welcome - Edmonton Arts Council
 
 

Chelsea Boida - Public Art Officer

As an artist, Chelsea Boida has made an indelible mark on Edmonton with Have a Nice Day at the Northgate Transit Centre. Created in collaboration, the mural is an expression of Chelsea’s belief that livable, dynamic cities spring from the melding of art, planning, and great architecture.
 
Chelsea brings a diverse skillset to the EAC – she’s co-operated a renovation company, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta, with majors in printmaking and drawing. When not shepherding public art projects, she can be found in her studio or up to her elbows in dirt in her garden.

Andrea Bowes

 

Andrea Bowes - Public Art Conservator

Andrea worked as a conservator in Alberta and the Northwest Territories after graduating from the Art Conservation Techniques program at Sir Sandford Fleming College. Most recently she completed the Architectural Technology program at NAIT working with an architecture firm and later a kitchen design and installation company. Working with the Edmonton Arts Council allows her to bring her understanding of material sciences, art objects, and constructions methods together to help facilitate the installation of fabulous public art projects for the enjoyment of the residents of the City of Edmonton and beyond.

 

Kyra Lee Brown - Indigenous Relations Advisor

Born and raised in Edmonton, the heart of Treaty No. 6 territory, Kyra Brown appreciates her Cree/Portuguese mixed bloodline.

Her career is dedicated to nurturing meaningful relationships that support stronger healthier communities. Kyra is a passionate supporter of initiatives that promote opportunities for marginalized groups, Indigenous populations, and women through her extensive volunteerism and work.

Kyra's background in Indigenous child and family development, is complemented by certifications in various wellness therapies. A life-long learner, her educational path focuses on nurturing growth and leadership in herself and others. She believes in healing and wellness through self-exploration, which includes Indigenous cultural teachings and practice wherein she feels a deep sense of comfort.

The ‘rippling pebble' theory is central to Kyra's life and work. She believes that one's energy and actions affect those around them; healthy, creative and positive personal growth naturally communicates its powerful uplifting energy to others because we are all related.

Jamie Chapelsky

Jamie Chapelsky - Communications Officer (Outreach and Publications) 

Jamie Chapelsky graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a minor in Art & Design, and from MacEwan University with a Bachelor of Communications. Along her journey to the EAC, she worked in communications roles for both the Downtown Business Association and the Government of Alberta. As a supporter of Edmonton’s music scene, Jamie also lends her communications and social media knowledge as a board member (Media Coordinator) of the Up+Downtown Music Festival. When not busy working or festival planning, she enjoys catching some live music or improv, playing soccer, travelling, and drinking copious amounts of caffeine.

 

  

David Cheoros - Strategic Investments and Community Relations Specialist

David Cheoros studied theatre and management at the University of Waterloo, and directing at the University of Victoria.

In Edmonton, he has worked with Fringe Theatre Adventures, the Comedy Arts Festival, the Film and Video Arts Society - Alberta, Theatre Network, LitFest and Metro Cinema.

He is also a playwright and producer whose work focuses on original stories from Alberta history.

 

Shirley Combden - Director of Finance and Administration

Shirley Combden joined the Edmonton Arts Council in 2006 as the Financial Officer. Prior to that she spent many years in public practice. In addition to her work at the EAC, she also works for other not-for-profit organizations including the Edmonton Heritage Council since its inception in 2010. 

Shirley enjoys the rewards of working in the not-for-profit sector so much that she can often be found volunteering at her church, her kids' school or in the multiple births community... when she isn’t too busy driving her kids to soccer! 


Penélope Haro Aranda - Executive Assistant

Penélope holds a degree in Cultural Management and a Master Degree in Contemporary History. Her experience includes working as Marketing Assistant for the Edmonton Opera, working as a Sponsorship Consultant for public television, Administrator for a Production & Media company, and working for Festival Internacional Cervantino, as well as volunteering with the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, Up + Downtown Festival, and other arts and culture events.
 

Robert Harpin - Public Art Officer

Robert Harpin graduated with a degree in Drawing from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2006. Since then he has been involved with the Edmonton Arts community working for three years at the Works Art and Design Festival and then as the programming officer at Latitude 53.

In his spare time Robert Harpin creates installations and collage based pop art (sort of). These works have appeared in various locations throughout the city including an art garage sale, an office cubicle in the river valley, and a bizarre child’s bedroom in a mostly abandoned apartment. Robert Harpin also loves cats and techno (much to the detriment of his wife).


