Our Team

Our outstanding team of staff and volunteers are committed to engaging and educating children and youth in our community through art and creativity. We are passionate about supporting the young people of St. James Town in gaining skills and confidence, which will serve them and their communities for their entire lives.

Executive Director

Heather Wilson

Heather’s career has included a broad portfolio of collaborative community-based programming in some of Toronto’s densest neighbourhoods. Over the past six years, Heather has worked with municipal government, academic institutions and non-profit organizations to support strategic planning, process development, and partner stewardship. She draws from her multidisciplinary background in youth programming, education, sustainability and urban geography, to co-design and implement public programs focused on capacity building. Heather is passionate about initiatives that build confidence and foster a sense of neighbourhood agency through art and education. She believes that solutions to current social, environmental and economic challenges must come from community. Heather has a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Geography and Environmental Management and a Master of Arts in Urban Geography and Planning from the University of Toronto.

IMG_1386
Heather leading childrens’ outdoor play activities

Program Manager

Mekayla Dionne

Mekayla is a graduate of OCAD University, and she holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting. She is an abstract painter and installation artist. Mekayla is a member of KNNTH Collective, an artist collective making work investigating synesthesia through various media including textile work, sculpture and installation. She has a strong sense of devotion to planning exciting and stimulating arts programming for children and takes pride in teaching the youth of St. James Town to use art as a means of expression, and to help build their confidence in a supportive environment.

Mekayla teaching Art City children
Mekayla teaching Art City children

Board of Directors

Alia Toor, Chair

Alia is an accomplished educator and researcher with a proven ability to use progressive educational practices. She holds an MA in Communication (Art & Technology) and Education from Columbia University, NY. She has taught at all levels of education, from elementary to post-secondary and has held positions with The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Canadian Art Foundation, Trent University, Oasis Alternative School and at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Currently, she is a faculty member at Havergal College, as a Middle School and Upper School Art Teacher. Her art practice includes installation, photography and textiles and uses language and images to explore the complexities of personal/private space, and the intersections of religion, language, and beauty.

May Ardekani

May Rouhani has worked in the non-profit industry for over 7 years, gaining experience in implementing successful campaigns, increasing annual revenue and building relationships with stakeholders. As a seasoned fundraiser, she is passionate about connecting those who care to the causes they care about and showing the value of their support. In addition to sitting on the board of directors at ArtCity, May is the Associate Director at Engineers Without Borders, has a postgraduate degree in business analytics and has a deep passion for the art world.

Otto Cheung

Otto is a Director within the Transactions Advisory Services team at RSM Canada, responsible for supporting local and cross-border transactions, managing and leading M&A, and capital advisory transactions in private and public company sectors. He manages the team’s pool of experienced managers and analysts, and can leverage the firm’s full financial service offerings and experience, where required. Otto brings over 15 years of experience within the capital markets industry with extensive experience in equity research, financial advisory and financial modelling. Prior to joining RSM, Otto worked at a large boutique investment dealer as an Analyst covering equities in the Industrial Products and Special Situations sectors. Prior to this, Otto spent two years at a large Ontario pension fund. Otto graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, is a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute and obtained his CFA designation.

Lisa Ditschun

Lisa’s career focus has been on inclusivity, equity, public consultation and co-creation of transformative solutions to foster positive social change. She has provided strategy, business direction and partnership management for numerous multi-year, high-budget projects that address the intersection of environmental, social, cultural, and economic needs in Canada’s cities. Lisa has a multidisciplinary background spanning cognitive and developmental psychology, marketing, graphic design, communications, urban design and planning, sustainable architecture and fine art, and she holds a BA from the University of Guelph and a Master of Architecture from the University of British Columbia.

Annika Duveneck

Annika Duveneck is a tax manager at OpenText Corporation, Canada’s largest software company. Previously, she worked at Ernst & Young in the US Tax group. Annika is passionate about Toronto and enjoys exploring its endless possibilities. 

Irma Gonzalez

Born in Guadalajara, México, Irma began her theatrical journey and developing her love for the arts early. Irma is a drama teacher and actress, but on a daily basis works as a Garnishment Specialist in loss mitigation. A newcomer to Toronto, Irma is a mother to three sons, one of whom is a ballet dancer with the National Ballet School. In 2017, she discovered Art City and decided to contribute her passion and energy to the organization because she knows first-hand the impact that early contact with the arts has in creating better thinkers and better citizens.

Adam Krehm

Bio to come

Carole Montemurro

Carole is a true Renaissance woman, dedicating 34 years to teaching high school math and guidance while passionately supporting the Toronto arts community. Although her academic background is the sciences and teaching (BSc in Mathematics, BEd), she promotes any and all artistic expression, from museums and galleries to the symphony and avant-garde theatre. Her work at Art City brings her commitment to the growth and development of young people together with her people-management skills and her support of the arts.

Janet Newlands

Janet has been actively engaged in the charitable and not-for-profit sector for over 35 years. Janet holds both a Bachelor of  Physical and Health Education (University of Toronto, 1977) and a Bachelor of Education (Queens University, 1978). Her educational background combined with a passion and commitment to youth-related initiatives naturally evolved to such leadership roles as Director of the After Four Programme at Whitney Public School and Founding Member of the Children’s Book Bank. Janet has volunteered with Covenant House and with the Art Gallery of Ontario serving on the AGO Volunteer Committee and as a Docent in the Elementary Education Department. Janet is a long standing volunteer with Heart to Hand, and has recently joined the board of the Pine River Institute. For many years Janet shared studio space with five fellow artists at Studio Five.

Cindy Zhang

Cindy is a graduate student in reproductive health and development at the University of Toronto investigating the effects of inflammation during pregnancy. As a strong proponent of home-grown youth programming, Cindy volunteers her free time to support local initiatives created by community members for their community. She has a unique background of leadership experiences in previous board governance, technology entrepreneurship, science communications, and conference planning; all of which she applies to sponsorship and outreach here at Art City.