The Arts Firm
Helping organizations and artists reach, reflect and strengthen our communities.
Off The Ground
The Arts Firm connects arts organizations and artists with full-service consulting, online learning, and one-on-one expertise.
- ConsultingThe Arts Firm provides expert teams to deliver collaborative solutions to complex challenges in the arts.
- LearningAccelerate your training. ArtsBoost offers modern skills development through online learning.
- ExpertiseSounding Board: your one-stop shop for 1×1 time with subject matter experts.
Experience, knowledge & skills for your project team, 1×1 Sounding Board support, and ArtsBoost courses from our roster of over 12 experts. Hailing from across the country, our team will have the insight you’re looking for.
founder and managing director
Erika Beatty is known for strategic integration of new ideas and technology, creating collaborative partnerships and teams that excel, and developing organizations with good governance, sound strategy and sustainable finances. Following a 20 year career as chief executive of Canadian symphony orchestras (including Symphony Nova Scotia) she shifted to supporting content creation and the creative industries including Anhinga Films (“GreenRights in the Maritimes“), Handful of Films and Screen Nova Scotia.
Most recent clients include Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, Screen Composers Guild of Canada, Mulgrave Road Theatre, Esprit Orchestra, Orchestras Canada, and Choral Canada. Erika is a member of a member of Arts Consultants Canada, has national non-profit board experience, has served on provincial and federal funding panels, has represented clients at international markets and events and served on the board of the Greater Halifax Partnership from 2012 – 2018. In 2012, she was awarded the Canada Council for the Arts John Hobday Award for excellence in artistic administration.
Originally from Ontario Erika has worked and volunteered across the country, settling in Nova Scotia in 2008. In 2018 she founded The Arts Firm to meet the need of the Canadian arts sector to have access to deeply experienced cultural experts working in virtual teams, as needed and where needed.
corporate director and management team
Tim Crouch is a highly motivated and energetic arts and culture administrator, with experience in marketing, sales, communications, and general management of both large and small classical music organizations. He is passionate about problem-solving issues facing arts and culture organizations in Canadian communities, and creating structures and processes to make visions become a reality. He also believes in instilling a sense of entrepreneurialism in all artists.
His past and current work has been with organizations of all sizes, including Tafelmusik, Soundstreams, Musicworks Magazine, the JUNOs, Orchestras Canada, Bloor Street Culture Corridor, Loose Tea Music Theatre, Toronto Bach Festival, and the Kawartha Lakes Arts Council. He holds a Masters in Flute Performance from the University of Toronto, and his favourite place to be is reading a good book on a dock.
Learn more about Tim through LinkedIn or his ArtsBoost course.
corporate director and management team
Michael Morreale is a digital content producer and consultant in Toronto, specialising in video production, online learning and digital project management. He has worked with brands like the CBC, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Royal Conservatory, Banff Centre and AGI. His work has been featured in Maclean’s Magazine, The Globe and Mail, PBS, and The Guardian.
Liz LeClair is proud to call herself a fundraiser and a feminist. She brings more than 20 years of experience to her role as a co-founder and partner with Sargasso Philanthropic CIC. Born in Toronto, she has lived and worked on both coasts, working with a variety of nonprofits, in a variety of sectors.
Liz is a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), serving on boards on Vancouver Island and in Halifax. She has been a member of the board of Certified FundRaising Executive (CFRE) International, was chair of AFP’s Women’s Impact Initiative, and a founding board member for the African American Development Officers (AADO) Association. Liz is deeply committed to speaking up about issues of equity and justice in the nonprofit and charitable sector.
Learn more about Liz through LinkedIn.
choreographer, dancer (she/they/nekmow)
Wisunn na Sarah Prosper (she/they/nekmow), Mikmaw/L’nu e’pite’s of the We’kwistoqnik (Eskasoni) First Nation, tu’s, nuji’j, kwe’jij, nsim, sukwis, aq nitaptut. “Amalkewinu”, began dancing at a young age, now a Therapeutic Recreation specialist and MA Leisure student, artistic director of Samqwan and facilitator/curator of workshop “Moving in Mi’kma’ki”. Sarah collaborates, creates, and moves with ms+t no’kmaq, all her relations, in a fluid identity uplifting pursuit, as an Indigenous movement artist. A necessary decolonized approach, in research and in life, Sarah is learning and sharing the sacred knowledge of Indigenous/Mi’kmaq peoples in respect and reciprocity to dance, movement, social sciences & mental health in Mi’kma’ki.
