McKenzie Barnes is a creative and experiential agency with a focus on creative direction, design, curated arts programming and experiences. With over a decade of integrated work in the advertising, corporate, entertainment, publishing, and non-profit sectors, joined by a diverse hand-selected team, CCO Ashley McKenzie-Barnes aims to bring together her unique cultural point of view and bridge the gap between community and corporate.
As a Creative Director and Design Lead, Ashley has conceptualized and deployed global campaigns across print, digital, social, video, web, OOH and experiential for large Canadian brands like Scotiabank, Bell Media, Virgin Radio and leading charitable organizations like Canadian Wildlife Federation and Free the Children (WE Charity). With a flair for editorial, she also spent over eight years as an Art Director, producing national publications for Star Media Group.
Her design skills were most recently acquired by musical legend, Lauryn Hill for the design of her fashion collection celebrating 20 years of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Programmed experiences, creative collaborations and installations for clients such as Samsung, Aurora Cannabis (Art House), Canada’s largest urban arts festival—Manifesto Festival of Art & Culture, Artscape and more.
Newly named curator for 2019 Nuit Blanche Toronto, Ashley is responsible for introducing Toronto’s art scene to internationally acclaimed artists and art projects like JR’s Inside Out Project (PAR), Shani Crowe (CHI), Mister Cartoon (LA), Dubelyoo (ATL) and Zulu Nation member Ernie Panicciolio (NYC). Working within a variety of DIY spaces and traditional galleries to major Canadian landmarks including the Art Gallery of Ontario, CBC, Steam Whistle Brewery, Fort York, Yonge & Dundas Square, Toronto City Hall and Harbourfront Centre.
As a visual artist, Ashley’s own work has been featured inside establishments such as the Royal Ontario Museum, CBC, Toronto City Hall and SCION Canada. She is a part time Academic Professor in the Visual and Digital Arts program at Humber College and has led the Creative Arts Academy for The Remix Project. She has been a featured speaker and guest facilitator across many forums for the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, ArtReach, Artscape, Nia Centre for the Arts and others.