GradEx100 draws record 41,000 to OCAD University

Monday, May 4, 2015 - 4:00am

It was an exhibition that exceeded all expectations: The 100th edition of the university’s graduate exhibition drew an estimated 41,000 visitors, a 64% increase over last year, making it one of the city’s largest free art and design exhibitions.

Some 900 students from 14 undergraduate and six graduate programs displayed their thesis works, including smartphone apps, wearable technology, ad campaigns, sculpture, textiles, digital painting and everything in between. The top student from each program received an OCAD University medal. 

President Sara Diamond stated, “I spent many days immersed in the exhibition and had the pleasure of touring government and private sector partners through the show. We all agreed that the quality, maturity and relevance of the students’ work is remarkable. They will have a powerful influence on the world."

Saturday night the inaugural Alumni of Influence awards were presented to accomplished alumni for their achievements and service to the community:

  • Legacy – Painter Doris McCarthy (AOCA, 1930)
  • Distinguished Alumni – Designer Donna Cummings (AOCA, 1967)
  • Distinguished Educator – Professor Allan J. Ryan, Ph.D. (AOCA, Advertising, 1967)
  • World Builder – Photographer Christine Germano (AOCA, 1994)
  • Trailblazer – Illustrator Gracia Lam (BDes, Illustration, 2009)

​“The range and depth of talent displayed this year reflects the scope of programs and experiences students gain at OCAD University,” said Dr. Diamond. “Our alumni award recipients noted that their years here prepared them for their careers ahead by grounding them in interdisciplinary skills and discipline while giving them a unique frame of reference for their creativity. They represent a bridge between our past and current unique excellence in delivering studio-based education.”

In his opening night remarks, illustrator Gary Taxali, an alumnus and faculty member, recalled his own graduate exhibition. “I’ve worked for every major magazine and have shown in top galleries, but I’ve never had thousands of people come to one of my openings like they do for GradEx every year. When I was a student it was one of the greatest experiences of my life and it kick started my art career.” Taxali designed this year’s GradEx poster and donated proceeds from the sale of limited edition prints to the university.

OCAD University’s annual Graduate Exhibition is generously supported by Presenting Sponsor Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. Other sponsors include: C.A. Delaney Capital Management Ltd., First Capital Realty, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, CP24 (Media Sponsor), NOW (Media Sponsor) and Steam Whistle (Event Sponsor).

This event has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

Graduating Photography students exhibit across the city this spring

Young woman obscures face with crystal against vintage wallcovering
Nude male stands half obscured by door
Pressback chair with hand shot in square of sunlight
Image of glowing embers in cave of grasses
Monday, April 27, 2015 - 4:00am

OCAD University Photography students are papering the town with their art this spring.

Twenty-seven graduates of OCAD U’s Photography program (thesis option) will showcase their images in this year’s centennial Graduate Exhibition as well as the prestigious Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

The CONTACT show – The Fortune of Having Been There – will be divided into three “volumes.” Each will be curated by a third-year student from OCAD U’s Criticism and Curatorial Practices program:

  • Volume I: May 14 to 24 (Opening reception: May 15)
  • Volume II: May 25 to June 2 (Opening reception: May 28)
  • Volume III: June 3 to 10 (Opening reception: June 5)

The volumes will unfold at The Project Gallery (1109 Queen St. E.), and the curators will attend their respective opening receptions.

Before that month-long exhibition gets underway, those 27 visionary photographers will present their work at OCAD U’s Graduate Exhibition – the biggest in the university’s history. The hundredth anniversary of this annual gathering of graduating students’ art, design and digital-media projects is open to the public from 6:30 p.m. on April 29 until 5 p.m. on May 3.

Four of the 27 also have works included in another CONTACT show: Revolution. All the participants in Revolution are students in OCAD U’s International Collaboration Studio course. Visit the exhibition at the Open Gallery, 49 McCaul St., from May 10 to 25.

OCAD U Bookstore x The Grind

Bunch of hanging, colourful objects
Row of skateboards
Colourful African bracelets
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 4:00am to Sunday, May 3, 2015 - 4:00am

Come to the OCAD University Bookstore and Support OCAD U's entrepreneurial community hosted by The Grind during the 100th Annual Graduate Exhibition!

