Toronto Arts Council Announces Inaugural 'TAC Cultural Leaders Lab Fellows'

Toronto – Toronto Arts Council (TAC) is pleased to announce the 18 inaugural Fellows selected to participate in the 2015 TAC Cultural Leaders Lab.  The program is a unique partnership with The Banff Centre that will kick off with a one-week intensive leadership retreat in Banff, followed by scheduled programmed activities in Toronto.  The goal of the program is to mobilize Toronto’s extensive pool of arts leadership talent to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing the sector, and the City. 
The inaugural cohort is an accomplished and diverse group of leaders from across arts disciplines whose experiences range from leadership roles in large institutions and festivals to grassroots and local initiatives.  Collectively, their work addresses some of Toronto’s key challenges, using arts strategies and approaches to increase civic-engagement, animate public spaces and create a more inclusive, accessible and culturally rich society. 
“The knowledge and creativity of Toronto’s arts leaders can be harnessed for the benefit of the entire City,” says Claire Hopkinson, Toronto Arts Council’s Director and CEO.  “Over a three- to five-year period, TAC’s Cultural Leaders Lab will have seeded a powerful force for change across the various sectors of Toronto’s arts and culture industry, and across the city. I look forward to seeing this innovation at work.”
TAC and The Banff Centre are developing the Leaders Lab program over the next three to five years in response to the need for increased opportunities for cross-sector learning and collaboration among Toronto’s arts and cultural leaders.  TAC and The Banff Centre are designing a hands-on program that provides current leaders with the motivation and tools needed to redefine leadership and its role in building the creative city.  The program will create the space for a deep examination of Toronto’s arts ecology, and the refinement of the skill sets needed to support a vibrant future for the arts, and for our City.
"We are incredibly excited by the possibilities for the inaugural Leaders Lab, given the extraordinary calibre and range of experiences represented by this group of Fellows,” says Jerry McGrath, Director of Innovation and Program Partnerships at The Banff Centre. “A strong and innovative arts sector gives us more choice and diversity in creative and cultural product and new ideas to fuel economic and social impact.”
The program will kick off in April 2015 with an intensive one-week retreat at The Banff Centre, followed by bi-monthly events in Toronto in collaboration with local partners over a one-year period.  The deadline for applications to participate in Year Two of the TAC Cultural Leaders Lab is October 15th, 2015.
2015 TAC Leaders Lab Fellows (click here for the full list of recipient bios):

  • David Abel, Executive Director, Art of Time Ensemble
  • Mahlikah Awe:ri, Independent Artist/Educator, Music and Literary Arts
  • Franco Boni, General and Artistic Director, The Theatre Centre
  • Menon Dwarka, Managing Director, 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media + Education
  • Liz Forsberg, Managing Director, Art Starts
  • Brendan Healy, Artistic Director, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
  • Christine Jackson, Program Coordinator for the Arts, Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
  • Heather Kelly, Director of Marketing, Performing Arts Division, The Royal Conservatory of Music
  • Natalie Lue, Vice President, Production and Visitor Experience, TIFF
  • Joel McConvey, Independent Artist, Media Arts and Literary Arts
  • Scott Miller Berry, Executive Director, Images Festival
  • Natasha Mytnowych, Managing Director, Artscape Youngplace
  • Jacob Niedzwiecki, Independent Artist, Dance, Media Arts
  • Phyllis Novak, Artistic Director, SKETCH Working Arts
  • Kevin A. Ormsby, Artistic Director, KasheDance
  • Tim Whalley, Associate Director, Government Relations and Community Engagement, Luminato
  • Gein Wong, Independent Artist, Interdisciplinary
  • d’bi young anitafrika, Independent Artist/Educator, Transdisciplinary

Contact: Kerry Swanson, Partnerships and Evaluation Officer, Toronto Arts Council 
416 392 6802 x209