Our Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors consists of arts supporters and professionals who direct the operation of our organization.
Dina Graser – 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 – 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 Crocker, C. M. – Past Chair
Susan is a volunteer board leader and strategic advisor. She is passionate about community development and social justice, which she pursues through her involvement in education, leadership development and strengthening the cultural sector.
Susan is the past Chair of the Toronto Arts Foundation and has been a Toronto Arts Council Board member since 2011. She sits on the Board of the Gardiner Museum, and has previously served as Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Trustee of the ROM, Chair of the Canadian Stage Company and Chair of the Board of Management of St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. In 2011-12, she served on the City of Toronto Mayor’s Arts Task Force.
Susan was appointed Chancellor of St. Francis Xavier University in November 2015. She is a past member of the Board of Governors of the University and serves as the Chair of the Advisory Board of Coady International Institute. In 2012, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from St. FX.
Susan began her professional career in the global financial sector with CIBC. She joined Ernst and Young Management Consulting as a partner in 1995. She worked for the Toronto Stock Exchange as Senior Vice President of Equity and Derivative Markets before being named President and CEO of the Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan. Upon leaving the financial services industry in 2001, she assumed a number of corporate board positions, and engaged in volunteer board leadership, strategy consulting and fundraising.
Nova Bhattacharya – Past President
Recognized as one of the leading dance artists of her generation, Nova Bhattacharya is the former Chair of the Toronto Arts Council’s Dance Committee and has been a member of Toronto Art Council’s board of directors since 2011. An impassioned advocate for the arts she is a founding member of South Asian Dance Alliance Canada; past treasurer and co-chair of Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists – Ontario Chapter. Nova dedicates many volunteer hours to initiatives that promote the value of the arts in society.
Bhattacharya began her career with the Menaka Thakkar Dance Company and as an independent dance artist appeared with a number of Canadian companies. Her powerful, humanistic dance works have been described as “transforming bharatanatyam dance vocabulary into stunning contemporary dance” (Globe & Mail). In 2008, she founded Nova Dance – the company’s productions have been presented from coast-to-coast in Canada and in Germany and Japan, they have garnered five Dora Mavor Moore Award Nominations. Nova was the recipient of the 2012 Victor Martyn Lynch Staunton Award for outstanding artistic achievement in dance.
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 recently joined George Brown College as their Interim Chief Financial Officer. He provides senior level leadership and comprehensive financial technical expertise relating to the financial operations of the College. Michael has spent a career in service to the not-for-profit sector, having worked with social services, religious and arts organizations. Most recently, Michael was the Interim Treasurer at the Anglican Church of Canada. He has held similar positions at YMCA of Greater Toronto and National Ballet of Canada.
Previously, Michael was a manager at EY and, as an independent consultant, he 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 Social Planning Council, Toronto Foundation, and Ontario Museums Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Crow’s Theatre and on the Finance and Property Committee of Sherbourne Health Centre. 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 is an executive leader of Toronto's dynamic arts community serving on a series Boards and committees. She is the founder of the Toronto International Film Festival's five-year campaign focused on gender parity, Share Her Journey, garnering international recognition for creating a more equitable film industry. Naturally curious, Maxine is a cultural curator, moderator, host, juror, voracious reader, and general disruptor.
Kelvin is the Executive Director and CEO of the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. The Gardiner Museum is Canada’s national museum of ceramics, and one of the great specialty museums in the world. Prior to joining the Gardiner Museum in November 2013, Kelvin held several positions at the Royal Ontario Museum – Canada’s largest museum of both culture and nature – beginning in 2004 when he became the Managing Director of the Institute of Contemporary Culture.
Here he produced exhibitions and other programs connecting the museum’s collections with contemporary themes. Kelvin subsequently became the Vice-President of Marketing, and then the Vice-President of Marketing and Major Exhibitions, where his portfolio included marketing, sales, public relations, membership, major exhibitions, and all aspects of design at the museum.
Councillor Shelley Carroll
Shelley Carroll is City Councillor for Ward 17 Don Valley North.
Shelley was first elected in 2000 to the Toronto District School Board where she served as Trustee for three years, including one year as Chair of the Board. In 2003, Shelley was elected to Toronto City Council. As a Councillor, Shelley put her financial background to use as Chair of the Budget Committee during the global financial crisis. As Budget Chief, she delivered four balanced budgets and accumulated a $364 million surplus for the following term. More recently, Shelley has served on the Economic and Community Development Committee, Public Works & Infrastructure Committee and the Toronto Transit Commission.
In her local ward, Shelley introduced the Basement Flooding Mitigation Program, negotiated over 500 affordable housing spaces, delivered renovations to community centres and implemented Toronto’s first-ever Participatory Budgeting process. She was re-elected for her fifth term in October 2018.
Neera is a passionate supporter of the arts, providing thoughtful leadership on several cultural platforms. Neera brings a global perspective to cultural integration issues we face in Canada, having travelled extensively across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, with a keen sense for cultural linkages and parallels with Canada. She has been a pioneer in creating cross-cultural awareness of South Asian art and culture through her volunteer work with various arts organizations, including the ROM and Luminato, and has chaired the Arts Parents Council and Parents' Organization at Upper Canada College. She currently serves on four volunteer committees at the ROM and is particularly proud of engaging the public as a Gallery Interpreter.
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.
As an international media and entertainment executive, educator and cultural strategy leader, Charles Falzon has been developing and marketing Canadian talent, and creating high-quality cultural experiences through diverse platforms and transmedia for more than three decades. Today, Charles is on the forefront of change for the cultural sector in Canada – empowering creators to connect with audiences in new and disruptive ways through creative and commercial innovation.
