Staffing updates at the Ontario Arts Council
With the start of a new year, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is excited to be welcoming several new staff members to our team. We would like to express our thanks to all the individuals who participated in the hiring process for these positions, including several OAC board members and representatives from Ontario’s arts community.
“I am thrilled to welcome this dynamic team to the Ontario Arts Council,” said OAC Chair Rita Davies. “They are joining an exceptional organization with an inspiring CEO, Michael Murray, and a fabulous and talented staff. On behalf of the board, I wish them success as they bring fresh perspectives and creativity to OAC’s support of the arts across Ontario.”
“I could not be more excited for OAC that such incredible professionals are joining our team, and I am eager to see them help achieve our collective vision for the arts for all Ontarians,” said OAC CEO Michael Murray. “In welcoming the three new directors, I want to specially thank OAC Chair Rita Davies, Vice Chair Dani Peters, board members Simon Foster and Mary Meffe, and Public Affairs Committee member Baron Manett for their participation in such a vibrant and competitive process, as well as Odgers Berndtson's Ryna Young, Tanya Todorovic, and their team for all of their support.”
Mariya Afzal – Director of Granting
Mariya has more than 18 years of global leadership experience in the arts and cultural sector, with a focus on community engagement at an international level. She strongly believes in the potential for artistic platforms to be transformational tools, and has successfully cultivated strategic partnerships and fostered innovative collaborations in cultural spaces. She also has experience in managing grant portfolios that have engaged millions of individuals, collaborating with diverse artists and numerous organizations across multiple countries.
Mariya previously served in various roles with the British Council, the United Kingdom’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities. These have included the position of Regional Head of Arts, South Asia, in which she led arts programming portfolios in five countries, and of Country Director, Canada, focusing on educational initiatives through grant management. Mariya has also worked as Head of Development at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, and as Regional Director at the London School of Business & Finance, Pakistan.
Jaspreet Sandhu – Director of Public Affairs, Communications and Research
Jaspreet is a proven leader in the arts and culture sector, known for her strategic vision and dedication to fostering positive change. With a unique blend of business acumen and community engagement expertise, she champions diversity, equity and inclusion, recognizing their transformative impact on the arts.
In executive roles at the Corporation of Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Jaspreet has spearheaded transformative projects and cultivated strong relationships with diverse stakeholders. Her achievements include driving successful fundraising campaigns, launching impactful advocacy initiatives, and leading projects like the Massey Hall Revitalization and TIFF’s Share Her Journey campaign.
Jaspreet's commitment to community extends beyond her professional career, demonstrated through her volunteer roles with organizations such as the Toronto Arts Council, the Brampton Arts Council, and various grassroots organizations.
Henry Xu – Director of Finance and Corporate Services
Henry possesses two decades of professional expertise, serving in leadership roles in finance and administration within the public agency and not-for-profit sectors for the past 14 years. Most recently, this has included roles at the Ontario Centre of Excellence (now called Ontario Centre of Innovation) and the Arthritis Society of Canada, and he has served as OAC’s Interim Director of Finance and Corporate Services since September 2023. Henry holds a Master of Business Administration degree and is a certified management accountant.
Adom Acheampong – Multi and Inter-Arts and Community-Engaged Arts Officer
Adom has extensive arts and culture sector experience, dedicating her career to supporting the growth and sustainability of artists and arts organizations. Most recently, Adom was the Artistic and Professional Development Manager at Nia Centre for the Arts, Canada’s first multidisciplinary Black arts centre, where she spearheaded the development and execution of artist-centered programming, community-engaged arts activities, major exhibitions and publications. With emergency funds from the Government of Ontario, Adom developed and managed the PIVOT: Black Artist Resource Fund, a funding program that supported over 100 Black artists across Ontario in adapting their practices in response to the pandemic.
Previously, Adom worked at East End Arts, one of the City of Toronto’s six Local Arts Service Organizations, where she expanded their programming to better respond to the needs of their community members. Adom has also held a number of volunteer roles, including serving as the Co-Chair of the Ontario Nonprofit Network’s Decent Work Advisory Committee, and sitting on the ArtReach Resource Development Committee.
Sue Carter – Literature Officer
Sue brings more than 15 years of experience as an editor, writer and instructor in the literary sector. She was most recently the Deputy Editor of Inuit Art Quarterly, where she led the magazine’s editorial team. She was also the Editor-In-Chief for Quill & Quire, and a books columnist for Metroland/Torstar newspapers across Canada.
Sue is currently an instructor for post-graduate Writing for Publication and Editing for Magazines courses in Centennial College’s Books and Magazine Publishing program. She has also been a syndicated radio guest on CBC Radio on book-related topics and served as a host for events such as The Word on the Street, the Toronto International Festival of Authors, and Toronto Public Library programming.