Staff

Lila Karim | Executive Director

Lila Karim has over 15 years experience in arts programming, administration and special events management in the cultural sector. Lila is currently the Executive Director of North York Arts. She has previously worked for several non-profit organizations including the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, ReelWorld Film Festival + Foundation and Harold Greenberg Fund.

Lila is active within the arts community as a board member with Work in Culture and sits on several committees including Friends of the Arts, Creative Spaces Outside the Downtown Core, and Community Arts Action Advisory. Lila has also produced award-winning work as a digital photographer and filmmaker.

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Melissa Foster | Program & Outreach Manager

Melissa holds a Community Arts Practice Certificate and BA (hons) in Theatre Studies from York University, and holds a post-degree diploma in Arts Management from Western University. Melissa has collaborated on numerous community arts projects related to social justice and community relations and helped develop and facilitate arts programs both abroad and within Toronto. Her primary focus is on the development and implementation of public art and community driven, arts-based programming. Melissa has over 8 years working in the public sector, primarily as a Youth Worker for various shelters and supportive housing programs in Toronto. It is here that she began to use her artistic background as a way to engage communities. It is through this experience that she now finds herself with North York Arts. She is excited to be working on initiatives that provide opportunities for artistic participation within the wider community and contribute to Toronto’s vibrant and diverse art scene.

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Ely Rosenblum | Development & Communications Manager

Active as an arts and culture educator, Ely has directed documentary films and produced recordings for the British Library, the Smithsonian Institution, the MIT Media Lab, and CBC Radio 1. His kaleidoscopic passion for the arts has led to projects on American Sign Language performance art, West African storytelling through song, and spoken word poetry in maritime Canada. Ely trained as a documentary filmmaker at the Centre for Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he co-founded ART/E/FACT, a publication and event series of art and anthropology. He recently completed a PhD in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, where he co-convened the conference and artist residency Sound Studies: Art, Experience, Politics. Ely regularly teaches and publishes internationally, while focusing on local initiatives in newcomer arts as the Chair of the Board of Directors at Airsa Art & Thought Association.

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Rachel Birnberg | Marketing and Communications Support

Rachel has always had a passion for art and all things creative. As a graduate of the Media, Information and Technoculture (MIT) program at Western University, she was able to foster these passions though various creative courses, a semester abroad at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, as well as a four-month internship at The Grand Theatre in London, Ontario.

Now, Rachel holds a post-graduate diploma in arts management from Western Continuing Studies. Through this program (and an internship at NYA), she learned to effectively apply professional management skills to the arts (taking specific interest in marketing and communications), and she has become interested in the importance of art and creative expression as a catalyst for community development.

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Cecilia Garcia | Programming and Volunteer Management Support

Cecília holds a BFA in film studies from the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil and has built a diverse portfolio working in the Brazilian film industry. She previously worked on a variety of projects in the art department of films and commercial productions and ultimately started managing her own set decorating and production service company. After arriving in Canada, Cecília was fascinated by the Canadian cultural landscape; her experience as a volunteer in a community theatre drew her to pursue a career in arts management.

Currently, Cecília has a diploma in arts management from Western University and completed an internship with North York Arts. Here she further developed her skills and passion in arts programming and volunteer management. Now she is thrilled to be back and to help to build communities through the arts.

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Elizabeth Ferguson | Intern

For as long as she can remember, the arts, especially music, have played a vital role in Elizabeth’s life. After completing her Bachelor of Music at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, she decided to explore the administrative side of the arts and is currently completing a post-graduate Certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College. Through this program she has learned management skills and has taken particular interest in marketing and financial development.

Elizabeth, along with several of her peers produced and published Arts Arrive, a guidebook highlighting lesser known organizations, free and affordable options, and diverse organizations across the City of Toronto. An inclusive guide to all disciplines of art, Arts Arrive strives to make arts experiences within Toronto more accessible to newcomers. Featured in Metro Toronto, this publication was distributed in print at newcomer and settlement agencies and arts organizations across the city to overwhelmingly positive feedback.

As a young artist, Elizabeth is also active on the stage. In February 2017 she appeared as Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen with Toronto City Opera.