Charles is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) at Ryerson University, home to nine of the country’s leading schools in media and creative industries. In this role, he is a central figure in Ryerson’s curricular innovation, entrepreneurship education and city-building mission, with a focus on maximizing the impact of the creative industries as a catalyst for collaboration, digital innovation and civic engagement.
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.
Rob MacKinnon is the principal of Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute and of Greenwood Secondary School (a high school for newcomer Canadians). Rob was also the principal of Etobicoke School of the Arts, where he worked closely with students, staff, guest artists, city arts venues, arts organizations, and college and university arts programs for over six years to enhance ESA students’ learning experience. These groups included artists, organizations and institutions in the fields of film, music, theatre, visual arts, dance, and drama.
In his present role, he continues to work with these groups to provide arts opportunities for students in the east end of the city and for newcomer Canadians. Rob has also worked on projects with the University Health Network, Kids Help Phone, and sat as a Board Member of Fife House (which provides supportive housing for people living with HIV and AIDS). As a principal, Rob oversees human resources, budget, fundraising and capital projects in his schools. He has been a school principal in Toronto since 2003 and was recognized by The Learning Partnership as one of Canada’s most outstanding principals in 2013.
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.
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.
Jason Ryle is the Artistic Director of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the world’s largest showcase of film, video, audio and digital media created by Indigenous artists from Canada and around the world. Prior to his appointment as artistic director in 2016, Jason served as the festival’s Executive Director since 2010 and a variety of other roles for the organization since 2002. Jason has served on the board of directors for Vtape and Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre and is an emerging producer. Jason is the Co-Chair of TAC’s Visual & Media Arts Committee.
Ana Serrano is the Chief Digital Officer of the Canadian Film Centre and Founder of CFC Media Lab, the world-renowned institute for interactive storytelling created in 1997. Serrano is driving the digital transformation of the CFC into a unique blend of talent, product and company accelerator and creative production house. Most recently, she launched Canada's first digital entertainment accelerator, IDEABOOST, and serves as its Managing Director. To date, Serrano has directed the development of over 130 digital media projects, mentored over 50 startups, and has received numerous awards from the digital media, film, and theatre industries in both Canada and the U.S., including a Digital Media Trailblazing Award in 2015 from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.
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.
Celia Smith is a savvy and strategic leader with 25-plus years experience in leadership in Toronto, with proven expertise in directing significant organizational growth, social enterprise and charitable expansion, and executive management of complex, multi-stakeholder environments. She is known for her effective management style and has mentored hundreds of individuals who now work in leadership roles across diverse sectors. Her entire career has been in the arts and culture sector, leading significant non-profit organizations, or in the private sector creating social enterprises. She is the Interim CEO of Luminato Festival Toronto. Career highlights in the arts and culture sector include the recent co- founding of LEAN (Leadership Emergency Arts Network) in response to the COVID-19 impact on the national arts community; developing 11 arts and culture community hubs or affordable housing projects for artists as President of Artscape; directing marketing and development at Canadian Stage Company over many years leading to becoming General Manager; and offering volunteer leadership as the Board Chair for TAPA (Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts) and Work in Culture, in addition to board roles with Luminato, Musical Stage Company and Creative Trust.
Taomesre ~ People of the Little Turtle, Wyandot of Anderdon Nation; Wendat Confederacy
Catherine was born and raised in Toronto and the US. She has a 50-year history of art making, including painting, fine art, award-winning design, theatre, soundscape/installation, musical collaboration, jewellery making, illustration, photographic/written journalism, extensive photo based digital collage and graphic works. She is an enrolled member of, seated Faith Keeper; Little (Speckled) Turtle Clan and the former Communications Officer for the Wyandot of Anderdon Nation. She has been working with the academic community of late and is currently and was recently involved with several projects such as The Daughters of Aataentsic, the Star Collective, Red Embers, Walking With Our Sisters, and others. Catherine is Akin Collective's Premiere Indigenous Elder Artist in Residence, the Chair for the Children’s Peace Theatre Council, is the Elder for the Toronto Indigenous Business Association, the Taiaiako:n Historical PreservationSociety and is involved with the Indigenous Land Stewardship Circle. She is a visiting Elder at OCADU and Ojibiikaan and is working with many agencies, city wide and beyond, to advise and facilitate art making/teaching workshops, as well as maintaining her own art practise. She has presented papers at Universities in Vancouver, London, Toronto and Tahlequah, Oklahoma and she attends and helps facilitate ceremonies across the Wendat Confederacy. She is also working on her upcoming installation for Crawford Lake Conservation Area in 2021. Catherine is a not only a mentor and community Grandmother but is also a perpetual student and teacher of Indigenous spiritual teachings and oral traditions as they pertain to our connection to the sacred multiverse.
Maayan Ziv is a fashion, portrait and street photographer based in Toronto, Canada. Focusing on black-and-white emotive portraiture, editorial fashion, and gritty street scenes, Maayan has been recognized as an influential Canadian talent. A Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal recipient, her work has been featured on television, in galleries, and magazines. Sitting on a wheelchair gives Maayan a unique perspective that is evident in her work and as a freelance artist. Her goal is to bring awareness to disabilities and the arts – something she prides herself on working on every day.
Arts Advisory Panel
● Margaret Atwood
● Atom Egoyan
● Norman Jewison
● Molly Johnson
● Karen Kain
● David Mirvish
● Joyce Zemans