John Ryerson

Past Director of Culture City of Markham/ON

Over the past 30+ years working in the cultural sector, John remained committed to breaking barriers, expanding participation in culture and integrating culture into the fabric of our economic, social and health care systems. Culture has the power to make a difference when it is integrated into our society and it focuses on excellence. Through the Ontario Culture Ministry he provided cultural capital funding across Ontario then became their Cultural Agency Liaison to eight cultural agencies including TVO, AGO and ROM. 

Next, working at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, he brought in bring significant investment to the gallery and was the gallery project manager for the acclaimed Carr, O’Keeffe, Kahlo exhibition.  Leaving McMichael as its Chief Operating Officer John became Director of the Varley Gallery in Markham where he toured a major produced exhibition to the USA and secured a legacy gift of a $1.4 million plus art collection that went toward a gallery expansion. 

As the first Director of Culture for Markham, he created its first 10-year cultural policy and plan and public art policy. Volunteer activity currently  includes Board of the Arts and Letters Club, Board Chair to Cultural Pluralism in the Arts (CPAMO), mentoring  through the ArtsVest program of Business in the Arts and Artsbuild/Work in Culture  Arts Facilities Mentoring Network, and a wide range of arts and social justice advocacy work. Past volunteer activity includes Board of the Toronto Children’s Aid and community theatre stage management for youth theatre groups.

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