Artist Instructors

Liha (Lee-Ah) Ahmed

Liha (she/her) wears multiple crowns at NPCC as both a CSR and Children’s Art Instructor. She is currently wrapping up the HBCYC (Honours Bachelor of Child and Youth Care) program at Humber Lakeshore. She has been working with children since 2016 in various capacities. She combines the two in her work at NPCC helping young people to engage creatively and expressively without the constraints of strict technique. Liha has always loved art in a diversity of mediums such as watercolour, pastel, mixed media, and more. She has also studied and enjoyed other art forms such as musical arts, creative writing, dramatic arts and theatre, photography, and videography. She draws inspiration from the ever changing world around her and how it resonates with the beauty and soul within. As a South Asian artist, Liha has begun a journey to connect her art and her identity to express herself and the messages she believes in. She can’t wait to see where her journey takes her.

Nima Arabi

Nima Arabi is a visual artist working with drawing and sculpture with a focus on personal and cultural identity. Currently based in Toronto, he was born and raised in Iran, where he became familiar with and interested in Persian mystical poetry. Since then, his art has become an exploration and expression of the core idea of this mystical view which is the oneness of being. Employing paper-based non-exclusive industrial materials, such as packaging cardboard and flooring paper, Nima redefines the function of these materials and revalues them in his artistic process. Holding a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from York University, Nima Arabi has solo exhibition experience in Canada and Iran, participated in group shows in art galleries, such as AGYU and the Varley Art Gallery in Toronto, and given a public presentation at Markham Public Library.

Tawni Bramley

Tawni is an instructor, creative educator, and mixed media artist. From a young age, she has always been involved in the arts. Some of her practices include fluid art, acrylic painting, sculpting, and drawing with oil pastel. Tawni is passionate about helping her students unleash their creativity through artistic self expression. She is a recent honours graduate of Humber College’s Child and Youth Care degree and Social Service Worker program. After completing her degree, Tawni developed even more interest in her artistic practice through exploring the emotional benefits of art and learning new mediums such as watercolour and soft pastels.

Toni Caldarone

Toni is a maker, art instructor, and freelancer. She has been teaching children and adults for close to twenty years through various organizations such as TDSB’s Learn4Life Community Program, Artsjam, Parks & Rec and private workshops. She currently teaches through Neilson Park Creative Centre and Haliburton School of Art & Design’s summer program. Toni was an honours graduate of Humber College’s Recreational Leadership program with a corporate background in event management at a major Toronto venue/tourist attraction, having extensive experience planning and running programs in both the arts and leisure activities areas for all ages. Her artwork strays between reality and its counterpart, where natural and recycled materials find their way into her work. Toni is currently experiencing a renewed interest in collage, mixed media and 3-D work.

Gabby Dayao

Gabby Dayao (she/her) is a graduate of Humber’s Child & Youth Care program. While at Humber she has gained multiple experiences engaging with diverse communities. She has supported children and youth while helping them understand, learn and express their feelings guiding them to reach their potential. Gabby previously studied art and design at Mohawk College before her CYC program at Humber. During this program, Gabby has had the opportunity to learn multiple different disciplines of art and design. You may have seen Gabby already around NPCC since early 2023. She first joined NPCC as a placement student, and shortly after completing her placement, she joined NPCC as a CSR (Customer Service Representative). Being at NPCC has rekindled her love for art and design. She is excited to learn and grow as part of the NPCC creative community!

Nicole Dechert

Nicole Dechert (she/her) is a co-op student that will be with Neilson Park Creative Centre during the summer and fall of 2022. She is in the Bachelor of Child and Care Program at Humber College in Etobicoke. After this placement Nicole will be moving into her final year of her program, and finding a job in her field. Nicole likes to paint and draw in her free time. Since Neilson Park Creative Centre is an arts hub and also offers summer camp programs, Nicole thought it would the perfect spot to complete her summer placement as a camp counsellor and use her skills that she learned in her classes and apply them throughout her time at NPCC. She is looking forward to meeting and connecting with people that are a part of Neilson Park Creative Centre, and ensuring that the interactions she has leave a positive impression!

