Nina Jane Patel
Director, Community Programs, Arts Umbrella
Miriam Aiken is the Director, Community Programs at Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, Canada’s leading arts education centre for young people. She has been with the organization for over ten years working in a variety of departments including Fund Development, Marketing and Programming. In her current role, Miriam oversees Arts Umbrella’s free community programs which are delivered to over 100 community partner locations across Metro Vancouver. In addition, she manages the operation of Arts Umbrella’s two Surrey locations.
In 2011/12 Miriam completed a one year fellowship in the DeVos Institute of Arts Management Fellowship program at the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts.
Miriam began her arts management career in Toronto where she held positions at Stratford Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, TVOntario and Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.
In addition to her professional experience in the arts, Miriam sits on the Board of Directors of Vancouver’s Boca Del Lupo theatre company where she has held the positions of Secretary and Chair.
Métis artist, lemonTree creations, manidoons collective & Ad Hoc Assembly
Cole is a Métis theatre artist based in Tkarón:to with Chippewa, Irish and English heritage from the Turtle Mountains in Manitobah. They are a leader of lemonTree creations, manidoons collective, Ad Hoc Assembly (AHA) and were the Executive Director of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (2013 – 2017). Cole performed in Dora-nominated productions including Gorey Story (The Thistle Project), Louis Riel (Canadian Opera Company / National Arts Centre) and the Dora winning outstanding new play Body Politic by Nick Green (lemonTree creations / Buddies in Bad Times Theatre). Recently, they participated in the Indigenous Directors Lab at the Stratford Festival, programmed the Guswenta Gathering at Soulpepper alongside Falen Johnson (Mohawk), and programmed the Cinesphere outdoor stage during TIFF ’17 alongside Jesse Wente (Ojibway).
Artistic Director, Nova Dance
Nova Bhattacharya is an award winning dancer and choreographer, committed mentor, passionate community activist and respected arts leader. As the founding Artistic Director of Nova Dance, she has spent the last decade building a company that creates space for bharatnatyam-trained dance artists to work in a supported environment, and to frame their art as a relevant and vital part of contemporary Canadian society. Recently, Nova Dance became the first dance company to be invited into a Long Term Relationship with downtown Toronto’s contemporary arts hub The Theatre Centre. She is currently volunteer President of the Board of Toronto Arts Council.
Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz Photography
Associate Director, The Polygon Gallery
A creative and resourceful fundraiser, Jessica Bouchard has enjoyed almost two decades of fundraising success in both the public and private sectors. She has worked as the lead fundraiser for the largest arts organization in Western Canada; crossed over to the private sector and successfully raised a real estate private equity fund of $120 million; and is currently the associate director of The Polygon Gallery, which, under her leadership, has just successfully completed the capital campaign for its new home, which opened on Vancouver’s north shore waterfront at the end of 2017. Jessica is passionate about raising money for the arts: in addition to her work in the visual arts, she sits on the board of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and is a past president of Electric Company Theatre.
Managing Director, Urban Ink
Managing Director of Urban Ink, Dawn has led a variety of arts organizations and arts service organizations; an arts consultant providing Facilitation and Organizational Development services, she also teaches at Capilano University. A long ago graduate of the National Theatre School, Dawn holds a Masters in Leadership (Royal Roads University), a certificate in Good Governance for Indigenous Councils and Boards (Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity), and is the recipient of a Canada Council John Hobday Award in Arts Management, and a Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards’ Mary Phillips Prize for Unsung Heroes.
Founder & Executive Director, JAYU
Gilad Cohen is a human rights activist, artist, and also the founder and Executive Director of JAYU a charity that shares human rights stories through the arts. Inspired by seeing his own mom become passionate for North Korea after watching a documentary, Cohen launched the Human Rights Film Festival in 2012 as a way of sharing important stories with his community.
Since then, JAYU has grown to become a charity that uses multiple forms of art including photography and film to educate, inspire, and create the safe spaces necessary to share our human rights experiences.
A photographer, youth educator, fan of film, and carer of the world, Cohen spends most of his days trying to find innovative and artistic ways of creating platforms for human rights dialogue. One of these platforms includes The Hum Podcast which Cohen co-hosts.