Liz Struijf-Mandishora is a seasoned fundraising professional with a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) certification. She is experienced in developing fundraising strategies for individual giving, workplace campaigns, corporate giving, and cause marketing. Liz has 19 years of experience in business development and revenue generation in both the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors. Her areas of specialization include revenue diversification, fundraising strategy development, team development, training, volunteer management, facilitation, corporate social impact, and product design and development.
Angela Nelson-Heesch is a fundraising professional with more than 15 years’ experience in the cultural sectors of Canada and the United States. From 2019-2023, Angela successfully led the Development department at Detroit Opera. Prior to her work in Detroit, Angela held leadership positions at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, where she played a key role in expanding fundraising efforts and strengthening donor relationships. Angela’s passion for the arts extends beyond the concert hall, and she has also worked with the Canadian Music Centre and Toronto’s Luminato Festival, and served on the boards of Musicworks Magazine and The Musical Stage Company.
Angela’s holds a BA in Music from the University of Alberta and an MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business, providing her with a blend of artistic sensibility and strategic business acumen.
As a seasoned executive with more than 25 years’ experience leading transformational initiatives within the cultural sector, Neil Edwards has developed a strong track record of success conceptualizing and executing growth-focused strategies for organizations of regional, national, and international capacities. Primarily focused on team building, governance, planning, and responsible financial management, he has acquired extensive leadership experience through various senior administrative roles.
With a natural ability to lead and inspire others, he has demonstrated proven ability to transform ideas into reality in a forward-thinking and highly collaborative manner. Past appointments include Debut Atlantic (ED); Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra (CEO); and Honens International Piano Competition (President & CEO).
Ann Connors is a senior arts administrator and consultant with over 20 years’ experience in the creation and dissemination of work of theatre and dance artists. She is the former Managing Director of Canada’s Magnetic North Theatre Festival and the former Executive Director of the High Performance Rodeo, Calgary’s International Festival of the Performing Arts. She has produced more than 40 new Canadian plays and presented 100’s of new national and international productions and have toured work throughout Canada and internationally. In 2018 she returned home to Newfoundland to lead the opening of the newly created St. John’s Community Market. From there she led the creation of a commercial musical theatre company, which under her direction grew from a one-off production company to a full time staff of over 20 creative, administrative and production personnel; led the creation of a fully-operating rehearsal/creation space, recording studio and the purchase of a 325 performance space and bistro – currently under renovation.
Clients include many independent artists and mid-sized organizations, and it is fair to say that her first love is in the support of those independent creators where she helps support them in the realization of their dreams. Of particular interest to Ann are artists of mixed ability. To that end, she has done extensive work in how we serve those artists, their stories and their audiences – working with ASL interpreters, audio interpretation, relaxed performances and all areas that expand our stages and spaces to be more inclusive and accessible. She is known for her knowledge of the industry both home and abroad, for her collaborative work approach, for her commitment to fair and equitable working environments for creative artists and those who support them. Her consultant work includes strategic development, grant writing support, blue sky visioning, company structures, feasibility studies and creation and touring consultation.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Arts Society an in 2020, she was appointed by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador as the theatre representative to the Newfoundland & Labrador Arts Council. She has served as a board/committee member for many organizations and national and international initiatives an served on many municipal, provincial and national peer assessment committees.
Amy Melmock works with cultural and community-based arts organizations throughout Canada to help them hone in on their strategic and business aspirations and turn these aspirations into action. Through three decades of experience working in the public sector, community development and arts administration, she has helped arts organizations large and small see the connecting fabric between their needs and the broader goals of their community.
Her arts background includes a five-year term as General Manager of Neptune Theatre in Halifax and working as the Festival Coordinator of the inaugural Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, Nova Scotia. As a community economic development manager in Hants County, Nova Scotia and in the Cowichan Valley region of Vancouver Island, she assisted heritage and cultural organizations and municipalities with finding the resources to pursue new professional arts facilities and community-based initiatives. As a wordsmith, she has held Senior Communications and Marketing positions with the former ministry of Culture, Heritage and Tourism in British Columbia and with the Ontario Office of the Premier. She has also written more than a dozen original works of children’s musical theatre that were produced professionally.
Chris Beard is a writer and editor with a master’s degree in English and cultural studies, and 15 years of agency and in-house experience. Currently the Principal of Beard Editorial, he develops well-groomed copy for organizations and individuals, helping them to establish, refine, and reinforce their voices to meet their business objectives.
Prior to starting his freelance business, he was the Director of Marketing Operations for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, overseeing the creation and dissemination of all promotional materials. Before the TSO, he was a senior editor and copywriter at a bustling Toronto marketing agency, where he saw countless creative projects through from inception to completion and wrote for several high-profile clients—including Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, the LCBO, Wine Country Ontario, and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Everywhere he has worked, his passion for creative ideation and storytelling has earned him a reputation for reliably and consistently delivering results.
