Lessons in Love and Colour

After a summer residency at Roncesvalles United Church, Grade 12 Contemporary Art student Noah Brown delivered a lecture on the Black experience to the congregation on Sunday, August 27, 2017. After his lecture, Noah was joined by special guest Soul singer, Carolyn T. and a Q&A with the congregation.

If you would like to hear the lecture, please click here

Please join us on Friday November 3rd from 7-10pm to see what Noah and 85 other grade 12 ESA students have prepared for Portfolio Day 8.

PD8 Fundraising Campaign


We would love your assistance to pay for Portfolio Day 8 on November 3 2017. 85 grade 12 students from 5 of our arts majors will speak to representatives from 70 schools and programs from around the world, including Harvard, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Paris College of Art.

We need to raise $300 per student for materials required to create 2500+ artworks, all of our hanging materials, and food for the day. Remember that the public is welcome to join us at 7pm to see the exhibition so bring your friends and family.

Please click through to our Crowdfunding Campaign to watch our video made by grad James Perry – now at School of Visual Art in New York, and please share the link with as many people as possible. We need to hit our target to make PD8 a reality.

Thank you!

Matthew Varey

PD8 Meeting Reminder

On Tuesday September 19 we invite all parents and students participating in Portfolio Day 8 and those looking ahead to PD9 + PD10 to join us in the library at 7pm.

During the meeting we will discuss the grade 12 year, Portfolio Day 8 schedule and responsibilities for parents and students, applying to post-secondary programs, scholarship strategies, and launch our fundraiser.

All are welcome to attend. For Contemporary Art and Photography parents + students in grades 9-11 this is an opportunity to begin planning ahead and volunteer your time.

See you then!

Matthew Varey

Portfolio Day + Scholarship Meeting for All

I invite you to join us for a meeting about Portfolio Day and Scholarships on Tuesday September 19th at 7pm. This meeting is for anyone with a child in PD8, PD9, or PD10, especially those in Photography, Film and Art, and as well as those in other majors interested in how we achieve such remarkable results, or in applying to a portfolio based post-secondary program.

For those connected to PD8, we will also be discussing parental volunteer options and other responsibilities.

This meeting is for parents and students. If you are a parent of someone in grade 9-12 Contemporary Art, I encourage you to join us.

See you then!

Matthew Varey

SAT Registration Dates

Grade 11 and 12 students considering applying to schools in the US that require the SAT should be aware that the next application deadline is fast approaching.

To write the SAT’s on October 7th registration must occur by September 8th.

For specifics click here

Matthew Varey

Olympic Dreams

Grade 12 Contemporary Art student Anya Chuprys just completed a remarkable Canadian Kayaking Championship with two GOLD, three SILVER, and two BRONZE medals won.

Anya has been offered a spot on the Canadian Olympic Hopes Team and is fundraising for a trip to Europe in order to race against her future Olympic competition. To learn more about Anya and her dreams click here.

Thank you!

Exhibition Updates

We are experiencing a level of success like at no other time in our history. Fall, and September specifically, is the most desired month in which to exhibit. ESA Contemporary Art graduates are making us proud with four exhibitions this month.

Michelle Nguyen has her first solo exhibition with Bau-Xi Gallery Vancouver opening this Saturday – congratulations Michelle!

Click here for information about the exhibition and click here to read an interview with Michelle and here for information about Michelle.

Margaux Smith opens her second solo exhibition with Wil Kucey Gallery in Toronto this Friday – congratulations Margaux!

Click here for information about Margaux’s opening.

Callen Schaub opens his next solo exhibition at Project Gallery on September 28 and will also be exhibiting at the Art Gallery of Ontario and at Art Basel Miami this year – Congrats Cal!

Click here for information on Cal’s next solo exhibition.

Our next Les Enfants Terribles exhibition features Ben Elhav and opens September 14 – click here for information.

And lastly, I have a piece in an exhibition opening at the Gladstone Hotel this Thursday evening – click here for info.

We have counted more than 90 exhibitions in the past twelve months and there is no sign of us slowing down. Congratulations to everyone experiencing such remarkable success – more exhibition announcements to come! We hope to see everyone out at Margaux’s opening on Friday.

Matthew Varey

Art and Portfolio Day Updates

We are very excited to usher in the beginning of what is sure to be our busiest and most successful year to date.

We have tracked more than eighty exhibitions within our community in the past twelve months, so were involved in an exhibition every 4.5 days for the entire year! Stay tuned for many more to come, including those at our exhibition space Les Enfants Terribles at Ossington and Argyle.

2017 2018 Grade 12 student Noah Brown is speaking this Sunday at 10.30 am at the Roncesvalles United Church about his work for Portfolio Day 8. Noah has been using the church as a studio this summer and will address the congregation, revealing the issues within his ongoing series of large-scale felted images. All are welcome to attend and we are hoping to film the talk so share with you all. See the attached poster for more information.

