Since her appointment to Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation in 2005, both organizations have experienced significant growth in funding and impact, innovation in strategy and delivery, and greater understanding of their roles in the community. Early in her tenure she developed the direction Creative City Block, Block by Block, an overarching vision to have the arts accessible by all Toronto residents.
A graduate of McGill University in English Literature (Honours), Claire then spent approximately 25 years commissioning, developing and producing works of opera and theatre, and running several arts organizations. An agent of change, she was instrumental in moving contemporary opera from the outskirts of the field to the revitalised centre. Claire also invested considerable time and energy into developing support for and getting Canadian artists onto international stages. Her evolution into policy maker and advocate – from arts producer – was a logical progression from her volunteer work as Founding Chair of Opera.ca, Vice Chair of Opera America, and co-founder and President of Creative Trust. She is committed to the value of collaboration and to developing partnerships across sectors to deepen the impact of the arts.
Much of the impetus for Claire’s work in cultural policy is to understand and communicate the impact of the arts in society, and most particularly the vital role of that the arts play in city building in the culturally vibrant city of Toronto. In May of 2001, Claire won the national M. Joan Chalmers Award for Arts Administration in recognition of her contribution to Tapestry New Opera and the arts in Canada. In 2006 she was recognized by Theatre Ontario with the Sandra Tulloch Award for Innovation in the Arts. She served as Co-Chair for the International Society for the Performing Arts 2011 Annual Congress in Toronto, which attracted the largest gathering of arts presenters in ISPA’s history.
Claire Hopkinson was interviewed by Kristen Fahrig for this edition.