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The Leadership & Cultural Pluralism Project aims to provide cultural diversity and pluralism training to strengthen governance, leadership and change management in Ontario’s public art gallery network. 


The project consists of the following components:


MENTORSHIPS Six culturally diverse arts professionals are being mentored by senior arts managers to help them transition into leadership positions in public art galleries across the province. Mentorships last 9-12 months.

WORKSHOPS Two workshops on leadership and cultural pluralism in the public art gallery were presented and open to all registrants.

WEBSITE Resources and knowledge gained by the project are posted online.


The Leadership & Cultural Pluralism Project was created based on research done by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG). OAAG identified significant gaps in cultural diversity at executive leadership levels in the Ontario public art gallery sector.


The Conference Board of Canada reports significant diversity gaps at levels of executive leadership across many sectors in Ontario, including public art galleries [1]. According the CPAMO Toolkit, professional and voluntary institutional leadership in all sectors will match the face of cultural diversity in Ontario by 2031 [2]. Strategic intervention, however, can positively accelerate the rate of change and create opportunity for young people sooner, reported by DiverseCity Counts [3] and CPAMO Toolkit [2].


According to Statistics Canada's 2006 census, Ontario had a visible minority population of 23 per cent, or 2.7 million people of total provincial population of 12 million people. Due to unique settlement patterns, visible minorities vary proportionally from city to city across the province, according to the census: Toronto (43%), Ottawa-Gatineau (Ontario Part) (20%), Windsor (16%), Kitchener-Waterloo (14%), Guelph (13%), Hamilton (12%), London (11%), Oshawa (10%), and so on [4].


OAAG’s standing committee on membership and programs identified a mentoring-for-leadership project as a priority and desired professional development strategy. The project would respond to leadership concerns raised by art gallery colleagues at both the provincial and federal levels about retirement of the current gallery leadership and succession planning in public art galleries. Charitable board of public art galleries are entrusted with leadership and complex mandates, including the operation of significant buildings, collections and artistic mandates all in the service to the public. Leadership in public art galleries is a complex blend of artistic and executive competencies. It takes many years to develop the competencies to be a successful art gallery director.


The project includes consultants who assist with the project development and presentation.


The project was also shaped through think tanks in 2013 and 2014.






Major funding for the project is from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.



Funding for the project is also from the Toronto Arts Council.

[1] The Conference Board of Canada. (2008). The Value of Diverse Leadership (p. 3). Ottawa.

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[2] Smith, C. (2015). The Need. CPAMO Toolkit: Evidence-based Strategies to Promote Pluralism in the Arts.

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[3] Diverse City. (2013). Insights On Diversity In Leadership (p. 16).

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[4] Statistics Canada. (2010). Projections of the Diversity of the Canadian Population (p. 30). Ottawa: Minister of Industry.

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About Leadership &

Cultural Pluralism Project

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