Our Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors consists of arts supporters and professionals who direct the operation of our organization.
Celia Smith - Chair
Celia Smith is the CEO of Luminato, Toronto’s international festival of arts and culture. A convener of creativity, Luminato is a catalyst for big, bold contemporary works of art grounded in accessibility, equity and inclusion. She is a strategic leader in the Toronto arts and culture community with proven expertise in directing significant organizational growth, social enterprise and charitable expansion, and executive management of complex, multi-stakeholder environments. Her entire career has been in the arts & culture sector, leading significant non-profit organizations, or in the private sector creating social enterprises.
Ms. Smith has more than two decades in leadership roles across the Toronto arts and culture sector, including President of Artscape, General Manager of The Canadian Stage Company and interim roles at the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto Symphony and Opera Atelier. She is a past Board Member for Luminato, past Board Chair for TAPA (Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts) and Work in Culture, and currently sits on the board of Toronto Arts Council and Musical Stage Company. In 2020, she co-founded LEAN (Leadership Emergency Arts Network) – a grassroots pro bono response network to help Canadian professional non-profit arts organizations deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
Dina Graser – Past Chair
Dina Graser is a consultant, specializing in urban projects that build and engage communities. She spent her early career working in the arts as a manager, publicist and producer of theatre, music, dance, festivals and special events, and has continued to be involved in the arts as a board member of several organizations including Arraymusic, Artscape and the Toronto Arts Council.
Dina has a wide-ranging background in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Most recently she has been in the forefront of the emerging field of community benefits in Toronto, advising governments, foundations and private companies on how to maximize social and economic benefits for local communities. She is also a Senior Advisor at the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.
Dina was the Project Director of the National Housing Collaborative, a group of national-level housing stakeholders whose significant policy proposals helped influence the 2017 National Housing Strategy. From 2010-2014 she was the Director, Community and Stakeholder Relations at Metrolinx where, among other initiatives, she developed the first iteration of its public art policy. Prior to that, she practiced communications law at Goodmans LLP for eight years.
Dina has a BA from McGill University, an MFA in Performing Arts Management from the City University of New York, and an LLB from the University of Toronto.
Gaëtane Verna – Past President
Gaëtane Verna is the Director of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada’s leading public gallery devoted exclusively to contemporary visual art since 2012. Before taking up the post at The Power Plant, she was Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d'art de Joliette in Lanaudière, Quebec for six years. Prior to this appointment, from 1998 to 2006, she was the curator of the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop’s University, while also teaching in the Art History department of both Bishop’s University and the Université du Québec à Montréal. Gaëtane Verna holds an International Diploma in Heritage Administration and Conservation from the Institut National du Patrimoine in Paris, France; received a DEA and a Master’s degree in Art History from the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne; and prior to that a Bachelor in Commerce from Concordia University.
She has years of experience in arts administration, curating, publishing catalogues and organizing and presenting exhibitions by emerging, mid-career and established Canadian and international artists such as: Kader Attia, Vasco Araújo, Yto Barada, Ydessa Hendeles, Alfredo Jaar, Luis Jacob, Kimsooja, Kapwani Kiwanga, François Lacasse, Yam Lau, Oswaldo Maciá, Ed Pien, Penelope Stewart, Gabor Szilasi, Javier Tellez, Denyse Thomasos, Bill Viola and YOUNG HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, and Franz Erhard Walther to name just a few.
In January 2018, Verna was presented with the insignia as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) by the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France in Canada to recognize her significant contribution to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. Prior to her appointment as President of the Board, Gaëtane was Co-Chair of TAC's Visual Arts/Media Arts Committee.
Susan Wortzman – Secretary
Susan Wortzman is a partner in the Toronto offices of McCarthy Tétrault and leads the firm’s e-Discovery and information management division, MT>3. One of Canada’s most respected e-Discovery lawyers, Susan’s creativity, legal and business acumen, and commitment to innovation and technology ensure that her clients receive cutting edge services. Susan is an active writer, speaker and educator in the legal community.
