At The Ascend Network, we strive to inspire as many post-secondary students as possible to escape their comfort zones and chase ideas and visions of which they’ve always dreamed. One of our finest, most recent examples of inspired Ascend alumni is Kat Tien and his Artist Anonymous project.

Tien, a York University student, attended Ascend as a delegate in 2017, emerging from the retreat with a desire to create an outlet for students’ artistic passions, regardless of their field of study. Over the summer and into the new academic year, Tien founded Artists Anonymous, and launched his platform of diverse artistic expression of all levels. “We at AA will be a platform in which York students can explore and express their artistic passions, whether they are experienced in it or just testing realms.” Tien explained in an article on Artists Anonymous published in Excalibur, York University’s newspaper.



The people I met at (Ascend) were so lovely and great and I also came to know more about the leadership within myself. It was self-actualization.

“I would absolutely say that TAN helped developing me as a person and the founder of AA.” Tien remarks in an interview with TAN, “In fact, before TAN, even though I did already have an idea about the club (AA), I encountered a few problems that made me think that it was impossible. However, after I went on the retreat, I became more in tune with myself…the people I met at (Ascend) were so lovely and great and I also came to know more about the leadership within myself. It was self-actualization.” When asked about if the Ascend retreat had anything to do with the genesis of Artists Anonymous, Tien replied, “After (Ascend), I felt really motivated, as if I could do anything. I stopped putting up walls and started putting myself out there into the community around me (such as starting AA for real as well as signing up as Frosh Leader). And in return, the effort I put in paid off.”

With upcoming art collaboration events like “Busking” and community-focused events like “Friendship for Mental Health”, a program that partners differently-abled community members in order to foster networking and leadership skills, Artists Anonymous is a club that embodies the spirit of student connection that The Ascend Network holds close to our values, and it is in that spirit of celebrating our diverse, effervescent alumni body that we present Kat Tien as our October Ascend Spotlight.

To keep up with and become a part of Artists Anonymous @YorkU, click here to visit their Facebook page and be a part of an Ascend alumni’s movement.