charles c. smith, Executive Director
Kevin A. Ormsby, Program Manager
Victoria Glizer, Communications Manager
Farah Malik, Manager Finance
charles c. smith, Executive Director
charles c. smith is a poet, playwright and essayist who has written and edited twelve books. He studied poetry and drama with William Packard, editor of the New York Quarterly Magazine, at New York University and Herbert Berghof Studios. He also studied drama at the Frank Silvera’s Writers’ Workshop in Harlem. He won second prize for his play Last Days for the Desperate from Black Theatre Canada, has edited three collections of poetry (including the works of Dionne Brand, Marlene Nourbese Phillips, Claire Harris, Cyril Dabydeen, Lillian Allen, George Elliot Clarke, Clifton Joseph), has four published books of poetry and his poetry has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Poetry Canada Review, the Quille and Quire, Descant, Dandelion, Fiddlehead, Anti-Racism in Education: Missing in Action (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives), the Amethyst Review, Bywords, Canadian Ethnic Studies and others. charles was the founder of the Black Perspectives Cultural Program in Regent Park and recently received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council’s Writers Reserve Grants Program and the Toronto Arts Council Writers Grants Program.
His first book, Partial Lives, appeared through Williams-Wallace Press and a chap book, Fleurette Africaine (wind in the leaves collective), was released in February 2012. charles is also Artistic Director of the wind in the leaves collective.
His book, Pluralism in the Arts in Canada: A Change is Gonna Come, was released in June 2012. His new book of poetry, travelogue of the bereaved, was published in 2014 by TSAR Publications (now Mawenzi Press) and his latest non-fiction book The Dirty War: The Making of the Myth of Black Dangerousness was released in 2014 by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. His new book, destination out, will be released in 2018 by Tightrope Press.
Kevin A. Ormsby, Program Manager
Program Manager of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), Kevin is also the Artistic Director of KasheDance, movement coach and Arts Marketing Consultant. The Ontario Arts Council’s Chalmers Fellowship recipient (2017), KM Hunter Dance Award Nominee (2016), Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders Lab Fellow (2015) and The Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch – Staunton Award 2014 recipient for outstanding achievement by a mid career artist, he has many interests in the creative practice and administration in dance. He has honed his passion for dance, advocacy, writing and education while performing with various companies and projects in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States.
Kevin is an adjunct artist with the Dance Exchange (Washington D.C), was a company member of Garth Fagan Dance (NY), Ballet Creole’s Assistant to the Artistic Director and Marketing / Outreach Coordinator, and performed in works by Gerry Trentham. Wind in the Leaves Collective, Marie Josee Chartier, Allison Cummings, Ron K. Brown, Menaka Thakkur, Mark Morris and Bill T. Jones. He sat on the Toronto Arts Council’s Dance Committee (2012-2015), the Community Arts Programs Committee (2009 -2012) and is a Board Member at Prologue to the Performing Arts, Nia Arts Center and is Co-Vice President, Chair of the Dance Companies National Standing Council and the Pluralism Advisory Committee at Canadian Dance Assembly.
Victoria Glizer, Communications Manager
Victoria Glizer graduated from the University of Toronto in 2011 where she completed her BA in Arts Management and Visual Arts. She has worked in the not-for-profit cultural sector in different capacities for the last 10 years and has experience in project management, graphic design, communications, and event management. Victoria recently completed the Public Policy and Administration Masters Program at Ryerson University. She is also a practicing visual artist, exploring line, texture, and storytelling with painting, drawing and mixed media.
Gia Nahmens, Manager Finance
Gia has been working as a stage/production manager/administrator in Canada for the past fifteen years. She is a graduate from the University of British Columbia with a Major in Theatre and a Minor in Spanish Literature. She Immigrated to Canada from Venezuela in 2003. Gia has worked extensively as a Stage Manager for productions like: Tony N’ Tinas Wedding (Hoarse Raven Theatre), Wild Rose (Fringe 2008/Bumpershoot 2009), The Honeymoon (Pick of the Fringe: Vancouver 2009), The Talking Stick Festival (2010&2011), BUG (Toronto 2020 Production/High Performance Rodeo, Calgary 2019).
