we got in touch with a few different artists & arts organizations (who reside or work in east Toronto), to learn more about what they’re doing and how we can all support them!
*Banner image from Bareket Kezwer.

Scroll down to read more about the following artists & arts organizations:

  1. Adam Garnet Jones – Artist – Beadwork, Fiction writing, Filmmaking
  2. Bareket Kezwer – Artist – Multidisciplinary—focus on murals
  3. The Make Station – Arts Organization – Art Studio
  4. Mimi O’Bonsawin – Artist – Music
  5. Secret Planet Print Shop – Arts Organization – Screen-printed art store
  6. Wendy Anderson – Textile/Fiber Artist

1. Artist Spotlight: Adam Garnet Jones

Name: Adam Garnet Jones

Discipline: Beadwork, Fiction writing, Filmmaking

Artist Website:

Artist on Social: @adamgarnetjones on Instagram

Tell our readers a bit about yourself:

I’m a Cree/Metis beadworker, novelist, and filmmaker living in the east end. I’ve spent most of my career as a writer and director for film and TV, but I transitioned to a support role as Indigenous Liaison and Content Analyst at Telefilm Canada a couple of years ago. As a result, I have had to step away from my own practice as a filmmaker and focus on other things. Beadwork has really become the focus of my creative efforts. I love that it allows me to make things for people like jingle dress dancers, to research design traditions and techniques related to the communities where my family comes from, and that I can craft beautiful things that help people feel special when they wear them. I like the idea of the things I’m making being a kind of heirloom.

How has social distancing affected your art practice?

Well, I certainly am getting a lot of beadwork done. Most of my creative processes, including beadwork, have always been done in isolation. So in some way, social distancing has been great for that. But it isn’t until we are really and truly cut off from one another that, even as introverts, many of us realize how badly we need to connect with one another. The online community that I have participated in has been incredibly valuable in feeling like the work I’m doing alone is part of something larger. The BYOBeads group that is supported by East End Arts has been a little blinking light in the darkness of it all. It also helps that most of my work is done on commission, so I am communicating with clients about what they have in mind, and then interpreting those ideas for the designs. Beadwork is a very meditative process which I like to think of as a kind of community service, so there is a lot of intention and thought about the wearer that goes into my beadwork. All that to say, I feel connected to people through my beadwork, even through isolation.

How can audiences support the work you’re doing?

I feel very lucky that I have been able to stay active with commissions throughout this time, but I think that if audiences can continue to support artists through the commissioning of work, buying books (e.g. my novel Fire Song) and ensuring that you are paying for content and/or making donations to people supporting artists wherever possible.

What are some virtual art events/initiatives that you’re excited about?

I’m still learning about it all, to be honest! I love the work that Glad Day Bookstore is doing to support artists who are out of work as a result of Covid-19, and the work that a number of performers are doing in support of The Actors’ Fund.

2. Artist Spotlight: Bareket Kezwer

Name: Bareket Kezwer

Discipline: multidisciplinary—focus on murals and socially engaged art practices

Artist Website:

Artist on Social: @bkez and @womxnpaint on Instagram

Tell our readers a bit about yourself:

I am a Toronto-based muralist, community engaged artist, curator, creative director, graphic designer and eternal optimist. My work is motivated by a desire to spread joy, cultivate gratitude, and support the growth of inclusive and connected communities. I program and facilitate projects that empower people through creative engagement and increase representation of Toronto’s diverse population.

In 2017, I founded Womxn Paint, a street art jam celebrating the strength, resilience and diverse stories of womxn. As the initiative’s creative director, I have produced 75 murals by emerging and early career artists, facilitated an intergenerational community mural with residents in Rexdale, and co-facilitated a mural camp for young womxn.

In my murals, I work with bright colours and bold patterns to captivate people’s attention and fill them with delight. I am passionate about creating art that both aesthetically and psychologically enliven environments. This is what inspired me to start my ongoing SMILE project—since 2007 I have created SMILEs all over the world, including in Australia, Canada, Cuba, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Singapore, Spain, The Netherlands, USA, and Vietnam.

How has social distancing affected your art practice?

Since social distancing measures came into place, my practice has experienced significant changes. Youth Paint Parkdale, the March break camp I programmed, was postponed. There are major question marks around all my summer mural projects. Like many people, COVID 19 has created an enormous amount of uncertainty in my life.

Art is my way of creating the world I want to live in. Art is part of my ongoing exploration of how to live a good life, a question that is as important now as it has ever been. I continue to look to my practice as a space to seek answers, share my findings and offer invitations to others to join me on the journey. In an effort to add more light and love to the world, I am using this time to create work that responds directly to the pandemic from a place of loving kindness, compassion and self love. I am painting love notes around my neighbourhood on my daily walks and am working on a big one on a construction site on Osler Street. Last week, I painted a physical distancing mural for the Parkdale Activity and Recreation Centre and the Parkdale Community Food Bank to help those lining up for meals and food follow safety protocols.

