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Ontario Arts Council


Shoshana Wasser

Communications Coordinator (Government & Media Relations)
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058, ext. 7434

Judith Gelber Appointed Vice-Chair, and Martha Durdin Concludes Three Terms as Chair of the Ontario Arts Council

March 20, 2015

Judith Gelber has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), while Martha Durdin, OAC’s longest serving Chair, recently completed her third three-year term in February. As Vice-Chair, Judith will helm OAC’s board of directors until a new Chair is named by an Order in Council through the Government of Ontario’s public appointments process.

“We are fortunate to have a very experienced board member like Judith Gelber, to provide interim leadership and a smooth transition,” said Peter Caldwell, Director & CEO. “We would also like to express warm thanks to Martha Durdin, who has been an incredibly committed Chair of the Ontario Arts Council for nine years, plus two years as Acting Chair and Vice-Chair before that. These volunteer positions involve extraordinary amounts of time, effort and expertise. OAC and the entire Ontario arts community owe a debt of gratitude to Martha for her many important contributions over the years, and to Judith, who has agreed to take on this new role as Acting Chair.”

About Judith Gelber

Judith GelberJudith Gelber was appointed to OAC’s board of directors in February 2013. She also currently sits on the board of the Ontario Arts Foundation. Judith has volunteered extensively with the arts community, including serving as Chair of the board for Canada’s National Ballet School (2008-2010), and previously as Chair of the National Ballet School Foundation. Her long-standing commitment to the arts includes work as a Steering Committee member for the Canadian Arts Summit, and as Vice-Chair of the Art of Time Ensemble. Previously, Judith Gelber was a board member of Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre and the Community Arts Council of Vancouver.


About Martha Durdin

Martha DurdinMartha Durdin was appointed to the board of directors of OAC in July 2004, named Vice-Chair in 2005, Chair in 2006, and renewed as Chair twice.

Prior to OAC, she served as a board member with Opera Atelier, Business for the Arts and Factory Theatre. Currently she is Vice-Chair of the board at the Royal Ontario Museum, and a board member of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and The Writers' Trust of Canada. Other community activities include work with Casey House and Homes First Foundation. 

Under Martha Durdin’s leadership, the government of Ontario’s annual funding of the arts, through OAC, increased by $20 million to its current $60 million allocation which last year supported more than 3,000 project grants for artists and arts groups and operating grants to 552 organizations. As a result, OAC was able to launch or support numerous new initiatives. These included (in chronological order): the Access and Career Development program (2006); Northern Arts program (2006); Ontario Dances (2008); Aboriginal and Culturally Diverse Dance Training (2008); National and International Touring (2009);  National and International Residency (2009); Aboriginal Curatorial Projects (2009); Artists in Residence (Health) (2010); Ontario Culture Days (2010); Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award (2012); Aboriginal Presenters in the North – Music Events (2012); Cultural Animators program (2012); Theatre Connects (2013); and Deaf and Disability Arts Projects (2015). 

Martha is currently President and CEO of Credit Union Central of Canada.