While working as a Stage Manager she realized she could start training in administration and production and dove into working with Left Right Minds Initiatives as a production assistant. This work allowed her to understand the ‘backstage’ of a production. In Toronto she has been working with the Venezuelan community; stage managing, producing and touring Monique Mojicas “Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way”; and assisting company management for “Arrabal”, Head of Administration at Modern Times Stage Company and General Manager for Aluna Theatre. Gia now lives/works in Kingston, Ontario.
Program Associates: Digital Consultants
Kelly Lynne Ashton
Kelly Lynne Ashton has been working in the Canadian film, television and digital media industries for over twenty years. She has worked as a business affairs executive in several Toronto television production and distribution companies and acted as Senior Producer at a children’s web studio and developed, managed and marketed an online youth research company. She worked in government relations as Director of Policy at the Writers Guild of Canada. Kelly Lynne is currently bringing together the different strands of her career in the Canadian media industries – legal, business, marketing and research – and providing consulting services to clients in all areas of the cultural industries. Kelly Lynne obtained a Certificate in Leadership and Inclusion from Centennial College and implemented it in authoring the “A Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit for the Interactive Digital Media Industry” and now also provides diversity and inclusion consulting and research services to organizations.
An innovative leader with extensive experience in screen based, digital and emerging media. A creative and innovative leader with 30+ experience in screen based, XR, digital and emerging media. Inspired collaborating with creative teams, in the arts, media, entertainment and technology sector; leading in the development, production and delivery of compelling projects. His artistic practice explores Digital Arts, Media Arts and Immersive Curation. 20 years of Board and Committee experience volunteering with non-profits, collectives, movements and community organizations. He brings to bear his proven ability to provide team leadership, driving performance, win community support and build relationships. https://www.linkedin.com/in/perryvoulgaris/
Program Associates: Research, Facilitation, Education/Training, and Event Coordination
Parul Pandya has been skillfully working in non-profit in various roles through the past decade, including as a community builder, consultant, programmer and producer. After managing in community granting for the largest government funder in Canada, she seamlessly transferred her knowledge, passion and skills to open her own consulting practice. Community Impact Non-Profit Consulting strategically enables community engagement and equitable innovation. She has had the honour to work with such clients as StreetART Toronto, North York Arts, WorkinCulture and many other local service organizations. Parul is a highly in- demand teacher and facilitator, delivering over 30 trainings around anti- oppression, equity and community-engaged arts education.
Her attraction to advocacy emerged with her work as a Queer South Asian freelance writer/poet, over a decade ago. She strongly believes representation matters and it’s important to share stories. She has a deep passion for ethics and social justice, which she teaches at Centennial College. She feels fulfilled when using community arts as a tool for community engagement and colourful expression.
Her approach to exchange is a high-engagement approach, encouraging participation through self-reflection, empathy, creativity and common understanding. She is also lending her expertise to the Digital ASO, a Canada- wide initiative to foster intentional culture collaboration and co-creation in the digital world, as the National Alliance Equity Manager through 2021.
Sedina Fiati is a Toronto based facilitator, artist and activist. She is currently Artist Activist in Residence with Nightwood Theatre and nearing completion after 3 years with Generator as Training Consultant for the Artist Producer Training Program and a member of their Strategic Advisory Committee. She was the co chair of ACTRA Toronto’s Diversity Committee and ACTRA Toronto Councillor and 2nd Vice President of council for Canadian Actors’ Equity Association. Recent projects: Toronto Fringe – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Audit, various workshops in anti oppression, anti Black racism and social justice (Volcano Theatre, Clarice Season 1, Tall Boyz Season 2, York Regional Arts Council, Firecracker Department). She is one of the founding members of the Black Pledge Collective: www.theblackpledge.ca
Syrus Marcus Ware
Syrus is a Vanier Scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture. His work has been shown widely, including in a solo show at Grunt Gallery, Vancouver (2068:Touch Change) and new work commissioned for the 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art and the Ryerson Image Centre (Antarctica and Ancestors, Do You Read Us? (Dispatches from the Future))and in group shows at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University, the Art Gallery of Windsor and as part of the curated content at Nuit Blanche 2017 (The Stolen People; Wont Back Down). His performance works have been part of festivals across Canada, including at Cripping The Stage (Harbourfront Centre, 2016, 2019), Complex Social Change (University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, 2015) and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres (University of Winnipeg, 2015).