The uncertainty and fear surrounding this pandemic has brought anxiety to visit more regularly. I’ve been renegotiating my relationship with anxiety for over a decade, and I’m currently opening my toolkit of coping mechanisms many times daily. Anxiety is very future-oriented and takes us out of whatever is actually going on around us. I’m trying to use my art practice to ground me in the present moment and help me take it day by day. I hand-cut 77 paper hearts, assembled them into 7 hanging strands, and installed them like a rainbow in my window. It shares love with those who pass by my house. I am making a painting of tracking myself taking 36 deep breaths starting with an exhale instead of an inhale daily. I am taking time daily to move my body by going for a walk, dancing and practicing yoga.

How can audiences support the work you’re doing?

  • Buy a rainbow heart window installation. I am asking $150 with $50 from every purchase being donated to support Women’s College Hospital COVID-19 Assessment Centre.  I can do contact free pick up or delivery in the GTA. DM me on instagram or send me an e-mail.
  • Follow me @bkez and @womxnpaint on instagram and share my work to help more people connect with my message.
  • Practice self love and help spread love not fear.

What are some virtual art events/initiatives that you’re excited about?

3. Arts Organization: The Make Station

Name: The Make Station

Type of Organization: Art Studio, specializing in kids programming


Social Handles: @themakestation on Instagram, and @themakestation on Facebook

Tell our readers a bit about your arts organization, your history, artistic mandate etc.: 

I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Mount Allison University with the passion of inspiring people to follow their dreams. I had always loved the arts, and growing up knew that I would somehow be involved in the arts community. It became clear when I graduated that there was a need for arts education in Toronto, as most schools had made major cuts to their art programming. To fill that void, I created The Make Station which opened in September of 2018. We are a local art studio that specializes in kids programming, events/parties, and camps! Our goal is to create an environment where everyone is a maker.

What makes your arts organization unique or different?

What makes us unique is that we try our best to adapt to each individual child that comes into our studio. We want to accommodate as much as possible to allow for everyone to feel like they can make something they are proud of! We offer a range of programs so that everyone has something they are interested in, from painting, sculpture, drawing, mixed media, and photography.

How has social distancing affected your arts organization?

Social distancing is very important in order to flatten the curve of infections of COVID-19. However, it has greatly effected everyone’s interactions with one another. We are a studio where children come in and do the projects here in our studio, but we have also now been closed for 2 weeks. Social distancing has greatly affected our ability to connect with our students but also as a small business it has greatly affected our operations.

How can community members interact or support your organization right now?

We have adapted our business so that we can interact with our amazing community and students! We have created take-home kits that I deliver myself to the doorsteps of our customers. There is zero contact and children then have a craft they can easily do at home! Every week we create 20 new and free kits to give out to the first 20 people who contact us. There are also retail craft kits, and The Make Station craft kits available for purchase! We have also moved our sessional classes onto livestream, and I supply all of the art supplies through delivery.

What are some virtual art events/initiatives you’re excited about?

We recently just launched our subscription art box for kids! I am very excited about that, as we have had a HUGE response. We provide a box filled with 3 different art projects through contactless delivery every Friday! This includes a sculpture clay project and two mixed media projects. This box is great for both parents and kids because there isn’t a set time to make the projects so you can work it into your own schedule. We provide all the instructions and tutorials to help the kids make their art! You can find more information about our subscription art box online.

4. Artist Spotlight: Mimi O’Bonsawin

Name: Mimi O’Bonsawin

Discipline: Music

Artist Website:

Artist on Social: @mimiobonsawin on Instagram; @mimiobonsawinmusic on Facebook

Tell our readers a bit about yourself:

Mimi O’Bonsawin is an award winning , roots songstress. Although based in Toronto, you can find Mimi out on the road bringing songs and stories to divers audiences all over this country and abroad. Her songs are heavily influenced by her Francophone and Abenakis (Indigenous) roots and flow through a centre of love and creativity. Her compositions are nurtured by the beauty of her home landscape, Northeastern Ontario and her performances honest and raw.

“I am a songwriter, a story teller, a listener, an art maker and a child of the earth…. Most of all, I believe in love above all else. My songs and stories are deeply rooted in my relationship with the land, with my family, and where I come from. I am passionate about elevating the youth voice through music and creating art that is wholesome and honest…. A true reflection of who I am. Because I am an artist full time, I am always making art is various forms. If I am not working music, I am sewing clothes, making pompoms, painting or learning about plants outside….Music & Art is the vehicle that carries my stories, my voice, my heart and my soul. Thanks for listening.”

How has social distancing affected your art practice?

I am currently Isolated with my family in Northeastern Ontario. I felt that I would be safest with my family all together, therefore we packed up our animals, instruments and crafts and moved up north until everything settles. I am very happy to be with family right now, but I left behind my studio and my work space for the time being, (don’t worry I have friends watering my plants).