See what incredible products and brands students have created. We have products for sale by: 

Coco's Frosting Shack 

Alexander Bailey x Wavvy Baby 

Devour and Destroy 


Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 51 McCaul Street Toronto, ON

OCAD University celebrates recipients of inaugural Alumni of Influence Awards

Photo of the late painter Doris McCarthy
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 4:00am

To mark the 100th edition of its annual Graduate Exhibition (GradEx100), OCAD University is honouring accomplished alumni for their outstanding professional and artistic achievements, as well as for their service to the community.

This year’s recipients:

  • Legacy – Painter Doris McCarthy (AOCA, 1930)
  • Distinguished Alumni – Designer Donna Cummings (AOCA, 1967)
  • Distinguished Educator – Professor Allan J. Ryan, Ph.D. (AOCA, Advertising, 1967)
  • World Builder – Photographer Christine Germano (AOCA, 1994)
  • Trailblazer – Illustrator Gracia Lam (BDes, Illustration, 2009)

“It gives us great pride to sing the praises of these internationally acclaimed alumni whose diverse achievements continue to change our world for the better,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University. “Their lives bear testimony to the many decades of OCAD University’s leadership in shaping the imagination of artists, designers and thinkers.”

Nominated by their peers and selected by a jury of alumni, faculty and staff, the five award recipients demonstrate excellence in a diverse range of fields and activities, whether at home or abroad. These include art, design, media, business, science, humanities, medicine, education and public service. The Alumni of Influence Award reception takes place Saturday, May 2, 2015. This exciting new program has been made possible through the support of presenting sponsor TD Insurance.


Doris McCarthy (AOCA, Drawing & Painting, 1930)

Doris McCarthy (1910-2010) is recognized today as one of the leading landscape painters in Canada. Her career spanned more than eight decades, which yielded a prolific body of work, exploration and collaboration and ultimately helping to shape Canadian art. In 1926 she earned a scholarship to OCA, as it was then known, where she was mentored by several premier Canadian artists of the early 20th century; among them, Group of Seven members Arthur Lismer and JEH MacDonald.

McCarthy gained wide acclaim for her work as a trailblazing female landscape artist. In turn, she made great headway for other emerging female artists and, by way of her legacy, continues to do so today. McCarthy received the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.

Donna Cummings (AOCA, Interior Design, 1967)

Donna (Tindall) Cummings is a leader in the field of interior design who co-founded Marshall Cummings and Associates (MCA), a pioneering international interior design firm whose corporate clients included the Toronto Stock Exchange, Irving Oil Ltd., McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada and may others. MCA developed extensive training and educational programs at offices in Toronto, Calgary, New York, and London, offering internships to students from OCAD U and other design schools.

After negotiating the sale of MCA in 2006 to IBI Group, Cummings turned her attention to painting, and has since been involved in many art and design shows and events. Cummings served on the board for the development of the Sharp Centre for Design and has supported many charitable initiatives.

Dr. Allan J. Ryan (AOCA, Advertising Design, 1967)

Dr. Allan J. Ryan is one of North America’s foremost interpreters of contemporary Aboriginal art whose achievements go well beyond conventional scholarship and teaching. His eclectic career included stints as a graphic designer, television satirist, singer-songwriter and recording artist. His contributions to society are numerous and varied, but he is most known for promoting Indigenous pedagogy and fostering understanding across cultural communities through art.

A 1967 graduate of OCA in Advertising Design, Ryan taught liberal arts courses at the institution during the 1980s and is currently an Associate Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, where he was appointed New Sun Chair in 2001, the first university chair in Canada devoted to Aboriginal art and culture. There, he organizes the annual New Sun Conference on Aboriginal Arts, which provides a forum for contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists across a broad spectrum of the creative arts.

Christine Germano (AOCA, Photography/Sculpture, 1994)

Germano’s work focuses on the voices and images of young people whose futures are influenced by climate change. Among her numerous collaborations with Indigenous communities, she is best known for the photojournalism project she developed in 2003, Through Our Eyes, which encourages First Nations youth to use photography as a means to express themselves and their community, build self-confidence, and share an otherwise unheard voice. The project has been successfully carried out in 14 First Nations communities and schools.

