Scadding Court Market_ TedxTO Salon Series

My friend Neel Joshi asked me to come and speak at this TedxTO Salon called ‘The Immigrant.’ I am a fan of Ted though it can be quite elite. This one was a little different though. The TedxTO Salon entitled ‘The Immigrant’ was at Scadding Court Community Centre a place were I got my first job as a result of a suggestion from one of my oldest artist friends Mia-Skye Sagara (a poet and illustrator and now a proud mother of little Blu). When I was sixteen Mia told me about a guy named Herman Ellis who was looking for young artist to be a part of the Graffiti Transformation Project at Scadding. The Graffiti Transformation Project was a project run by a man named Larry King (no, not that Larry King), who worked at the city and was dealing with vandalism issue, he felt the best way to deal with what the City might categorize as a ‘problem’ was to hire young artists, some traditional graffiti artists some not (like me), to paint murals in and around their communities. The insight was that artists respect art, graffiti artists, street artists or any other kind of artist for that matter will not go over pieces that they like or have a connection or appreciation for. I joined as an artist when I was sixteen, moved to St. Stevens Community Centre the next year and then got a call from Herman Ellis the next year saying that they needed a coordinator. I subsequently worked for Scadding Court as the Coordinator of the project for the next seven years, teaching and painting with young people in P.O. (aka Alexandra Park). This was my first job, more than fifteen years ago, it made sure I never had to work retail or in some call centre like many of my friends, it paid for my school and it enabled me to believe that being an artist (in any form) was possible and viable. This job at Scadding Court was also the beginning of my leadership and coordination skills, helped me deal with people, solve problems, resolve conflicts and do budgets.

I say all of that to say that when Neel and Ty Harper called me about this Salon series I was down for it, especially because it was outside of Scadding Court and not in some stuffy conference room or dining hall. This video looks at the Scadding Court Live & Local Marketplace and some of its vendors as well as the TedxTO Salon event.

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