Samantha (Rodin) Wainberg | Executive Director
Samantha (Rodin) Wainberg has been with the York Region Arts Council since 2011. First as a Board Member, then Arts Administrator, followed by Associate Director and now Executive Director; a positon she has held since late 2014. She is passionate about connecting and helping artsits, cultural workers and creative industry entrepreneurs grow their practices into viable businesses and advocating on behalf of artists and cultural organizations in York Region. Samantha has lived and worked in York Region her entire life. When she graduated from York University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program in 2010, she was acutely aware of the lack of support and resources available to local artists and arts organizations so she vowed to dedicate herself to expanding opportunities for creatives close to home.
A handful of highlights from working at the York Region Arts Council include directing and expanding the Artrepreneur program, re-launching yorkregionartscouncil.com as a new, user generated web-portal for artists and arts organizations, growing ExperienceYorkRegion.com and leading the overall strategic development of the organization.
Samantha is also an artist and has also worked as an independent curator, editor and workshop facilitator. Her art practice lands at the intersection of painting, photography, sculpture and installation. In addition to her BFA from York University, she holds a joint certificate with the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute and Schulich Executive Education Centre and a certificate from the Toronto School of Art’s former Independent Studio Program.
Ganesh Thavarajah | Manager, Programs
Ganesh Thavarajah is a marketing professional with a background in programming, specifically in the entrepreneurship space. Holding a Bachelor of Commerce from Ryerson University, he brings a wealth of knowledge through his experience with the DMZ (formerly Digital Media Zone). Ganesh is passionate about the arts and social innovation, and has been a part of the York Region arts scene through the Unionville Theatre Company and the Milliken Mills Community Centre. He has travelled the world working on numerous social innovation projects from Kenya to Colombia. He has also worked in advertising, film distribution and sales for the Cannes Film Festival and TIFF. Ganesh is both an actor and a dancer, and is passionate about creating a community where other artists can thrive. Through his role with YRAC, he hopes to inspire and support local artists and creative workers.
Jessica Gedge | Manager, Marketing and Communications
Jessica Gedge is a Marketing and Communications professional with over ten years of professional, entrepreneurial and municipal experience. Jessica has a wide range of experience, having owned two businesses, worked for a large corporation in corporate communications, and assisted entrepreneurs through her work at a municipal business centre. Jessica has a passion for arts and culture and especially enjoys event planning and telling stories to connect communities. She looks forward to connecting with and learning about local tourism operators, arts and cultural organizations and small businesses.
Kareen Awadalla | Outreach & Engagement Coordinator
Kareen spent the last five years contributing to development projects with various non-profits both overseas and at home. Winner of York Region’s 2015 Character Community Award for Young Adult – Citizen of Character, she was recognized for her work in the Philippines and in her hometown of Newmarket, Ontario. Kareen is a Journalism graduate from the University of Toronto and Centennial College.
Deanna Galati | Program Coordinator
Deanna Galati is an arts administrator, with a focus in theatre and dance. A graduate from York University's Devised Theatre Program, Deanna is passionate about being involved with new works in development, dance, physical theatre as well as performance for social change. She has worked and been involved with following organizations in Toronto and York Region, in different capacities: The National Ballet of Canada, Generator, Shadowpath Theatre Productions, Creativiva, and Outside the March. She also currently holds the position of co-chair for the Theatre Ontario Youth Advisory Committee. Deanna wishes to continue her work to help facilitate and develop new initiatives for artists to grow and prosper within the industry.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The York Region Arts Council Board of Directors is composed of volunteers from the community who are in the arts and support arts and culture.
Cathy Morton | Chair
April Hoeller | 1st Vice Chair
Steve Lusk | 2nd Vice Chair
Norman Rees | Treasurer
Lilita Tannis | Secretary
Bob Minhas | Member-At-Large
Jade De Ciccio | Member-At-Large
Karen Lindsay-Skynner | Member-At-Large
Angela Tucker | Member-At-Large
Kevin Ker | Member-At-Large