Artists serve an important role in Regent Park Focus programming. Regent Park Focus engages professional artists and arts organizations on a regular basis as staff, workshop instructors, presenters and volunteer mentors to youth participants. There have been countless of artists and arts organizations involved in FOCUS programming in the past.
Adonis has long had an interest in theatre and after graduating from the Community Worker Diploma Program at Toronto's George Brown College in 1988, Adonis moved to Nova Scotia to pursue a BA in Theatre at Dallhousie University. During the summer of 1998 and 1999, Adonis performed in lead roles with a Black theatre company assoicated with the Nova Scotia Black Cultural Centre. The theatre company was founded to highlight Canada's racist past and present contemorary issues faced by Black communities in Eastern Canada. The experience would serve as a major influence in Adonis's later work. Adonis returned in Toronto in 1991 to work with a newly formed resident group in Regent Park anxious to develop arts-based interventions for hard-to-reach youth and deal with stigmatation of Regent Park.
When engagement through theatre proved challenging. Adonis turned to the popularity of media, taking extensive production and post-production courses at Trinity Square Video (1993 to 2000) and imparting what he learned to Regent Park youth through the establishment of community video production programs. In time these programs would lead to a 24-hour, closed circuit television station (Regent Park TV).
Adonis continues to manage and coordinate video production programs at Regent Park Focus and serves both as the Artistic Director for Regent Park Focus hub, as well as the Executive Director for the FOCUS Media Arts Centre.
Dimitrije Martinovic was born in Yugoslavia, and immigrated to Canada with his family in 1968. He is an artist/photographer/film maker living and working in Toronto. Between 1976-1980 he attended the Ontario College of Art, and since that time has worked in a wide range of media which have included film, video, performance, drawing, painting, sculpture and photography. His work has been exhibited in galleries and art festivals in Canada, USA and Europe. Several of his video works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (NYC) and the National Gallery (Ottawa). And more recently some of his photographs have been exhibited at the Manif dart 4, Quebec City Biennale (2008) and published in German art magazine Artlout. While completing his Master's degree at York University in Toronto (2012-2014), which centred on Visual Culture and Every Day Life, he resumed his interest in film making producing an entirely new and extensive body of filmic work.
Since 2010 Dimitrije has worked extensively in the community arts field, blending his lifelong practice as an artist, photographer, and filmmaker with his commitment for a more socially just society. He has worked with diverse individuals and groups in wide range of settings. Dimitrije's work is rooted in the notion that the arts are a powerful method of engaging participation, discussion and analysis of vital social, and cultural processes.
Dimitrije Martinovic is the video instructor and RPTV News Coordinator at Regent Park Focus.
Video Instructor / Reporter
As a Bachelor of Arts student in Greek and Latin Studies at Cairo University, Nea spent years analysing and critiquing written and seen art. Nea, however, officially started her journalism and broadcasting career in 2008, with Radio Arabesk and Egyptian TV as a reporter, a voice over artist, script editor and Radio host. Her tasks varied between research, contacting guests, and finding the best sources to produce accurate full stories, shows, and talk shows. During that time, Egypt and the Arab world were going through a huge political and cultural change. Political and cultural arguments were in every corner. The thing that helped Nea develop as a journalist was listening to all sorts of views, finding credible sources, and keeping her eyes and ears on the ground. During this time Nea also pursued a Masters Diploma in TV, cinema, Art and Writing with the Academy of Arts.
From 2015 to 2018, Nea worked as a reporter/content producer with three professional organizations; El Badil TV, Tahrir News, and Tahrir Academy. Collectively, Nea experienced almost every form of making stories. She produced documentaries, festival and events videos, feature stories, and animated/ infographic videos.
Immigrating to Canada, Nea Matty joins FOCUS Media Centre as a Video Instructor and TV Reporter.
Ana Maria Higuera is a self-taught digital photographer and promising filmmaker and Regent Park resident. Born in the Andes mountains of Bogota, she immigrated to Toronto with her family at the age of 10. Her journey with photography has been one of self discovery through visual expression. Ana's work is infused with poetry and affect and she is passionate about exploring the intersections between art, emotions, identity and social issues through personal experience.
An avid believer of the power of art to motivate positive change, both personally and collectively, Ana has developed her creative skills through Community Arts and by working with other fellow artists. She has facilitated photography, video and animation workshops in Canada and Mexico since 2015.
IT & New Media Coordinator
Tyrone is a long time resident of the Regent Park neighbourhood and has experience in video and audio editing as well as graphic design. He is a George Brown graduate of the Graphic Design program and has a long history of using multi-media technology as a tool to engage youth in social justice themes.