In her free time she is a lover of the arts and theatre. Susan was formerly on the boards of Tarragon Theatre and Canadian Stage. She is a member of the Ontario Cabinet - Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Susan served as the Co-Chair and a committee member of the Art Toronto Opening Night Committee for several years. She is currently a member of the AGO’s Curator’s Circle Committee, and serves a Board Member of the Toronto Biennial of Art.
Michael Herrera, CPA, CA – Treasurer
Michael Herrera has spent a career in service to the not-for-profit sector and public sector, joining George Brown College in 2019 as their Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining George Brown, Michael was the Vice-President, Finance at United Way Greater Toronto for nearly a decade. He has held similar positions at the Anglican Church of Canada, YMCA of Greater Toronto and National Ballet of Canada. Previously, Michael was a manager at EY and, as an independent consultant, supported arts and heritage organizations through the development and delivery of financial and governance training to a variety of organizations throughout the province. Michael's community involvement includes past governance roles with organizations such as Crow’s Theatre, Social Planning Council, Toronto Foundation, and Ontario Museums Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Theatre Museum Canada, and Making The Shift - a youth homelessness social innovation lab. Michael holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and has been a member of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants in Ontario since 1996.
maxine bailey (she/her) is a dynamic member of Toronto’s arts community, her passion for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for all runs deeply in everything she does. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Canadian Film Centre (CFC). Previously, maxine served as the Vice-President of Advancement at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where she founded Share Her Journey, a five-year fundraising commitment to achieving gender parity both on and off screen. She also co-founded the Black Artists Network in Dialogue (BAND), which showcases Black cultural contributions nationally and internationally, and currently participates on the advisory boards and steering committees for the Toronto Arts Council/Foundation Advocacy Committee, the Canadian Academy, Luminato Festival Toronto and the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund. maxine was named one of NOW Toronto’s Local Heroes and as a voracious reader, she sat on the juries of the Scotiabank Giller Prize as well as the Trillium Book Award.
Councillor Brad Bradford
Brad Bradford is City Councillor for Ward 19, Beaches-East York
Elected in 2018 as one of the youngest members of Council, Brad is bringing fresh ideas and positive politics to City Hall. He ran a grass-roots, non-partisan campaign and brings the same values as Councillor, working with residents, community groups, businesses, and government leaders of all backgrounds to build a better Beaches-East York and Toronto. bradbradford.ca
Councillor Gary Crawford
Gary Crawford is City Councillor for Ward 20 (Scarborough Southwest) and Budget Chief for the City of Toronto. Gary Crawford brings a passion for the arts to his role and played a key part in securing increased funding for Toronto Arts Council in 2013. He is a professional artist (landscape and portrait painter) with a BFA Honours degree in Fine Arts from York University. Gary sits on a number of boards in addition to Toronto Arts Council, including the boards of Sony Centre for the Performing Arts and the Dora Mavor Moore Awards. As Trustee for the Toronto District School Board from 2003-2010, Gary was instrumental in making the vast Art, Archive and Historical artifact collection more accessible to students.
David Dacks is a Toronto-based advocate of creative music in all its forms. He became Artistic Director of the Music Gallery in January 2012 and has since produced several seasons of “remarkably informed artistic directorship” (Toronto Star) featuring innovative, cross-cultural programming. Prior to joining the Music Gallery, David was editor of Exclaim Magazine’s coverage of jazz, R&B, music from around the world, reggae, and experimental music.
His writing has also appeared in The Grid, CBC Music, Huffington Post, Weird Canada, BlogTO, Paste and Musicworks. He has an extensive background in radio as a programmer and host at University of Toronto radio station CIUT-FM for 25 years, and as a producer of four documentaries for CBC Radio.
David’s unique musical expertise has been acknowledged with appointments to the Juno Awards and Polaris Music Prize juries. He was a Grand Juror for the Polaris Prize in 2011 and today is a member of the Polaris Heritage Prize jury and co-chair of TAC's Music Committee. Further musical activities include teaching at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies and the International Academy of Art And Design, as well as many years of live performance, DJing and audio recording.
