About Us

 “Given the opportunity, the arts can absolutely empower children, changing their lives for the better,” -educator and musician Marilyn Field. 

The youthLEADarts Story

Visionary and Mentor of LEAD, Marilyn Field MSM, Creates Opportunities for Canadian Youth.

LEAD is an acronym that brings the values of Listen, Empathize, Act and Drive together as a pathway for all leaders. The brain-child of visionary Marilyn Field MSM, this educational framework helps participants plan, implement and reflect upon their own voice and build their own inner leader to impact their communities.


A classically trained pianist and acclaimed teacher, Marilyn was from a young age “that quiet one” who learned to accept challenges like losing her mother when she was two and who the other children looked to for learning and leadership.  And LEAD she has!


In 1994, she created a ground-breaking program and charity for students at-risk which she called DAREARTS. For 25 years under her leadership, the charity engaged over 220,000 young people across Canada in a lifelong motivation for creative thinking and excellence in their lives and communities.


Marilyn is known worldwide as both an education visionary and an exceptional peace-maker who brings people together to work in harmony: from schoolyard bullies to international organizations. Her international recognition includes being invited to the Nobel Peace Prize’s 100th-anniversary concert, where she conducted a choir of children from 23 countries, onstage with Paul McCartney. Her lifetime reward has been hearing children proclaim, “… I am a Leader!”

Marilyn Conducting the International Choir in Oslo, Norway
Marilyn accepting her Meritorious Service Medal from Governor General Adrianne Clarkson

In addition, Marilyn has served on the boards of Opera Atelier, Toronto Senior Strings, The Ontario Speech Foundation, Theatre Orangeville and the Esprit Orchestra (Chair)  and with the Stratford Festival, Headwaters Arts Festival and Headwaters Health Centre. She also helped seed numerous other arts organizations. In 2013, she gave the University of Toronto’s Convocation Address. 

Marilyn Field was awarded the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General in 2003 and both the Queen’s Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals. In 2013, she was inducted into the Caledon Walk of Fame, with a stone along the Trans Canada Trail.

In continuation of her journey of leadership, Marilyn is proud to mentor a national circle of youth, artists and educators who have created the #youthLEADarts project to lead us all into a brave new world of discovery.

The Roots of youthLEADarts

Our Creation History…

youthLEADarts evolved directly out of conversations between Marilyn Field and Elijah Brown, graduate of the DAREarts program, Quebec artist Deirdre Potash and the team of Artists Rendering Tales Collective Inc. (ARTCi), a powerhouse team of multi-disciplinary artists based in Richmond, B.C., Canada.

Marilyn, with 25 years as an education innovator and driven by discussions about leadership with Elijah, created the acronym and established LEAD around its four pillars: Listen. Empathize. Act. Drive.

Marilyn Field- An Accomplished and Internationally Celebrated Educator


ARTCi has a history of creating stunning story-based workshops, installations, videos, and literature that capture and animate diverse and underrepresented voices. Marilyn approached the team to partner with the LEAD initiative to become strong advocates for children and youth in regions that are traditionally under-resourced.

ARTCi- Artists Rendering Tales Collective Inc.- Dynamic and Multifaceted Artists and Educators:


Lori Sherritt-Fleming, Shelley MacDonald, Roy Mulder and other artists took LEAD to Britannia Community School, a high-needs school on Vancouver’s East Side. In early 2020, the new LEAD team created an intense, one-week arts program for a class of 11-13-year olds.

Students were immersed in activities involving drama, dance, literature/ spoken word, music, drumming, visual art, photography, Indigenous and media arts. On the final day, the students hosted an open studio for an audience of family, friends, and community so they too could witness their process and pride of performance.

The first LEAD project: The Students of Britannia Community School:

Having participated, these middle school students were well prepared for the journey from elementary to secondary school and beyond in an experience that impacted and empowered them to LEAD for a lifetime.

Videos from the February 2020 LEAD project:


Based on this initial success, Marilyn and artist-educators reached out to others to create a cross Canada network. This created youthLEADarts Inc, as it stands today. Deirdre Potash (ArtWill Studio) is based near Montreal, Quebec. Tina Tucker Bye (Grove Hall) has recently moved to Bob’s Lake, North of Kingston. Shelley MacDonald and Roy Mulder in Nova Scotia, and Lori Sherritt-Fleming in British Columbia.

However, the pandemic forced everyone into the virtual space. Without a pause, in the summer of 2020 Deirdre led two online national youthLEADarts drawing workshops. These were both part of the Doodle Challenge, and used the words Listen, Empathize, Act, Drive as inspiration.

Tina, at Grove Hall in Quebec, delivered two summer arts camps (2020) inspired by and incorporating youthLEADarts values.  Furthermore, Tina hosted a socially distanced, Fall Mini-Arts Fest, where Deirdre ran a ‘make a clay ‘wish box’’ workshop.

Each youthLEADarts workshop or program is designed to assist the students in discovering their strengths, addressing their challenges and developing communication and leadership skills in short, invigorating and fruitful timeframes. With strong roots in communities across Canada youthLEADarts, as it evolves, will continue to empower youth by developing accessible programs that help them to find their voices as LEADers who drive the future.

LEAD’s Artist Educators are experts in developing curriculum for all students. Whether virtually or in person; for elementary, junior, intermediate or senior students; as a facilitator in your classroom, youth group, extra curricular or community activity we are specialists at empowering youth with the vocabulary and skills to become LEADers. Our forte is using the arts to increase the skills such as group work, creative problem solving, interpersonal communication, personal responsibility and self-regulation. Through these skills the students also increase their resilience, self-esteem and their ability to self-advocate.  Please contact us to schedule a consultation to meet your needs. We have resources across Canada. (info@youthLEADarts.co