Dreamers And Doers

Meet the dynamic team of dreamers and creatives who work with us to create magic:

Paola Gómez

Co-Founder & Program Director

Paola is a trained Human Rights lawyer, Community Organizer, Public Speaker, an Artist Facilitator, a writer and a dreamer. Paola is involved in causes such as Ending Violence against Women and Forced Migration as well as Community engagement.

Paola has received several awards such as Toronto Community Foundation VITAL PEOPLE, Amina Malko Award, City of Toronto Human Rights Award, and Skills for Change Pioneers for Change Excellence in the Arts award, amongst others. 

Alex Usquiano

Co-founder & Artistic Director

Alex is a Toronto based visual artist who integrates different techniques to his exploration of new and contemporary languages of Art. With more than fifteen years working on the arts, both a practicing artist and an artist educator, Alex uses his talent on painting, performance, drawing and photography to promote love for the arts and to encourage children to find ways for self-expression and explore their creativity.

Alex’s hobby is “psico magia”, his favorite food is pork bone soup and his favorite movie is Dreams by Akira Kurosaw. 

Paula Sofía Morales

Programming & Outreach Coordinator

Paula Sofía is a Guatemalan-born, Toronto-based, singer-songwriter and a graduate from Arts Administration and Cultural Management at Humber College. She has worked in various capacities in MUSE Arts such as workshop facilitation, programming, and community engagement. 

Paula’s favorite song is Volar by El Kanka and her favorite movie is “Life is Beautiful”.

Laura Rojas

Designer & Arts Facilitator

Laura is a Colombian-born, Toronto-based artist and designer. She holds a BFA from OCAD University where she graduated in 2018 from the Cross-Disciplinary Art program specializing in Publications. Laura is interested in using art and design as tools for education, participation, and mobilization, as well as exploring how the arts can support community-building, strengthening our connections between each other and the world around us. Laura has too many hobbies, but a current obsession is learning about mycology.

Juan Villegas

Arts Facilitator

Juan Villegas is a multidisciplinary creative professional born in the beautiful mountains of Medellin, Colombia. He studied graphic design at the Instituto de Artes in Medellin. Juan enjoys doing character illustration, sound production, and working on creative projects that spark creative energy and collaboration. He currently works at MUSE Arts in event support, video editing, and community arts facilitation. Juan enjoys creating spaces for local artists to share their talents and build artistic communities in the GTA.

Carolina Patiño Quintana

Community Arts Residence Coordinator

Carolina is a young entrepreneur in Colombia’s Coffee Zone as well as an active and brilliant events coordinator. Carolina has worked with MUSE Arts for the past four (4) years, taking care of all the logistic aspects of our Cultural Exchanges and Community Arts Residences in Latin America and The Caribbean.

Natalia Ruiz Cuartas

Partnerships & Community Empowerment Manager 

Natalia is a feminist community educator and communications professional with a postgraduate degree in innovation management, communication, and digital journalism. She has over 8 years of experience in community work with women, children, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, victims of the armed conflict and forced displacement, and people with disabilities. She has dedicated her professional practice to the development of inclusive education strategies and to using communication tools for activism, education, and the promotion of culture.

In her spare time, Natalia is training to be a doula.


Nancy Ospina

Arts Facilitator

Nancy Ospina was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Throughout her life, she has always been interested in education and social issues. The artwork, that Nancy

creates, is the result of her own life experience and investigation about the Colombian internal conflict and its survivors. She has also

created education strategies to involve communities in contemporary art and

peace building. She also worked for the government of Colombia supporting the

Victims Law Reparation Program. Nancy’s hobby is drawing, she draws everywhere!

Carlos Cardona

Carlos Andres Cardona Cadavid

Digital and Visual Artist

Frangely Luciano

Arts Facilitator

She is a multidisciplinary artist, born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She earned her BFA from the Frostic School of Art at Western Michigan University in 2015 where she also majored in film, video and media studies. She is a photographer who enjoys teaching visual arts and creating pieces of work with mixed media. Since completing her Art Education and Community Engagement program at Centennial College in Spring 2022, she has grown an interest in working with community-based art.

Lilian Sim (Lil)

Community Arts Assistant

Lil is a half Korean, half Malaysian Chinese illustrator born in Toronto.
She graduated from OCAD University with a BDes in Illustration. She is passionate about accessible arts education and creative problem-solving. When she’s not painting, she’s watching a lot of movies, experimenting with different art mediums, and trying to keep snail mail alive.

Verónica Gómez

Arts Facilitator & Community Engagement

Veronica is a community artist interested in creative writing and literature who aspires to travel the world and connect with others. She currently works with Muse Arts, in aspects such as workshop facilitation, communications, and project development. Veronica enjoys reading, as well as eating pastries and her favourite movie is Karate Kid.

Our Board

Board of directors:

Ana Gabriela Lopez Castro

Board Member

Ana Gabriela is an active exponent of Mexican art and culture throughout the presentation of her artistic and handcrafted work known as the Alebrijes, fantastic figures created of paper mache. She has participated as an artist facilitator, leading artist, and volunteer with Muse Arts since 2013.
Ana Gabriela’s favourite hobby is swimming and her two favorite movies are Guillermo del Toro’s Laberinto del Fauno and La Forma del Agua.

Lidia Barrera

Board Member

Lidia Barrera is a visual artist and registered nurse who uses acrylic paints and canvas to create very bold cultural rich art. Guatemalan born, she relocated to Toronto at the age of 5. Her paintings revolve around Guatemalan people, cultures, fabrics and life. Though she enjoys displaying themes revolving feminine spirit and vibes, her most favorite pieces revolve around the love of mother and her children as it resonates with the relationship and adoration she has towards her own children Austin and Raquel. Lidia’s favourite movie is Shawshank Redemption, and her favourite hobby is art.

Juan Camilo Poveda

Board Member

Juan Camilo has become experienced in the coordination, outreach, and intake processes of programs for youth. He is a graduate with High Honours from the Social Service Worker program at Seneca College. Juan Camilo’s favourite activities are meeting new people, learning from them, and striving to empower other youth with tools to become the agents of change they want to see in their communities and the world.

Our Principles

Inclusion and Participation: There are many ways in which artists and other community members can get involved with us, and we welcome anyone who wants to share their talents or participate in any capacity. If you are an emerging artist from an equity-seeking group, reach out to us and let’s chat about possible opportunities! 

MUSE Arts is all about dreamers and doers working together to encourage social change at an individual and a collective level. Join us as we promote the use of the arts as a tool for social change and activism, support emerging artists, and collaborate on the promotion of arts and literature projects in Canada and across the world.

Self-expression: We believe that self-expression is born from the unique gifts and talents that each individual carries. The arts allow us to express and promote our ideas and interests, our world views and our creativity. We believe that allowing each person to find ways to express their artistic spirit creates a sense of well-being that brings us closer to achieving a common good.

Communal Effort:  We value creative cooperation and collaboration and believe in the creation of community spaces with a focus on the arts, with the integration of art, social justice, and community development as key pillars of these spaces.

Civil and Social Responsibility:  We recognize that we each have an individual responsibility in contributing to the improvement of our societies, and encourage artists to build allyship with other community members in order to achieve collective goals and work towards a more just and inclusive world, one project at a time.

Community Partners

Our Community Art Projects are delivered at Community Centres, VAW Shelters, Refugee Housing, Transitional Programs in the City of Toronto and other cities of Ontario. We also partner with Universities, Art organizations and other agencies in order to fulfill our mission.   Please contact us to explore more partnership opportunities.

Thanks to our past and present Community Partners: