Vtape would like to make a great big public THANK YOU! to co-founders Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak, who retired this year after working with the organization for more than 40 years – starting well before its legal incorporation in 1983. That same year, they committed to working together exclusively as an artistic team.
Anyone familiar with this dynamic duo will know that they have contributed to an incredible range of organizations, initiatives and publications, and as educators, art presenters, and all-around movers and shakers, have supported the careers and art practices of innumerable artists. Without the formidable Steele and Tomczak, there would be no Vtape! (Not to mention their founding roles or major contributions at PUMPS Centre for the Arts, A Space Gallery, FUSE Magazine, Images Festival, imagineNATIVE Festival, et al.) More importantly, they have provided responsible management, acute activist insights, and forward-thinking approaches to the organization’s work, making this small organization one that has had a disproportionate impact on the media arts in Canada.
Luckily for Vtape’s staff and board, they are still just a 15-minute walk from our offices, and we will certainly be knocking on their door to call on them for their incredible knowledge, wise counsel, and unflagging support. And as their video distributor, we will be here to support them as they continue their work as artistic collaborators.
It’s been quite a year for Steele and Tomczak, even before they officially retired: in the spring, they were the recipients of the 2023 Founders Achievement Award from the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts; during the summer, alongside Cynthia Lickers-Sage and Wanda vanderStoop, they were awarded a Meritorious Service Cross by Governor General Mary Simon for co-founding the imagineNATIVE Festival; and they are currently busy working on a major public art commission!
The staff and board of Vtape wish them a long, happy, and productive retirement. CHEERS!