Workshop 4: about the speakers

Jini Stolk is founding Executive Director of Creative Trust, a program to improve the financial health and sustainability of Toronto’s creative performing arts organizations. Before that, she was Managing Director of Toronto Dance Theatre and Executive Director of the Toronto Theatre Alliance/ Dora Mavor Moore Awards; at the TTA she began the theatre community’s first “Cross Cultural Caucus” and acquired and revitalized Toronto’s half-price ticket booth, T.O. TIX. She was also Associate Director of the Association of Canadian Publishers and General Manager of Open Studio. She is Vice-President of the Toronto Arts Council, a director of the Centre for Social Innovation and on the steering committee of the Ontario Nonprofit Network; and is Past-President of Toronto Artscape, Hum dansoundart and Six Stages Theatre Festival. She was also a member of the steering committee of ArtsVote Toronto 2010.  

Skye Louis is the Coordinator of the Neighbourhood Arts Network, a Toronto-wide network of community-engaged artists and arts organizations. Skye has worked with the Scarborough Arts Council, Inkstorm Screenprinting Collective, Om Laila Bellydance and the Anchor Archive Zine Library. Skye holds a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies. Her interests include printmaking, public space, participatory media, plants and libraries.     

Kevin A. Ormsby has been dancing in Jamaica, the United States and Canada for over twenty five consecutive years. Kevin’s unique dance history has taken its form from blending the magnificent influences of Afro-Caribbean culture through modern and classical dance techniques throughout his career. He has worked as the Assistant Artistic Director of Ballet Creole,  was a member of Garth Fagan Dance NY. and toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. He has also presented papers at Visualizing / Performing Africa Conference at Ohio University  (2007) and Canada Dance Festival (2009) and has written for Expose Entertainment Magazine and the Dance Current.  He has sat on the Ontario Arts Council’s Dance Initiatives Jury, Artists in Education Panel, Toronto Arts Council’s Dance Jury  and was appointed to Toronto Arts Council’s Community Arts Programs Committee. Mr. Ormsby has recieved grants from the Canada Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. He is the Artistic Director of KasheDance, Sits on the Toronto Arts Council’s Community Arts Program Committee and works independently as a Arts Marketing Consultant as well as dance teacher, choreographer and movement coach. he is currently working as the Outreach Coordinator for dance Immersion leading up to the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference to be held here in Toronto Jan 26-29th 2012.  

Dr. Rasesh Thakkar is the executive director of Kalanidhi Fine Arts, Menaka Thakkar Dance Company, and Nrtyakala Academy of Indian dance. He is a retired professor at York University where he was the Director of India Studies and Professor of Economics. Besides his academic research and teaching, his creative interest and scholarship have extended to film making and Indian classical dance. He has taught New Wave Cinema of India in York’s film programme and written the film script for the celebrated documentary A Tale of Two Mosques. His other screenplays include A Fantastic Deal (a TV comedy) and Night Journey into Dawn. He has also written several dance scripts for Menaka Thakkar’s dance productions including Sitayana, Mukti Nad, In the Further Soil, Love’s Folly, Pattano Pradesh -The Queen of Spades and Chitra – Warrior Princess. He has published an interdisciplinary research on Transfer of Culture through Performing Arts, and co-edited a book on Rabindranath Tagore called Tagore’s Heritage in Canada.  

Anahita Azrahimi is an independent Arts Manager and a visual artist.  As an arts professional, she has the pleasure of working with very exciting arts organizations and artists in Toronto such as Music Toronto, Theatre Direct, Company Blonde Dance Projects and Senior Artists Collective. She has also worked for Dancemakers, Creative Trust for Arts & Culture and the Childrens’ Peace Theatre in various marketing, development and management capacities. She has been awarded grants from Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council for her independent work in arts management.  An active volunteer in the arts community, She sits on board of Modern Times Stage Company, the steering committee of CPPAMO (Cultural Pluralism in the Performing Arts Movement Ontario) and 2010 Dora Mavor Moore Awards Jury in dance section.  Anahita’s work has been exhibited in various galleries and events around Toronto. Her first solo exhibition, Mashup, was chosen as the Toronto Star’s Critic’s Choice of the Week. Most recently, her interdisciplinary installation, Homage to Guernica, was selected as an Independent Partner Project of 2010 Scotiabank nuit blanche.  Besides the world of the arts, Anahita has poked her nose in the realm of science and technology. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and the Microsoft Certified Solution Developer certificate (MCSD).

Cheryl Ewing has over twenty years experience in senior management in the arts. Having worked in the municipal, educational, for profit and not-for-profit sectors Ms. Ewing brings a broad perspective to the work of artists and their impact on the community. She has been integral to the design of the innovative young audience programmes – eyeGO to the Arts and River Run Centre’s Linamar for the Performing Arts. She administers Open Ears Festival and is project manager for a provincial performing arts conference – Ontario Contact as well as a cutting edge marketing research project, the Values & Benefits Study bringing a new perspective to marketing in today’s world. Ms. Ewing is the author of Raising the Curtain, a manual for young audience presenters based on her own experiences. She is an active volunteer within Waterloo/Wellington Regions serving on the boards of Dancetheatre David Earle and JM Drama/Registry Theatre. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Kitchener and has received community recognition for her works from Canada 125 Medal for Community Service (1992), KW Arts Awards (1998), and 2009 Oktoberfest Women of the Year (Arts & Culture).  

Cian Knights is a native Montrealer and has worked with the Scarborough Arts Council as program coordinator for the new collaborative arts project Creative Mosaics. She holds a Masters in Business Administration in Community Economic Development from Cape Breton University and has worked in the non-profit sector in Canada and internationally with culturally diverse communities. Cian comes to us with her passion for social and economic justice and extensive experience in research and program development.