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THE SCOOP | Ontario Arts Council Taps Former Musicians’ Association Exec As New CEO

By Anya Wassenberg on July 15, 2022

Michael Adam Murray (Photo: Laura Jane Petelko)
Michael Adam Murray (Photo: Laura Jane Petelko)

The board of directors of the Ontario Arts Council has appointed a new CEO. Michael Murray will take over the position starting August 29, 2022.

OAC Board Chair Rita Davies made the announcement after an intense search led by a board committee, facilitated by Boyden Global Executive Search. The committee included external members, former OAC board member Karim Karsan, Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, and a consultant specializing in Indigenous issues, Harvey McCue (Waubageshig), who is Anishinaabe from the Georgina Island First Nation.

About Michael Murray

Murray makes a return to the OAC in his new position after playing key roles in other important arts organizations.

  • Director of ACTRA Performers’ Rights Society, Canada’s largest performers’ rights organization, at the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) in 2021;
  • Executive director for the Toronto Musician’s Association, Local 149 of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) from August 2015 to February 2021;
  • OAC’s popular & world music and arts service organizations officer from 2007 and 2015, where he was instrumental in seeing increases in applicants and grant recipients from Indigenous and racialized communities.


“Michael greatly impressed the interview panel. We were excited by the range of leadership skills and wealth of experience that he will bring to the role of CEO,” said Rita Davies, OAC Chair in a media release. “The depth of his knowledge of and passion for the arts, as well as his interpersonal and relationship-building talents, made Michael the unanimous choice of the panel.”

“I am so proud to return to OAC as CEO. The past two years have shown the incredible resilience of artists and arts organizations, and it’s a great honour to serve this community,” said Michael Murray. “I look forward to working with our fantastic board and chair Rita Davies and our exemplary staff as we support the next chapter of the arts in the province.”

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank Interim CEO, Sandra Cruickshanks, who so adroitly kept all OAC programs and operations on track and moved the work on OAC’s five-year strategic plan to be ready for an early fall launch,” said OAC Chair, Rita Davies. “Her calm and accessible style made her a perfect choice for this transitional time.”


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