FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lakeshore Arts’ Board of Directors announce the retirement of Susan Nagy, Executive Director
Toronto, ON (May 21, 2020) – Susan Nagy, Executive Director of Lakeshore Arts, has announced her retirement plans to the Board after serving the organization and this community for the past 20 years and will be stepping down as of July 31st.
Under Susan’s leadership, Lakeshore Arts has grown in size and strength; from a small grassroots organization to a Local Arts Service Organization that is known as a key player in the community arts sector in the City of Toronto. Over two decades, Lakeshore Arts’ original budget of $27,000 has increased to an operating budget of over $500,000, enabling the organization to provide accessible programming for all ages and invest in the cultural framework of the South Etobicoke community.
The organization had humble beginnings in the basement of St. Margaret’s Church. Susan’s vision and the Board’s leap of faith helped to relocate to a Mimico storefront: a gallery space to exhibit local talent and a home to grow programming. Most recently the organizational vision shifted to focus on stronger community engagement: finding ways to make art more accessible, which was achieved by reframing the storefront as the Community Project Space, where all people are welcomed to experience and interact with the arts in a more meaningful way.
Key programming achievements include the launch of Shazaam, an in-school arts program that benefited 2,000 children over 12 years, supported by six years of funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation; the co-production of the Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020; and brokering a long standing relationship with Community Living Toronto that includes employment for their clients and a successful theatre program created and delivered by LSA staff. During her tenure, Susan is proud to have nurtured many novice arts administrators who have gone on to successfully make impactful change in the arts across this City.
Marijana Cuvalo, current President said, ”In her 20 years of work as LSA Executive Director, community builder and arts champion, Susan will leave an indelible mark on the Toronto Arts community. Her legacy will include her commitment to working collaboratively on projects that highlight the important role that Art plays in building healthy and vibrant communities. It has been an honour to work with her and on behalf of the LSA board, I want to thank her for being an authentic and inspiring leader.“
Past President, Mark Koczij, added, “The vital role that LSA plays in this community and throughout the city is directly attributable to Susan Nagy. With Susan in the lead, I have been delighted to see the creative and challenging work of the staff in re-imaging of our Community Project Space, bringing greater diversity to our programming and creating the deeper, and absolutely essential, engagement of our supporters and community partners.”
Susan Nagy said, “Reflecting back on the past 20 years, my overwhelming feeling is one of gratitude. I have been so fortunate to work in the neighbourhood where I live and contribute to its vibrancy and the arts community at large. It has been my privilege to collaborate with passionate arts administrators, creative minds and invested stakeholders, many who have become friends. I want to recognize the volunteers at the Board level who have supported me, championed our vision and been witness to the powerful impact of our programming. Any change can be challenging; I will miss everyone very much, but I am ready and excited to start the next phase of my life. Leaving is very bittersweet but Lakeshore Arts has a talented and committed team of staff members and an active Board and I leave in confidence, knowing that LSA will continue to be a critical part of what makes this such a great neighbourhood. I am excited to see what lies ahead for Lakeshore Arts in its next chapter of innovative and creative community engagement”.
Susan has provided ample time for the organization to create a team of board, staff and community stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition for the future leader of Lakeshore Arts.
The Transition Team will lead the search and the posting can be found here.