We have launched our own YouTube channel and hope that you will all subscribe – it can be found by clicking HERE

We participated in the Second Annual Toronto Art Book Fair June 15-18 2017 and there is a lovely letter written to our students in the recent publication about the fair titled PINK & GREEN. Here is the letter by Emily Pleasance:
“Dear Students. Where was this when I was in my teens? The t-shirts and tote bags, the pins and patches, the pencil cases covered in pencil drawings and the kiss-cheek key-chains? They were everywhere, actually. But not like this. You hijacked the bits and bobs that were given to you. You stole them, re-purposed them, injected them with the youth experience, and gave them right back. It was a DIY of life itself.

One can’t help but notice the colour, exploration, sexuality, laughter, confusion, and self-discovery found in all of your art. There is mindful execution that makes this work very strong. The illustrations in the zine Fat Aphrodite are unassuming and whimsical. My drawings at that age were boring and looked as if I had tried too hard. (I was trying too hard.) The writing in A Childhood in its Last Twelve Hours is both raw and developed. It’s opening, “The Life and Love of Eve Rivers” made me choke up and cry. I cried because its honesty hit a little too close to home. I also cried because this eloquent piece of writing now exists in the world and will hopefully find its way into the hands of someone in dire need of empathetic connection.

Your show-and-tell-like table was so thoroughly laid out. Your work is fruitful and incredibly honest. The artifacts you created have no remorse for the customary and no respect for the conventional. Thank god.

What I saw at your table was an experience I wished I had lived, art I wish I had created, and an honesty I wish I had been surrounded by. It was a rejection of all rites-de-passage. It was a marking of territory and a proof of existence. It was a claim to the Arts not as a privilege but as a right. Do not stop your unbridled expression! Do not give into the do’s and don’ts! Most importantly, do not listen to me (or anyone), for you know better.

We need our youth to discipline the Disciplines.

Sincerely, Emily Pleasance, an envious admirer.”

We thank you so very much Emily for writing about us!

ESA Contemporary Art Graduate Callen Schaub has been receiving a lot of attention recently, including several million views of videos of him painting on BuzzFeed and other platforms, including this video by the CBC – click here to watch Callen’s next solo exhibition takes place at Project Gallery with an opening reception and live performance on Thursday Sept 28th 6-10pm.

Portfolio Day 8 will be a turning point in our history. Stay tuned for time and date of our parent/participant meeting mid-September. We will review the process that helped one of our 2016 2017 grade 12 students receive more than a million dollars in scholarship offers, provide information on assisting with the event, and speak about the application and scholarship process. PD8 happens Friday November 3rd, and everyone is invited to join us to see the 80+ exhibitions by our grade 12 students from 7pm to 10pm. Click here for our invitation We will be launching our PD8 fundraising campaign in the next two weeks, and hope everyone will assist in getting the word out to support grade 12 students from all six majors in this remarkable international event and life time opportunity.

Thank you ahead of time for your participation and assistance this year! This is an exciting place to be and I am honored to work with you all.

As always, please follow us on Instagram at esa_contemporary_art and esa_contemporary_photography

Matthew Varey

Toronto Art Book Fair

We hope that you will join us at our table during the Second Annual Toronto Art Book Fair this Thursday to Sunday at Artscape Youngspace on Shaw Street just North of Queen.

We will be featuring pins, patches, shirts, prints, sculptures, jewelry, book bags, pencil cases, scarves and zines at this super exciting event. Last year saw thousands of visitors over four amazing days of inexpensive artwork.

Visit us on the first floor among the crowds!

For Information Click Here

Exhibition at the Gardiner Museum

We hope you will be able to join us this Thursday evening from 7-10 pm at the Gardiner Museum to view works by 13 ESA Contemporary Photography students in the 2017 Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Incubator exhibition. A museum exhibition (or two!) is a fantastic way to end a truly epic and record setting year. Photographs will be up for auction and money will go to supporting the Contemporary Photography program. All are welcome to attend.

Click Here for Invite

Click Here for Information

Saatchi Gallery Exhibition

Congratulations to grade 11 student Rachel Burns who will be representing Canada in England this summer!

Rachel will be exhibiting a photograph at Saatchi Gallery in London, UK next month, which was chosen from more than 24000 entries from 66 countries.

Information from Saatchi Gallery below:


The Saatchi Galley is delighted to announce the shortlist for the Saatchi Gallery Art Prize for Schools 2017. This year the Prize received over 24,000 entries from 66 different countries. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter, the standard was extremely high and everyone should feel proud of their artistic achievements.

The shortlist can be viewed here

The panel of judges this year included Alice Anderson, Artist; Alistair Hicks, Writer and Curator; Nigel Hurst, CEO of the Saatchi Gallery; Megan Piper, Gallerist and Founder of The Line; Dea Vanagan, Director, Hauser & Wirth Somerset

An exhibition at the Gallery will showcase artwork by the 20 shortlisted students from July 4th-13th 2017. The winner will be announced at an awards evening on July 4th.


Sorry – event cancelled!