Celebrating Black Brilliance continues all year long Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) is excited to welcome Antonio Michael Downing, musician, author and public speaker, as the WRDSB’s first Black Artist-In-Residence. The residency will commence April 2022.

Black Artist-In-Residence Antonio Michael Downing

Photo of Antonio Michael Downing

The Black Artist-in-Residence program will start with a series of workshops. African, Caribbean, and Black identifying (ACBi) secondary students will attend these workshops with Downing. Students will also have the opportunity to access one-on-one support to help them complete a voluntary artistic project of their choosing.

About Antonio Michael Downing

Our first Artist-in-Residence is also a WRDSB graduate, having attended Glenview Park Secondary School in Cambridge. Downing has also called a number of places home while growing up, including southern Trinidad, Northern Ontario, Brooklyn, and Kitchener.

Downing has a wealth of knowledge to offer. At the core of his artistic practice lies his relationship with storytelling, so this residency will focus on storytelling through music, writing and public speaking. According to Downing, “Black Brilliance means dreaming dreams that are not limited by colonial legacies and daring to make them a reality”. He looks forward to learning how WRDSB students are writing their own stories and providing them with tools to expand their horizons.

Downing’s role as Artist-in-Residence also serves to highlight local legacy, brilliance and heritage. We want students to experience the representation that resides here in Waterloo Region.

About the Black Artist-In-Residence Program

The Black Artist-In-Residence Program is based on similar programs at post-secondary institutions, museums, libraries and other spaces where academic learning and art intersect. We want to offer an opportunity for ACBi students to enrich their academic experience, engage with culturally responsive material and connect with an amazing mentor. This program is about affirming identity.

How Students Can Participate in the Black Artist-in-Residence Program

Secondary students can contact the Head of the English or Music Departments at their school to learn more information about how ACBi students can participate in the Black Artist-in-Residence Program.

Community Events

Looking for a way to learn more or get involved? Check out the following community events: