The Power Plant

In Conversation: Cheryl Blackman with Shelley Falconer

Thu Feb 11 2021

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM



 Image of Cheryl Blackman

In mid-December 2020, Mayor John Tory launched the Awakenings program – a virtual series of art projects by Black, Indigenous and artists of colour. Awakenings is a new program that will feature art projects that explore untold stories, awaken a new perspective and invite the public to join the conversation. The series, supported by a commitment of more than $1.2 million in cultural and economic investments, is part of the City of Toronto’s efforts to address anti-Black racism and will be released over the next couple of years.

Toronto History Museums recognized the need to reassess the way in which they develop, deliver and evaluate their programming. In accordance with the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action in the Museum sector, the Toronto History Museums sites are embracing partnerships that embody Indigenous voices, stories and knowledge into programs, collections management and sites. The Awakenings program begins to address the lack of representation in the stories of Toronto’s history. More than 80 percent of creative people involved in Awakenings art projects are from the Black, Indigenous and people of colour communities.

Cheryl Blackman, the City’s Director of Museum and Heritage Services, will speak about this initiative, followed by conversation with Shelley Falconer, President and CEO of the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

Cheryl Blackman

Cheryl Blackman is the director of Museums and Heritage Services with the City of Toronto where she is responsible for the 10 city-owned and operated historical museums, the city collection of historical objects, archaeological specimens, moveable fine art and an extensive portfolio of heritage buildings. Prior to joining the City of Toronto, Cheryl served as the assistant vice-president of Audience Development at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Her responsibilities included managing the front of house and audience research, and acting as the Museum’s liaison to more than 1,300 volunteers. She established the ROM’s Community Access Network (ROMCAN) which she grew to more than 80 partnerships with community organizations. Cheryl holds a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), and a Master of Business Administration (MBA), and is a Fellow of Inclusion and Philanthropy from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). She is the chair of the board at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

Shelley Falconer

Shelley Falconer is president and CEO of the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Her 25-year career includes national and international experience as a consultant, curator, educator and administrator. She has worked as a senior manager and consultant with a variety of important cultural/educational organizations including the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, University of Toronto, Centennial College, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Toronto District School Board, Department of Heritage, Government of Canada, Sotheby’s London and Waddington Galleries, England.


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