Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism

Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism is a vessel that seeks to nurture Black creativity and experimentation. Inspired by Octavia Butler’s evocative novel, the Centre was birthed by Black Lives Matter artivists who hope to build an enduring space that could cultivate the most transformative and radical ideas.

Wildseed Centre is a multipurpose community space that serves to nurture radical Black experimentation and creation. In addition to housing the office space for its own operations and Black Lives Matter–Canada, Wildseed Centre is a site of activity to support Black radical organizing and artistry. It was birthed through a recognition that there is a need for enduring space to cultivate creative experiments led by Toronto’s diverse Black communities. It is a transfeminist, queer affirming space politically aligned with supporting Black liberation work across Canada.

Wildseed Centre is currently being renovated in partnership with the Studio of Contemporary Architecture (SOCA), an architecture and urban design studio dedicated to inclusive city building and the creation of beautiful spaces.

We are located in T’karón:to on Three Fires Territory and the territory of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum. This area is covered by Treaty 13. We learn from the Land and are so thankful to be here, in this place. We are in solidarity with Land Back and support Indigenous resurgence.

Board of Directors

headshot of Ravyn Ariah Wngz

Ravyn Ariah Wngz  (She/Her)

Board Director

Ravyn Ariah Wngz, “The Black Widow of Burlesque” is a Tanzanian, Bermudian, Mohawk, 2Spirit, empowerment movement storyteller of Trans experience. An abolitionist, and Black Renaissance Artivist. Her work is rooted in Black liberation and Indigenous Resurgence. She has a vision to create work/art/conversations that open minds, expand truths and deepen intellectual commitments into lived practices. Her purpose is to elevate the level of our collective global humanity. Ravyn is a co-founder of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company, The Artistic Director of Outrageous Victorious Africans Collective, a steering committee member of Black Live Matter Toronto, and Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter Canada.

headshot of Rodney DIverlus

Rodney Diverlus  (He/They)

Board Director

Rodney Diverlus is a Haitian-Canadian multidisciplinary artivist, performance-maker, and artist whose work incorporates contemporary and afrikanic movement dance practices, physical theatre, and public arts-based interventions. His artivism imagines large-scale public installations that blur the lines of protest and performance.He has presented and interpreted works for companies from across Canada, including Art Gallery of Ontario, Canadian Opera Company, Stratford Festival, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, SummerWorks Festival, the Dietrich Group, to name a few. He is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Canada, Black Lives Matter —Toronto, and previously, Lead Canadian Organizer for the Black Lives Matter Global Network . He is co-author of Canadian bestseller Until We are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada.

headshot of Sandy Hudson

Sandy Hudson  (She/Her)

Board Director, Chair

Sandy Hudson is an activist, public intellectual and creative with a talent for inspiring others to imagine just futures. The founder of the Black Lives Matter movement presence in Canada and Black Lives Matter – Toronto, Sandy also helped to found the Black Legal Action Centre. Sandy currently co-hosts the Sandy and Nora Talk Politics podcast, and has appeared in numerous international publications. Sandy has been honoured as one of Toronto Life’s 50 Most Influential Torontonians, Post City Magazine’s Most Inspiring Women, and Canada International Black Women’s 100 Black women to watch. Sandy has a background in choral music, musical theatre and photography and is passionate about infusing the arts into her social justice praxis. She is co-author of the best-seller, Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada.

headshot of Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus Marcus Ware  (He/Him)

Board Director

Syrus Marcus Ware is an Assistant Professor at the School of the Arts, McMaster University. He is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses drawing, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including a solo show at Grunt Gallery, Vancouver and new works commissioned for the Toronto Biennial of Art and Ryerson Image Centre. He is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter- Canada, and a core-team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto. He is a part of the Performance Disability Art Collective, and an ABD PhD candidate at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. His curatorial work includes That’s So Gay and BlacknessYes!/Blockorama. He is the co-editor or the best-selling Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada.


Jessica Kirk

Jessica Kirk  (She/Her)

Executive Director

Jessica Kirk is a community organizer and cultural curator based in Toronto, whose creative practice is rooted in racial justice and community care. Jessica is the Executive Director at Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism, an artist-run centre that serves as fertile ground for Black creativity and organizing in the city. During her previous time at the Writers’ Union of Canada, she initiated BIPOC Writers Connect, a literary mentorship program for emerging Black, Indigenous and racialized writers. She is also co-founder of multidisciplinary collective Way Past Kennedy Road. Jess is a recent MA thesis graduate in Social Justice Education from the University of Toronto (OISE). Her writing has appeared in The Canadian Geographer, Cartographies of Blackness and Black Indigeneities, and This Magazine.
Photo Credit: Angelyn Francis.

Imani Busby

Imani Busby  (She/Her)

Communications Coordinator

Imani Busby is an ambitious and multifaceted curator, visual artist, and entrepreneur. She is passionate about arts equity and aims to explore the ways in which the industry can be sustainable for Black artists and creatives.

She aims to use her curatorial and entrepreneurial skills to create engaging, interactive, and community-filled spaces that amplify emerging and mid-career artists. Through the creation of public art, exhibition pop-ups, and print publications, Imani aims to increase access to the arts for all communities. Additionally, through workshops and accessible resources, she aims to provide artists with business, legal, and professional development opportunities.

With roots in creativity and entrepreneurship, Imani is passionate about the art and fashion industries, representation, and community building.
Photo Credits: Vonny Lorde

Rochelle Ellar  (They/She)

Coordinator of Artistic Programming

Rochelle Ellar is a multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary artist & administrator. Canadian-Caribbean/West Indian Black, femme-nonbinary, Queer, and neurodivergent. Their artistic practice is primarily within the theatre, performance and literary arts. Whose practice includes creation, curation, facilitation, education, disability/mental health, and community advocacy. Their professional artistic practice significantly involves magical realism in the pursuit of restoration and radicalization of untold and underrepresented stories/perspectives. Rochelle actively and consciously comes from a trauma-informed, disability, and social justice framework, pursuing decolonizing and anti-oppressive practices through regular self-assessment and analysis of Western media and (pop )culture.

Venessa Harris

Venessa Harris  (She/Her)

Administrative Associate

Venessa Harris is a writer, creative, and arts management professional living and working in Toronto. Venessa has been involved with various membership-based arts organizations, in which she’s worked to uplift voices of marginalized artists, authors, illustrators, performers, filmmakers, and content creators. She has been working in the not-for-profit and charitable sector for over a decade, including positions at the Canadian Association of Community Health Centres, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario, among others. She is the producer of the Canadian Screen Award winning short film PICK (dir. Alicia K. Harris), which follows a young girl who wears her afro to school on picture day and must deal with the unexpected consequences.

headshot of Shorna James

Shorna James  (She/Her)

Operations and Finance Director

Shorna James has worked in the Charitable Non-Profit Sector in a Financial Management role since 2004. Shorna earned a diploma in Accountancy – Business studies from Humber College in 1996 and has pursued studies through the Chartered Professional Accountants – Toronto and through York University Bachelor degree program over the years.

She has worked in the Gender-based Violence, Mental Health, Addiction and Religious sectors, and with a Foundation that deals specifically with supporting Indigenous communities on Turtle Island by addressing environmental issues.

Danielle Gilmore

Danielle Gilmore  (She/Her)

Operations Manager

Danielle Gilmore is a Wellness Activist, Educator and Mindfulness Practitioner who believes in the healing powers of collective care. Her commitment to promoting wellness in communities who are oftentimes overlooked has allowed her to travel across the US and Canada presenting workshops on empathetic leadership, developing mindfulness practices and promoting holistic wellness.