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OISE alumni celebrate the arts at Spring Reunion

By Eileen Thomas

June 8, 2015

Allan Revich et al

OISE alumni from left to right: Audrey Freidin, David Olson and Allan Revich

From May 27 to 31, University of Toronto alumni went back to school for the weekend, with  departments, divisions and colleges across the three campuses busy welcoming them to their annual Spring Reunion weekend, and OISE was no exception.

The OISE preparations, overseen by the OISE Alumni Association and months in the planning, finally came to fruition May 29th at 2015 OISE Spring Reunion: The Art Edition, as over 100 OISE alumni, friends, faculty and current students gathered for a spirited celebration of the arts.

For the first time in OISE Spring Reunion history, this year’s event featured an Art Exhibition showcasing the artistic talents of 40 OISE community members. Other components included opening and closing performances, a presentation of Special Milestone Awards to 14 OISE alumni of 25 or more years standing, and a panel discussion featuring prominent members of the arts community, including the Ontario Art Foundation, and from OISE, Tara Goldstein, a professor in Curriculum, Teaching & Learning, and founding director of Gaily Road Productions, and Social Justice Education MA student Amanda Parris.

The result was a resounding success, as OISE alumni reconnected with former classmates and professors, and celebrated friendship over good food, drinks and conversation while viewing the art exhibition and learning about arts education. Two alumni reflected on their personal experiences of Spring Reunion this year.

PhD student Marisol D'AndreaOISE alumna Marisol D’Andrea (MEd ’10), is a Toronto based Peruvian-Canadian visual/social artist whose work raises questions about social roles in society, in particular the notion of freedom and justice as the intrinsic importance of life, good practices and reflections on the world.

D’Andrea, who  works as an administrative coordinator in OISE’s Research Office, is a PhD candidate in Leadership, Higher and Adult Education. She also blogs about art Tree of Knowledge by Marisol D'Andreaand education, and paints, mostly in acrylics and mixed media. Her painting, The Tree of Knowledge was among the works juried for this exhibition.

“I was thrilled to participate in this art exhibition because it exemplifies the importance of alumni engaging, the fostering of education, and cultural connection. Every time I see an art exhibition my world fills with magic, wonder, knowledge, and possibilities. Education, arts, and connections help us shake and shape the world,” she says.

Jeff Myers, OISEAA President 2014-presentOISE alumnus Jeff Myers (MA ’07; PhD ’13) has served as President of the OISE Alumni Association since 2014. As an OISE student, Myers was highly involved in giving back to the Institution, serving three terms as president of OISE’s Graduate Students’ Association, as representative of the graduate students on OISE Council, the Institute’s governing body, and member of institutional committees including teaching and staff awards as well as many other roles including graduate and research assistant, guest lecturer and much more.

The purpose of the OISE Alumni Association, he explains, is “to build bridges between past and present, whether it’s through events and meetings, or simply creating space for dialogue and the exchange of ideas.  Our motto, Connecting the Past, Inspiring the Future captures it well.”

Myers is passionate about why alumni need to stay involved. “To be part of that important work of course!" he exclaims without hesitation. "OISE becomes like a second home, a second family while you’re a student here, and we strive to help those who have graduated stay connected. We also aim to be a resource for current students, whether through providing additional funding streams, or creating mentoring and networking opportunities.”

Thanks to the tireless efforts, dedication and many contributions of Cindy Sinclair, Chair of this year's Spring Reunion and her committeee the event was a dynamic success. Cindy was able to secure sponsorship from renowned Toronto organizations, such as, Aga Khan Museum, the Bata Shoe Museum, the Canadian Art Foundation, the Women’s Art Association of Canada, the Gardiner Museum, L’Espresso Bar Mercurio, Shoppers Drug Mart, Starbucks Coffee, U of T’s Hart House, and from OISE, the Graduate Student Association, the Department of Social Justice Education, and the Advancement, Alumni, and Communications offices.