This shift has definitely impacted my work routine and creative flow. I am still working every day, but the adjustment took some time.

On the other side, many of my gigs have been cancelled of postponed. For the past 2-3 months, I have been planning my summer touring schedule with some really awesome festivals lined up. Now, there is a lot of uncertainty if those will take place. Some have cancelled already, some granting agencies have advised us to withdraw applications and I have already had to move things around.

Touring and Gigs is my main source of income, so there is of course a lot of stress not knowing what will happen in the future, BUT, I am healthy, I am with the ones I love, and I will continue to create art!

How can audiences support the work you’re doing?

Audiences can help artists like me by sharing videos, listening to music online, adding songs to their playlists, sharing our music with your friends ( helps reach a new audiences). You can order CDS online or by mail.

You can learn a song and post a cover of you playing it (OMG THIS WOULD BE SO COOL)…. You can post a dance routine or a yoga practice…..There is so many creative and fun ways to help artists get through this difficult time…. these are just a few ideas off the top of my head.

What are some virtual art events/initiatives that you’re excited about?

I have been asked to participate in a few live-stream concert initiatives, but I am not allowed to disclose the details just yet, so stay tuned for some announcements! That being said, it has been really fun working virtually with my band. My bass player is currently in India, my drummer and percussionist in Toronto, and I am in Northeastern Ontario. We have been sending songs and ideas back and forth. We are still working on the music recording, but at a distance… it has been so fun and interesting.

I have not yet live streamed a concert. I have taken this time away from social media and diving deep into writing, rehearsing and crafting…I am loving that other musicians are hosting live-stream concerts in their homes and some really cool virtual festivals are popping up. It makes my heart melt to see people coming together to continue to make concerts happen!!!

6. Artist Spotlight: Wendy Anderson

Name: Wendy Anderson

Discipline: Textile/Fiber Artist

Artist Website: and

Artist on Social: @wa_feltsculpture & @republicofwonder on Instagram; @wafeltsculpture on Facebook

Tell our readers a bit about yourself:

Growing up, I spent my life wandering the wooly prairie grasslands beneath an endless sky. Alone or with a dog.

I was constantly making my own toys. My father did a lot of hunting. My mom would occasionally tan, sew and bead the hides. There was always a lot of organic material lying about. I created tiny other-worldly planets and creatures from hide, fur, feathers, bark, antlers, clay and wool… I told my stories through them.

I began to play with wool and organic materials again in 2016. I taught myself from YouTube, learning flat felting from Afghani rug makers, surface design from Russian bootmakers, sculpting from basket weavers, ceramicists and DIY millinery videos.

The idea of imaginative play is still at the core of my process – it frees the relationship between form, color and traditional design elements by opening new ways to toy with the textures of story and our shared experience.

How has social distancing affected your art practice?

When my landlord called me to tell me that my studio was shuttered, I was devastated. I can’t work there. I can’t get at my materials. My day job has been dramatically impacted, (at least I don’t have to pay the studio rent). So, I have no income coming in and the future is a nebulous series of what ifs. That’s not cool, but I also feel – grateful? special?? – to be here while this is happening.

I keep reminding myself to take this time and listen to what the messages are. The messages beneath all the palaver and political machinations of those who intend to profit off or usurp our voice.  The impact on truth, and the truth in our relationships. The effect on ageism, the economic divide and how we access information. Who we are when how we define ourselves is disappearing?  What will become of the adjustments to our lifestyles that we are all thinking over as we re-imagine the world through the lens of a pandemic…

We are walking a shifting landscape and I want to be aware of everything – EVERY moment of this wild ride so that I can respond.

How can audiences support the work you’re doing?

Well, follow me on Insta, Facebook. Check out my websites. Get in touch.

AND please upvote my piece “Anthropocene Chaos 1” for the People Choice Award of the Overzealous 2020: Reimagined show. You can see an image of the work here (so you know if you like it or not) and you can vote for it by going to this link and putting the number 68 in the voting field.

Here’s an ask, if you can think of any projects that I might be a good fit for, or if you are looking for a fierce creative for ANYTHING, reach out to me. I’m also a writer, actor, immersive event designer, blah, blah, blah… I’ve been an arts administrator many times over and I love to play well with others.

What are some virtual art events/initiatives that you’re excited about?

Well there’s that community art project that I was going to do with you at East End Arts – you’re amazing btw. I sure hope to be able to do that in the future. I am stoked about the upcoming OverZealous 2020: Re-imagined Exhibition at the Art Space Connect Gallery, Neilson Park Creative Center AND being included in their 2020 coffee table book for the show.

I’m also excited to be a part of the Freedom Factory V.A.M show (postponed to August??) It’s not just an amazing juried exhibition over 3 days, but it also features professional development workshops for emerging artists, expert panel talks, networking for creatives via art parties in both the gallery space and their VIP rooftop! Pretty cool actually.

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