Ontario Association of Art Galleries appoints new Executive Director
The Board of Directors of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries is pleased to announce the appointment of Zainub Verjee as the new Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries.
“Over the past decade, under the leadership of Demetra Christakos, OAAG has grown and progressed to its current position as a major organization engaging its membership of public art galleries in Ontario through significant programming initiatives and advocacy for the arts in Ontario” says Shirley Madill, President of OAAG. “As OAAG enters the next phase in its future development, we are delighted to welcome Zainub Verjee to lead the organization. We are confident that her cultural vision and leadership will guide the Association, develop bold programming in new and exciting ways and expand its reach.”
Verjee was selected from a diverse and high profile pool of individuals and encapsulates many qualifications necessary to take the organization forward.
Zainub Verjee, an accomplished leader and senior executive in the art and culture sector, brings over 25 years of experience to OAAG. Her work has shaped culture policy at all levels of government as well as growth of cultural institutions and organizations.
As the inaugural Director, Office of Arts and Culture at Mississauga, Verjee set up the city’s first Culture Division and developed the first comprehensive Culture Master Plan. As Senior Policy Advisor, Arts Policy Branch, Department of Canadian Heritage and Program Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts, she served on cross-sectoral portfolios and developed initiatives in Digital Culture and Artist as Researcher. Prior to her work with the Federal government, she was the Executive Director at the Western Front, Vancouver, and co-founder and Co-Director of In Visible Colours. She was engaged by Gordon Campbell, Canadian diplomat and the 35th Mayor of Vancouver on his landmark Vancouver Arts Initiative, and among many appointments to Boards, she is proud of her work at the B.C. Arts Board that led to the formation of the B.C. Arts Council.
Zainub Verjee pursued her graduate research interests in Interdisciplinary Studies from York University and holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Economics from Simon Fraser University. She is published widely and is invited to speak nationally and internationally on culture policy, contemporary art and cultural diplomacy. Her art work has been shown nationally and internationally including at the Venice Biennale on its 100th anniversary and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York and resides in private and public collections such as Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada.
On her new appointment Verjee says, “I am delighted to be joining OAAG, a significant cultural institution, steadfastly empowering Ontario’s public art galleries. I look forward to working with the team in building capacities, strategizing interventions to create new synergies and developing a distinct public interface recognizing the vitality of the visual arts.”
About the Ontario Association of Art Galleries
Through network-building, professional development and advocacy, the Ontario Association of Art Galleries fosters sustainable, healthy, diverse public art galleries, furthering the visual arts as a key component of the cultural life of Ontario. OAAG serves and represents 102 public art gallery and visual art organization members in 61 municipalities across the province.