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.
Dave Pollard, CA, CPA, retired from paid work in 2010, after 35 years as an advisor to small enterprises, with a focus on sustainability, innovation, knowledge management and understanding complexity. He is currently volunteering as Treasurer of the Bowen Island Arts Council, and was the Chair of the Steering Committee, and principal author, of the new Bowen Island Cultural Plan.
Areas of focus in his career: risk management, innovation, knowledge management and board governance.
Hobbies and passions: He is a long-time student of our culture and its systems, of history and of how the world really works, and has authored the blog How to Save the World for over ten years. His book Finding the Sweet Spot: The Natural Entrepreneur’s Guide to Responsible, Sustainable, Joyful Work was published by Chelsea Green in 2008. He is one of the authors of Group Works: A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings, published in 2012. He is a composer of poetry, short stories and music, and is working on a collection of short stories about the world two millennia from now.
Allison is a facilitator and co-founder of Co+Host a facilitator’s collective based on Haida Gwaii. As a facilitator, she specializes in community engagement, strategic planning and organizational development. Trained in The Work and IAP2 Foundations of Public Participation, Allison is able to meaningfully engage the public to generate ideas, solve problems and make decisions. She recognizes the importance of local knowledge, stories, and experiences when planning community engagement processes. She has experience working with entrepreneurs, non-profits, businesses, aboriginal agencies and governments in Alberta and British Columbia. She has worked closely with the Haida Gwaii Museum, the Haida Gwaii Arts Council, Literacy Haida Gwaii and creative entrepreneurs, developing a sound understanding of the unique challenges that make up Haida Gwaii’s creative ecology.
Allison is the Visual Arts Chair of the Haida Gwaii Arts Council and Vice President of Literacy Haida Gwaii. Allison is also the Creative Director and Co-owner of Braid Films, a documentary and outdoor film production company based on Haida Gwaii. Most recently her film, Eyes of Society, was screened on Air Canada In-Flight Entertainment.
Allison holds a Master’s in Management from London Business School, a BSc Human Ecology and Psychology from Queen’s University. She has studied improv at the Second City in Toronto.
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.
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
As Executive Director of the West Kootenay Regional Arts Council and Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Krista Patterson has over 14 years of experience in a management role in the arts, culture and heritage sector. Having developed and executed many projects (including conferences, publications and workshop series) while managing a regional arts, culture and heritage funding program, she has also been a funding adjudicator at provincial and local levels. A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Krista has travelled to communities from Canada’s north to Shanghai, China, teaching jewellery, art history, professional practices and grant writing, and is also currently an Instructor at Kootenay Studio Arts, Selkirk College. Her studio experience includes the creation of one-of-a-kind jewelry and sculptural objects, production craft and design, and work on Marker of Change – The Women’s Monument project. She has received a SCOPE (Standing Committee on Professional Excellence) award from the Selkirk College Faculty Association, as well as funding, scholarship and professional development awards in continued support of her art making, teaching and administrative endeavors.
Why she chose to work in arts and culture: Possessing deep curiosity, a lot of creativity, and not much of a plan, I think maybe arts and culture chose me. I keep working in arts and culture because I love the people, the energy, and engaging in work that is inspirational, community focused and meaningful. I have met people, travelled places, learned and done things that I never would have had an opportunity to, if I were working in another field.
Her first arts and culture experience that had a big impact: I am fortunate to have parents that have a sense of adventure and encouraged my arts exploration to the fullest. My mom was always working in different craft media and my dad has a deep appreciation for music. I can’t single out one specific experience, but when I was young I would find random art events and they would indulge my curiosity; we would drive to Seattle for touring exhibits, or hit downtown Vancouver to attend art openings, auctions, concerts or theatre productions – we were always open to seeing something new.
Director: Central Interior
board member since April 2014
vice-president since April 2015
Currently working as Executive Director of the Island Mountain Arts Society in Wells, BC, Julie has been studying, working and organizing in the arts for the last eighteen years. Passionate about finding ways to celebrate and promote artists, she has helped to create two award-winning festivals, both featuring a range of artistic mediums from performance to visual arts: the Art Matters Festival at Concordia University in Montreal (where she also received her BFA in Art History in 2001), which won the province-wide Forces Avenir Award for best university project in the arts for its first season and is now going into its 15th season; and the ArtsWells Festival Of All Things Art, which began in 2004 and is now the largest arts event in the Cariboo with over 2000 people converging in Wells on the August Long Weekend each year.
Along with the ArtsWells Festival, Island Mountain Arts runs a Public Gallery, School of the Arts,which includes the Toni Onley Artists’ Project and the International Harp School, and the a new Artist-In- Residence program. Julie graduated with an Interdisciplinary MFA from the University of British Columbia, Okanagan in 2013 and her thesis project, a creative non-fiction novel called the Grande Dames of the Cariboo, was published by Caitlin Press that same year. Julie is proud to sit on the board of directors for ArtsBC and Folk Music Canada.
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.
THE ARTS HOTLINE: