We’ve walked in your shoes.
WE KNOW THE CHALLENGES THAT COMMUNITY ARTS AND CULTURE LEADERS FACE ON A DAILY BASIS. MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE HELP SOLVE PROBLEMS.
Arts BC is backed by a team of experts who have been powering the arts for decades, and by emerging leading lights in our industry.
Artistic Director for Creative Thinking & Team Leader
Bill is our Guru. He inspires us and understands the role people play in powering the arts in BC, everyday in communities large and small.
As Arts BC’s Artistic Director for Creative Thinking, he helps to adhere to our values of sharing knowledge, in an open and transparent way with respect and integrity; of fresh thinking by being creative in our own work, encouraging new ideas and welcoming unique perspectives; by ensuring inclusiveness from emerging to professional, local to urban; committing to diversity in artistic talent, identity, community and perspective; and by adhering to higher standards in the delivery of our work: supporting the people power of the arts!
Folk icon and social activist, Pete Seeger, gave Bill Usher a message he’ll never forget.
“It was the 70s, the hippy era, a time when people were looking for these great spaces, these hot spots where there was community,” Usher says. “We were backstage at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Ontario and Pete’s rant that day was, ‘you don’t find community, you make community’.”
That message has informed Usher’s life. As executive director of the Golden District Arts Council, or Kicking Horse Culture, as well as board member of the BC Arts Council, he brings that energy to the forefront every day.
“When you’re in a career, you follow the good ideas and then you huff and puff to get the work done,” he says. “You take the original vision and carry it to the end. What I’m doing here in Golden is what I’ve done all my life, pursuing a great idea.”
The 1980s saw Usher producing records, and winning four Junos in the process, then move into organizing folk festivals, writing music, touring across Canada, as well as working in TV and acting. But by the end of the 1990s, Usher moved over to more administrative roles with the Ontario and Toronto arts councils, and the Ontario Ministry of Culture.
When he arrived in Golden in 2002, Usher kept a low profile, first volunteering as chair of the arts council and working from home. He became executive director in 2006.
“Arts councils are for the whole community, and many community members have contributed to the arts in Golden,” he says. “Local government and business, volunteers, and the school district have all embraced the vision and rolled up their sleeves to get the work done.” www.kickinghorseculture.ca
Ken Blackburn, BFA, MFA | Director, Campbell River Arts Council, www.crarts.ca Campbell River, BC: Ken is a visual artist and works across a wide range of mediums, including drawing, sculpture, installation, photography, video and performance. Through his work, Ken explores the relationship of contemporary art to current social issues. As the Director of the Campbell River Arts Council, he is currently leading an effort to see local art become an integrated part of the new Campbell River Hospital.
Administration & Programming
In addition to his duties with ArtsBC, Neil Harrower is the current Executive Director of the Nelson & District Arts Council and owner-operator of harrowerarts/Arts 911 Administration and Consulting. He is the past executive director of the Capitol Theatre Restoration Society in Nelson, BC and a former director of Touring for Ballet BC. He has also been the facilities manager of the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island and the Ticket Services Manager for the Vancouver Jazz Festival, The Vancouver International Writers Festival and the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver. He has volunteered as both the treasurer and a director for the BC Touring Council, treasurer for the Nelson and District Arts Council, Chairperson of Vancouver Dancers for Life and is currently the Western Zone Disaster Manager for the Canadian Red Cross. Neil’s favourite colour is plaid.
