Hello families of those participating in PD7!

I am writing to ask a favor of all parents of grade 12 parents of those in PD7 and invite you to a preliminary meeting Tuesday October 4 at 7pm in room 102.

We are about to engage in three very intense and important weeks and we need your help.

On October 28 we will be visited by 60+ post-secondary schools – the most ever! Programs from 6 countries and 3 continents are coming to see the work of 70 of our grade 12’s. Nothing like this happens anywhere else on the planet as far as we know. This is a truly memorable experience and perhaps the single most significant day of high school for participants.

The representatives from all of the attending schools use this opportunity to scout top picks for the 2016-2017 year. As far as we can figure, ESA students are offered more top scholarship offers than any other group of students on the planet – in large part because of Portfolio Day.

Many of the schools are spending thousands of dollars to fly representatives to Toronto just to meet your kids. The benefit on our end for those applying to these schools is significantly increased scholarship offers and a near perfect acceptance record – almost every one of our kids gets into every program they apply to.

It is vitally important that we make their time with us as enjoyable and rewarding as possible so that they support our kids during the application and scholarship process, and so that they want to come back to ESA next year. The personal relationships made during Portfolio Day are the foundation of vital support when it comes time to decide who gets what scholarship money.

We want to be prepared to prove that we are the top picks on the planet, and help the representatives have a really fantastic day. We can do a better job with your help.

I would like to ask you for three things.

– We are feeding and hydrating and caffeinating 110 representatives and 70 students for ten hours. Donations of special food and drink items would be enormously appreciated by all involved. Anyone who would like to contribute please feel free to drop off whatever you can the afternoon/evening of October 27 or the morning of October 28. We do have several folks with nut allergies so those should be avoided.

– We can really use your help setting up and taking down. This may be one of the largest art shows on the planet – something in the range of 3000 works – that is set up and seen and taken down in two days. We also need a builder at this point able to help us with several fixtures. Most of the install happens after school on October 26, and between noon and 10pm on Thursday October 27th. Take down begins at 9.30pm on Friday October28th and takes 1.5 hours. We endeavour to have every aspect of PD removed by the time we leave ready for the photographer to arrive Monday morning to document all the work.

– Advertising – one of the most exciting moments of Portfolio Day is at 7pm when the public is invited to join us for a look at what we have been up to. We have something in the neighbourhood of 1200 people attend that night. If you could please invite as many interested friends and family members as possible, it would greatly contribute to our experience. Anyone with press or media contacts is invited to make special invitations as we would appreciate the publicity. In the past we have had coverage by CBC news and the Toronto Star, etc. More of the same helps increase our reach for potential future applicants to the program.

Thank you all very much!
Matthew Varey

Grade 9 Parent’s Night: Presentations

Thank you to everyone who came out to Grade 9 Parent’s Night on Thursday evening.

In case you missed it, please find links to the various presentations posted here:


Grade 9: Movin’ On Up

What a day!  Welcome, again, to all of our incoming Grade 9 students and parents.

It was lovely to meet everyone today.  We’re looking forward to a great school year.

As promised – for your (later) reference – here are links to the presentations shared during each of the student and parent sessions.

  • Parents were provided with copies of both the TDSB Virtual Library Learnmark and the ESA Bookmark during their session.
  • If you didn’t get one, be sure to drop by the Library during Grade 9 Parent’s Night on Thursday September 15th.  Start time 6pm.

Do also be sure to…

Reminder also that the first – joint – SESAT and School Council meeting of the year will take place in the Library beginning promptly at 7pm on Tuesday September 13th.

Links to the Movin’ On Up presentation outlines:

(Use this link to access the ESA Virtual Library…  apologies, the link did not stay live with the changed in format to PDF!)

Parents of 2016/2017 grade 12’s

45% of ESA’s grade 12 students have signed up to participate in Portfolio Day 7 on October 28.

We can not afford to run PD7 with a 35% increase in participants over 2015 and meet our financial responsibilities. The Visual Art Department has paid for 100% of costs incurred in PD1-PD6. We have created a crowd funding campaign so that you are able to easily contribute to this event. If every participating student has $210 donated on their behalf we will be full steam ahead.

If we do not raise the required amount the event will be reconsidered. The Visual Art/Photography Department has grown significantly in the past three years which has increased our total expenditures. As well as more students to support, costs of supplies have jumped due to the dollar dropping and a natural inflation of prices – a triple hit to our budget.

If this does not happen the structure breaks and opportunities for non Visual Art students decrease – which we do not want.

Fundraising information is found here:

Only 6 days remain! Thank you!

