Beyond Access, Beyond the Creative

Cross-Sector Artist Professional Development

A North York Arts professional development program that builds artists’ capacity as producers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders. This program teaches artists how to create programming that supports their own artistic vision and leverages the talents of the communities they work within all disciplines and across sectors.’

We would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

All workshops at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge Street, North York 


Art and Wellness

9am to 5pm

This full day workshop will look at the role of the arts in healthcare. The use of artistic practises in healthcare, wellness and mental health is a wide-ranging movement that illustrates how the arts enhance lives and impact patient care, hospital environments, care for caregivers, and community-building within medical and therapy settings.



Georgia Webber

Georgia Webber is a comics artist and writer based in Hamilton, Ontario. Georgia co-founded and then ran an anthology publication called gangLion comics. Georgia has worked for BookThug, The Scream Literary Festival, The Void Magazine, Trapshot Archives, Rover Arts, and as Comics Editor of carte blanche. Dumb can be seen in Taddle Creek, Descant: Cartooning Degree Zero, and the Irene comics anthology, as well as in kevin mcpherson eckhoff’s Selfie and in various interviews. This year Georgia is a keynote speaker at the Graphic Medicine Conference: Access Points.

Helen Donnelly

An award-winning clown teacher, she has been teaching clown and movement workshops in the US and Canada for over 15 years at colleges and art institutions including Durham and Fleming College, Haliburton School of the Arts, The Second City, (Toronto) and the University of Toronto. Independently she holds her own theatrical clown training workshops. She has been a guest trainer for clowns working in healthcare in both Israel, Portugal and Canada.

Aside from her work in the theatrical and circus clown realm, she is a professional therapeutic clown offering artistic clown interaction through therapeutic play at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Previously, she worked at The Hospital for Sick Children and with Dr Clown (Toronto-serving elders with dementia) for over 2 years as Artistic Coordinator and Programs Coordinator. Her passion in the therapeutic clown field has her directly involved in raising standards of practice through presenting at conferences, training others in the field and in research efforts to bring about a better understanding about how this arts-based practice affects patients, families and staff

Sharona Bookbinder

Sharona Bookbinder has been practicing art therapy
for 20+ years, specializing in geriatrics, palliation and cancer care. She divides her time between working full-time at Sunnybrook HSC, doctoral studies and being a mother to 3 boys. She also provides clinical supervision for art therapist in the community.

Creative Entrepreneur 

Branding & Marketing with True Inner Purpose – A Social Justice Based approach to Business for Artists

9:30am to 4:30am

This interactive, hands-on creative workshop focuses on how artists can tell their story through dynamic marketing and branding. While this workshop teaches hard skills in marketing and branding, it is specifically designed for artists who wish to build careers and creative enterprises that are rooted in their True Inner Purpose, honouring their calling in life, with an equity and social-justice based approach to business. This workshop emphasizes personal development, cultivating focus and clarity, sustainability and well-being in one’s creative practice, while supporting sustainability and practical skills in creative entrepreneurship.

This workshop will cover:

  1. How to Create a Brand centred around your True Inner Purpose: Crystalize the message of your company or personal brand, by identifying what makes you unique, and what aspect of your work is the most aligned with your true inner purpose.
  2. How to Find Focus, Clarity, and Purpose: Grounding in your own sense of power as a creative entrepreneur. Understand who your target market is, and strategize ways how best to reach them.
  3. Social Justice Based approach to Marketing and Business: Learn an introduction to sales funnels, and marketing strategies to build long-term relationships with your best customers.



The Real Sun

The Real Sun is the Creator of Voice of Purpose, a Creative Enterprise that delivers Purpose Driven Education through the Arts. The Real Sun has successfully combined her talent as an artist (singer/songwriter/poet), with her love for education, healing, and social justice to create a social enterprise that allows her to live her purpose and passion every day. She uses her music, poetry, and dance as tools of engagement for education, in Workshops and Musical Keynotes across the province and around the world. Constantly encouraging her students to stand in their authenticity, passion, and purpose.

The Real Sun’s artistic practice invokes a journey of deepening into authenticity, and integrates a wide range of form, including poetry, music, visual arts, theatre, and dance. She has performed on stages across 5 continents, with a deep commitment to contributing to the evolution of humanity. Everything The Real Sun creates in the arts or in business is about making a positive impact on the world. The Real Sun is committed to supporting people to identify, align with, and develop the skills to pursue their true purpose in life.

