About Us

 Varley McKay Art Foundation of Markham

Established in 1992, the roles and responsibilities of the Varley McKay Art Foundation of Markham (Registered charity 891618373RR0001),  include to provide advisory contributions on matters pertaining to the education and promotion regarding the public’s appreciation of the fine arts in the City of Markham through the use of the Varley Art Gallery; to maintain  and expand the existing collection of art works, objects and documentary material in respect of the collection; and to preserve and exhibit the collection.

We are active in the community through:

Volunteer program

fostering community involvement, skill acquisition, socialization and artistic expression

Gallery Animateur program

offering free, welcoming and inclusive art experiences to all gallery visitors

Wallace Joyce Scholarship

awarded annually to a graduating high school student from York Region pursuing post-secondary art education

William J. Withrow Bus Bursary

helping schools and community organizations access art education by assisting with transportation expenses

Board of Directors

Top Row: Jim Schmidt (Chair) Craig McOuat (Vice-Chair), Amin Giga (Treasurer), and Al Pickard (Fundraising Chair)

Middle Row: Michael Chan (Deputy Mayor), Reid McAlpine (Ward 3 Councillor), Lisa-Joy Facey, Connie Leclair and Carolyn LeQuéré

Bottom Row: Bonnie Leung, Emily Li, Nik Mracic and Arpita Surana

About the Board

The Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham consists of a board of twelve directors:

Jim (he/him) is the chair of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation and has been a member since 2019. Jim is a business owner in the printing industry.

Craig (he/him) is the vice-chair of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation and has been a member since 2013. Craig is the President of McOuat Partnership, a marketing firm in Markham. 

Amin Giga has been on the Board of Directors of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham since November 2016, and appointed Treasurer in June 2018.

Amin is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and is partner with Bansal & Giga – Chartered Professional Accountants. The firm provides both individuals and corporations with a wide range of services including accounting, taxation, business consulting services and related matters.

Amin has a passion for community involvement, having served with numerous organizations, including as past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Business Development Centre, where he worked with the organization in various capacities.

Over the years, Amin has been a lecturer on small business topics, been interviewed for articles in print media, and has appeared on television as a small business authority.

Amin graduated with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto. He also obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Michael was elected Deputy Mayor and Regional Councillor for the City of Markham on October 24, 2022. Although he is a new member of the Foundation’s Board, Michael has long been very supportive of the Gallery in his former roles as a Markham MPP and Ontario Minister of Tourism and Culture.

Reid (he/him) is the City of Markham Ward 3 Councillor and has been a member since 2019.

Lisa-Joy (she/her) has been a member of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation since 2019. Lisa is also a member of the Markham African Caribbean Canadian Association. She currently works in management and non-profits. 

Connie (she/her) is a Chartered Professional Accountant. She is a result-driven finance and business advisor, with over 25 years of experience in the Energy Industry, and is a member of Women-in-Nuclear. Connie volunteers as a mentor to support other members achieve their professional goals. She also volunteers to serve the Markham community in various capacities, including the Catholic Women’s League. Connie is committed to being a trusted Board member of the Foundation and promoting art and culture.

Carolyn (she/her) has been a member of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation since 2019. Carolyn’s experience is in non-profits, music and IT cyber security. 

Bonnie has worked as a Sales and Account manager for a number of years. Bonnie also has fundraising experience in a call centre for a few years. Bonnie has a Bachelor Degree from the University of Western Ontario in Cross-Disciplinary Studies. Bonnie has expressed a strong desire to apply her fundraising and business experience to bring a benefit to the Markham Community. 

Emily is a new member of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation. She is also a member of the Fundraising sub-committee. Emily’s expertise is in real estate.

Nikola (Nik) was recently appointed as a member of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation. Nik is the Senior Vice President of Lindvest, a GTA Builder / Developer.

Arpita Surana (she/her) is a new board member of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation. Arpita has an MBA and provides Process Re-engineering and Strategy Business Consulting within banking and financial services. An artist herself, she is a certified primordial sound meditation instructor.

Our Staff

Francesca Dauphinais, Development Officer

Francesca (she/her) oversees the day-to-day operations of the Varley-McKay Art Foundation of Markham. She develops, implements, and manages our fundraising events, provides administrative support to the board of directors, and is the volunteer coordinator for the Varley Art Gallery’s programs and events. Francesca holds an M.A. Museum Studies and a B.A. (Hons) History of Art. To contact Francesca, please email FDauphinais@markham.ca. 

Jacky Cheung, Project Coordinator

Jacky (he/him) is an experienced Project Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. He is currently overseeing the purchase, design and implementation of new technology to enhance the visitor experience at the Varley Art Gallery. Jacky holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Management from City University of Hong Kong. To contact Jacky, please email jcheung2@markham.ca

Our Support of the Varley Art Gallery

Our fundraising efforts allow us to support the mandate of the Varley Art Gallery in offering outstanding exhibitions, public events, workshops, art camps and curriculum-based educational learning for all ages and abilities, and assist the Gallery to acquire works of art to enhance their collection. We seek to promote the love of art and culture in our community.