Toronto Arts Foundation Staff

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Claire Hopkinson, Director and CEO

Prior to her appointment as Director and CEO of Toronto Arts Council, where she’s been since 2006, Claire Hopkinson spent approximately 25 years commissioning, developing and producing new works of opera and music theatre. In so doing she’s been instrumental in moving contemporary opera from the very outskirts of the field to the centre. Passionate then as she is now about the potential of Canadian artists to tell their own stories, she invested considerable time and energy into getting Canadian works onto international stages. Her evolution into arts funder – from arts producer – was a logical progression from her volunteer advocacy work as Founding Chair of, Vice Chair of Opera America, and co-founder and President of Creative Trust. In the process she has become committed to the value of developing partnerships and collaboration to further the work of artists in innovative environments. Much of the impetus for Claire's interest in cultural policy has been to support the growth of creative arts organizations.

In May of 2001, Ms. Hopkinson won the national M. Joan Chalmers Award for Arts Administration in recognition of her contribution to Tapestry New Opera Works and the arts in Canada. In 2006 she was recognized by Theatre Ontario with the Sandra Tulloch Award for Innovation in the Arts.

Claire is also an active member of the City of Toronto War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration Steering Committee, the Arts and Culture Working Committee for the Toronto City Summit Alliance, and the national task force for Culture Days 2010.

Susan Wright, Director of Operations

Susan has been Director of Operations for TAC and TAF since 2000. In this role, Susan advocates for support for artists and arts organizations with City Council and compiles arts research and statistics in defense of this work. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Directors of CADAC (Canada Arts database), and sits on a number of external committees including IRAFF (Intergovernmental Forum for Arts Funders and Foundations), Beautiful City Alliance and a Toronto City Summit Alliance working group. Susan’s other responsibilities at TAC include financial management and general operations. Prior to joining TAC, Susan spent five years as General Manager of Toronto Artscape, and many years as an arts consultant and manager of small arts organizations.

Angie Aranda, Neighbourhood Arts Network Outreach and Events Coordinator

Angie Aranda's interests lie in partnership development, community engagement, information sharing and social innovation in the not-for-profit sector. She has numerous years of administration experience, with previous employers including Entertainment One Television, Cookie Jar Entertainment and York University. She has also worked extensively in the area of volunteer facilitation with Doors Wide Open, Riverdale Hub, National Film Board of Ontario, Women in Film &Television and the Art Gallery of Ontario and served as an outreach consultant for Mujer. Angie received a double honours Bachelor Degree from York University with a focus on Arts in Film & Video and Communication Studies. In addition to her work with the Neighbourhood Arts Network at Toronto Arts Foundation, Angie is also a member of the advisory board 2012-2013 Grassroots Youth School.

Margo Charlton, Research Manager

Margo Charlton has over three decades of experience in the arts in Canada. She has worked as an artistic director, theater producer and arts administrator. Much of her theatre work focused on the development of new works; she commissioned and directed the first productions of two Governor General Literary Award-nominated plays.

In addition to her work in professional theatre she has always been concerned about the role of arts in community development. Her pioneering work in popular theatre, popular education and community arts has been recognized by numerous invitations to make presentations at national and international forums and conferences. Margo holds a Bachelors Degree in Theatre from University of Winnipeg and a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University. Her current interest is the development of evaluation approaches for community arts including art-based research methods. As an independent consultant with Resonance Creative Consulting Partners she assists arts and community groups with strategic and evaluation planning.

Ella Cooper, Senior Coordinator, Neighbourhood Arts Network

Ella Cooper has a strong background in community outreach, arts marketing, strategic planning, events management, volunteer development and social media/web services for the Canadian cultural sector. She is also an award-winning multi-disciplinary artist, photographer, arts educator/facilitator and was the founding director of the Emerging Arts Professional Network. Ella also has a Masters in Arts Education with a focus on community arts empowerment practices with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography and new media art. Ella is dedicated to the celebration and support of the arts and has implemented empowering community centred programs for at risk youth, not for profits, community centres/assistance programs and local school districts in Toronto, Vancouver, Surrey, Williams Lake and Montreal. She is the recipient of many grants and awards, her work has been presented in galleries, subways, gardens and the streets of Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary as well as by the CBC. Ella continues to be a featured speaker at national conferences and enjoys collaborating with local schools as a guest artist-educator

Nadia Galati, Online Learning Coordinator, Neighbourhood Arts Network

Nadia has over 7 years of experience as a community arts practitioner through curatorial work, community outreach, research, arts administration and public participation. In addition to her role at the Neighbourhood Arts Network, Nadia is working towards her Masters in Environmental Studies (Planning) at York University where she is researching the role of arts in planning and community development. Committed to community empowerment practices, Nadia is interested in the power of equitable access to arts & culture. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design from OCAD University and has worked with many cultural organizations including the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre (PARC), OCAD University, SOHO LOBBY GALLERY, the City of Toronto, SKETCH and many others.