Tyrone MacLean-Wilson is the IT & New Media Coordinator at the FOCUS Media Arts Centre.
John is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and vocalist and has years of experience in music studio recording. John grew up in Toronto. He graduated from Earl Haig Secondary School's Claude Watson Arts Program in 2004, where he started playing guitar, putting together bands and began writing and performing music. In 2006, after branching out to play the drums and bass, he began working as a student instructor for Discovery Through the Arts, a local music school in Toronto's east end that provides training and education for children who are looking to pursue music through secondary school, into post-secondary education and beyond. In 2010 John transitioned into the roll of full time instructor and began giving private lessons as well as leading ensemble classes. Over the years John has worked and performed with local talents such as River Tiber, East of Avenue and Justin Nozuka. In recent years he has also begun working as a writer, co-writing with a wide array of artists from labels like Cardinal Point Music and Universal Music. In addition to teaching and writing John has been a regularly gigging musician for more than a decade, including in the past five years leading his own band: Pudding.
As a gifted musician with an incredible ear for melody and knack for songwriting, John brings all his expertise to our studio mentoring sessions.
John Mavro is the music instructor for the Regent Park Focus Music Studio.
Dawar is a passionate filmmaker, videographer and a published photographer and resident of Regent Park. Having completed his diploma in Film and TV from Pakistan in 2014, he ventured his own production company and has worked on several renowned advertising commercials, music videos and shows, documentaries with focus on advanced film making and cinematic
techniques and skills.
Recently immigrated to Canada in 2020, Dawar remained undeterred by the challenges of the year, and continued to be part of many independent
photography and videography projects in Ontario.
Audio Instructor (Radio Regent)
David Wall is a composer, lyricist, singer and vocal coach.
As lead vocalist of the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir he toured Canada extensively, appearing regularly on television and radio. He has performed and recorded with an impressive cross-section of artists. Since 2001 David has developed a busy career as a composer. He has worked with directors such as Simcha Jacobovici, Avi Lewis, Michael Maclear and John Greyson and has written many scores for film and television. He has written a large repertoire of songs in an assortment of genres from pop and rock to gospel, blues and jazz. Recently he has contributed original Yiddish songs and settings of modern Yiddish poetry to his Jewish music projects, including collaborative work with acclaimed jazz pianist Marilyn Lerner. David has also worked on many experimental and multi-media musical projects in collaboration with designer Bruce Mau and with filmmaker John Greyson.
David Wall is an audio editing instructor and Coordinator of Radio Regent News & Views.
New Media Instructor
Elson Hsieh is a seasonal Unity Software Programming Instructor at Regent Park FOCUS.
Game Design Instructor
After more than a decade in the video game industry, Rob Elsworthy has amassed an impressive list of blockbuster games to his credit - from Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne, to Red Dead Redemption, Manhunt and The Warriors. A graduate of Toronto's OCAD University, Rob worked as a game designer, cinematic animator, visual FX artist and system designer for Rockstar Games and Silicon Knights, before deciding to tick off a bucket list item and become a teacher. Rob is also a four-time, MMVA-winning music video director. Rob is now the director of Toronto Film School's Video Game Design and Animation Diploma program.
Rob Elsworthy is the lead instructor for the Codex Game Design workshops at Regent Park Focus.
Aditi Mehta, PhD
Aditi Mehta is currently the Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, Teaching Stream University of Toronto.
Aditi received her Ph.D. from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT in November 2017. As a doctoral student, she was the SAGE/Marilyn Jacobs Gittell Activist Ph.D. Scholar with the Community Innovators Lab. Aditi's work and research fuse the rigorous methods of social science with community organizing and on-the-ground activism in order to contribute to the democratic production of knowledge and social change. Aditi is committed to elevating the role, position, and influence of underrepresented and marginalized communities within academic and public policy discourses.
Throughout her academic and professional career, Aditi has been inspired by synergies between the visual arts and social science research. Thus, Aditi has developed projects to promote and share the arts within communities that artistic enterprises tend to overlook. For example, as a media instructor with UNICEF, Aditi taught middle-school students in East Harlem, New York City how to create videos, podcasts, and blogs about gentrification in their neighborhood. Aditi also led photography training workshops and curated exhibitions with underserved youth in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C., as well as with small-business owners recovering from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photography exhibits, noodles, street musicians, autumn, absurd coincidences, and abandoned street chairs are a few of Aditi's favorite things. She once accidentally exploded eggs on my kitchen ceiling and was featured on NPR's "How to Do Everything" podcast about it.
Aditi Mehta is a seasonal multi-media instructor with the Regent Park Focus Divas Media Group.