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Welcome to Celia Smith

Updated: May 3, 2023

AM&E welcomed Celia Smith this fall as its newest faculty member, joining the

Photo of Celia Smith

team-taught “Business of Creativity” course. It’s a perfect fit.

Her professional work is as CEO of Luminato, Canada’s major international arts and culture festival, where dozens of artists work with her team to create a dizzying lineup of events. Celia’s interest in new technologies, new collaborations and new inclusiveness in the arts means Luminato events this summer that range from a waterfront dragon boat musical, dozens of illuminated dancing drones in the sky over Downsview, performances by Midnight Wolverine, (described as ‘Toronto’s late-night tease, trickster and shapeshifter); to “Treemonisha” a new version of the Scott Joplin opera, led by the first Black women conductor in Canadian opera history.

Her students next fall will have the opportunity to learn how all this was programmed, financed, marketed and led.

This year’s students made her eager to return to teaching. Celia says “I was surprised and very impressed at the quality of the class. They were intelligent, eager to learn, and thoughtful in questioning and analyzing the course content. It was a pleasure to be with them.”

Celia teaches the course with Trina McQueen, co-director of the program, and Peter Schneider, a noted intellectual property lawyer, and an AM&E MBA. He’s looking forward to the fall as well. “Team teaching with Celia is a win-win for the students and for us as instructors. It makes us better teachers and leads to a dynamic classroom.”

Celia’s career has included profit and non-profit leadership positions. She’s been a real estate developer, with 10 years of experience at Artscape, overseeing 11 capital projects including creative community hubs and workspaces. She was with the Canadian Stage Theatre Company for 16 years, rising to become its General Manager.

Currently, she is the Chair of the Toronto Arts Council, the city of Toronto’s funding body for art and artists.

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