With a post-graduate in International Development, Cohen has been invited to speak on human rights in media and several platforms including CBC, CTV, VICE, The Canadian Press, Globe & Mail, Al Jazeera America, as well as the UN in 2012. He was selected as Rothschild Fellow through The University of Cambridge in the UK in 2015 and as an Arts Fellow through the Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab in 2017.
Strategy Lead, Ontario Trillium Foundation
Liz Forsberg is a passionate champion for the role arts and culture play in building vibrant communities and has spent over 15 years working at the intersection of the arts and social change. She is the arts, culture & heritage strategy lead at the Ontario Trillium Foundation and previously served as the executive director of Art Starts.
Liz holds a Master’s degree from York University with a research focus on community-engaged arts practice and her writing has appeared in “The State of the Arts: Living with Culture in TO” and “GreenTOpia: Towards a Sustainable Toronto”. In 2015 Liz was named an inaugural fellow of the Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders Lab.
Executive Director, I Musici de Montréal Chamber Orchestra
Simon Gamache is an arts administrator with a depth of experience in performing arts, educational programming, content production and change management. He has been the Executive Director of I Musici de Montréal since September 2016. In previous roles at the Banff Centre, he provided leadership in the planning, growth and renewal of celebrated arts training programs. He previously oversaw production at the Montreal music label Analekta. An active musician until 2010, Simon Gamache freelanced with numerous ensembles, performed on several albums and taught music. He is an Action Canada Fellow and past participant of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.
Manager of External Affairs, Royal and McPherson Theatres Society
Randy Joynt has been the Manager of External Affairs for the Royal and McPherson Theatres Society in Victoria since 2016. Prior to this, he was the Executive Director of Artspace and the co-founder and General Manager of TRIP dance company in Winnipeg. Randy began his career as a contemporary dancer, performing with companies in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal. He has a keen interest in cultural policy and arts advocacy and has lead strategic planning processes, governance reviews and operational capacity building initiatives for a number of arts organizations. He is currently on the Board of the BC Alliance for Arts and Culture and has been founding Chair of Manitobans for the Arts, Treasurer of the Winnipeg Art Council and Vice-President of the Canadian Dance Assembly. In 2010, Randy was awarded the Victor Martin Lynch-Staunton Award from the Canada Council for the Arts for his work in dance.
Director of Development, Independent Media Arts Alliance
Mercedes Pacho is an arts advocate from Montreal, Canada. With a special interest in media arts, she has participated in numerous activities across Canada since 2012, acting as the Director of Communications and Development for the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA). She is currently collaborating with The National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition (NIMAC) to organize the National Indigenous Media Arts Conference, “Listen, Witness, Transmit” Summit that will take place June 13-15, 2018 in Saskatoon. She is also passionately involved in IMAASource.ca that ensures free and open resources for art organizations and Perspectives, a new series of online written reflections from the Canadian media arts community.
Nina Jane Patel
Dance Advocate, Ballet BC | Dancing on the Edge Festival | Dancer Transition Resource Centre | Mascall Dance
Nina is an advocate for dance, as an art-form, and it’s greater significance for our society. She is committed to creating opportunities to reveal and highlight the importance of dance (all movement and non-verbal communication) in how we live, learn and relate to each other. Nina brings to CAS/21 a deep a knowledge of artistic dance practices and practical experience from management of companies and large scale projects. Nina has proven success within the arts + culture sector significantly impacting the organizations she works within. Nina has demonstrated strong leadership and advocacy for the arts throughout her career and this was recently recognized when she was selected for Banff Centre for Arts + Creativity’s inaugural Cultural Leadership Program.
Like many in this field, Nina currently holds distinct roles within the Vancouver dance community and advocates for dance within the following organizations; Dancing on the Edge Festival, Ballet BC, Dancer Transition Resource Centre and Mascall Dance. Past roles involve work with Nico Can Dance (an Atomic Cartoons production aired on PBSKids + BBCKids), Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Gearshifting Dance, The Lime Project Dance Company, Artists in Healthcare, Notting Hill School of Dance, Kids Company and the National Health Service (NHS UK).
