Claire Hopkinson, M.S.M., Director & CEO – Appointed to the position of Director & CEO of affiliate organizations Toronto Arts Council (TAC) and Toronto Arts Foundation in 2006, Claire has focused on increasing public and political understanding of the impact of the arts on the city. Under her leadership, TAC and the Foundation have nearly tripled annual investments into the arts sector. TAC is now known as a leader in equity granting across Canada.
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.
Since 2014, Claire has launched a suite of strategic TAC grant programs after extensive consultations, the most recent being Indigenous Arts Projects and the Black Arts program. Partnerships with City institutions, universities, school boards and grassroots organizations have increased resources for artists and access to artistic offerings to communities throughout Toronto. Claire’s vision at Toronto Arts Foundation has resulted in equally strong partnerships, impactful research, advocacy, and important community gatherings such as the annual Mayor’s Arts Lunch awards ceremony which is a much-anticipated event on the Toronto cultural calendar. Arts in the Parks, a city wide initiative, and the Neighbourhood Arts Network, which has grown to 1,900 members since its inception in 2010, indicate her deep commitment to connecting communities to the arts.
Prior to her role at TAC and the Foundation, Claire led cutting edge arts organizations, commissioned, developed and produced new works of opera and music theatre for 25 years, and engaged in volunteer policy and advocacy work as Founding Chair of Opera.ca, Vice-Chair of Opera America, and Co-Founder and President of Creative Trust. Claire won the national M. Joan Chalmers Award for Arts Administration in 2001 in recognition of her contribution to Tapestry Opera and the arts in Canada, was recognized by Theatre Ontario in 2005 with the Sandra Tulloch Award for Innovation in the Arts, and received the Governor General Meritorious Service Medal in 2017 for her work in the arts through TAC and the Foundation.
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.
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.
Inés Aguileta, Senior Programs Coordinator, 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.
Mitsuki Amano, Donor Relations Coordinator - Mitsuki is an experienced fundraising professional with passion for community-building through the arts. Born and raised in Sendai, Japan, where the Great East Japan Earthquake hit in 2011, he is interested in the various benefits the arts bring to the community, particularly in post-disaster settings. Prior to joining Toronto Arts Foundation, Mitsuki worked for a number of arts and cultural organizations/events both in Canada and in Japan, including The Canadian Opera Company, The National Ballet of Canada, and Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting. With his extensive knowledge of non-profit management and philanthropy in the arts industry, he hopes to help further enrich the communities of Toronto and GTA. He has a Bachelor's of Arts in English Studies from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, as well as a joint Master's of Management in International Arts Management from Southern Methodist University and HEC Montréal.
Mitsuki is inspired by the ability of the arts to improve the community's social capital.
Mitsuki assists donors with processing their gifts, issuing tax receipts, arranging details for special events, and more. Contact Mitsuki if you have any questions regarding your donation.
Email: email@example.com; Phone: 416-392-6802 ext. 204
Christian Anderson, Engagement Coordinator, ArtworksTO – Christian is an award-winning Afro-Latinx filmmaker and community organizer who specializes in communications, creative industries and collaborative wellness programming. Since graduating from York University’s film production program in 2019, their work has centred amplifying the voices and experiences of diasporic folks through unique and immersive storytelling and support spaces. Their previous work includes time spent in Toronto’s non-profit sector as Unity Charity’s Communications Coordinator and The Regent Park Film Festival’s 2021 Program Coordinator. In addition to their work in the nonprofit sector, they are also an alumnus of Oya Media’s Emerging Filmmaker’s program and the Nia’s Centres Creative Connect community.
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.