Lamis Haggag

Lamis Haggag's practice is an ongoing process of disturbing social autonomy and displacing boundaries without giving alternatives. She perceives her projects as subtle infiltrations to social confines. Well aware that those attempts contradict themselves and absurd in many ways, she sees them as a reflection of how people cope with restrictions. Lamis developed this approach to her work as she saw change proceeding towards her home country, Egypt, in 2011 and then re-evaluated it as she witnessed how far back Egypt's situation has receded. Surrounded by social confines, sexual harassment, corruption, Police brutality and militarization of every project and aspect of life, the general public in Egypt is still making the conscious decision of adhering to it, whether out of conviction or despair.

Kat Honey

Kat Honey was creative and obsessively detail-oriented from an early age: drawing, building models, embroidery, and photography. After attending Northern Secondary School's specialized art program in Toronto, Kat went on to become an award-winning graduate of the Ontario College of Art. After a 2009 travel sabbatical from her 20-year graphic design career, Kat re-focused her art and art instruction career. Often bold (but sometimes subtle), Kat's work in painting, graphics and collage is informed by her design sensitivity and training, her love of contrasts, and her penchant for text, wit and wordplay. As an instructor, Kat regularly teaches at Neilson Park Creative Centre and Haliburton School of Art + Design and Visual Arts Mississauga. She also leads workshops, gives lectures and juried exhibitions throughout Southern Ontario.

Jacintha Krish

A painter for many decades, Jacintha considers art a journey that breathes life into her soul along its path. “After many decades of juggling a career in business and administration as well as creative and visual arts, I now enjoy life in this vibrant city of Toronto being engaged as a full-time artist.” Her work involves teaching workshops, courses and painting demonstrations in various creative organizations in the GTA. She currently instructs at Neilson Park Creative Centre, Humber Valley Art Club and Oakville Art Society. Also, She teaches workshops in out-of-town locations Southampton Art School and Meacham Art Society. Her work is currently featured on international websites Saatchi and Artfinder and sold in Canada, USA, UK and South Asia.

Rosemary Marchant

Rosemary has an irregularly shaped pincushion made of green velvet with 2 buttons sewn on one corner that she made at age 4. From that first effort, her love of stitching led her to complete her certification at the Royal School of Needlework. Her non-stitching life included raising two children, starting an elementary Montessori school, practicing medicine across Canada, teaching at two universities, and now coaching students applying to medical school. She loves making and sharing the passion for anything that requires a needle – embroidery, quilting, knitting, crocheting and needle lace.

Helen McCusker

A graduate of Sheridan’s Illustration Program, Helen has been making art for more than 40 years. Her main focus is on Figurative work – creating Expressionistic drawings and paintings that speak to movement, energy and the deeply personal. Helen’s Figurative work always begins with drawing from live Artists’ models – looking for the elusive ‘something’ that carries the work beyond the skill of the drawing. It is mostly created in-session, using models with whom she has worked closely over many years. She sometimes brings in outside elements – found imagery, which is then incorporated into the work to create a narrative. Helen also works with Paper Engineering as counter-point to her drawing and painting, creating Abstract Pop-Up sculptures incorporating hand-painted papers and collage.

Steve Rose

Steve is a graduate of Ontario College of Art and Design with a major in drawing and painting. He has exhibited his work in over 70 shows and has a diverse and experienced background as an artist/educator. His work is collected in private and corporate international collections. There are three main areas of interest to the artist: non-objective painting, life drawing, and printmaking (generally in the medium of lithography). In addition to active independent studio practice, Steve enjoys teaching and lecturing on art and art history and constantly taking workshops such as his life drawing sessions every Wednesday evening for the past 17 years. Steve is also involved in mentoring less experienced artists and various artistic collaborations.

Juliana Venair Ford

Juliana is a Jamaican-Canadian painter from Scarborough. During her third year in the Bachelor of Child and Youth Care Degree program at Humber College, Juliana began her relationship with NPCC as an intern in Summer 2019. As a busy college student with limited free time, she was able to redevelop her passion for art while working at the centre by participating in community outreach, instructing two day camp workshops, engaging with members, learning from fellow NPCC instructors and much more. In January 2020, two of her acrylic paintings were displayed in the NPCC Catch Phrase Instructors Exhibition. Upon graduating from Humber and completing her first summer of teaching full-time as an art instructor for summer camp at the centre, Juliana has grown as an artist, a leader and instructor by combining her CYC knowledge and love for art into her work with children and youth. She hopes to demonstrate that children young and old are more than capable of creating beautiful artwork with guidance and a bit of patience!