Mila Ovchinnikova, Canada / France
The Founding Director of L'AiR Arts, Mila is originally from Siberia. After immigrating to Canada in her early 20s, she completed Arts Management program at the University of Toronto, specializing in management of not-for-profit organizations and diversity and pluralism in the Arts and Culture. While majoring in Art History at the University of Virginia, USA, she focused on the late 19th century and 20th century Modern Art. Since completing her studies, for over 15 years she has served multicultural communities in various regional, national and global-wide roles, while working with hundreds of professionals and institutions in North America and Europe.
As part of the National Program Coordinator role at the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Mila worked in partnership with various public institutions, from major city museums and galleries to small historic sites across the country, to help them diversify their audience and to ensure new citizens are welcomed and included as equals, creating meaningful connections among all citizens. As a Member Services and Communications Manager for Ontario Arts Presenting Network, she piloted and implemented a number of initiatives, including the webinar series program, to facilitate professional development and networking among multidisciplinary arts centres in North America. Mila has also served on the Advisory Board for the Cultural Pluralism in the Arts of the University of Toronto and participated in the diversity audit for the Toronto International Film Festival.
After moving to France in 2016, Mila founded L'AiR Arts, a not-for-profit arts organization, expanding it from a small residency at a historical artist studio in the French countryside to an international group program in the heart of Paris. Since 2020, Mila spearheads the cultural heritage project of safeguarding the international legacy of the last preserved atelier of the prominent artistic community in Montparnasse, while continuing to promote intercultural dialogue through contemporary arts.
Photo: Luca Papini, featuring Mira Maodus work at Atelier 11
Every migrant knows in his heart of hearts that it is impossible to return, because he himself has been so deeply changed by his emigration. It is equally impossible to return to that historical state in which every village was the centre of the world. The only hope of recreating a centre now is to make it the entire earth. - John Berger