Welcome to Mez Dispenser: The occasional rants of a promiscuous endorser.
Hi! I’m a Toronto-based artist and organiser, with a focus on public space issues, cycling infrastructure, voting reform, transpartisan advocacy and democratic renewal. (my friends call me ‘mez’).
Due to a deep fear of commitment, I’ve skipped around from project to project. I organised Reclaim the Streets (’98-’00), coordinated Toronto’s Car Free Day programming (’00, ’01), founded the Toronto Public Space Committee (2001), co-founded Spacing Magazine (’03), created the WhoRunsThisTown project (’06), produced City Idol (’06), founded the Toronto Cyclists Union (’08), started Dandyhorse Magazine (’08) launched Better Ballots (’08), organised WindFest (’10) created the Ranked Ballot Initiative (’10), curated the Fourth Wall exhibit (’11), and recently launched the Dazzling Notice Awards, Unlock Democracy Canada and Scenic Toronto.
In November 2010, Coach House books published Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto which I co-edited along with Alana Wilcox and Christina Palassio.
I was once labeled a “promiscuous endorser” by NOW Magazine (for supporting three candidates in a single ward during a City election). It’s a fitting description, and almost became the title for this blog*. Multi-partisan, fiercely optimistic and delusionally utopian, I try to embrace ideas and projects that cut across traditional boundaries between grassroots politics, electoral politics and the arts community. In my work, I attempts to weave elements of these communities together.
Some of my favorite projects to date include the Downtown De-fence Project, the Professional Guest and the Pee-Wee Herman Picture Show, which featured members of Toronto’s indie rock community coming together to raise funds and awareness about bicycle advocacy in the city.
You can check out all of my projects here.
* Thanks to Ryan McLaren for dreaming up the name “Mez Dispenser”.