Matthew Varey

Art + Portfolio Day News for Everyone Hoping to Participate in PD7

End of Year Exhibition + Sale
Thursday May 26 3.30-8pm. Tax receipts issued for purchases over $50 for 50% of total. Sales split 50/50 with artists. This is our primary fundraiser of the year. There will be more than 1000 things to see and lots of fun and stunning work to enjoy from grades 9-12. Please come – all are welcome – invite your friends and family!
We will have work in the first floor hall ways, the cafeteria, the gym, and rooms 100, 102, 107, 109

Portfolio Day 7 – October 28 2016
Schools from three countries have already confirmed to participate in PD7 –the earliest this has ever happened. It appears that our event has found its place on the calendars of post-secondary programs world wide and has become a key point in their recruiting year.

We hare attempting to crowd fund PD7. Our growing and enormous success with Portfolio Day means that PD7 will include all six majors and 43% of all grade 12 ESA students. This is a whole school effort. Jumping from 55 to 71 to 95 participants in three years increases the complexity, cost, and potential of this event. Paying for materials to make work, for display and hanging equipment, for specialised builds to create specific environments, for food for reps and kids, for documenting the work and process, for advertising for the exhibition portion etc all add up. PD6 involved approximately 1400 people including those visiting the show, and PD7 will be much more massive.

The plea for funds is not to help us do better but to manage doing it at all. Portfolio Day is now a twelve month a year commitment in its organizing and managing and funding, and its growth will continue. If we spend the same amount per person as for PD5, we need almost twice our budget for PD7, and of course every year our students raise their own understanding of what is possible. Portfolio Day is not just a school event any longer – this is possibly an historic catalyst in redefining what is to be expected from students and from education.

We are open to any possible funding source. The crowd funding event took considerable time, energy and money to produce and I hope that you will all do everything you can to support our children. Please email the link to contacts, share the link on social media, and encourage people to donate.

We will very soon need to replace our cameras and lenses in photography and so actually hope to raise something closer to $35000 in order to make this happen. Portfolio Day is too large to handle on our budget. For parents of grade 11 students who will be participating in PD7 I am asking that you take this on now and run with it – if every family of a participating student donates or finds donations of $200-$300 we will be successful. Portfolio Days at esa have contributed to scholarship offers in excess of $17000000.00.

All are welcome to join us to see the work in PD7 and visit with representatives from schools from around the world from 6.30-9pm on Friday October 28 2016.


Grier Drummond Solo Exhibition
Thursday May 26 7-10pm. Please come and support Grier in her first solo exhibition at Hashtag Gallery – head down after the vis art show!

Art Camp 2016
There are two potential art camps this July staffed by grads and current students.

Week one July 4-8 is for people of any age who are coming to esava for the first time and anyone wondering about the sorts of things we get up to.

Week two July 11-15 is an oil painting specific camp run with some of our best painters – 30 hours of studio time with materials and assistance and the opportunity to attempt multiple paintings with different approaches.

There is still lots of space in both camps – to find our more contact [email protected]

Thank you every one!
Instagram: esa_visual_art + esa__photography




ESA Business Student named top 20 finalist in Ontario Business Competition

ESA Business Student – and Music major – Eric Sheppard will be competing for $3000 in start-up money at the Young Entrepreneurs Make Your Pitch Competition, being held at the Toronto Convention Centre May 8th to 10th.

Portfolio Day 2016

PD7 will be held on Friday October 28 2016 – the earliest it has ever been.

PD7 will involve the largest number of participating students ever. At this point we have 94 students registered and this number will grow. This is up from 71 in 2015 and 55 in 2014. There will be more art work than ever before – something in the order of 3200 pieces. And, hopefully, we will have more representatives and more participating schools than ever before. In order to ensure we have enough representatives arrive to visit all our students – nearly double in the past two years and involving students from all six majors – I will begin soliciting commitments from schools earlier than ever before.

This will be epic.

In order to pay for this increasing large/increasingly very expensive event we will soon launch our crowd funding campaign. We are hoping to raise $20 000 to cover the costs associated with this industry leading and possibly largest on planet best in world event that has, once again in 2015/2016, led to more scholarships than ever before in esava history. Stay tuned for our fundraising launch and please help.

Thank you!

Matthew Varey
Insta: esa_visual_art

ESA Nov 2015_095

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Adam Gowan in Scholastic!

Huge Congratulations to Adam Gowan – he is being featured in the Scholastic Art and Writing Newsletter for winning a writing portfolio gold medal!

Kahlo, Picasso, LeWitt and Cares

Huge Congratulations to everyone showing at the Albright Knox Gallery – it was an amazing opening experience for all involved.

Celeste has made it to the big leagues in this newspaper article from The Buffalo News !!!

