Sergei Petrov | Executive Director
Sergei is on a mission to make the world a better place through creativity. A Masters of Law candidate in Global Professional Law of Leadership from the University of Toronto, Sergei founded and led the Scarborough Worldwide Film Festival in 2012, with the aim to enhance the cultural landscape of the region by celebrating diversity and multiculturalism of our world, building it as the biggest cultural event in Scarborough. For 5 years he volunteered as Vice-Chair Board of Directors at Scarborough Arts, eventually becoming the Executive Director, playing a key role in bringing Nuit Blanche and other staple cultural programs to the region. Passionate about social issues, Sergei has been involved with various organizations in the human rights, environmental and educational sectors, as a Board Member, advisor and volunteer. As part of Canada 150 celebration, he was recognized by the Government of Canada as a Community Leader, and in 2015 was nominated for the Premier of Ontario Creative Arts & Design Award for his artistic and community work in the city. He currently teaches Arts Policies at Centennial College’s Arts Management program. He spends his free time with his 2 kids, occasionally travelling and capturing life and the world through his older daughter’s perspective via #AliceInThisCity.
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 | Advertising and Sponsorship Lead
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, princess productions, Generator, Shadowpath Theatre Productions, Creativiva, and Outside the March. She also currently sits on the Board of Directors for The Guild Festival Theatre, and the Creative Leadership Committee for the City of Richmond Hill. 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.
April Hoeller | Chair
Steve Lusk | 1st Vice Chair
Norman Rees | Treasurer
Lilita Tannis | Member-At-Large
Jade De Ciccio | Member-At-Large
Karen Lindsay-Skynner | Member-At-Large
Angela Tucker | Member-At-Large
Angela Poletto | Member-At-Large