Zahra Ebrahim is the Co-Founder of Monumental. She is a public interest designer and strategist, and her work has focused on community-led approaches to policy, infrastructure, and service design. She is an established bridge builder across grassroots and institutional spaces, using creative and accessible approaches to facilitate bold, collective changemaking. Prior to this role, she built and led Doblin Canada, Deloitte’s Human-Centred Design practice, focusing on engaging diverse sets of stakeholders to use design-led approaches to address complex organizational and industry challenges. In her early career, Zahra led one of Canada’s first social design studios, working with communities to co-design towards better social outcomes, leading some of Canada’s most ambitious participatory infrastructure and policy programs. Zahra has taught at OCADU, MoMA, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto.She is the Vice-Chair of the Canadian Urban Institute, and the Board Chair for Park People. She was recently named Next City’s Vanguard “40 under 40 Civic Leader”, Ascend Canada’s Mentor of the Year, one of “Tomorrow’s Titans” in Toronto Life, and one of WXN’s Top 100 Women in Canadian Business. She is the 2022 Artist-in-Residence at Lake Superior Provincial Park, and Urbanist-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s School of Cities.
Roland Gulliver is the Director of the Toronto International Festival of Authors, taking up the position in February 2020. With over 12 years’ experience at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Roland Gulliver is one of the leading international figures in the literature sector. In addition to the August Festival, he has led, alongside a fellow programme director, on the development of a year-round programme of residencies, mini festivals and standalone events working with a range of communities to offer access and empowerment through the arts. From graphic novel and hip-hop projects with school students, prison visits with authors, to producing a Muriel Spark celebration for 2000 people in 2019. At the British Council in Brussels (2000-2006) he created and delivered a range of multilateral programmes exploring Britain’s role in Europe with projects, festivals and commissions engaging British, Belgian and European artists and organisations. This included European conferences on science, politics and arts, and high-level bilateral conferences involving ambassadors, business leaders and the UK & Belgian prime ministers.
Amanda Hancox is a graduate of the Arts Educational School in England. She worked extensively across Canada as a dancer and an actress in theatre, film and television for over 30 years. From 2006–2019, Amanda was the Executive Director of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC), a national, not-for-profit arts service organization with a mandate to help dancers make necessary transitions into, within and from professional performance careers. Throughout her tenure at the DTRC, she contributed her expertise to a number of major international and national conferences and was a member of the Board of the International Organization for the Transition of Professional Dancers (IOTPD).
Currently Amanda is a facilitator for the Cultural Human Resources Council’s Maintaining Respectful Workplaces in the Arts workshops, and also acts as a career transition consultant within and outside the arts community. She is Chair of the TAC’s Dance Committee, sits on the Board of WorkInCulture, and is an Advisory Group member of Generator’s TransformDance project.
Sean Lee is an artist and curator exploring the assertion of disability art as the last avant-garde. His methodology explores crip curatorial practices as a means to resist traditional aesthetic idealities. Orienting towards a “crip horizon”, Sean’s practice explores the transformative possibilities of accessibility as an embodied politic and disability community building as a way to desire the ways disability can disrupt. Sean holds a B.A. in Arts Management and Studio from the University of Toronto, Scarborough and is currently the Director of Programming at Tangled Art + Disability. Previous to this role, he was Tangled’s inaugural Curator in Residence (2016) as well as Tangled’s Gallery Manager (2017). Sean has been integral to countless exhibitions and public engagements throughout his tenure at Tangled Art + Disability. In addition to his position at Tangled Art + Disability, Sean is an independent lecturer, speaker, and writer adding his insights and perspectives to conversations surrounding Disability Arts across Canada, the United States and internationally. Sean currently sits on the board of CARFAC Ontario, Creative Users Projects, and is a member of the Ontario Art Council’s Deaf and Disability Advisory Group and Toronto Art Council’s Visual Arts / Media Arts Committee.
Lindsey is an Onkwehon:we (Kanien’kéha)/ Anishinaabe (Ojibwe- Missisakis) artist & community developer originally from Six Nations of the Grand River with ancestral roots to the Mississauga’s of Credit First Nation. She specializes in painting & beading as well as Indigenous arts and culture facilitation, governance, community and program development. Her traditional name is ‘Mushkiiki Nibi’, which translates to ‘Medicine Water’, she is turtle clan.