Visual Art mini-update

In the next couple of weeks we are looking forward to openings at the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo New York, at Saatchi Gallery in London UK as the Saatchi Gallery/ Deutsche Bank Art Prize for Schools 2016 exhibition has reopened on the 2nd floor across 2 rooms alongside a new exhibition called JOURNEYS: Saatchi Gallery/ Deutsche Bank Art prize for Schools 2009-15 which celebrates previously shortlisted students, at the Gladstone Hotel and at a new gallery space in the east end tomorrow night with Flora Aldridge, in New York City with Teen Art Salon and at the New York launch of the new Noisy Kids Zine and in New York with the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in galleries at both Pratt and Parsons, at XSpace in Toronto, at Artscape Youngspace for TDSB Creates and our 2016 Contact Photography Exhibition and for a small group show, and at Clint Roenisch Gallery for our next Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Incubator show, here at esa for some grade 12 shows and the big grade 9 show and the end of the year show which takes place Thursday May 26th and is our only fundraiser of the year so please come and buy things!

Thanks every one!

NEWWAVE: ESA’s All NEW Official Fashion Show

The official fashion show “NEWWAVE” is set to launch April 21, 2016.  NEWWAVE will be featuring a collection of student fashion designs and photography.

The fashion experience will include:

1.)  A Runway Show featuring original student made designs

2.)  A Mix & Mingle featuring fashion photography and film with music provided by Neo-J

Our mission is to create an innovative and impactful experience showcasing ESA’s design and art talent presented through fashion. Our vision is to maintain a platform for future students interested in fashion to have an outlet to showcase their work.

We hope to see you there!

  • Date: April 21, 2016
    Time: 4pm and 7pm
  • Location: Mini Theatre & Room 100
  • Tickets: At the door for $2

Please Contact:

Visual Art Update April 5 2016

We are having a whirlwind couple of weeks at esava.

Last Thursday esava grad Adrian Cohen-Gallant opened his MFA exhibition at Birch Contemporary which continues until April 9. https://www.facebook.com/events/1317704291578188/

Spencer Julien and Maggie Keogh had an opening Friday at Artscape Youngspace in Look UP. https://www.facebook.com/events/215401388815691/

esa grad Michele Ayoub opened her first Toronto solo exhibition since returning from Japan at Little Sister Gallery. https://www.facebook.com/events/1524512557853372/

esava grad Laura Hudspith opened her latest solo exhibition at Project Gallery. https://www.facebook.com/events/233814416959217/

Next week we have fourteen students exhibiting work in Buffalo at the Albright-Knox from April 15 to May 15, with an opening Thursday, April 14, 2016, 5–8 pm. We will also have three students exhibit work at the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology from Friday, April 22, through Friday, May 13, 2016, with an opening on Thursday, April 21, 2016, 5–6:30 pm. http://www.albrightknox.org/exhibitions/exhibition:04-15-2016-viewpoint-2016-ak-teens-future-curators-exhibition-/

Also next week, Celeste Cares has an opening at the Galdstone Hotel in Urban Wild from 7-10pm. https://www.facebook.com/events/1676295455971490/

Spencer Julien, Sydney Ackerman, Annabel Berthoff and Rachel Burns are each participating in TDSB Dare to Create which shows April 21.

Flora Aldridge follows up her very successful first solo show with Project Gallery, which wrapped up just a couple of weeks ago, with participating in ‘Coming to Life’, April 15 – May 15, 2016, Reception: Friday April 15th 6-10pm at 296 King St East, Toronto. https://www.facebook.com/events/788030731297126/

Calla McInnes and Celeste Cares are included in an exhibition in New York which opens April 16 (info to come) to launch a new Zine which will also include the work of Igrid Repic and Grier Drummond.

Agnes Wong, who graduated last year and is now at the Design Academy Eindhoven, had a photographic work in the SNAP Auction last week. http://snap-toronto.com/2016-snap-live-auction-gallery/#mg_ld_2457

Agnes also has the enormous honor to be featured within the pages and on the cover of the Hart House Review’s 25th Anniversary Issue which launches April 15 at 8pm. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=943198739109253&set=a.841293432633118.1073741851.100002574075442&type=3&theater

We look forward to seeing esava grad Cal Shaub open his next solo show at Black Cat on April 27th. https://www.facebook.com/events/1037349226335147/

esava grad Carly Shiff opens her first New York exhibition Matriculate on April 29 at Immersive Gallery. https://www.facebook.com/events/1582392105420957/

Our annual Contact Photography Festival exhibition of Grade 12 Photographs opens May 5th at Artscape Youngspace. https://www.facebook.com/events/507113112830671/

Two of our grade 10’s – Olivia Kerr and Jaime Pattison – have been accepted to participate in Waterloo Unlimited this May. https://uwaterloo.ca/unlimited/

Grier Drummond has her first solo exhibition opening Thursday May 26 at Hashtag Gallery, following our End Of Year Sale and Exhibition.

Our SALE runs Thursday May 26th from 3.30 to 8pm. 1500 art works on the walls – all are welcome! Please help us raise funds to maintain and grow our amazing program!! https://www.facebook.com/events/1079183958814223/

There are two summer camps being offered this year: http://www.esava.ca/summer-camp/

Many more exhibitions to come!