Germano is a 1994 graduate of OCA, where she spent her third year abroad as part of the university's Florence Off-Campus Studies program. She has exhibited in galleries internationally; among them, the Canadian Consulate in Rome, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Minzu University of China in Beijing and the National Museum of Denmark. She is also a recipient of the John Hobday Awards in Arts Management through the Canada Council of the Arts.

Gracia Lam (BDes, Illustration, 2009)

Gracia Lam is an award-winning illustrator who lives and works in Toronto. She graduated from the OCAD U Illustration program in 2009 with honours and an already-growing client list. Her unmistakable aesthetic has caught the eye of countless publications and illustration enthusiasts. With a long list of notable clients such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, RealSimple, J. Crew, and Random House, Gracia has covered immeasurable ground since graduation day and is still powering forward.

Despite being in great demand and working on multiple weekly assignments, Lam still makes time to give back to OCAD U; she is invited regularly into core illustration classes to offer mentorship in the areas of client relations, business details, contracts, and process.

From OCA to OCAD U: Our History

OCAD University was originally established in Toronto in 1876 by the Ontario Society of Artists. Back then it was called the Ontario School of Art. In 1912, it was incorporated as the Ontario College of Art (OCA), becoming the first school in Canada dedicated exclusively to the education of professional artists in fine and commercial art. In 1996, the name changed to the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), marking the growth of design programs. In 2010, to reflect the institution’s status as a university granted in 2002, the school became officially known as OCAD University (OCAD U). 







Alumni Lounge at GradEx 100

GradEx 100 Alumni Day
Saturday, May 2, 2015 - 3:00pm to 9:00pm

OCAD U alumni are invited to drop in the Alumni Lounge during the Saturday of the 100th Graduate Exhibition and enjoy some complimentary food and drink, register for a tour of the Medal Winner’s Exhibit, and meet some of our key affinity partners, like the Alumni Association, Artists’ Health Alliance, Continuing Studies, Street Capital, and TD Insurance. All alumni who RSVP in advance will be entered into a raffle to win a free course from Continuing Studies! RSVP today using the website link below!

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul St. Room 187
(416) 977-6000, Ext 4880

GradEx Student Monitor Paid Positions

Gary Taxali Poster
Monday, March 23, 2015 - 4:00am to Friday, April 17, 2015 - 4:00am

GradEx 100 Needs You!

Student Monitor Paid Positions

Response Deadline: Friday, April 17, 2015

Attention First, Second and Third-year Students!*

The Marketing & Communications department at OCAD University is hiring a team of student monitors to work during the 100th Annual Graduate Exhibition (GradEx), which is open to the public from Wednesday, April 29 to Sunday, May 3

Student monitor shifts are available starting Tuesday, April 28 and continuing through to Monday, May 4. Work includes hanging signage, setting up displays, counting, greeting and directing visitors, collecting surveys, selling bar tickets, taking down displays and more.  

Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate 100 years of talent and to experience GradEx behind the scenes — to see what you’ll be preparing for when you reach your final year!

Smart Serve: Certification, while not required for all positions, is an asset for specific shifts.

Training: Students are required to complete a mandatory training session on Tuesday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A pizza lunch will be provided. This training session will be paid to all monitors who arrive to their GradEx shifts on time and work their full shifts

Student Monitor Pay Rate: $11.00 per hour 

Contact: Kanyika Yorke, Marketing & Communications Coordinator,, 416-977-6000 x 427 

In your response, please include:

  • Availability
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Year of study
  • Indicate if you are Smart Serve certified

Fourth-year students who have work in the Graduate Exhibition are expected to be with their displays throughout the event.

Poster artwork and design © Gary Taxali, 2015. All rights reserved

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul St. Toronto, ON M5T 1W1
416-977-6000 x 427

Persian New Year

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 3:00pm to 6:00pm

ED Grad Ex fundraiser celebrating the Persian New Year. We will be selling pastries, eggs, serving free tea.

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul 5th Floor Open Studio Space

Gary Taxali creates OCAD U’s 100th GradEx poster

Poster for OCAD U GradEx 100
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 6:45pm

Award-winning illustrator Gary Taxali’s work is featured on the poster for GradEx 100, the centennial edition of OCAD University’s annual exhibition of graduating students’ work. Taxali is an OCAD U alumnus and associate professor of Illustration in the Faculty of Design.

