She and her business partner, Megan Kalaman, received their nomination for the success of K+D, a national art consulting firm they founded in 2017. K+D provides cataloguing, collections management and art advisory services to private, corporate and institutional collectors across Canada. The award winners will be announced November 20.
“It’s a bit surreal,” says Demetriou. “We discovered there were 9,000 applicants, so it feels like a big achievement.”
Demetriou graduated from the University of Toronto in 2009 with an honours bachelor of arts in English and Art History, followed by a master’s degree in Art History from the Faculty of Arts & Science in 2011.
“I love literature and the visual arts, and am interested in visual vocabularies,” she says. “I especially like artwork that explores the relationship between text and image.”
What sets Demetriou apart is a passion for art paired with a penchant for business operations — something she developed outside of school.
“All the way through school, even in my undergrad, I was working,” she says.
Demetriou worked for a real estate firm and an investment firm, managing communications and office operations while building a skillset to complement her studies.
“U of T helped mold me into a critical thinker, bringing that sensibility to my writing and my communication style,” she says. “I also met incredible faculty members who had a lasting impact on me.”
Elizabeth Harney, an associate professor of art history at U of T Scarborough, is one of them.
“I took a few courses with her and she quickly became a mentor of mine,” says Demetriou. “I aspired to be like her.”
It was Harney who encouraged Demetriou to pursue her master’s. “That encouragement was the tipping point,” says Demetriou. “When I got into the master’s program, she became my supervisor. It made my experience at the graduate level that much more meaningful.”
“Angelica was one of the best undergraduate students I had taught since joining UTSC,” says Harney. “It didn’t surprise me at all that she began to build a strong, independent business within the larger art world.”
Between degrees, Demetriou took a year off to work, further expanding her skills in communications and business operations. After her graduate studies came a decade of senior-level experience in the art and business sectors of corporate art consulting, communications and business development.
Though her career looked promising, she came to a crossroad.
“I was ready to step out on my own,” says Demetriou. “Supporting someone else’s vision was no longer satisfying. I wanted to be a leader and that ended up manifesting as a business opportunity for me.”
That opportunity arose from connecting with Kalaman.
“We were running in the same circles and had complementary areas of expertise,” says Demetriou. “We realized that by bringing our skillsets, networks and visions together, we could build something special.”
What they created was a thriving business with a team of 14 in Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax. “Megan and I both feel proud that we’ve created jobs in the arts,” says Demetriou.
Harney is proud to see the student become the teacher. “I deeply admire Angelica’s dedication to mentoring other young female professionals and her willingness to model the different ways students can use their art history degrees to make a difference in the art world.”
“We’ve arrived, and it feels good,” Demetriou continues. “People from all corners of the art world are recognizing the work we’re doing.”
Looking ahead, Demetriou wants the business to continue to grow, but without losing its identity.
“We’ve received interest from collectors in the U.S. and Europe, but we want to remain a small business,” she says. “It would be great to continue to strengthen our foothold here. I’d love to get to a point where we are the go-to full-service art consulting firm in Canada. Once we’re there we can look outwardly to international markets.”
What advice does she have for current students looking ahead to life after graduation?
“There’s no road map — some careers move in a linear fashion and others don’t,” she says. “What I was studying and how I was working professionally were apples and oranges, but over time I was able to pull those two worlds together in a way that made sense.”
She suggests looking beyond traditional roles for art history majors, such as curator. “There’s a whole ecosystem of opportunity out there. Set yourself apart, bring something to the conversation that’s unique.”
“Build friendships, look for great mentors,” she adds. “I’m constantly inspired by others, challenged by others and surrounded by supportive people. You’ve got to put yourself out there and carve out your own path to success.”