We are dedicated arts enthusiasts who believe a great city demands great art. We work collaboratively towards our vision Creative City: Block by Block to champion the transformative social and economic benefits of the arts.
Claire Hopkinson, Director And CEO - Prior to her appointment as Director and CEO of Toronto Arts Council in 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 Opera.ca, 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. Claire is inspired by the power of art to tell important and timely stories; art that permits us a glimpse into possible worlds.
Susan Wright, Deputy Director - Susan has been Deputy Director, and prior to that Director of Operations, for TAC and TAF since 2000. In this role, Susan oversees planning, communications, staffing and financial management and advocates for support for artists and arts organizations. Currently, she is a member of the Steering Committee of CADAC (Canada Arts database), and sits on a number of external committees including IRAFF (Intergovernmental Forum for Arts Funders and Foundations), and Beautifulcity.ca. 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. Susan is inspired by the unique ability of arts events to connect strangers with shared inspiration.
Angie Aranda, Strategic Partnerships and Operations Manager, Neighbourhood Arts Network - Angie has an extensive background in partnership development, event management, and communications, with numerous years of arts administration experience, previously working for Entertainment One Television, Cookie Jar Entertainment and York University. She is an active member of the arts community, particularly through her photography practice. She holds a Double Honours BA from York University with a focus on Film & Video and Communication Studies. Angie is also a member on the advisory board for East End Arts and AVNU. Angie is inspired by discovering unusual beauty in unexpected places.
Margo Charlton, Research Manager – In addition to Margo’s work in professional theatre, she has a deep commitment to the role of art in social change. Her work in community-engaged theatre, research, and evaluation has been recognized by numerous invitations to national and international conferences. She has developed art-based research methods and conducted program evaluations and strategic planning for arts and community organizations. For the Toronto Arts Foundation, she was the lead researcher for Transforming Communities Through the Arts, a SSHRC-funded study of three Toronto neighbourhoods. Currently, she is working on a partnership with Leger to develop public surveys about arts engagement in Toronto. Margo is inspired by the power of arts to change lives and communities – one creative step at a time.
Melissa Foster, Program and Outreach Coordinator, North York Arts - Melissa holds a Community Arts Practice Certificate and BA(hons) in Theatre Studies from York University, and holds a post-degree diploma in Arts Management from Western University. Melissa has collaborated on numerous community arts projects related to social justice and community relations and helped develop and facilitate arts programs both abroad and within Toronto. Her primary focus is on the development and implementation of public art and community driven, arts-based programming. Melissa has over 8 years working in the public sector, primarily as a Youth Worker for various shelters and supportive housing programs in Toronto. It is here that she began to use her artistic background as a way to engage communities. It is through this experience that she now finds herself with North York Arts. She is excited to be working on initiatives that provide opportunities for artistic participation within the wider community and contribute to Toronto’s vibrant and diverse art scene.
Jennifer Green, Associate Director - Jennifer specializes in development of not-for-profits, strategic planning and connecting communities to the arts. She serves on the Board of Directors of Actors Repertory Theatre Company and as a volunteer to the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. In 2013 Jennifer collaborated with Tod Machover and MIT Media Lab to develop 'A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City' with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, now being produced by orchestras around the world. In her previous roles Jennifer was the Executive Director of Soundstreams and General Manager of Kaeja d’Dance. Jennifer is inspired by artists.
Natalie Kaiser, Executive Assistant - Fluently bilingual in English and French, Natalie brings 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. 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. Natalie is inspired by the discovery of shared pasts, stories, spaces and visions that connect a city and turn it into home.
Armen Karapetyan, Finance Officer - Armen has extensive working experience with numerous non-profit organizations, predominantly in administration and finance. Prior to moving to Toronto, Armen lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he held a position at the Barthelmes Conservatory of Music; a rewarding and enjoyable experience he recalls with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Immediately upon his arrival, Armen immersed himself into the Toronto art scene by volunteering with local arts organizations, including 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 currently serves on the Board of Directors with Sinfonia Toronto. Armen is inspired by positive change, and working for an organization that is instrumental in bringing change, through local artists and art organizations, to communities we live in.