He is part of the PDA (Performance Disability Art) Collective and co-programmed Crip Your World: An Intergalactic Queer/POC Sick and Disabled Extravaganza as part of Mayworks 2014. Syrus’recent curatorial projects include That’s So Gay (Gladstone Hotel, 2016-2019), Re:Purpose (Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 2014) and The Church Street Mural Project (Church-Wellesley Village, 2013). Syrus is also co-curator of The Cycle, a two-year disability arts performance initiative of the National Arts Centre.
Syrus is a core-team member of Black Lives Matter- Toronto. Syrus is a co-curator of Blackness Yes!/Blockorama. Syrus has won several awards, including the TD Diversity Award in 2017. Syrus was voted “Best Queer Activist” by NOW Magazine (2005) and was awarded the Steinert and Ferreiro Award (2012). Syrus is a PhD candidate at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies.
Shannon Litzenberger is an award-winning contemporary dancer, choreographer, director, advocate and leadership developer based in Toronto. She creates imaginative performance experiences that explore our relationship to land, the politics of belonging, the importance of community, and the forgotten wisdom of the body. Her perspective grows from her roots in Canada’s rural prairie and the profound, embodied effect of close-to-the-land living. Shannon is a seasoned cultural policy thinker and advocate of positive social change. Interested in the transformation of people and systems through embodied practice, she designs and facilitates workshops on collaboration, leadership, inclusion and transformational change within organizational settings, using movement-based interventions. She has worked with many institutions including Business/Arts, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, the Metcalf Foundation, and the Ivey Business School at Western University, among others. Shannon is the recipient of the Jack McAllister Award for accomplishment in dance and a twice-shortlisted finalist for the KM Hunter Award. www.shannonlitzenberger.com
Sheila has been engaged in collaborative consulting work with arts organizations since 2014, in the intersecting areas of conflict resolution and equity-focused practice. Topics have particularly included an attention to whiteness and racism. The work has included research, workshop design and delivery, training and policy guide development, and conflict mediation.
She teaches in the Community Engagement, Development and Leadership certificate program at Ryerson University (The Chang School). She is the Subject Matter Expert for the Community Engagement Practices and Capstone courses she has taught since 2013.
She was the staff Equity Officer for a union Local for almost 14 years. She successfully negotiated equity-related contract provisions, and effectively represented union members in human rights focused- grievances and complaints.
Sheila holds a PhD in Adult Education and Community Development from OISE/University of Toronto (2011). She is also the author of Taking responsibility, taking direction: White anti-racism in Canada (Arbeiter Ring, 2005).
Clayton Windatt is a Métis non–binary multi-artist living and working between Sturgeon Falls and Toronto, Ontario. Clayton holds a BA in Fine Art from Nipissing University and received Graphic Design certification from Canadore College. With an extensive history working in Artist-Run Culture and Community Arts, and through their own activism, Clayton works towards healthier relationships for national and global Indigenous artists and communities. The former Executive Director of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, Clayton maintains contracts with several colleges and universities, arts magazines, arts councils, arts organizations, and other organizations as a critical writer, columnist and consultant in addition to pursuing their independent arts practice. Clayton is an active filmmaker and director with works featured in festivals such as ImagineNative and the Toronto International Film Festival and recent commissions by the National Film Board of Canada. Clayton works in/with community, design, communications, curation, performance, theatre, technology, and consulting, and is a very active writer, filmmaker and visual-media artist and was recently appointed to the National Gallery of Canada’s Board of Trustees.