This is VIBE Spotlight: a weekly series that celebrates and shines a light on VIBE Arts’ roster of talented artists and now the members that make up our small but mighty team. Each Monday, our Instagram and website will feature a different VIBE staff member and provide a look into the VIBE community. Stay tuned and get to know our organization and community with #VIBESpotlight.
On this VIBE Staff Spotlight were shining a light on our very special Executive Director Katie Hutchinson. Katie is an outgoing lover of art, sport and everything this city has to offer. She has always worked serving children and youth, and with the completion of teachers college she knew she didn’t want to be bound to a classroom. Instead she found organizations that allowed experimental and open expression for children and youth. Katie has been the Executive Director for VIBE for 3 years; she has been focused on surrounding herself with smart, creative staff who have a passion for community and the arts, in this we have created an impactful human centred organization that she is so proud to be a part of. Away from VIBE, there is Coach Katie, she is a part of a club level volleyball group entering her 9th season in Toronto (@leasidevbc), bringing young female athletes competitive nurturing training environments while travelling across Ontario and beyond playing some high level volleyball. Katie has an eyeless 13 year old pug named Stuckey. Katie lives in the heart of the city. Katie’s favourite leisure activity in her leisure time is biking around the city.
VIBE: What is your role at VIBE?
Katie: I am the Executive Director at VIBE.
VIBE: What led you to the arts?
Katie: Okay, let it be known, I am not an artist in any formal way. But I am an individual who loves cities. All the best cities (Toronto included) are ones that allow for radical art and arts access. Art is a critical component of a thriving city, when I knew VIBE was looking for operations support, I knew that this is a way I could use my organization and administrative strengths to support an organization that was making our city a better place to live.
VIBE: What has been one of your favourite moments at VIBE?
Katie: During the COVID pandemic our team was stuck at home. It was a tough time for me as I tried to figure out how we would carry on in this new world. I was dreading how it would feel to meet digitally at such a grim time. At our first staff meeting over zoom, my team showed up with energy, determination and optimism. Although they were affected each personally by this huge change, their passion for VIBE and our work did not waver, and we worked together to keep our programming running, developing new avenues of delivery and having some fun along the way. A day that started so dark, ended with me feeling so hopeful for the future of VIBE. The optimism was well placed, we are better than ever before.
VIBE: What is something you’re looking forward to in the future at VIBE?
Katie: Honestly, I look forward to a time that organizations like VIBE don’t need to exist. I look forward to achieving our vision where every young person is able to access great arts education and opportunities. For now, our work is necessary given the systemic barriers that exist, but I am confident the work we are doing along side likeminded organizations will make it clear how crucial young creative people are to a prosperous and healthy future.
VIBE: What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned thus far?
Katie: I am learning so much everyday. As a cis-gendered white woman, I am constantly learning how to be a better advocate for communities that are not afforded the same privileges as me. I have learned some of what its like to move through the world from different perspectives. I am learning how to make programs, spaces and artistic opportunities centre around these perspectives.
VIBE: What changes would you like to see in Toronto’s Art community?
Katie: Mid-sized charities like VIBE live on every day despite there being little to no ongoing funding for these organizations. Every year is a new year to raise enough money to pay staff, rent and deliver programs. The lack of focus of funding for the people who work for charities keeps charity workers living on the margins and provides little to no job security. I truly believe the charitable sector and the artistic charities in it, need to be valued as crucial parts of our city and given the resources to do the work that year over year is identified as necessary for a thriving society.
Stay tuned for more VIBE Staff on VIBE Spotlight