Toronto Arts Foundation Announces Second Round of RBC Arts Access Fund Recipients

TORONTO, August 5, 2015 – Toronto Arts Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients for the second round of the RBC Arts Access Fund. The RBC Arts Access Fund is administered by the Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network.

These micro awards, up to $1,500, are awarded to newcomer artists looking to jump-start their community-engaged arts projects. The RBC Arts Access Fund is a part of the RBC Newcomer Artist Spotlight program, designed to connect and inspire newcomer artists who are Toronto’s new generation of cultural leaders and innovators. This program was created in partnership with RBC Foundation to build on the potential of newcomer artists and break down the barriers they face when it comes to arts access.
The recipients in this second round are:
Dana Prieto
Dana Prieto is a multidisciplinary artist, activist and a popular-educator born in Buenos Aires and based in Toronto. She is completing a BFA degree at OCAD U, with a major in Drawing and Painting and a minor in Indigenous Visual Culture. She is a member of “7 ± 2” collective with whom she will launch “Fugue” at the 2015 Toronto Nuit Blanche. Her current work experiments with video, repurposed materials & light, and creating immersive installations. Through her practice she explores the female identity and her diverse cultural roots braided with experiences of migration, community remembrance and regeneration.
Nadia Gurkova 
Nadia Gurkova was drawn towards art as long as she could remember, but started persuing that passion after earning her Bachelor of Public Relations. Since then, she has attended several art schools, including: Academy of Art Canada (Toronto), Adult Art Program at Central Technical School (Toronto), Nik Balushev Art Studio (Russia).She has taught art to young children (ages 6-9) at Bravo School of Music in 2010. In October 2014, Nadia started teaching beginner painting workshops for adults. They quickly grew into two locations: her Toronto-based studio and Graven Feather gallery on Queen Street. Her goal is to inspire others to create, believe in themselves, and experience the power of art.
Alexander Usquiano
Alexander Usquiano came to Canada as a Permanent Resident two years ago from Colombia.  For the past 15 years he has focused on the new languages of Art (Photography and Photo manipulation) digital art.  He has exhibited multiple solo and collective exhibits both in Colombia and in Canada.  His work has been exhibited during the Hispanic Heritage Month in October, and is currently showing his work with a collective at Cedar Ridge Gallery titled "Art of the Americas" for the Pan American Games.  Alexander has an education in pedagogy, marketing & advertisement, and graphic design. He is also at artist educator and has a radio art program called MUSA ENFERMA.
Aitak Sorahitalab
Aitak Sorahitalab grew up with music, literature, visual art, science and love of learning at home. She has a master’s degree in design and production from Art University of Tehran in 2002. Aitak is a published writer, and has also received public and private commissions for bas relief ceramic in Iran. Aitak immigrated to Canada, where she works in education, teaching in schools at the York Region School Board, and art institute such as Harbourfront Centre. She continues to practicing ceramic and sculpture in a professional guild. 

Banoo Zan
Writer, translator, teacher, editor and poetry organizer, Bänoo Zan, landed in Canada in 2010. She has internationally published more than 80 poems, translations, biographies, and articles in print and online publications. Her book, The Song of Phoenix: Life and Works of Sylvia Plath, was reprinted in Iran in 2010.  Her poetry collection, Songs of Exile, will be published with Guernica Editions in 2016. Another book of poems in English will be printed in 2015. Both books were solicited by Canadian publishers in Toronto.  She is the founder, organizer and host of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), the most diverse poetry reading series in Toronto. For more than two years, the series has been bridging the gap between diverse poetry communities, bringing together people from different ethnicities, nationalities, religions (or lack thereof), ages, poetic styles, voices and visions.
Erica Parilla
Erica Parilla accepts this fund on behalf of the Voice Arts collective. The Voice Arts collective met at the VOICE March Break Arts’ Program 2015, but various members have already been involved in the program longer than others. Some members have participated in the VOICE Summer Programs, as well, in which they collectively painted a mural. After the March Break program, some of the members have continually participated in a Leadership Program of the NYCH. All members of the group contributed individually in helping make this application possible.

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About Toronto Arts Foundation
Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that encourages artistic excellence and increases access to the arts throughout the City of Toronto through private sector investment. Our vision Creative City: Block by Block is to connect every Toronto neighbourhood with the transformative socio-economic benefits of the arts. By supporting, celebrating, financing and advocating for Toronto’s artists, we can improve the quality of life for all Torontonians.

Contact information:
For more information about the Toronto Arts Foundation and this partnership with RBC, please contact:
Francesca Perez, Community Investment Manager, Toronto Arts Foundation, at or at 416 392 6802 x 204.