2020 GRANTEE PROFILE: Taysean Wilson-Nolan
Taysean Wilson-Nolan received funding from ArtReach in 2020 in order to run Masterpiece, a non-profit project that helps youth 13-18 develop the skills needed to create content through media arts. The participants study media artistry and develop their skills through hands-on activities. Participants have the opportunity to work with professional equipment and industry-level software by Adobe to create graphic designs, learn web design, and produce videos. Finally, the participants are taught how to make a secure website to showcase their content on a professional and personalized platform.
Masterpiece Goal and Mission
Taysean’s goal with Masterpiece is to help youth find better means of making a living as they prepare for adulthood. Taysean adds that, “in the GTA, especially in North Etobicoke, there aren’t any other known web design and graphic design programs that are free to youth”. Taysean believes that if youth are given the tools to be successful, they will more likely be encouraged to pursue higher education and Masterpiece will demonstrate how students can use education to their advantage.
Taysean has stated that the vision for the masterpiece project is to “construct a culture that lies upon the principles of love, respect and faith. We believe that having a good foundation can uplift the community by teaching them both hard-skills and soft-skills which will in turn enable them to excel in our society”.
Adjusting to a virtual environment
Like most creatives this year, Taysean, along with the project’s organizational partner, the Rexdale Women’s Centre, had to modify the Masterpiece from an in-person workshop series to digital classes due to the pandemic. Instead of a summer-long series, Masterpiece was run as a four-week online intensive in July 2020. Taysean used social media and other networking platforms in order to successfully advertise his program, bringing in nearly fifteen students. Participants who were able to finish the program earned a Media-arts Certificate of Achievement.
While some students faced difficulties attending classes, Taysean ensured participants were able to complete projects and successfully graduate from the program. Using funds previously allocated to now unnecessary expenses like space, refreshments, and transportation, participants were given their own licences to Adobe software to continue applying what they learned and build their digital arts skills after the program ended.
About Taysean Wilson-Nolan
Taysean Wilson-Nolan has always taken an active role in his community as a motivational speaker, volunteer tutor, and public figure in his hometown Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario. He attended Rexdale's Pro-Tech Media Centre where he learned graphic design and film production skills.
This led to him starting his own media production company, Hour Zero, and writing his first book, “Hear The Cries Of My Heart” which was picked up by publishers and distributed in 2019. Taysean initially used his production skills to help youth athletes in the GTA make highlight videos in order to gain exposure to universities who are actively recruiting athletes. These videos opened up the opportunity for many students to receive athletic and academic scholarships from universities upon graduation.
Taysean continues to inspire and educate youth around GTA through the “Masterpiece” project while also starting an inspirational podcast. You can stay updated on Taysean’s work through his website and learn more about Masterpiece here.