With Heart-Felt Gratitude Transformational Arts Turns 30

A message from Gord Riddell, President

Gord RiddellJULY 26, 1988 – in downtown Toronto, a desk covered in papers, pens ready to sign and here in the law offices of a friend, Transformational Arts was about to be born. After a year of planning, it was all about to come together. One by one the signing process began, nervous and excited at the same time, this was the beginning of a school, a training place founded for teaching the spiritual, holistic and esoteric mysteries of our world. In 1988, there was very little support from family and friends, most had the same reaction when told about this spiritual education centre being launched.

‘Really, a spiritually-based education centre’ they would repeat. Yes. September of 1988, our first students began the Discovering the Total Self Program.

Our first home was in what would become today’s entertainment district -old converted warehouses which had housed the garment industry. There at the corner of Adelaide and Spadina, a journey of 30 years took its first steps.

In that first year, we would meet 2 students who studied everything the school offered. Both students would evolve into stellar teachers and administrators. One of those very early students, was non-other than our now Managing Director, Linda Kuschnir. There were 2 more women, Maria Jankovic and her mother, Jarmila. Maria would also join the administration team a year after Linda. Some 17 years in administration and classrooms, Maria became ill and passed away in a short period of time. Her Mother, Jarmila continues as a major supporter of the school today.

From the early years up to today, Transformational Arts continues to grow through the contributions of some of our earliest students, in addition to Linda, Michelle DesRoches, Ken Sullivan, Tiffany Lazic and the newly retired John Pollard, all have contributed enormously to the many courses they taught over the years. Quietly going about her part-time administration duties and having been with the College through all 30 years is Jane Thompson.

Our first 30 years also experienced profound sadness with the passing of some much-loved teachers as Mary MacDonald, Chris Johnson, Dr. Helena Ovens and as mentioned earlier Maria Jankovic. We sometimes joke that we have a Transformational Arts Etheric Board of Directors watching over and guiding us forward. So many people have come to Transformational Arts journeying with as they moved on to pursue their vision and goals.

I tip my hat in gratitude to our teacher, Joyanna Anthony and her loving humour who flew in from Vancouver for her classes. To the early days of admin nightmare, I salute Sabine Cox and her contributions to management and to Deb Hanahran, who guided me through the nightmare called accounting. Finally, from the beginning, through the early and middle years I express my gratitude for the invaluable contributions of Kathy Ryndak.

In this 30th year Calendar, we present a collection of amazing programs and courses all with our original mission to be spiritually-based, inclusive, non-judgmental and come from our heart-centered compassion.

Our planet continues to experience much chaos and upheaval, whether it is terrorist attacks, wars or the threat of them, socio-demographics and socio-economic inequalities or by natural disasters.

It almost feels like things are getting worse and we are moving backwards instead of forwards. However, a different perspective on this is often in times of transformation, things get worse before they get better just as they do in any healing crisis. Sometimes it needs to get so dire that we can’t help but see the glaring polarities behind the conflicts and only then does the pendulum begin to swing the other way.

May we be nurturing and compassionate of the Earth and may all her peoples act together when it comes to matters of world peace, social justice and the environment. There is nothing nobler than the paths of service and sacred activism.

Last year we acquired another classroom at 3300 Yonge St. In addition to the classroom, we have 2 small offices available for short-term rental for those doing their case studies.

We are also pleased we have built a lending library of over 4,000 book titles also in Suite 302. We are very grateful for all the donations to the College by numerous individuals.

Another milestone this year, as the College has turned 30 years old, we have been at the same location at 3300 Yonge St for 20 years, and we continue to provide cutting edge, spiritually based education which gives the students a solid foundation on which to build their lives and future careers.

Finally, there is a team of people that make the forms, the payments, and files all work together, marketing attracting attention our way. Led by Managing Director, Linda Kuschnir, I express my deepest gratitude to Pat Rigby, Maria Gallé, Shane White, Trudy Agyeman, Aline Perez, Sarah Clarke, Jada Hulley and Jane Thompson, my humblest thank you.

May you enjoy our course offerings and may this be the year for you to begin your spiritual journey, because the journey starts here.

Be Well and Live Well,

Gord Riddell, President