Lola Rasminsky founded the Avenue Road Arts School in 1993. In 1995, she founded Arts for Children of Toronto, now VIBE Arts, a charitable organization engaging almost 7,000 young people a year, from underserved parts of the city, in positive arts experiences. In 1998, she launched Beyond the Box™, a program which introduces corporate groups to artists’ strategies for creative thinking and problem solving. In November 2006, Lola received the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Bell Trailblazer Category. In 2008, she became a Member of the Order of Canada and in 2009 was honoured by the Canadian Urban Institute as a Local Hero.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Foundation.
Liana Del Mastro Vicente is the Director of the Avenue Road Arts School and has been with ARAS since its inception in 1993. With over 25 years of involvement in arts education, she has held positions in administration, program and curriculum development, and teaching both children and adults. Liana has taught integrated arts programs, drama and musical theatre, and has developed and led workshops for teachers and educators on integrating drama, music, and visual arts practices into their lessons. She has written and directed numerous plays for young actors and audiences, has worked with educational theatre companies, and has performed professionally in theatrical productions in Canada and Europe, with international directors such as renowned Canadian Director Robert Lepage and Berliner Ensemble’s Herbert Olschok. She holds an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto, Specialist in Drama, and has studied Speech & Drama and Vocal Studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Liana currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Arts Access Fund.
Kristina D’Angelo received an Honours B.A. and a Masters degree in Fine Art History from the University of Toronto. In 2009, she graduated with a Bachelor in Education from OISE at the University of Toronto. Kristina has worked at the Avenue Road Arts School for the past fifteen years in administration and as a teacher in both the preschool and after school programs. She is currently the School’s Associate Director & Art Curator. She has taught at The Abelard School and has participated in numerous special art events and workshops run through the Arts School.
Kaycee Chapman has a B.A. in History from the University of Saskatchewan, and a post-graduate certificate in Advanced Special Effects, Makeup, Prosthetic and Props from Sheridan College. She loves writing, sculpting, and teaching. She is interested in working to make the arts more accessible for youths, and people with different access needs.
Donna Chateau, our Business Manager, holds an honours B.A. from York University, Glendon College, in Multi-disciplinary Studies with an emphasis on The Arts in Society. Her business experience is extensive, as her bookkeeping/accounting career spans more than 30 years. The majority of those years were spent working contractually for a variety of small to mid-sized businesses, including retail, film, investment management, private holding companies, hospitality, and the not-for-profit sector. She has managed our finances for the past 15 years, lucky for us!
James is a recent graduate from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce. He has a substantial history of working in creative and administrative roles at summer camps and other youth ministries. James joined our team in October 2018 and brought with him an injection of youthful vigour to the office. When he’s not at work, James plays bass guitar for the Hamilton-based band Sam Holladay and enjoys golf and tennis.
Donny Bettencourt is a certified elementary teacher with over five years of experience teaching children from kindergarten to grade eight. He is currently completing his Master of Education in Curriculum and Teacher Development. Through the Avenue Road Arts School, Donny has helped facilitate numerous kids and toddler classes, including teaching outreach programs in public and private schools, and participating in many of the School’s special event programs. As the Student Services Coordinator for ARAS, Donny provides guidance and support to all students, especially those with special needs.