Randi Bowron, Outreach & Event Assistant, Arts in the Parks (they/she) – Randi is a Toronto based theatre artist with experience in event planning, outreach, and marketing. Randi graduated with a degree in Theatre from the University of King’s College (Halifax), and considers both Halifax and Toronto to be home. They have worked with Halifax Fringe Festival for the past three years helping with sponsorship, advertisements, and programming. Randi has also worked with 2b theatre company as their Event Coordinator, and as part of the creative team for the world premiere of “One Discordant Violin.” Since moving to Toronto, Randi has participated in the Toronto Fringe Festival’s TENT program, Tarragon Theatre’s Extended Playwrights Unit, and has taken courses in Marketing and Communications at George Brown College. Randi enjoys long walks in High Park with their dog, Birdie.
Christy DiFelice, Award Program Manager – Christy is the Music Program Manager with Toronto Arts Council, and manages the Foundation's Emerging Jazz Artist Award. Appointed in 2010 to the position of Music Program Manager, Christy came to TAC from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, where she was the Manager of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. A graduate of York University (MA, Ethnomusicology/Musicology; 2008), her studies focused on musics and cultures of the African diaspora, with a specialization in North American jazz and blues. In addition, she has previously worked with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Fine Arts Cultural Studies Department at York University, and as a music copyist. Since its inaugural season (2008), she has sat on the Board of Directors of the Brantford International Jazz Festival.
Christy is passionate about advocating for diversity, arts education, and community development through the arts.
Zyrelle Endozo, Engagement Coordinator, Neighbourhood Arts Network (she/they) – Zyrelle is passionate about empowering the voices and work of those creating and existing in intersectionality, especially artists that are BIPOC and/or LGBTQ2SIA+. Her background involves project management, community outreach, design, and strategy development through digital marketing and social media. Previous work includes many years in Toronto’s non-profit sector with RISE, Vibe Arts, AGYU, Nuit Blanche, eCampus Ontario, and most recently Toronto Youth Equity Strategy for the City’s annual ResilienTOgether Youth Week events. She has also provided creative mentorship to the Black Student Association of Notre Dame High School as a proud alumna. Zyrelle is an Honours Graduate of the George Brown College Business Marketing program, as well as an active spoken word artist and painter seeking to amplify her own journey of navigating identity, culture, and healing. She remains inspired by the evolution of artistic expression, storytelling, and the very human way we all seek to deeply connect to one another.
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 in 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.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: 416-392-6802 x214
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 web activities, social media, and supports program outreach.
Rachel Kennedy, Manager, Stakeholder Relations – 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, and 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, an experience he recalls with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Immediately upon his arrival in Toronto, Armen immersed himself into the city's 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.
Haroon Khalid, Digital Communications Manager – Haroon is an author and a journalist, who brings his passion of writing and editing, to the position of Digital Communications Manager. He has an MA in Anthropology from the University of Toronto and a Bsc (Hon’s) in Social Sciences from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He has been a professional writer since 2008 and has published five books and hundreds of articles. His research interests include pre-colonial arts, religiosity, history, and culture of South Asia. Haroon has also been an educator and has held several managerial positions in the education sector and non-profit organizations. He was a recipient of TAC’s Newcomer and Refugee Mentorship grant in 2020.
Alexandra Loewen, Program & 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 Foundation programs, coordinating logistics for Arts in the Parks, Creative Champions Network, and Emerging Leaders.
Liza Mattimore, Award Program Manager – Liza Mattimore holds a B.A from the University of Toronto and a post-graduate diploma in Culture and Heritage Site Management from Centennial College. She has worked as a Theatre Producer, General Manager, and Arts Administrator for the past 10 years. Prior to joining TAC she served as a Producer for Crow’s Theatre, and as General Manager for both Theatre Direct and Cahoots Theatre. She has also held positions with organisations including Artscape; the Toronto International Film Festival; Catherine Hurley & Company, one of Canada’s leading creative consultancies; The Arcadia Artists Housing Co-Operative; and Big Bang Technology Inc. Liza is particularly interested in the intersections of new technologies, public and private partnerships, accessibility, and support for local and emerging artists. On leave until 2023.
