McMichael - Canadian Art | Collection d'art Canadien


Deadline: March 15, 2015 at midnight.

Download 2015 Application Guidelines


About the Art Mentorship Project:
The Art Mentorship Project is designed to offer professional development to emerging local artists who have been practicing or exhibiting their work for less than five years, allowing them to fine-tune their skills through technical assistance, theoretical discussions, critiques, and exhibition preparation over a four-month period. The mentorship sessions will take place on the McMichael grounds throughout the summer and fall of 2015, culminating in an exhibition at the gallery later that year. 

Césan d'Ornellas Levine to Mentor Emerging York Region Artist: 
Now Accepting Applications

Celebrated abstract expressionist painter, Césan d'Ornellas Levine—who has exhibited across Canada, the United States, Mexico, and throughout Europe—has signed on to take part in the Art Mentorship Project, an initiative launched in 2013 by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and York Region Arts Council (YRAC).

Read the full press release

Art Mentorship Project 2014 - Bonnie Devine and Kevin Yung

July 10, 2014 Kleinburg, ON The McMichael Canadian Art Collection and York Region Arts Council (YRAC) are pleased to announce Markham resident, Kevin Yung, as the apprentice for the second session of the Art Mentorship Project. Yung will work under the guidance of mentor, Bonnie Devine.


The Art Mentorship Project is an exciting initiative that provides support to emerging artists in the form of mentorships. The young artists are paired with established Canadian artists and given professional development assistance on-site at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in several one-on-one sessions. The mentor and apprentice collaborate on a piece or body of work that will be displayed in the gallery from January through March, 2015. 

"The Art Mentorship Project presents a unique opportunity for an established Canadian artist to share their professional experience with an emerging artist. This is the kind of knowledge that cannot be found in books, but gained only through experience," explained Elaine Hoffman, Manager, Community Engagement and Special Projects at the McMichael. "The generosity of the mentor along with the open mindedness of the apprentice can result in some exceptional and often surprising work. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is committed to nurturing new artistic talent through innovative programs that encourage creativity and exchange."

Samantha Rodin, Associate Director at York Region Arts Council, also emphasized the project's importance for emerging artists: "The few years post-graduation and/or the beginning of a professional art practice are delicate years. It is a time where artists choose to either dedicate themselves wholly or embark on another path. The Art Mentorship Project is meant to address the gap in professional development assistance for emerging artists in York Region and encourage them to follow their vision of sustaining a career in the arts."

Left: Bonnie Devine, Toronto Braid: for the Mississaugas, Installation at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 2013; Right: Kevin Yung, Stay Away, Installation, 2013

Left: Bonnie Devine, Toronto Braid: for the Mississaugas, Installation at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 2013; Right: Kevin Yung, Stay Away, Installation, 2013

For the project's second term, installation artist, curator, writer, and educator, Bonnie Devine will take on the role of mentor. Devine is a member of the Serpent River First Nation of Northern Ontario (Ojibwa/Anishinaabe). Her work is rooted in sculpture and site-specific installation, but also includes video, drawing, and painting. Devine's art is about stories - especially narratives, history, or legends of the land - and has been exhibited in Canada, the US, and Europe. She is an associate professor at OCAD University in Toronto.

Devine will mentor the project's second apprentice, recent York University BFA graduate, Kevin Yung. Yung, who lives in Markham, is a sculpture/installation artist who focuses on process-based explorations through mold-making, casting, and printmaking. Conceptually, Yung's most recent work explores cultural identity through an examination of personal language barriers. Devine will help Yung fine-tune his artistic practices through technical assistance, theoretical discussions, critiques, and exhibition preparation.

Visitors will be able to observe the two artists working on the gallery grounds on a series of days throughout the summer. Devine and Yung will also participate in an artist talk about the mentorship project on Saturday, September 27, 2014 during the Culture Days and Vaughan Doors Open free admission weekend at the McMichael.

The project is an opportunity for the McMichael and YRAC to promote local talent and encourage artistic exchange. The gallery, situated on 100 acres of conservation land and housing a renowned collection of Canadian art, is an ideal setting for the project. It reflects both the gallery's and art council's commitment to nurturing new talent and acting as a creative hub in the community.

Art Mentorship Project 2013 - David McEown and Ben Barak

Ben Barak - Humber River David McEown - Humber River
Ben Barak and David McEown on-site at the McMichael (Humber River)

In the summer of 2013, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection partnered with York Region Arts Council (YRAC) to launch a new Art Mentorship Project to provide support to emerging artists and foster professional development, production and exhibition under the guidance of local, established artists in a distinctly Canadian context. 
For the project’s inaugural term, Canadian landscape painter and former Richmond Hill resident, David McEown, took on the role of mentor. McEown is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design and has worked in the watercolour medium for the past 25 years. His paintings can be found in collections worldwide and represent some of the earth’s most beautiful and fragile ecosystems.

McEown mentored the program’s first successful applicant, recent Nipissing University BFA graduate, Ben Barak. Barak, who lives in Newmarket, is a figurative painter working in a variety of media, including painting, drawing and printmaking.

McEown and Barak spent several days working on-site at the McMichael, including their first meeting which was held in the historic Tom Thomson Shack. The pair also took a week-long trip to Algoma, hiking along the same stretch of railway track once travelled by the Group of Seven.

The exhibition consists of watercolours by both artists, as well as a selection of oil paintings and mixed media pieces by Barak. McEown’s work juxtaposes landscapes from the Humber River Valley with paintings of some of the world’s most remote ecosystems. Barak’s work, on the other hand, focuses on themes of searching and identity, executed using many of the techniques he practiced under McEown.

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