Pitch, Please! is a “Walrus Talks”-style forum that will identify and promote the importance of arts integration across a variety of fields, including urban planning, education, health, and community building.
Andrew Davies (He/Him)
Founder and Executive Director, No.9: Contemporary Art & the Environment
Andrew Davies received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queen’s University, a Masters in Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and a Masters of Science in Cities from the London School of Economics. Through his extensive career in the visual arts, first at MoMA and then as a public art consultant in Toronto, Davies has learned the power and influence that art and culture can have on our society. In 2006, he founded the charitable arts organization No.9: Contemporary Art & the Environment in support of artists and their quest to bring awareness to pressing environmental issues. Under Davies direction, No.9 has produced and commissioned more than 30 public art installations in Toronto and delivered hands-on sustainable design education to over 5,000 students across Canada.
In 2018, No.9 launched Canada’s first Sustainability and Reconciliation Centre called No.9 Gardens. This alternative educational facility empowers students through creative hands-on learning to lead a revolution in building sustainable communities.
Davies has taught at Eyebeam Atelier in New York and at George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. He has spoken at lectures, reviews and symposiums around the world including MIT Media Lab, Columbia University and MoMA. He served on the Educational Advisory Committee at the Art Gallery of Ontario and currently sits on the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Toronto District School Board. He resides in Canada with his wife, Elizabeth and their two children, Hanna and Rupert.
Azul Baez (She/Her)
Administrative and Programs Coordinator, Workman Arts
Originally from Mexico, now operating in Toronto, Canada. I’m an arts administrator, non-clinical art therapist, and community builder. From my highly-sensitive character, I create art practices that make us imagine greater futures, both personal and collective. My educational training is in the History of Arts and Aesthetics from the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, Mexico. Later my passion for community work led me to do a postgraduate degree in Art Education and Community Engagement at Centennial College, Canada.
My professional experience includes curatorial and educational work with arts organizations as well as art direction for audiovisual productions for the film and advertisement industry. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time in nature and dancing. I am an advocate for mental health and food justice, both are a recurring inspiration in my work.
Ariana Moscote Freire (She/Her)
Senior Policy Advisor, Ontario Creates
Ariana Moscote Freire is the Senior Policy Advisor at Ontario Creates, an agency of Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport that is mandated to support the economic development of Ontario’s creative industries, including book publishing, film/tv, music, interactive digital media, and magazine media. As a research and policy professional, she enjoys working on initiatives that increase sector capacity through sharing of business intelligence and best practices.
Prior to joining Ontario Creates, Ariana worked as a head of research and project manager in a boutique management consulting firm that specialized in cultural facilities and municipal cultural planning. She was also Research Developer at the Glasgow School of Art during a year abroad in Scotland. She holds a BA in Communications and Journalism from Concordia University, and a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from McGill.
Christina Giannelia (She/Her)
Executive Director, North York Arts
Christina Giannelia is inspired by the role the arts play in uplifting, inspiring and celebrating communities. Born and raised in Toronto, Christina has over a decade of experience in the international arts /non-profit sector, having held leadership positions in arts organizations in Canada and abroad. She is an alum and Board member of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and holds an MA in Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Christina is passionate about innovation and is excited by the creativity of future generations and their impact on the changing world.
Jasmine Vanstone (She/Her)
Communities & Outreach Coordinator, TO Live
Jasmine Vanstone is a Jamaican-Canadian multidisciplinary artist and arts administrator based in North York who explores the themes of anti-Black racism, mixed race identity, mental health and wellness, and environmental justice. A graduate of York University, she earned a BFA with Honours in Visual Art-Studio and a Certificate in Cultural and Artistic Practice for Environmental and Social Justice (CAP). Jasmine pursued further arts administration experience through Centennial College’s Arts Management Program and is currently the Communities & Outreach Coordinator at TO Live. In 2022, Jasmine was awarded the JAYU Arts For Human Rights iAM Award, recognizing her passions in social justice and the arts. With hopes to inspire, impact, and amplify marginalized voices through community engagement and arts education, Jasmine continues to grow through professional development opportunities such as Sketch’s NextUp! Leaders Lab, VIBE Arts NExT & Desire Lines Mentorship Programs, JAYU, and North York Arts.
Kyla Radoja (She/Her)
Public Art and Partners Manager, Toronto Artscape Inc.
Kyla Radoja’s passions for art, design and heightening the experiences of public spaces are united fully in her current role. Prior to this Kyla was an Interior Architect in her hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland. Kyla has since traveled and lived around the world and moved to Toronto over a decade ago. Within Toronto, Kyla has gained rich experiences in event planning, production management, and art curation at Nuvango Gallery and Notion Manufacturing, before moving further into the public art management realm at Artscape Atelier in July 2020.
In her spare time she creates and showcases her own art and spends as much time walking in nature and urban exploring as her feet will take her. Art was the foundation that allowed Kyla to feel like part of the community and the City on her journey to becoming a resident in Canada; it is a connector of people from a variety of cultures, languages and backgrounds. When creatives are part of the fabric of the environment, the community’s experiences thrive.
Rebecca Peirson (She/Her)
Arts Management Program Coordinator, School of Communications, Media, Arts and Design, Centennial College
Rebecca is a seasoned arts marketing professional. She managed Mongrel Media’s Theatrical and Video Marketing and Sales departments, was the Marketing Manager at the National Film Board of Canada, the Marketing and Communications Director at Nightwood Theatre, the Associate Director of Marketing and Audience Development at Luminato Festival as well as the Marketing Manager at Crow’s Theatre. Rebecca currently sits on the Board of the Association of Arts Administration Educators.
As Program Coordinator of the Arts Management program at Centennial College, Rebecca brings a wealth of organizational and administrative experience to her lead role as well as solid post secondary teaching experience – Centennial’s Arts Management and Museums and Cultural Management programs as well as Seneca College’s Event Marketing program. From January 2019 to January 2020, she was hired as the interim Chair of the Arts and Design department at Centennial’s School of Communications, Media, Arts and Design as well as continuing her role as the Arts Management Coordinator.