New Chairs and Directors Elected at Joint Annual General Meeting

Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation together hosted their Annual General Meetings on December 9, 2015.

Toronto Arts Council welcomed incoming Chair Susan Crocker, a passionate arts champion, strategic advisor, and past Chair of the Council’s sister organization, Toronto Arts Foundation. Susan is a board member of the Gardiner Museum, and has previously served the cultural community in numerous other roles including as Chair of Canadian Stage Company, Chair of St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and Trustee of the ROM. In 2011 – 12 she served on the City of Toronto Mayor’s Arts Task Force.  Susan was recently appointed Chancellor of St. Francis Xavier University where she also Chairs the Advisory Board of Coady International Institute.

Incoming Directors to TAC are: award-winning director, writer, actor, dramaturg, choreographer and teacher Soheil Parsa, who will serve as Chair of TAC’s Theatre Committee.  Filling three at-large positions are: Luminato Festival CEO Anthony Sargent; director, curator, writer and video artist Gein Wong; and Principal of the Etobicoke School of the Arts, Rob MacKinnon. For a complete list of Toronto Arts Council’s 2015 Board of Directors please click here.

Toronto Arts Foundation welcomed incoming Chair Kathleen Sharpe, a longstanding leader in municipal and provincial cultural sectors and currently the Executive Director of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund. Kathleen Sharpe is also President of the Canadian Conference of the Arts (dormant stage), past-chair of Toronto Artscape, president of SharpeCulture and sits on many advisory committees including those for Nuit Blanche and the City’s Bicentennial Committee for the War of 1812. Most recently she has served on the Mayor’s Task Force on the Arts.

Incoming directors to the Foundation are arts advocate and supporter Maureen Dodig and TAC’s past-Chair John McKellar.

Please click here for the full list.

In thanking outgoing Toronto Arts Council Chair, John McKellar, TAC President Nova Bhattacharya noted that “John McKellar has served for over 50 years on boards of directors of a wide variety of Toronto arts organizations.  The arts community and the city have benefited tremendously from his dedication, commitment and support.  It is the great good fortune of Toronto Arts Foundation that he has agreed to serve on its board now that his term as Chair of TAC has come to an end.”

Nova Bhattacharya also thanked outgoing directors Moynan KingSeema Jethalal and Janet Carding for their time and dedication to Toronto’s arts community.

Director & CEO Claire Hopkinson presented an overview of the “State of the Arts” in the city, based on research, observations and data gathered by staff and volunteers from Toronto Arts Council and Foundation. She highlighted trends including real and sustained growth in 

  • artists, organizations and artistic activity; 
  • interdisciplinary work and collaboration; 
  • artists working with mental health survivors and 
  • newcomer artists in Toronto. 

She also brought attention to some of the unmet needs of the community, which include 

  • opportunities for youth artists; 
  • equitable access for culturally diverse artists and organizations;
  • access to arts programming outside the downtown core and
  • alternative organizational models for emerging artists. 

Hopkinson contextualized these opportunities and challenges within the existing programs and initiatives of Toronto Arts Council and Foundation. Besides an increase in grants to individual artists, to organization projects and to operating organizations, she outlined the many new programs implemented by TAC under its Priorities for New Funding directive, including Indigenous Arts, Platform A, and ArtsVest.  She also described some of the Foundation’s new initiatives including the recently held Emergence Symposium and the Arts in the Parks program being launched in 2016 in collaboration with TAC.   

Working with volunteer committee members, to date in 2015, the Council Board has assessed 2265 applications from artists requesting over $28 million in funding. 

For a complete list of artists and arts organizations supported by Toronto Arts Council, please click here

Toronto Arts Foundation offers many programs to achieve its vision of a Creative City, Block by Block.

Details of the Foundations programs, events and awards may be found at:

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For more information: Susan Wright, Deputy Director,