Funding More Impact. As a Difference Maker and Grant Professional, Vanessa Burns loves to work with organizations such as yours to encourage you to do more good and increase your impact. Over the past 25 years she has had a rewarding career in both the for impact and for profit sectors and have held positions in special events, fundraising, communications, marketing and B2B sales. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Grant Professionals Association. When not wearing her consulting hat, she is a passionate rock and ice climber and President of Climb Nova Scotia. Her life motto is by Marie Forleo “Everything is Figureoutable”. We may not rock climb together yet she can guarantee we will summit a few peaks together.
With her trademark enthusiasm and values-centred approach to collaboration, Karen Choi (she/her) is committed to helping arts organizations connect with audiences in two ways:
In coaching, Karen helps arts administrators and performing artists energize their work and lives. Trained as a professional coach at Adler, she specializes in creating clarity, breaking through inner barriers, and burnout recovery. Recent clients include the Association for Opera in Canada and Women in Musical Leadership, led by Tapestry Opera.
Through content strategy and marketing, Karen creates fun and meaningful experiences that boost engagement and brand awareness. Recent clients include Loose Tea Music Theatre and SweetWater Music Festival.
After roles in communications at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and The New Classical 96.3FM, Karen’s spent the past decade walking the entrepreneurial path. Based in Toronto, you might find Karen exploring the Bluffs with her husband, Usic, their two daughters, and Arlo, the dog.
Ian Dean MBE
Ian Dean provides music productions services as a Music Producer (orchestral, contemporary classical, jazz, World Music and work with songwriters to produce tracks and arrangements through to delivery), Composer/Sound Art Creator (film scores, electronic score, soundscapes) and Recording Engineer (music studio orchestral, immersive audio including Dolby Atmos). He has worked in many genres as producer, arranger, conductor with iconic classical and world popular artists including Mark Knopfler, Hayley Westenra, Sir George Martin, percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, Sir Paul McCartney, Doc Rossi, Courtney Pine, Bheki Mseleku, John Otway, Pat Crumly, FunKing Poets.
He is based in a production studio in the new studio facility Arda Recorders in Porto, Portugal, and in London. Current collaborations include: Canadian composer Richard Gibson, Portugal based band Colectores, the UK/German-based Solarek Piano Trio, recorded sound art installations at CERN, installations with artist Othello De Souza-Hartley in London and Rome, and with New York artist Adam Marelli in New York and Italy.
As a music producer and recording session contractor he has a wide network of experience in studio logistics and planning of recording sessions in key locations in Europe, with musicians and orchestras, including: London, Porto, Lisbon, Athens, Rome, Venice, Budapest, and Paris. In June 2017 he was honoured to receive an MBE for services to music by HM Queen Elizabeth II.
Laurie Gelfand is a senior business affairs and legal counsel with excellent analytical, work-out, creative problem solving and dispute resolution skills, responsible for the management and completion of complex acquisition and project financing matters.
Though she maintains a corporate/commercial clientele, she has developed an expertise in all aspects of the entertainment industry with a focus on the music and live event business. Clients include singers, songwriters, performing artists, record labels, music managers, publicists, producers and presenters. She regularly concludes international music licensing and distribution agreements in all major entertainment territories. This has allowed her to work on projects involving all the major record labels and many big names, including Nickelback, Rush, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Alter Bridge, Steve Miller and Kenny Chesney. New and established music clients include Canadians Holly Cole, Big Wreck, Michael Kaeshammer, Kim Mitchell, Steven Page, Teenage Head and cleopatrick as well as American Hip Hop icon, Raekwon.
Having also had the opportunity to step into a management role with some of her artist clients, and go back to her roots in the live event industry, she has gained insight into the day to day challenges of her artist clients as well as valuable experience with project management and overseeing and directing busy touring and recording careers.
Laurie loves supporting creative minds.
Ryan MacGrath is a Communications Manager for a Switzerland-based startup called Onescreener and the CMO of our affiliate solution Optune. They specialize in developing administrative software and promotional solutions for musicians, music agents and their teams in order to streamline their workflows and increase their booking potential. He creates marketing campaigns and social content, and writes copy for the platforms. His goal is to deliver clear, concise information while keeping it pertinent to clients in the music and entertainment industries.
As an award-winning Singer-Songwriter and Visual Artist, he’s been nominated for multiple East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs) and Music Nova Scotia Awards, and has released five albums to date. He’s toured extensively throughout Canada and Europe, and has had the honour of performing at the Canadian embassy in Vienna, as well as with the Salzburg Philharmonic Orchestra as a guest vocalist. His music can be found in films, TV, Netflix series, and on all streaming services. His paintings are in private and public collections throughout North America and Eruope.
