Claire Hopkinson, M.S.M., Director & CEO - In her 11 years as Director and CEO of the two partner organizations, Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation, Claire has focused on increasing public and political understanding of the impact Toronto’s artists and organizations have on the city. With her vision of fostering a “Creative City, Block by Block”, Claire strives to highlight the important role that artists play in making Toronto a liveable, vibrant city and the potential of art to transform the lives of residents. TAC supports the largest, most culturally diverse community of artists in Canada. Since her appointment to TAC, the Council has doubled its annual grant from City Council, undertaken extensive city wide consultations and recently launched its strategic plan Arts Making 2025. Claire’s vision for Toronto Arts Foundation has resulted in strong partnerships, a doubling of the revenue base, and impactful research and strategic initiatives. The Mayor’s Arts Lunch, which Claire began in 2006, is now a much-anticipated event on the Toronto cultural calendar, and the Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network has grown to 1,700 members since its inception in 2009. She played an instrumental role in moving contemporary opera from the outskirts of the field to the centre with a 25 year background in commissioning, developing and producing new works of opera and music theatre. 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. Ms. Hopkinson won the national M. Joan Chalmers Award for Arts Administration in recognition of her contribution to Tapestry New Opera and the arts in Canada and was recognized by Theatre Ontario with the Sandra Tulloch Award for Innovation in the Arts. More recently Claire served as Co-Chair of the 2012 ISPA International Congress in Toronto. She sits on the President’s Advisory Council at OCADU and is Co Chair of the Expo 2025 Canada Steering Committee. Claire is inspired by the power of art to tell important and timely stories; art that permits us a glimpse into possible worlds.
We are dedicated arts enthusiasts who believe a great city demands great art. We work collaboratively to shine a spotlight on artistic excellence, spark creative connections, and support cultural growth in our city.
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.
Inés Aguileta, Acting Manager, Neighbourhood Arts Network - Inés is an arts administrator who also brings a deep background in project management. She has been involved in the arts community for nearly a decade but has been passionate about the arts since childhood. After graduating from York University’s Honours Graphic Design program, she relocated to Spain where she earned her Master’s in Cultural Project Management at the Barcelona School of Design and Engineering. Upon her return to Toronto, she undertook the Marketing and PR Manager role at Soundstreams. Since then, she has volunteered at TEDx Boston, TIFF, and The Toronto Maker Festival. Currently, at the Toronto Arts Foundation, she coordinates numerous programs for Neighbourhood Arts Network. Inés is an avid globetrotter and lover of culture - beginning with that of her native Mexico. She believes her experiences working and living in many other parts of the world have greatly benefitted her understanding and respect of many different cultures and forms of artistic expression.
Inés works with our Neighbourhood Arts Network team, matching mentors to applicants of the Newcomer & Refugee Artist Mentorship Program, and coordinating programs such as Let’s Talk Art, Creative Potluck, Making a Living Making Art, and ArtWorksTO.
Angie Aranda, 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.
Angie manages our Neighbourhood Arts Network, overseeing its programs, strategic partners, and communications, as well as manages their two award programs: the TD Community Arts Award and the RBC Arts Access Fund. Please note: Angie is currently on parental leave.
Margo Charlton, Research & Impact Manager – Margo has been working on Toronto Arts Foundation initiatives since 2006, including community arts engagement symposiums and helping found Neighbourhood Arts Network. She has a Masters of Environmental Studies from York University with a focus on evaluating community arts practices. 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 numerous arts and community organizations. She was the lead researcher for Transforming Communities Through the Arts, a SSHRC-funded study of the impact of the arts on three Toronto neighbourhoods. Margo manages Toronto Arts Foundation's annual Arts Stats surevy; a partnership with Leger that taps public opinion about the arts in Toronto. Margo is inspired by the power of arts to change lives and communities – one creative step at a time.
Margo manages evaluation and research activities for both Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation, and works in partnership with Leger to produce our annual Arts Stats.
Eliot Feenstra, Community Outreach Coordinator is a facilitator, teaching artist, farmer, and theatre-maker. He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has lived in rural Oregon for the past four years, where he taught and created original theatre about community issues in the town of Cave Junction and worked to build diverse, resilient rural community. He is passionate about stories and histories of places, bringing people together, and creating spaces of civic engagement and dialogue through the arts. Eliot holds an MA in Performance Studies from York University; he also studied social practice at Portland State University and holds a BA in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Chicago.
Eliot works as the Community Outreach Coordinator on Arts in the Parks.
Leslie Francombe, Philanthropy & Sponsorship Manager - Leslie connects arts philanthropists with creative programs that are meaningful and impactful. Leslie, who previously worked with the Foundation from 2009 to 2011 as Community Investment Manager, has worked in a variety of capacities in both large and small organizations and communities for over 30 years, most recently as Director of Development for Tarragon Theatre. Leslie spent almost a decade as Administrative Director at Carousel Players, a theatre for young audience company based in St. Catharines, during which time the company developed their own performance space within an historic courthouse for both public and school performances while continuing to tour into schools and theatres provincially, nationally and internationally. Leslie has also worked as Development Officer for The Grand Theatre, as General Manager at Stratford Summer Music, and as Education Associate for the Shaw Festival. Leslie is inspired by the dedication of individuals to support the arts.
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Leslie works with individual donors and corporate partners to support the Foundation’s initiatives and awards, and plays a vital role in the planning of major fundraising events including the Evening for the Arts.
Sarah Gladki, Communications Manager - As Communications Manager, Sarah brings her lifelong passion for the arts and strong communication and administrative skills to Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. An active member of the arts community, Sarah is a visual artist who works in many mediums including drawing, photography, moving images and clay. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University where she majored in both Art History and World Religions, and a Masters of Fine Arts from Ryerson University’s Documentary Media Program.