More than 600 promising young artists and designers will be exhibiting at GradEx 100, displaying their final thesis work to more than 25,000 guests from Wednesday, April 29 to Sunday, May 3. The exhibition will fill all six storeys of 100 McCaul St., including the landmark Sharp Centre for Design, and will be open to the public.

Taxali’s signature pop culture imagery is infused with retro/vintage graphic style. His fine artwork has been exhibited in galleries in the United States and Europe as well as museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Contemporary Art Museum in Rome. In 2011, two books of his work were released:  Mono Taxali, published by 279 Editions, and I Love You, Ok? published by teNeues. In 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint released a special edition of six 25-cent coins, which feature Taxali’s artwork.  

Taxali’s clients include Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, Business Week, McSweeney’s, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Converse, Levi’s, Sony, MTV and Coca-Cola.

OCAD University’s annual Graduate Exhibition is generously supported by Presenting Sponsor Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. Other sponsors include: C.A. Delaney Capital Management Ltd., First Capital Realty, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, CP24 (Media Sponsor), NOW (Media Sponsor) and Steam Whistle Brewing (Event Sponsor).

This event has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

Parallel Play Music Event

Friday, January 30, 2015 - 11:00pm

Graphic Design Thesis students are having a “pay what you can” event Friday, January 30th at 6:00 pm, proceeds going to Graphic Design’s Graduation Exhibition. Please come join us the Auditorium (RM190). Parallel Play is a music event you won’t soon forget. It will delve into the magical mysteries of music through collaboration, audience participation and of course, PLAY!

Facebook event:

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul Auditorium (Room 190)
Pay what you can

OCAD University's 100th Graduate Exhibition (GradEx)

Poster with characters illustrated by Gary Taxali
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 10:30pm to Sunday, May 3, 2015 - 9:00pm

For Information about the 2016 Graduate Exhibition, GradEx 101, please visit


More than 900 promising young artists and designers are exhibiting at the biggest GradEx ever -- OCAD University's 100th! This year, GradEx expands to a five-day exhibition spread across four buildings on campus including the iconic Sharp Centre for Design. The university will throw open its doors, inviting the community to see works by the creative minds of OCAD U’s Class of 2015.

Students from undergraduate and graduate programs will show their final thesis work to an audience of more than 25,000 guests, some of whom attend the show to recruit new talent for their own galleries and firms.

Undergraduate programs represented in this year's GradEx are: Criticism and Curatorial Practice, Drawing & Painting, Integrated Media, Digital Painting and Expanded Animation, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture/Installation and the specialization Cross-Disciplinary Art: Publications in the Faculty of Art; Advertising, Environmental Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design and Material Art & Design (jewellery, fibre and ceramics) in the Faculty of Design. The Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies will present work from the Digital Futures and Indigenous Visual Culture programs.

OCAD U's graduate programs are: Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories, Criticism & Curatorial Practice, Digital Futures, Inclusive Design, Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media and Design, Strategic Foresight and Innovation

Feature sales provide the opportunity to purchase work from emerging talent at reasonable prices:
Graphic Design - Room 636, 100 McCaul St.
Material Art & Design (MAAD) - Room 253, 100 McCaul St.

Printmaking - Room 387, 100 McCaul St..
Publications - Room 384, 100 McCaul St.

GradEx Schedule:
Opening Night: Wednesday, April 29, 6:30 to 11 p.m.
Thursday, April 30, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, May 1, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 3, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Secondary school visits can be booked on both Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1 between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Book your high school visit to GradEx now!

TTC Directions: Get off at St. Patrick Subway Station and walk west on Dundas to McCaul (south of Dundas).

OCAD University’s annual Graduate Exhibition is generously supported by Presenting Sponsor Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. Other sponsors include: C.A. Delaney Capital Management Ltd., First Capital Realty, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, CP24 (Media Sponsor), NOW (Media Sponsor) and Steam Whistle (Event Sponsor). Cultural partners include the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Chealsea Hotel, Toronto.

This event has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

Poster artwork and design by OCAD U alumnus Gary Taxali

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul St. 60 McCaul St. 52 McCaul St. 49 McCaul St.