About the Artists
Elle de Lyon
Elle de Lyon is a writer, curator and artrepreneur who produces art that positively changes people, places and things. Over the last 10 years, she has facilitated personal and professional development workshops, recreational programs, and educational conferences for multiple community agencies across North America: Black North Initiative, United Way Canada, The John Howard Society, Tropicana Community Services, Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, to name a few.
In addition to community development, Elle has managed brand promotion and corporate wellness events for Fortune 50, 100, and 500 companies: TD Bank, LCBO, Dell Inc., DAVIDs Tea, Microsoft Corp., Merck & Co., Dwight & Church Co., Johnson & Johnson Inc., Proctor & Gamble Co., Sears Inc., and Hewlett -Packard. In 2019, Elle co-founded Madewell Productions, an agency that specializes in producing arts and wellness based events and projects. She currently works with RISE Edutainment, Black Physicians of Tomorrow and Black Men’s Style to creatively direct their projects, programs and events.
Elle is also a certified life skills coach and yoga/meditation teacher. She uses her background in social work, community development, health and the arts to inform her practice as an artivist and edutainer. Elle believes that art is a social tool for change, she uses art to educate and entertain.
She will be a featured sitter on February 1st!
Coco LaRain Veira
Coco LaRain Veira is A Revolutionary Speaker, Trauma-Informed Trainer, Speaker Coach, and Performing Artist With over 30 years of professional experience as an Award Winning Revolutionary Speaker, Coco is on a mission to inspire her fellow Survivors to Thrive By Design. From consulting with the Mayors Office and facilitating corporate training seminars to inspiring children, youth & young mothers to transform their pain into power, Coco has spoken on hundreds of stages inspiring Executives, Front Line Professionals, Educators and Students with her cautionary tales. Coco uses a therapeutic-arts approach within each Trauma Awareness, Prevention and Recovery keynote, workshops, and seminar.
Coco’s motto is “Survival Pain + Divine Purpose = Revolutionary Power that Profits Us All”.
She will be a featured sitter on February 15th!
Affrica “Dess” Spence, is a proud second generation Jamaican Canadian. A lover of all things arts with a specialty in film creation, painting and spoken word poetry. They have completed both film production and film studies training at Concordia University and the NYFA. Affrica has also garnered notice as an official selection in several film festivals including but not limited to: the Caribbean Tales International Film Festival, Montreal Independent Film Festival, WebFest T.O and the NY International Arts Festival. As for painting and spoken word, this self taught artist has performed for organizations such as Toronto Artscape and been featured in galleries such as the BC Penticton Gallery. From 2018 to present day most of her attention has been building a passion project, Voetry, a documentary styled anthology that combines spoken word poetry and visual arts.
She will be a featured sitter February 20th!
Kiana 'rookz' Eastmond
Kiana ‘rookz’ Eastmond has become a well known public figure, starting her career in music, evolving into an executive, from a founder to a 5x award-winning serial entrepreneur. rookz has been featured for her impact by global brands like Nike and Google, making headlines in The Globe & Mail all the way to Complex magazine, and most notably has been a keynote speaker over 150 times in over 25 cities. It’s evident her brand knows no boundaries, this recognized and prolific speaker sits on stages with CEO’s and shared a stage, opening for Barack Obama truly reinforcing her #CreateFate philosophy that “your conditions don’t have to be your conditioning.
As the founder of Sandbox Studios rookz’s brainchild Sandbox Studios is one of the most successful Urban Music Artist Development and Recording facilities in Toronto. The studio has opened its doors to both international and local talent such as Cardi B, Tory Lanez, Kid Ink and some of the city’s up and coming acts. After working with legends within the music industry as well as budding stars, it became evident to her that Canada lacked the infrastructure to develop of a healthy and sustainable urban music industry.
She will be a featured sitter March 1st!
Anastasia de Lyon
As a seasoned Project Manager and Child and Youth Worker, Anastasia brings over a decade of experience developing programs, events, and experiences for organizations like Nuit Blanche, City of Toronto, ArtworxTO, Sandbox Studios and countless others.
In 2019, Anastasia co-founded MAdeWELL Productions – a project and event management business that is passionate about working within the art, culture and wellness industries to bring clients visions to fruition. She is also passionate about creating events and programs that address mental health and use art as a tool for social change.
Anastasia brings all of the learnings from her cross section of corporate and community learnings to her role as Program Manager at RISE Edutainment. Developing learning materials and tools that maintain the integrity of creativity while commercializing its value. Once crowned Miss Black Beauty Canada, Anastasia spends the time she’s not developing programming – modeling and acting in Toronto and abroad.
She will be a featured sitter March 8th!
Alyestal is a multifaceted creative, speaker, and spoken word poetess. Alyestal’s poetry has been seen on the stages of London, England, the walls of Uganda, and the pages of North American Literary journals. Alyestal has opened for author Lawrence Hill and was named one of the top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada.
As the creator of the digital series “Momo’s Mama Monday”, Alyestal uses this platform to empower mothers in the early stages of motherhood. As a poet and speaker, Alyestal aims to empower her audience to believe through their story, “YOU are power”.
Alyestal will be a featured sitter April 5!