Meet the Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries Staff
A thought leader, persuasive champion of arts and advocate for artists rights, Zainub Verjee has over four decades built a formidable reputation as an artist, writer, critic, cultural administrator and public intellectual in Canada and internationally. A firm believer of Art as public good, she brings expertise in cultural diplomacy and cultural policy on issues of intellectual property, digital technologies, culture trade, artist labour and equity and anti-racism issues. A Senior Fellow of Massey College and a McLaughlin College Fellow, Zainub Verjee is the laureate of 2020 Governor General’s Visual and Media Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution. In the 1990s, Zainub was the executive director of the Western Front Society in Vancouver, B.C.. Later she held positions at Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa, Department of Canadian Heritage in Gatineau and at the City of Mississauga. In 2021, she was conferred with an honorary doctorate by OCAD University recognizing her exceptional contribution. For the years 2021 and 2022, she is appointed as a Mentor to the ActionCanada Fellows, a program of Public Policy Forum, Canada’s top accelerator of new leaders in public policy. As the Executive Director of the Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries in Toronto, she is leading the shift of the Public Art Galleries Sector into the digital ecosystem and towards sustainable recovery from the pandemic.
Jessica Lukas is an arts administrator and cultural worker currently working as the Secretariat Coordinator of GOG. In the role she develops and facilitates professional development programming, prepares grant proposals, manages GOG’s signature annual Awards program, coordinates membership renewals and communiqué to a membership of 260, hires and supervises student interns, fundraises, and assists the Executive Director in furthering the vision and mission of GOG.
She served on the Board of Trinity Square Video as Co-Chair. Trinity Square Video is one of Canada’s first artist-run centres and its oldest media arts centre. Trinity Square engages artists and curators in critical investigations into the changing conditions of perception, materiality and the virtual.
Advocacy & Public Relations Assistant
Julia Garnet is an arts administrator professional working as the Advocacy and Public Relations Assistant at Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries (GOG) in Toronto, Ontario. She is passionate about facilitating accessible art in community spaces and advocating the importance of a vibrant visual art sector in Ontario. In her role at GOG, she assists in developing and facilitating programming and advocacy initiatives for the Ontario visual art sector. At the beginning of her career as an artist, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts: Photography at Ryerson University and then received a certificate in Art Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College.
COMMUNICATIONS, ADVOCACY & SPECIAL PROJECTS ASSISTANT, INTERN
Kaelan Ryan is an intern at Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries (GOG) assisting in communications, public relations, advocacy and special projects. Kaelan completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art History at Concordia University in Montreal, QC, and has a background working in publications. At GOG, she assists in managing communications for the organization, organizing events and workshops, and working on GOG’s various advocacy initiatives.
COMMUNICATIONS assistant, intern
Emma Sabry is an intern at Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries assisting in communications and professional development. Emma received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History and History from the University of Toronto in 2019. She is currently completing her Masters in Art History along with a graduate Diploma in Curatorial Studies from Carleton University.
Meet the Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries Board
Christian Bernard Singer – President
Christian Bernard Singer is an eco-artist, independent curator, teacher and writer. Working with ephemeral materials from nature, his work explores consciousness, place, and time-passing. His works have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout Canada and the United States and published in 20 catalogues and books. Singer was also Senior Curator of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery and Curator of the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery. Singer has curated nearly 100 exhibitions of national and international artists, including three major retrospectives. His writings about art have been published internationally and he has lectured throughout Canada and in parts of the United States. Singer is a sessional sculpture instructor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) and serves on the board of Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries (GOG).
Robert Steven – Vice President
Robert Steven is an independent museum consultant based in Burlington.
Most recently, he served six years as President and CEO of the Art Gallery of Burlington, and before that, seven years as Executive Director and Curator of the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie (Alberta). Robert is a 2009 graduate of the Getty Leadership Institute’s Museum Leadership Institute (Los Angeles) and holds a Master of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo.
Robert’s primary areas of success have been in organizational turnaround, financial management, facility development, and change management. All of his successes have been made possible by the support of the many workers, paid and unpaid, he has had the privilege to serve through his empathy-centred leadership practice.
NAHED MAnSOUR – Secretary
Nahed Mansour is an Egyptian Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist, curator, programmer, and arts-administrator with over a decade’s worth of experience in Toronto’s arts sector. She currently serves as the Curator of Programs at the Gardiner Museum and has previously held curatorial positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, South Asian Visual Art Centre, and Mayworks Festival. The majority of her curatorial and programming work supports racialized artists whose work responds to contemporary issues. Mansour was recently selected as a Fellow in the 2020 Cohort of Toronto Arts Council’s Leaders Lab. She holds an MFA in Open Media from Concordia University and a BA joint Honours in Semiotics and Visual Studies from the University of Toronto.