Producing Big Ideas: From the Ground Up

9:30am to 4:30pm

This full day workshop will provide a step by step overview of what is required to develop successful programming from a production standpoint. This workshop is designed for community organizers who want to use arts to engage their community, as well as artists seeking feedback on their ideas. This workshop will provide an opportunity for artists and communities to network and build partnerships on-site that will help move their ideas forward. Participants will be encouraged to bring their ideas and time will be spent on developing these on-site. Breakout sessions will allow for one-on-one feedback.



Dan Watson

Dan has created, performed and taught theatre across Canada, Scotland, France, the United States and Japan. He is Co-Artistic Director of Edge of the Woods Theatre in his home town of Huntsville. This company produces an annual travelling outdoor theatre festival as well as various community arts projects for youth and seniors. Dan is a co-founder of the international theatre company Ahuri Theatre. Recently this company travelled to Japan to present Yabu No Naka at the prestigious Setagaya Public Theatre at the prestigious Setagaya Public Theatre. With Ahuri, Dan also recently conceived and directed the workshop production of A Fool’s Life at the Japan Foundation in Toronto.

Dan was also a member of Compagnie Houppz! with whom he created and toured the hit show SplasH20 to sold out houses across Canada and France. This production was recently nominated for an Eloize Prize for Outstanding Production in Eastern Francophone Canada. Through an artistic residency at Théâtre Populaire d’Acadie, the company recently created a new piece entitled Mouving.

In Toronto, Dan has performed in Theatre Smith Gilmour’s Grimm Too, Ed Roy’s Golden Thug (Buddies in Bad Times/Topological Theatre), the world premiere workshop of The Finger (Theatre Panik) and in Golgi Apparatus‘ Bigfoot and Ahoy! presented at the Cooking Fire Theatre Festival in Toronto.

Creative Community

9:30am to 4:30pm

This full day workshop explores what artists need to know and what options they have if they want to work in diverse ethnocultural communities. Artists often want to be able to use their skills for social and community initiatives, but do not know how to facilitate these initiatives, or the best practises for working with potentially vulnerable populations. Creative Community will look at the variations between community engagement and arts education outside of the classroom. Participants will learn practical ways to apply their work in community settings working with under-resourced groups and have the opportunity to develop ideas with experts in the field. Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to network with representatives from the social service sector to further their understanding of the unique need of these settings.



Paola Gomez

Paola Gomez is a force of nature: a determined and inspired individual committed to improving lives through the arts. A trained human rights lawyer hailing from Colombia, she works as a legal community worker and is a writer of fiction and journalistic non-fiction; she is also the PEN Canada Writer in Residence at George Brown College and a frequent organizer of art exhibits in the Latin American community in Toronto. In 2012, she co-founded Sick Muse Art Projects with artist Alex Usquiano. As the co-founder of Sick Muse Art Projects, Gomez has fostered community engagement and integrated discussions about identity and inclusion into art programs and writing workshops. She’s currently working on a project with Syrian refugee women, encouraging them to share their stories.

Mary Krohnert

A graduate of Ryerson University’s Theatre School, and The Toronto Art Therapy Institute, Mary Krohnert’s work is driven by an appreciation of storied experience, and a desire to explore and utilize the spaces found between the worlds of fine art and social services in order to make sharing those stories accessible and meaningful to all.  Mary is an actor, writer, and art therapist with over twenty years in community outreach through the arts, including developing and implementing programs and projects for Performers for Literacy, ShakespeareWorks, the YMCA and YWCA, University of Toronto, Variety Village, Durham Rape Crisis Centre, Durham Family Court Clinic, Cornerstone Community Association, University of Oshawa Institute of Technology, Trent University Durham, and Durham College.

Mary is the founder of the LivingRoom Community Art Studio, a registered non-profit Art Hive in Oshawa, Ontario, that provides a safe place for people – including those most marginalized – to make and share art for free in the service of community development and wellbeing.  Art Hives are safe spaces where the processes involved in making and sharing art can be experienced and normalized in an effort to empower individuals and families, and revitalize neighbourhoods. In the three years that the LivingRoom studio has been open, it has witnessed remarkable creative growth in its community with over fifteen thousand visits from Durham Region community members. Working primarily with donated and gently used traditional and non-traditional art materials, Mary and a team of passionate studio coordinators and volunteers work with people of all ages and abilities, and from all walks of life, to provide opportunities for folks to reclaim the power of their hands, hearts and minds through creative expression in a community setting.