Most recently, he’s become the founder and CEO of a small interior design and decorating firm called Joy With Honey Artful Living based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Michelle McIver has spent nearly two decades helping clients embrace digital technologies to engage their audiences. This has included collaborating on the creation of games, mobile apps, YouTube content, social media content, Facebook apps, websites, and advertising/contesting campaigns for clients across various sectors.
As an independent producer, she works with production studio clients and broadcasters to create compelling digital experiences for their series, with a focus on audience engagement and discoverability. With roots in economic development, she has a passion for being involved in initiatives that support entrepreneurs in the creative industries. She is working with the Toronto YouTube Creator Space to lead an educational program designed to help creators write competitive funding applications. She is an ongoing consultant to OnScreen Manitoba, working on various projects including member consultations and their Content Creator Toolkit. She is also part of the consulting team engaged to research and provide recommendations for the City of Mississauga’s Creative Industries Strategy.
Olga Mychajluk is passionately driven to connect creative thinkers – whether you are an artist, a scientist or an administrator she helps you acknowledge your true path and encourage you to see possibility where others see only obstacles.
She is currently Director of Pops and Special Concerts for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She was previously the Head of Artistic Planning for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Creative Director for G. Schirmer (NY) and led the Massey Hall New Music Festival.
Lucy White is a certified coach and skilled cultural executive with a strategic, creative, and collaborative approach that achieves superior results for her clients. Her experience includes more than 30-years experience in the arts and culture sector as a non-profit and association leader.
As a life and leadership coach, she helps you reach your potential on your terms. She asks intuitive powerful questions to help you tap into your own strengths and knowledge, develop a course of action, and support you in achieving your life and leadership goals.
As a consultant and interim non-profit leader, she is known for outstanding strategic thinking and communication and relationship building skills. Her work with The Arts Firm and as a principle with The Osborne Group has focused primarily on interim leadership engagements. She also provides strategic planning; governance, organizational, and membership development; and meeting facilitation. Her consulting clients include the Koffler Centre of the Arts, Norm Foster Theatre Festival, Orchestras Canada, Canadian Dance Assembly, Esprit Orchestra, ArtsBuild Ontario, Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation, and Opera.ca. She is a Certified Positive Intelligence Coach, a member of International Coaches Federation (IFC) and Arts Consultants Canada.
Michelle has 20 years of experience in working in the arts, a successful track record in arts management with a commitment to volunteerism and a culture of philanthropy. She has been a professional fundraiser for 15 years and is also a Certified Fundraising Executive.
Her career includes working at such organizations as The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Toronto Arts Foundation, Tafelmusik, and Factory Theatre, to name a few. She has also served on boards including Prologue Performing Arts, Mass Culture and Cahoots Theatre Company.
Learn more about Michelle on LinkedIn or by previewing her ArtsBoost course.
We take a hands-on and personalized approach that can fit organizations of all shapes and sizes. Project stages are determined by scope, complexity and timeline of the work to be done. Many projects incorporate the following approach:
- Introduce & DefineConnect with you in a video kick-off to clarify goals, identify and coordinate people, information, tools, and other resources
- Draft & DesignResearch and define framework and deliverables. Enable expertise, analyze and recommend action items
- Produce & DeployStructure and create materials, limited rollout to test and adapt to ensure effective delivery
- Refine & ReviewFinalize deliverables. Ensure smooth transfer of any ongoing operating details, and share early results
We’ve been there. And we can help.
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We want Canadian arts work to be equitable and sustainable.
We are curious and seek out authentic and respectful relationships with everyone we work with: consulting teams, clients, and their communities.
We connect with work that is meaningful, enjoyable, and full of discovery, and we look for clients who feel the same.
With each new project and team member, we increase our scope, deepen our insight, and extend our foresight through a variety of thought, skills, and lived experiences.
The Arts Firm and its associates work from their homes on both unceded and Treaty territory across Northern Turtle Island.
As an online and decentralized organization, The Arts Firm recognizes the impacts of colonization on digital literacy, access, and bandwidth, which limit the breadth of perspectives in the online space.
As consultants, we acknowledge that many Indigenous scholars and elders are regularly called upon to serve as consultants and advisors without adequate compensation.
As a team, we strive to communicate transparently and equitably and to defer to Indigenous ways of knowing in ensuring that exchanges with our clients and colleagues are reciprocal, mutually beneficial, and lay a sustainable foundation for future generations.