Melanie Yugo is an educator, organizer and artist passionate about empowering citizens, particularly those who are underrepresented, with the tools and knowledge to participate in and shape cultural life in Canada. Bridging independent platforms and institutions, she is a recognized leader in cultural programming, arts-based facilitation, community engagement and network building.
Melanie is Co-Founder and Director of Possible Worlds, an art and music hub in Ottawa’s Chinatown, and Spins & Needles, a collective that transforms public spaces through participatory art and music experiences. National Gallery of Canada staff were inspired to launch a late-night public program, Artsparks, based on Spins & Needles model of programming.
Within the Department of Canadian Heritage and Canada Council for the Arts, she has led the development and implementation of numerous strategic gatherings, partnerships and research projects to advance art and cultural policy objectives in Canada and internationally. As the lead coordinator for the Canadian Public Arts Funders network, she was recognized as the key resource point for arts funders across the country for research, communications, and professional development.
As a creator rooted in printmaking, graphic art and social practice, she is interested in critically addressing and reimagining representations and narratives of the "other" within the public sphere, particularly with culturally diverse, low-income and youth communities. Her current research interests focus on alternative models of programming and engagement, the reconstruction of narratives related to identity and place, and collective design methods to explore plausible futures.
Melanie has exhibited, programmed, presented and taught in Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Europe and the Philippines. She is a Global Cultural Leadership Program fellow and served as a youth advisor to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
Melanie holds a B.Sc. in Psychology from McGill University, an M.Sc. in Social and Cultural Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, in addition to completing summer studies at the School of Visual Arts.
Melanie is Filipina-Canadian. Born in Toronto, she lives in Ottawa, Canada with her partner and collaborator Jason Pelletier.