Glen Bloom – Treasurer
Glen Bloom was a lawyer practicing intellectual property law and litigation with the firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and its predecessor in Ottawa for more than 36 years, and retired at the end of 2016. He has supported the visual arts for many years, has served as chair of the Ottawa School of Art, vice chair of the Ottawa Arts Court Foundation, chair of the Ottawa Art Gallery, and member of the advisory board of the Carleton University Art Gallery. He is currently Chair of the advisory board of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University, and since 2013 has been a member of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board.
Francisco Alvarez – MEMBER
Francisco Alvarez has been Executive and Artistic Director of Galleries at OCAD University since September 2016. In
this role, he serves as Director of Onsite Gallery and seven other galleries across the campus. He also oversees the OCAD U Permanent Collection of Art & Design, the International Curatorial Residency and other special projects. He has more than 30 years of experience in artistic programming and administration as a curator, exhibition and public events producer, marketer and fundraiser at organizations including Heritage Toronto (as Executive Director), Mr. Pink Art Consultants (Principal), the Royal Ontario Museum (Managing Director of the Institute for Contemporary Culture, and Director of Communications), and the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Tourism (Special Assistant to the Minister, Policy). He also has extensive experience as a senior volunteer as Co-Chair of Pride Toronto, member of the Artistic Advisory Committee for Nuit Blanche, Chair of the Panamerican Food & Music Festival, co-founder of the Nuit Rose festival and the Inside Out Film Festival, and Co-Chair of Dancers for Life for the AIDS Committee of Toronto. He holds BFA (Honours) and MBA degrees from York University and is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University.
Lisa Daniels – MEMBER
Lisa Daniels has over twenty years of progressive experience at a senior level providing a balanced blend of strategic and artistic leadership, creative inspiration, and sound management in art, culture, and heritage organizations. Key responsibilities have included management of a range of cultural facilities with highly specialized requirements including public art galleries, heritage museums, collections and archives. Daniels was a lead member of the design/build team for the new Category A public art gallery in Sarnia, ON which received conditional status upon opening and full designation within the first eighteen months of operation. In her curatorial practice Daniels has mounted a number of contemporary exhibitions that have included performance, augmented reality, sound, installation, timebased and hybrid art practices, in addition to exhibitions focused on traditional and historical art practices. Daniels is currently completing her PhD in Art & Visual Culture, Museums & Curatorial Studies at Western University. She earned her MA in Art History & Diploma in Curatorial Practice in Visual Culture at York University and her BFA from NSCAD University.
Shelley Falconer – member
Shelley Falconer is President and CEO of the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Her 25+ years career includes national and international experience as an administrator, curator, educator and consultant. She has worked with a variety of important private and public collections/cultural/educational organizations including the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, University of Toronto, Centennial College, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Toronto District School Board, Department of Heritage, Government of Canada, Sotheby’s London and Waddington Galleries, England.
York Lethbridge – Member
York Lethbridge is an arts administrator, currently leading the development of Quinte Museum of Natural History in Trenton, and is part of the project team for Toronto Arts Hub. As Executive Director of Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art, he stewarded the organization through a decade of ambitious growth – the most significant period of institutional maturity in its 40-year history. In parallel with administrative and development activities, York has cultivated close working relationships with artists, occasionally curating exhibitions as a supplement to his personal artistic practice. York has also held posts at Onsite Gallery at OCAD University, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and Modern Fuel Artist- Run Centre. He holds an MA in Art History & Curatorial Practice from York University, and a BFA from Queen’s University.
Devyani Saltzman – member
Devyani Saltzman is a Canadian writer, curator and journalist with a deep interest in relevant multidisciplinary programming at the intersection between art, ideas and social justice. She is the author of Shooting Water (Publishers Weekly, Library Journal starred reviews, ‘A poignant memoir’ The New York Times) and is the 2014-18 Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre as well as the Founding Curator, Literary Programming, at Luminato, North America’s largest multi arts festival and Toronto’s Festival of Arts and Creativity. In 2018 she was appointed the Director of Public Programming at the AGO, working across all disciplines. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Atlantic and Tehelka, India’s weekly of arts and investigative journalism. She sits on the board of PEN Canada, the advisory committees for Project Bookmark Canada and the Humber Galleries and has been a juror for the National Magazine Awards, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and The Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Saltzman has a degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Oxford University