Lindsey is a graduate of OCAD University and has sat on a number of community boards and committees in the Toronto area over the last 15 years. Some of her past committee work has been for the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS). She is currently a member of the Toronto Arts Council and Steps Public Art- Indigenous Advisory Committees.
In 2017, Lindsey was shortlisted and awarded a public arts project for the Region of Waterloo’s LRT System resulting in a permanent public instillation for the Block Line stop that speaks to the historical stewardship of the land base of Waterloo and the importance of agriculture from a First Nations perspective. Lindsey also received an International Women’s Day- Leadership in the Arts award in 2019 from the City of Toronto.
She is currently the Community Safety Liaison for the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA), providing advocacy, awareness and capacity building supports for Indigenous women & families, as well as service providers, in the area of human trafficking and gang involvement. She currently practices out of both Toronto and Six Nations of the Grand River.
Victoria Mata is a Venezuelan-Canadian settler in T’Koronto. Poly-lingual choreographer, dance artist and activist with a background in expressive arts therapy. Mata’s career was first sculpted by pedagogic, self-directed training, which proceeded with internationally renowned residencies and choreographers at the Banff Arts Centre, Counter Pulse, African American Art & Culture, Centro de Investigación Coreográfica del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes de México, The Biggot Foundation, Ballet Creole, Aluna Theater and Teatro Delle Radici. Mata’s sensibility to inclusion and border stories is due to her eclectic upbringing in three continents before the age of fifteen. Intersectional, multi-framed community-arts and the abolishment of violence against women are some of Mata’s passion. She has intricately weaved these themes in her MFA in Contemporary Choreography and is foundation for some of her recognitions such as being a recipient of the Metcalf Foundation, a finalist of the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award and 7 Dora nominations. Mata deeply believes in the arts as core and tangible mode of sustaining and transforming paradigms of exclusion. Currently, Mata is developing a full-length production called Cacao | A Venezuelan lament, which illuminates the vibrant and resilient stories of cacao farmers in Venezuela whose labour and sweat are behind every bite of chocolate consumed worldwide. Victoria is Chair of TAC's Community Arts Committee.
Paulina O’Kieffe-Anthony is an award winning artist, curator, arts educator and creative consultant and the current Executive Director of SKETCH Working Arts. Her high level accomplishments include being featured in When Sisters Speak, co-curating Scarborough: The Backbone as part of Toronto's Year of Public Art, co-producing the Spoken Soul Festival, and representing Toronto as a 2x national team finalist in the Canadian Festival Of Spoken Word. In 2019 she was a TEDx speaker and in 2020 an excerpt of her play How Jab Jab Saved the Pretty Mas was featured as part of Piece of Mine's Black Women in Theatre Festival.
Her work and leadership in the community sector was recognized as she was the recipient of the Toronto Community Foundation Vital People Award and again when she was recognized as one of 150 Black Women Making Herstory (as featured on CBC) for her contribution to building the arts scene in Toronto.
Product designer and development consultant Richard Paquet is a multilingual, strategic and intuitive merchandising and marketing specialist who possesses a reputation for creativity coupled with a commercial knowledge and understanding. He has over 20 years’ experience in retailing, wholesaling and manufacturing of home decorative accessories and seasonal merchandise and a portfolio of clients in Canada, America and Asia. His scope of knowledge and expertise encompasses administering the entire life cycle of new products/opportunities – from establishing trend concepts to design and development to sourcing, manufacturing, importing/exporting and selling.
When he’s not at the airport suffering through another security line, Richard lives in Toronto with his wife (also a frequent traveler). Richard is an avid runner and a power yoga enthusiast. He has been without a TV for the last 24 years, enabling him to cultivate a passion for books, art, music (especially opera) and food. He is presently working on a Writing Certificate offered through U of T’s online curriculum.
