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After our two-month search for talent, our judging panel of Bonnie Brooks, David Lee, Jeffrey Remedios and Gabe Gonda narrows almost 500 nominees down to the 10 best
Jane Cox, 39, Vancouver, design, Cause and Affect Design Ltd.
Cox runs a consultancy business specializing in brand development.
Why she’s a Catalyst … She initiated the popular Vancouver arts and culture series Movers and Shapers and founded the Vancouver edition of PechaKucha, billed as an evening of ideas, images and inspired conversation.
She says … “I’d feel comfortable calling myself a culture builder more than a brand consultant.”
Judge David Lee says … “Jane has connected people through her creativity and her branding, and most of all other cultures and communities.”
Andrea Dorfman, 44, Halifax, arts.
The multidisciplinary artist’s How To Be Alone music video is a YouTube sensation, with more than one million viewers to date.
Why she’s a Catalyst … As a teacher at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Dorfman mentors young artists in a variety of disciplines.
She says … “I’ve always resisted labels,” says the artist, who is also producing an interactive website for the National Film Board on Newfoundland’s Fogo Island. “I do drawings, paintings, make film and write. I keep my options open.”
Judge Bonnie Brooks says … “Andrea Dorfman uses her artistic talents to provide social commentary on issues of justice, equality and action in an accessible, creative and powerful way that reaches an international audience.”
Jay Ferguson, 43, Toronto, arts, 3oclocktv.
He’s the creator of Guidestones, an interactive Web series combining traditional filmmaking with the intricacies and global outreach of the Internet.
Why he’s a Catalyst … Created a unique model of corporate funding enabling viewers to watch the series, which is about two journalism students who uncover a global conspiracy, for free.
He says … “I am fully committed to making Web-based content monetizable, and making our model in particular work financially.” says Ferguson, whose Toronto-based guidestones.org won an International Emmy Award in April. “This is in many ways where we are doing our hardest work.”
Judge Bonnie Brooks says … “By combining two entertainment engines, traditional filmmaking and the Internet, Ferguson has created an interactive experience using original content that employs professional actors and young filmmakers and Web designers to help build a new entertainment channel.”
(Jennifer Roberts for The Globe and Mail)
Daveed Goldman, 37, Toronto, arts, Choir!Choir!Choir!
Goldman co-founded the large, fully inclusive public choir, meeting twice weekly in a downtown Toronto bar to sing pop songs.
Why he’s a Catalyst … Choir!’s co-founder and musical director makes singing into a confidence-building, life-altering experience for all participants. He says … “Singing with a big group like Choir!Choir!Choir! is a really powerful experience. It’s definitely changed people’s lives. Any time you are part of a community that strong, and we do have a strong community, your life is going to change. It’s amazing.”
Judge Gabe Gonda says …“I felt strongly about Goldman as a Catalyst because his whole endeavour is about the contagion of collective joy. I love the innocence of singing, especially for a generation of people who are expected to be cynical, or to approach life from a guarded distance. The lesson of Choir!Choir!Choir! is that art can be imperfect, participatory, totally uninhibited and social, in the old-fashioned, non-digital sense of the word. I love that. It’s a really attractive idea. And the music is awesome.”
(Pawel Dwulit for The Globe and Mail)
Tyler Gray, 36, Vancouver, food, Mikuni Wild Harvest.
The professional forager sells mushrooms, fiddleheads and other rare foraged edibles to top chefs and specialty food stores across North America.
Why he’s a Catalyst … He’s a pioneer in the wild food industry who has jump-started a new culinary movement that will be the subject of a National Geographic TV series.
He says … “I think it’s safe to say that we’re definitely one of the pioneers in the boutique food industry. We’ve done a lot to connect the consumer to wild foraged foods.”
Judge David Lee says … “Tyler had great vision when he started his company back in the day. He has created a path for forgers and farmer leading to table.”
Kate Hartman, 32, Toronto, design, Toronto Wearables Meetup.
She researches wearable and mobile technology through her Social Body Lab at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto.
Why she’s a Catalyst … Hartman is a technologist and educator who fuses art with technology to create a new hybrid worn on the body.
She says … “I’m really interested in how technology either augments or interferes with our social interactions,” says Hartman, a native of Boston whose book, Make: Wearable and Flexible Electronics, is due out in the fall.
Judge Jeffrey Remedios says … “It was so interesting to explore Ms. Hartman’s whimsical approach to our body’s relationship with technology. She’s asking the right questions and I look forward to what further answers she’ll uncover.”
(Jennifer Roberts for The Globe and Mail)
Alexander Josephson, 30, Toronto, design, Partisans.
His Partisans design and architecture firm, co-founded with Pooya Baktash, creates buildings from the ground up, overseeing all aspects of the design and construction process.
Why he’s a Catalyst … He employs young architects and allows them, early on, to be in charge of projects extending to furniture and interior design.
He says … “That’s not the way architecture is usually set up,” the University of Waterloo graduate says. “Often young architects have to work for others for a long time before they can express their own ideas.”
Judge Jeffrey Remedios says … “I really appreciated that his rapidly growing success is rooted in a strongly principled approach. Youthful people, and ideas with a clear love of the work they’re doing.”
(Michelle Siu for The Globe and Mail)
Darcia Parada, 50, Edmonton, arts, Mercury Opera.
The classically trained singer stages opera in unusual places, from back alleys to the top of scissor lifts.
Why she’s a Catalyst … Parada is committed to making the high arts accessible to everyone, even passersby.
She says … “People avoid classical music, thinking they didn’t like it, because it isn’t geared to them,” says the Banff Centre and Mannes College of Music graduate. “So I could see a hole in the market, and I decided to fill it because I was fearful that opera was losing its audience.”
Judge Bonnie Brooks says … “Darcia Parada is committed to educating the masses about art that is otherwise not accessible to most people. Parada has also inspired other artists to create similar programs in other cities.”
Anil Patel, 38, Toronto, arts, Timeraiser.
Patel started the art auction where participants pledge volunteer hours to a registered charity in exchange for an original art work.
Why he’s a Catalyst … In the decade since its founding, Timeraiser has invested $710,000 in the careers of artists and has generated 114,000 volunteer hours pledged by 7,700 Canadians in support of more than 500 charitable causes across Canada.
He says … “Timeraiser is like speed-dating for volunteerism. People come to our event, meet with dozens of non-profits. Once they match their skills to their needs, people can bid.”
Judge David Lee says … “Anil is a pioneer in his field in how he has paved the path for a lot of artists. He is greatly regarded and well respected within the community.”
(Jennifer Roberts for The Globe and Mail)
Jessamyn Rodriguez, 36, New York, food, Hot Bread Kitchen.
The dual citizen of Canada and the United States started a communal oven and training facility for immigrant women.
Why she’s a Catalyst … In addition to keeping alive traditional recipes, Rodriguez helps immigrant women use their own baking skills to gain economic stability in a new land.
She says … “I think it says something very important about the women that we serve and the contribution of immigrant communities,” says Rodriguez, who grew up in Toronto. “I hope it will become a model for other social enterprises.”
Judge Jeffrey Remedios says … “I love the not-just-for-profit vision of Ms. Rodriguez’ Hot Bread Kitchen.The marriage of an identified market opportunity with a marginalized yet valuable labour resource serves not only as a successful stand-alone business but also incubates others. Inspiring.”