 

Melanie Haynes - HR Specialist

An Alberta native, Melanie left Calgary as a teen and spent formative years in many locations including San Diego, Las Vegas, and Ukraine before landing in Toronto. There, she worked in a HR capacity within non-profit organizations before leaving the big city behind and returning to Edmonton in 2017.

Initially Melanie tested out the Edmonton HR scene within different sectors, but returned to the non-profit world in 2018 when she joined the EAC as the HR Specialist. She's happy to finally proclaim an end to her travels and call Edmonton home with her children, her dogs, and her hedgehogs.

 

Gwendoline Hunka

Gwendoline Hunka - Communications Officer (Social and Digital Media

A true social butterfly, Gwendoline Hunka loves connecting with people both in person and online. She can regularly be found at events around the city and enjoying YEG patio life with friends. Gwen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the U of A and a Diploma of Public Relations from MacEwan University. Throughout post-secondary, Gwen discovered her love of languages and learned French, Norwegian and German, completing a three-month immersion course in Germany. She learned to sing in German before she could properly speak it!

After finishing her degree, she lived in Australia for a year before returning to Edmonton to do the Public Relations program at MacEwan. With a strong wanderlust, Gwen is always planning her next adventure, be it local or international. She also makes time to regularly volunteer, helping with the Rainbow Society of Alberta and sitting on the board of CPRS Edmonton as the Director-at-large.


Sally Kim - Associate Executive Director

Sally Kim started with the Edmonton Arts Council in 2007 as Grants Officer. Prior to that, she worked as the producer/general manager at The Works Art & Design Festival. In 2005, she managed a sculpture competition in Southern Alberta. While working to promote the Festival City brand for Edmonton Tourism, she coordinated events for Alberta Scene at the National Arts Centre and ancillary events to the Folklife Festival at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. She donates her time to various organizations, mostly working casinos.

 Grace Law

Grace Law - Public Art Officer

Grace Law joined the Edmonton Arts Council in 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alberta, and possesses a strong background in arts administration and public art project coordination. From 2011 to 2015, she worked for The Works International Visual Art Society (producer of the The Works Art & Design Festival & The Places Public Art Program). In all her positions she is driven by her commitment to community engagement and inclusion.

Grace is inspired by the Edmonton Arts Council's work as it moves forward with implementing Connections & Exchanges: A 10-Year Plan to Transform Arts and Heritage In Edmonton. She is motivated to contribute her expertise to initiatives that: support a diverse range of artists working in the public sphere; to come alongside Edmontonians to reimagine their lives through their connection to the work of artists.

As an arts administrator, cultural programmer, community activist, and visual artist, her interests include civic engagement and social change, race and Asian identity, feminist history and aesthetics, climate justice change and the anthropocene, spirituality, and religion.


When compelled, Grace continues to make art. Currently her work responds to the challenges of a city in flux with public art interventions and social practice.

Poushali Mitra - Equity and Inclusion Advisor

Poushali joined the Edmonton Arts Council in August 2019 as the Equity and Inclusion Advisor.

Prior to the EAC, Poushali held positions with the Edmonton Immigrant Services Centre, Indo-Canadian Women's Association, and several provincial government departments.

Each was an opportunity to use her research and community engagement skills to broaden the conversation around equity and inclusion. Poushali holds a MA (Journalism) from UWE Bristol (England) and a graduate degree in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, Kolkata (India). She is passionate about community development through consensus and discussion.

Poushalli began her career as a journalist with The Indian Express, India where she learned the art of storytelling and fact checking. As a student intern in Bristol, she worked in several equity-seeking organisations that advocated for newcomer and refugee rights, particularly those from the Somali communities.

Her internship with the Legal Resource Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa remains a career highlight. She received hands-on training from some of the best South African human rights lawyers and advocates on FPIC - Free Prior and Informed Consent - which she continues to use in her search for equity and inclusion, in life and work.

Victoria Modine - Customer Service Lead, TIX on the Square

Victoria joined the Edmonton Arts Council in summer 2019 as the Customer Service Lead at TIX on the Square.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta, majoring in Classical Studies.

Following graduation, Victoria worked for a small gallery in London, England before returning to Edmonton where she has worked for the Art Gallery of Alberta and Edmonton Opera.

After hours, you can find Victoria on the soccer field, watching BritBox, or lounging with her beloved cat Neville.