Alandra McKirdy, Events & Marketing Coordinator, Arts in the Parks (she/her) – Alandra is joining the Arts in the Parks initiative for her fourth summer. She has a long history in the arts and most recently completed a post-graduate program in Arts Management at Centennial College. Alandra is passionate about connecting Toronto’s communities with accessible, art programming that can inspire creativity and ignite conversations. Alandra’s favourite park is Amos Waites Park, located at Etobicoke’s waterfront. In her spare time, you can find her drawing, watering her plants, and listening to music.
Hasanika Mediwake, Program Outreach Coordinator – Hasanika is a recent graduate from the Community Worker Program at George Brown College. She started at Toronto Arts Foundation as a placement student for their strategic initiative, Neighbourhood Arts Network and then as an Events and Outreach Assistant for Arts in the Parks. Through these experiences she worked with a variety of local arts service organizations, artists and communities across the city. Her personal, professional and academic background have contributed to a passion of community based activism and engagement specifically within the arts. She is excited and enthusiastic about supporting a vision that ensures that all people in Toronto can access the arts.
Hasanika organizes and implements outreach strategies and efforts for the Foundation’s awards, Arts in the Parks, and Creative Champions Network Initiatives.
Shawn Newman, Ph.D., Research & Impact Manager – Shawn is the Research & Impact Manager at Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the evaluation of TAC grants programs and Foundation initiatives and initiating collaborative research projects that support the arts and culture sectors through bridging academia and industry. Having had an international career as a dancer and choreographer, and described as “[one] of Toronto’s finest dancers” (Paula Citron, Toronto Life), Shawn then completed his PhD in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. He has taught in the Department of Gender Studies and the Department of Film and Media at Queen’s as well as the Department of Dance at York University. His research spans many artistic disciplines while focusing on representation and power in and through critical race, critical disability, and gender studies.
In his position as Research and Impact Manager, Shawn is responsible for overseeing the evaluation of TAC grants programs and Foundation initiatives by providing expertise, guidance, and standards for planning, measuring and evaluating the two organizations’ activities, and initiating research projects that support both organizations' strategic plans.
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; she is also one of three staff human resources representatives, and serves on the Equity Steering Committee.
Abhishek Rao, Junior Accounting Clerk – Abhishek has a master's degree in commerce from the University of Mumbai and is currently pursuing a postgraduate diploma in international business management from Seneca College. He had worked as an Audit Analyst at KPMG before joining Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. He is ecstatic and enthusiastic about supporting a vision that assures that all Toronto residents have access to the arts.
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.
Catherine Tammaro, Award Program Manager
Taomesre ~ People of the Little Turtle, Wyandot of Anderdon Nation; Wendat Confederacy
Catherine Tammaro is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practise spans decades. She is an enrolled member of the Wyandot of Anderdon Nation which is part of the Wendat Confederacy and served as their Communications Officer for many years. Catherine is a seated Spotted Turtle Clan Tradition Keeper and is active throughout the city and beyond, in many organizations as Elder in Residence, Mentor and Cultural Advisor. She is an alumna of the Ontario College of Art and has had a diverse career, multiple exhibits and installations, published written works and presentations and continues her practise as well as supporting the work and development of other artists on an ongoing basis. Catherine served on the Board of the TAC, TAC's Income Precarity Working Group and was the Chair of the Toronto Arts Council's Indigenous Advisory Committee in 2020/21.
Liz Tsui, Outreach & Event Assistant, Arts in the Parks – Liz is an emerging artist and curator based in Tkaronto/Toronto who received her BFA in 2021 and is currently continuing her studies toward a MA in Art History and Visual Culture at York University. Her artistic practice and research interests are grounded in technology, popular culture, and Asian diaspora. She is interested in the manipulation of humorous content and dissecting it to critique the cultural context that situates it as disposable culture, responding to the fluctuations of social media, and emulating fads. Her artwork is often derivative of memes: currently in the form of 3D print, ultimately casting the object in bronze. Memes are of particular interest as a virtual phenomenon because the content they translate is tailored to the user and their activities online. Using this information as a foundation, Liz seeks to uncover erased histories surrounding migrant and diasporic communities in Canada.
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