Strategic Planning & Organizational Assessment
Patricia Huntsman is a Cultural Development and Communications consultant. Prior to making Vancouver Island her home, Patricia worked nationally and internationally in senior roles in the creative industry. As a member of a growing field of cultural management professionals in North America, Patricia Huntsman is a sought-after and respected voice at the forefront of culture-led economic and community development in Canada. Patricia is recognized for her intuitive, engaging, and dedicated client-centered approach. She holds an M.B.A. and B.A. from the University of New Brunswick, and a diploma in French Studies from the Sorbonne. Her British Columbia-based consultancy offers a full roster of management, planning and communication services tailored to building communities through culture. An avid supporter of visual and performing arts, she has served as a director on notable boards across Canada, including Opera Lyra Ottawa and the University of New Brunswick. She is a member of the professional association Arts Consultants Canada, the Creative City Network and the Canadian Museums Association. www.patriciahuntsman.com
Fundraising & Development
Sandra Thomson has worked in the performing arts industry for over forty years specializing in organizational development and fundraising.Sandra was responsible for creating and implementing the strategic plan that raised $13 million and built the Port Theatre in Nanaimo. Sandra was General Manager of the Port Theatre from 2001-06 during which time her programming of “Port Presents” events won both a national and a provincial award for excellence. During her career she has served on numerous boards. She conducts workshops for non-profit groups throughout BC on board development, strategic planning, volunteer management, sponsorship and fundraising. www.sandrathomson.ca
Arts Education & Social Well-Being
Dr. Sharon McCoubrey has succeeded in integrating two of her passions in her work, education and community arts. Sharon is an Associate Professor with a specialization in art education in the Faulty of Education at UBC, Okanagan campus. She has served as Acting Dean, Associate Dean and is currently Coordinator of Community Engagement. She obtained her Bachelor of Education and Master of Education Degrees from the University of Victoria and her Doctorate Degree from UBC, all in art education. She has been the recipient of Excellence in Art Education Awards from the BC Art Teachers Association, the Canadian Society for Education through Art, and the National Association for Education through Art (USA). She has also been presented with the Order of Lake Country for her work in Public Art, the BC Achievement Award, the UBC Alumni Outstanding Faculty Community Service Award, and the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for her professional and community work. She is the author of several art education resource books, and was Editor of the BC Art Teacher’s Association Journal For Art Teachers for 12 years. Sharon has written numerous articles, and given many Conference presentations at the Provincial, National and International levels. Sharon’s areas of research include many aspects of art education and public art, teacher education, intergenerational learning, early learning, creativity, and aboriginal education. She served as President of the Canadian Society for Education through Art, and is Vice-Chair of the Central Okanagan Foundation. www.lakecountryartgallery.ca
Governance & Finance
Kathryn has been in leadership roles in the non profit sector for nearly 25 years. She has sat on various non-profit boards including Coast Capital Savings Credit Union, Vancity Community Foundation, The Power of Hope and the Board Advisory Committee on Sustainability for the VANOC 2010 Olympics. Her professional career in the non profit sector includes Executive Director of Sierra Club BC, Executive Director of People for a Healthy Community (Social Service non profit), founding Manager of the Victoria Car Share Co-op, Executive Director of City Green Victoria and she has been the lead project coordinator for events like The International Children’s Conference on the Environment in collaboration with UNEP, The Leading Edge Conference, and BC Environmental Network & Alzeimers BC Annual Conferences. Kathryn has long and deep experience in fundraising for non-profits and her work includes developing funding strategies, implementing individual donor and major gift campaigns. Kathryn has been the Executive Director of Heritage BC since September 2013 and is working with the board and staff to implement a renewed revenue diversity plan that sees Heritage BC as a vibrant and independent organization by 2017.
Until her relocation to her home island of Salt Spring in January of 2015, Kathy Ramsey was the owner-operator of the Gabriola Artworks gallery on Gabriola Island, establish in 1996. Founding member and board member of the Gabriola Arts Council in 1997, founder of the Gabriola Studio Tour in 1997, President of the Gabriola Arts Council from 2005-2013, during which time she was the chair of the inaugural Gabriola Theatre Festival and the chair of the inaugural Isle of the Arts Festival.
In the past 5 years, Kathy Ramsey was chair and committee member of both the 2013 and 2014 ArtsBC annual conference, has been recognized as a 2012 Community Art Champion for BC and chaired the National Community and Campus Radio Conference in 2010. Prior to 1996, Kathy worked as a reporter for various publications.
OUR KNOWLEDGE. YOUR OPPORTUNITY.
The experience we have helps us make a difference by equipping our provincial network with the tools they need, in an open and transparent way.
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