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.
Tanya Oleksuik, Communications Manager, East End Arts - bio posted soon
Parul Pandya, Community Engagement & Communications Manager, Neighbourhood Arts Network - Parul Pandya is a enthusiastic community builder, collaborator, advocate and appreciator of community, art and diversity. She is born in the UK and moved to the Toronto area at the age of six. From an early age, it became abundantly clear what the two things she was passionate about were: words and art. This led her to study Renaissance Studies (with a special interest in the Italian Renaissance), History and Sexual Diversity at the University of Toronto. Parul has been skillfully working in non-profit in various roles through the past decade, including as a programmer, producer, manager and consultant. After finishing managing in community granting for the largest government funder in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, she recently transferred these skills into producing, writing and programming with the Toronto Arts Foundation/Neighbourhood Arts Network. Her exposure to hundreds of non-profits has allowed her to seamlessly transfer her knowledge, skills and enjoyment of engaging diverse organizations and open her own consulting practice. Community Impact Non-Profit Consulting engages Greater Toronto Area based social services and arts-based non-profits to build, grow and sustain their practices. Parul is inspired by all types of diversity that lead to the creation of colourful artistic expressions.
Michelle Parson, Office Manager - Before joining the Foundation's team in 1997, Michelle was General Administrator at Ballet Creole, and Human Resources Clerk at Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago. Michelle is a busy vocalist, singing with a number of bands in 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 stages with high-profile local and international artists. Michelle is inspired by the wisdom, talent and strength of her friends and loved ones.
Francesca Perez, Community Investment Manager - Francesca manages the Foundation’s corporate and media partnerships portfolio, marketing schedule and special events, including the Mayor's Arts Lunch. Prior to joining the Foundation, Francesca was the 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. Francesca is inspired by the power of art to connect, challenge, and transform us.
Ely Rosenblum, Development & Marketing Coordinator, North York Arts - Active as an arts and culture educator, Ely has directed documentary films and produced recordings for the British Library, the Smithsonian Institution, the MIT Media Lab, and CBC Radio 1. His previous projects have focused on American Sign Language performance art, West African storytelling through song, and spoken word poetry in maritime Canada. Ely trained as a documentary filmmaker at the Centre for Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he co-founded ART/E/FACT, a publication and event series of art and anthropology. He is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, where he co-convened the conference Sound Studies: Art, Experience, Politics. Ely is inspired by communities and the stories they tell through artistic practice.
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. Cindy is inspired by people: their hopes and fears, triumphs and struggles.
Michelle Yeung, Development Manager - Born and raised in vibrant Toronto, Ontario. Michelle Yeung’s career launched in the not-for-profit arts sector when she completed the Income Managers Program, a post graduate program in conjunction with the Centre for Cultural Management, University of Waterloo, and the Cultural Careers Council of Ontario. She has been with many arts organization over the last decade including the Resurgence Theatre Company, Shrimp Magnet Theatre Company, The Canadian Stage, Sony Centre for the Performing Arts and Factory Theatre. She has been a producer, publicist, marketer, fundraiser and general manager. Michelle’s most recent role was with Tafelmusik as the Associate Director of Development where she planned and executed the private sector fundraising campaign. She managed various portfolios including Annual Fund and Individual Giving up to $9,999, Foundation Giving, Corporate Sponsorship and Philanthropy, Special Event Fundraising and Legacy Giving. Michelle attended the Ryerson Theatre School, Ryerson University, completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Theatre Administration and Management in 2003. In 2005, she also completed a Bachelor of Arts at York University with specialized honours in Communications Studies. In her spare time, she is perfecting her negotiation skills with the help of her toddler who just turned two. Michelle is also a volunteer and is currently the Chair, Board of Directors of Cahoots Theatre Company. She loves to travel and study dance, and she loves food, and very much considers herself a “foodie”. Michelle is inspired by a culture of philanthropy and volunteerism.
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