Devyani Saltzman is a Canadian writer, curator and arts leader with a deep practice in multidisciplinary programming at the intersection between art, ideas and social justice. She was most recently Director of Public Programming at the AGO, working across all disciplines, where she significantly increased engagement across broad and diverse audiences and shaped the museum as a forum for discourse, reflecting community and the narratives of Torontonians. Saltzman was previously the Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre, as well as a founding Curator at Luminato, North America's preeminent multi arts festival. She is a published author and her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Atlantic and Tehelka, India's weekly of arts and investigative journalism. She is the Vice Chair of the Writers’ Trust of Canada, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries and Nova Dance. Saltzman has a Masters Degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Oxford and currently consults across the sector.
Tania Senewiratne worked for a Broadway producer in NYC for 10 years. In that capacity she worked on over 30 theatrical productions on Broadway, off-Broadway, on tour in North America, in London, on tour in the UK, in Canada, in Australia and throughout Asia. In Canada, she was the General Manager/Producer at Obsidian Theatre, the Executive Producer at Soulpepper Theatre, and an instructor at the School of Performance at Toronto Metropolitan University. Currently, she is the Associate Dean for the Visual and Performing Arts Program at Sheridan College.
An innovator and global visionary leader in digital media, President Serrano has a strong sense of the value of art and design education and research coupled with a record of success effectively managing financial resources and high-performing teams. She has also been an adjunct professor at OCAD U, advising students in the Digital Futures graduate program, and led the formation of a CFC/OCAD U partnership that began in 2011.
Winner of the 2021 Crystal Award for Digital Trailblazer, an honour bestowed by Women in Film & Television Toronto, and winner of the Digital Media Trailblazing Award at the 2016 Canadian Screen Awards from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, she brings more than 20 years of experience building award-winning digital experiences, securing public and private sector investment, creating strategic alliances and starting new ventures.
Before coming to OCAD U, she was the Chief Digital Officer of the Canadian Film Centre and launched several unique Canadian start-up accelerators including IDEABOOST, Canada’s first digital entertainment accelerator, with founding partners Shaw Media, Corus Entertainment and Google. An avid volunteer, she is member of numerous boards including Open Democracy Project, Toronto Arts Council and Atkinson Foundation Board. Currently involved in launching Prison Dancer, the Musical at Citadel Theatre in the 2022-23 season.
Michael Sinclair is the General Manager of Obsidian Theatre Company, Canada’s largest culturally specific theatre company. Prior to assuming the position at Obsidian, he was very
active in the theatre community, being a professional stage manager for over 20 years, a job which took him across the country from PEI to Vancouver and internationally to Barbados. In that time, he worked in commercial, festival, large regional and local theatres, and touring internationally, nationally, regionally and schools but working mainly in the Toronto area.
A graduate from Concordia University majoring in Accounting, Michael worked for a Chartered Accounting firm before branching out into the theatre business, but always had a love for the theatre as he was involved in community theatre while still pursuing his accounting career. He is on the board of Stage Managing the Arts (SMArts), and a member of Canadian Actors Equity Association (CAEA), Stage Management Committee. Michael is Chair of TAC's Theatre Committee.
Robin Sokoloski (she/her) has been working in the arts and culture sector for eighteen years. Currently, as the Director of Organizational Development of Mass Culture, Robin is working with academics, funders and arts practitioners to support a thriving arts community by mobilizing the creation, amplification and community-informed analysis of research.
For 10+ years, Robin was the Executive Director of Playwrights Guild of Canada. Last fall, Robin co-taught a course at Centennial College entitled, Arts Policy, Equity and Activism. Robin is currently developing a fourth-year university course on Cultural Entrepreneurship for MacEwan University. A cultural entrepreneur herself, Robin has assisted in growing Mass Culture from an idea into a thriving national charitable arts organization within a five-year period. Her experience in governance, financial management, and network mobilization greatly contributes to all of her work and volunteerism in the arts.
Arts Advisory Panel
● Margaret Atwood
● Atom Egoyan
● Norman Jewison
● Molly Johnson
● Karen Kain
● David Mirvish
● Joyce Zemans