In addition to overseeing media relations and communications for both Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation, Sarah also manages the Council’s web activities, social media accounts, and supports program outreach. Please note: Sarah is currently on parental leave.
Jennifer Green, Philanthropy & Programs Director - The Foundation's vision, Creative City: Block by Block is to connect every Toronto neighbourhood to the arts. Jennifer teaches at Ryerson University, and has been a guest lecturer at the Schulich School of Business, MBA Program in Arts and Media Administration since 2012. She serves 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 pervious roles. Jennifer was the Executive Director of Soundstreams and the General Manager of Kaeja d'Dance. Jennifer is inspired by artists.
As the Philanthropy & Programs Director, Jennifer oversees all Foundation activities, leading the team in strategic and operations planning. Please note: Jennifer is currently on parental leave.
Nadine Haddad, Donor Relations Coordinator - Nadine is an enthusiastic arts fundraiser with a background in music and arts management. As a young emerging arts leader in Toronto, she has worked with Opera Atelier, The National Ballet of Canada, The Regent Park School of Music and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Nadine holds a Bachelor in Music from the University of Prince Edward Island and a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from Western University. Nadine is thrilled to be working with the Toronto Arts Foundation connecting the city through creative and accessible arts.
Nadine supports the philanthropy and sponsorship department, processing individual gifts, managing donor databases and fulfillment of donor benefits.
Eva Hellreich, Outreach & Events Coordinator, Neighbourhood Arts Network, - Eva is passionate about expanding her world view through learning from others and recognizing lived experience as a valid form of knowledge. Raised in Toronto, Eva has worked and volunteered in a plethora of sectors in the city including research, entertainment, tourism, education, and non-profit. Eva’s personal and academic background has fostered an interest in how story-telling can inform policy and foster social and political inclusion. Her goal is to more thoroughly conceptualize what an effective anti-oppression framework can look like in arts and culture policy, and question reproductions of power and marginalization. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English (2015) and an Master of Arts in Immigration and Settlement (2018) and is an emerging creative writer and photographer. Eva is inspired by resiliency, resistance, and community.
Eva works with our Neighbourhood Arts Network team, supporting the coordination and logistics of many of its vital programs.
Rachel Kennedy, Executive Assistant – Rachel is an arts administrator and indie theatre producer based in Toronto’s East End. After graduating from York University with specializations in Devised Theatre, Playwriting and Directing she went on to work for Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) as their Outreach and Development Coordinator. She then took a position at Theatre Ontario as the Professional Theatre and Education Manager overseeing various grants, education, and professional development programs, before finding her way to the TAC/TAF team. Her evenings are often spent producing for local theatre and dance companies, as well as running the Crème de la Femme cabaret series which she co-founded with fellow York graduates Shauna Sloan and Julia Matias. Rachel is passionate about advocacy, equity, and amplifying local creative voices - and is thankful to have found so many opportunities for work that embraces and furthers these values.
Rachel supports both Claire's and Susan's activities, as well is plays a vital role in the support of both Toronto Arts Council's and Toronto Arts Foundation's Board of Directors.
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.
The Finance Officer for Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council, Armen is responsible for accounting, financial reporting and some logistical framework of the organizations.
Alexandra Loewen, Marketing & Events Coordinator - Alexandra has been interested in the arts from a very young age. She has been involved in instrumental and choral music as well as the visual arts. Her past work experience includes event planning, administration and project assistance and coordination. She holds a bachelor's degree in film studies from Brock University and a graduate certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College. Alexandra is inspired by the ability of art to create a tangible and lasting impact on people and places.
Alexandra supports many key programs, coordinating logistics for Arts in the Parks, Creative Champions Network, and Emerging Leaders.
Sally Nicholson, Research Assistant - Initially joining Toronto Arts Foundation as an Intern in 2016 for the inaugural year of Arts in the Parks, Sally now works as the Research Assistant for both TAF and TAC. She graduated from Ryerson University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Industries, and is currently completing a certificate in Applied Geography and Geographic Information Systems from Ryerson’s Chang School of Continuing Education. Sally is interested in the role arts and culture plays in city building, and how they can create active and engaged communities.
As Research Assistant, Sally works with Margo on evaluation and research activities for both Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation.
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.
As Office Manager, Michelle is the first public point-of-contact for both Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council and also covers our daily administrative operations including website edits, Artistic Opportunities and the bi-monthly Volunteer Newsletter; is one of three staff human resources representatives, and serves on the Equity Steering Committee.
Jaclyn Rodrigues, Community Engagement Manager - Jaclyn supports Toronto Arts Foundation by developing and implementing strategy to engage stakeholder groups through outreach efforts, marketing campaigns, communications, special events, and manages their newest initiative, Arts in the Parks. Jaclyn is a graduate of Ryerson University's Performance Production program where she studied every facet of performing arts management from carpentry to communications. Having spent many years dancing herself, Jaclyn has worked with The Banff Centre, The Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, and Canada's National Ballet School. To date, Jaclyn is proud of her accomplishments with her work at Kaeja d’Dance as their resident graphic designer and producer, assisting with their 25th anniversary celebrations, and leading their award-winning community outreach project, Porch View Dances, from its inaugural year through to its fourth. Jaclyn is inspired by the generosity and mentorship of arts managers, and by artists and the risk they take sharing personal stories in public spaces.
Jaclyn is responsible for the management and supports the planning of Arts in the Parks, Creative Champions Network, and Emerging Leaders activities, and plays a vital role in the oversight of the Foundation’s website, social media accounts, marketing campaigns, and our annual Mayor’s Arts Lunch.
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