Jennifer Green, Associate Director, Strategic Initiatives

Jennifer has over 12 years experience in arts management in the cultural sector. In addition to her role at the Toronto Arts Foundation she is currently Consultant to ‘A Toronto Symphony Project’ at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and works with Ian Alexander Creative Consulting with clients in music, dance and theatre. Jennifer served as Executive Director of Soundstreams, General Manager of Kaeja d’Dance, Toronto and in a variety of capacities at the Upper Canada Playhouse, Morrisburg; The Regent Theatre, Picton; the Princess Court Theatre, Kingston and the Weave Shed Arts Centre, Cornwall. She holds a B.A in Speech & Theatre & English Writing from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York and an M.A. in Theatre from the University of Toronto. Jennifer serves on the Advisory Committee for North York Arts.

Natalie Kaiser, Executive Assistant

Natalie Kaiser joins Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation as Executive Assistant to the Director and CEO. Prior to this position, Natalie was Research Coordinator at ArtExpert, a cultural consulting and strategic analysis firm based in Montreal, where she developed her passion for working in arts and culture. She holds a B.A (2008) and M.A (2010) in cultural geography from McGill University, where she studied in Havana, Cuba. Fluently bilingual in English and French, she brings to Toronto Arts Council and the Foundation experience in strategic communications, project management and cultural policy analysis, as well as a deep appreciation of the vibrant and innovative artistic community in Toronto.

Armen Karapetyan, Finance Officer

Armen Karapetyan brings a wealth of experience to Toronto Arts Council. For the past 15 years, Armen has worked with numerous non-profit organizations, predominantly in administration and accounting. Prior to moving to Toronto, Armen lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he held a position at the Barthelmes Conservatory of Music. Armen’s time at the Conservatory was a rewarding and enjoyable experience he recalls with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Upon his arrival, Armen immersed himself into the Toronto art scene by volunteering with local arts organizations, such as the Toronto Summer Music Festival, The Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, Canada’s National Ballet School and b Current Performing Arts, where he assisted with administrative, marketing and accounting duties. Armen holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and has assisted STAR Company and Interactive Ontario with their administration, financial management and accounting needs. Armen currently serves on the Board of Directors with Sinfonia Toronto.

Lila Karim, Managing Director, North York Arts

Lila Karim has over 15 years experience in arts administration and events management in the cultural sector. Lila is currently the Managing Director of North York Arts, an initiative of the Toronto Arts Foundation. She has previously worked for several non-profit organizations including the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, ReelWorld Film Festival + Foundation and Astral‘s Harold Greenberg Fund. Lila is active within the arts community as a board member with Work in Culture, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and sits on several committees including Friends of the Arts, Creative Spaces Outside the Downtown Core, and Community Arts Action Advisory. Lila has also produced award-winning work as a digital photographer and filmmaker.

Michelle Parson, Office Manager

Prior to her sixteen-plus years at Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation, Michelle was General Administrator at Ballet Creole, and Human Resources (Employee Services) Clerk at Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago. Presently she holds the position of Office Manager, with administrative, web and copy-editing responsibilities, among others. Outside of the office, Michelle is an active performer, providing vocals to a number of music bands including SteelBandits, Coconut Club Band, Neu Jenarashun and Maestre and Friends. A well-known member of her Caribbean community, she has performed and toured with Ballet Creole, Inner Stage Theatre, Naked Mask and La Petite Musicale of Toronto. Numerous freelance performances have allowed her to share a stage with a plethora of high-profile local and international artists including Nick “Brownman” Ali, David Michael Rudder and The Mighty Sparrow, to name a few.

Francesca Perez, Community Investment Manager

Francesca joined the Toronto Arts Foundation in July 2014. Prior to this, Francesca held the position of Development Associate, Corporate Partnerships at the Luminato Festival. Francesca arrived in Toronto in 2012 after completing an M.A. in Performing Arts Administration at New York University, during which time she gained valuable experience as an intern at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera and PS 122. A lifelong contributor to the arts, Francesca is also Project Manager for the Liederwölfe Opera Collective, an experimental opera group founded in her hometown of Montreal.

Cindy Rozeboom, Managing Director, East End Arts

Cindy Rozeboom has worked in the arts (theatre, community arts, television & film) for over 20 years. During this time she has worked as a fundraiser, artist, administrator and communications specialist, in environments ranging from one-person projects to organizations with annual budgets of $5 million and in the cities of Toronto, New York City, Windsor and Edmonton. Cindy holds a MA degree in Communications (University of Windsor), diplomas in Radio & TV Arts and Digital Media Design and is a Certified Fundraising Executive.