Managing Content Producer, TIFF
Sal is the Toronto International Film Festival’s Managing Content Producer, responsible for shaping TIFF’s digital content and social strategies and overseeing TIFF’s brand extension into the digital space. He sits on the boards for the Arts & Business Exchange, Artscene Toronto, Toronto French School and is a former member of the fundraising committee of the board for the Regent Park Film Festival, and the advisory board of The Hand Eye Society. Sal is a Queen’s University alumni where he studied commerce with a minor in film studies. Prior to joining TIFF in 2013, he worked in the financial services sector in sales and trading, risk and project management for 5 years, and ran a freelance digital consulting group for not-for-profits and artists.
Executive Director, Artspace
Eric Plamondon is the Executive Director of Artspace; Manitoba’s three-decade-old art support project. Artspace provides physical space and support programs to over 45 art organizations throughout Manitoba. Eric is not only an arts administrator but also a multi-disciplinary artist who believes in cross-contamination between various art forms. His work is contemporary, often utilizes bilingualism and queer narratives to etch out universal sentiments experienced by those who take in his art offerings. Eric was recently a finalist for a Future Leaders of Manitoba award, recognizing his impact in the arts sector, and believing more is yet to come.
Artistic Administrator, The National Ballet of Canada
Gerard has an extensive background in stage, production and administrative management for theatre, dance, music, and special event management. He has held the position as Artistic Administrator at The National Ballet of Canada since 1997 and previous professional experience includes serving as Director of Touring & Company Operations for Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and as General Manager of Manitoba Theatre for Young People. Gerard also has experience in stage and production management, where other selected credits include nine seasons as stage manager with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and productions with Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, the Banff Centre, the Globe Theatre, the 1999 Pan American Games and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Gerard currently serves as Chair of The AFC and previous board appointments include the Canadian Dance Assembly (Founding member & Co-chair of the National Advocacy Committee) and Winnipeg Cares – An AIDS Benefit.
Executive Director, Indefinite Arts Centre
Jung-Suk Ryu leads Canada’s largest disability arts organization – the Indefinite Arts Centre in Calgary, Alberta. Prior to this appointment, he held numerous senior roles in the non-profit, political, and international relations sectors, including: Director, External and Community Relations with Banff Centre; Director, Public Affairs with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind; Senior Consultant with the Alberta Medical Association; and Principal Speechwriter to the Ambassador of Japan. In 2017, he was appointed one of five fellows from Canada – one of 50 globally – to attend the Salzburg Global Seminar’s Forum for Young Cultural Innovators and is currently working with the Canada Council and the Salzburg Global Seminar to launch a Young Cultural Innovator’s hub in Canada. He is the recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal and was named one of Alberta’s 100 Centennial Ambassadors in 2005.
Executive Director, Winnipeg Folk Festival
Lynne Skromeda is the Executive Director of the Winnipeg Folk Festival where she oversees the four-day summer festival, which hosts over 70,000 attendees each July, and its year-round initiatives of over 50 concerts and events. A graduate of the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba with specialization in Marketing and Small Business Management, Lynne previously spent over 13 years in the film & TV industry, largely at Frantic Films, where she produced over 150 hours of original award-winning television programming and was responsible for overseeing its business affairs and the international distribution of nearly 600 hours of television. A passionate supporter of her community, Lynne has spent time on the boards of Festivals and Major Events (FAME) Canada, West End Cultural Centre, On Screen Manitoba and the Plug ICA as well as Manitoba’s Premier’s Economic Advisory Council. She is currently on the boards of Manitobans for the Arts, the Green Action Centre and Imagine Canada as well as the Mayor of Winnipeg’s Arts Advisory Committee.
Executive Director, SOCAN Foundation
Charlie Wall-Andrews is recognized as a Top 30 Under 30 in Canada and is a 2018 Leadership Fellow at the Canadian Arts Summit. She works in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and has over ten years of experience of working in the cultural sector. Currently, she is the Executive Director at SOCAN Foundation, which provides awards, grants, and sponsorships to foster Canadian music. She is on the Board of Directors for TELUS Community Investment Board and WorkInCulture. She recently completed her MBA at the Richard Ivey Business School and her Masters in Music at York University.
Executive Director, Prairie Debut
Po Yeh is Executive Director of Prairie Debut, a touring organization that links Canadian classical and world music artists to over 80 communities that are mostly rural and outside the main centres in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Yukon. Po also has a keen interest in supporting the performance and creation of contemporary new music, through working with Land’s End Ensemble, New Works Calgary, the Canadian New Music Network, Luminous Voices and the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers Associations.