Jana O'Connor

Jana O'Connnor - Communications Strategist

Jana is thrilled to be returning to the Communications team at the EAC, having worked with the organization in a number of different roles over the years. In addition to having been a communications officer, Jana was contracted by the EAC and City of Edmonton as Artistic Director of the Olympic Torch Relay Celebration in 2010. This event featured seven different celebration sites along the relay route, and featured the talents of almost 300 Edmonton artists. Jana is also a performer and playwright, perhaps best known for her work as a cast member/writer on CBC Radio's The Irrelevant Show, and APTN's CAUTION: May Contain Nuts. She was the grateful recipient of a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award in 2010, and an Edmonton Artists' Trust Fund Award in 2015. 


Bob Rasko

Bob Rasko - Community Programming Specialist

Since August 2011, EAC Churchill Square Happenings programmer, Bob Rasko, has produced a diverse schedule of offerings open to the public including: Sunday Swing 'n Skate, Live at Lunch, CypherWild and Zumba on the Square.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts - Grants, Awards & Support Programs Officer

Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Art History from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. During his time at Mt. A, Chris worked as the editor of a student-run literary journal and will work on the creation of its 25th Anniversary Edition. Before joining the Edmonton Arts Council, he held positions at Edmonton Community Foundation and The Works International Visual Arts Society. He is an active volunteer in Edmonton’s arts community, and recently concluded his term as President of Common Ground Arts Society.

Chris also trained in classical and jazz trumpet, and will sometimes pick up new instruments (most recently an accordion) to perform for his house plants. In his spare time, Chris likes to drink five-dollar coffee and read. He also enjoys writing, visiting art galleries, and seeing live theatre.

Danny Ross

Danny Ross - Business Manager, TIX on the Square

Prior to joining the Edmonton Arts Council in 2019, Danny studied Math and Economics at the University of Alberta and Interior Design at Parsons in New York. As an advocate for the local design and manufacturing community, Danny has previously worked with the City of Edmonton to develop the Edmonton Made program and has also consulted for various Edmonton-based industrial and interior design firms.

Outside of the office, Danny is highly passionate about international travel, house plants, small dogs, and Japanese pottery.


Sanjay Shahani - Executive Director

Sanjay Shahani is an arts professional who has worked in the arts for more than 25 years. He has produced  documentaries such as Don't Pity Me, Jaromír Skrivánek, and the series Different, Yet the Same: A Look at Canadian Cultures Today. He has also produced theatre and is especially pleased to have contributed to Twisted Metal and Mermaids Tears, a community-engaged, professional theatre work that represented the plurality of South Riverdale in Toronto. Sanjay has also contributed to the growth and development of arts organizations in South Asia and North America, and continues to act as volunteer advisor to culturally diverse performing arts organizations. He is particularly proud of his stint as the founding Chair of the Prismatic Arts Festival in Halifax. Prismatic is multidisciplinary arts festival that is dedicated to advancing the work of artists and arts organizations of colour and of Indigenous descent.   

Most recently, Sanjay was the Strategy Lead for Arts and Culture at the Ontario Trillium Foundation, designing the foundation’s arts and culture investment strategy. Before being appointed to lead the foundation’s strategy, he oversaw province-wide granting to the sector. Prior to joining the foundation, Sanjay was a Theatre Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts and Community and Multidisciplinary Arts Officer at the Ontario Arts Council where he worked with colleagues to develop the Extended Projects Program and the Multi-Arts Projects Program as a response to the growing intercultural creative expression of artists and arts organizations from culturally diverse and Aboriginal backgrounds.

Besides his artistic work, Sanjay has done scholarly work in education and cultural anthropology. As an educator, he has taught at post-secondary institutions in North America.

 Jenika Sobolewska

Jenika Sobolewska - Public Art Conservation Assistant

Jenika is dedicated to serving the artworks of the civic collection, living artists, and the EAC conservation program in a supportive capacity. An interest in marginalized spaces for the creation and presentation of visual art has lead her through a history of involvement with artist-run initiatives. As a NSCAD graduate, she holds degrees in visual art studio practice and academic art history. A desire to combine the hands-on skills of her studio practice with an interest in academic study has led her to the field of art conservation.

Bobbie Todd - Finance Assistant

After a decade in Calgary, and with 5 years experience as the Operations Director of the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, Bobbie returned to Edmonton in 2016. She worked with the 2017 Works Art & Design Festival before coming to the EAC in the fall of that year.

Bobbie's background as a dance professional led her to arts administration. Having spent her youth in a studio, Bobbie graduated from the Grant MacEwan Dance Program, worked as an Independent dancer/choreographer for the next ten years, and served as the Artistic Director of Mile Zero Dance from 2000 to 2005.

 

David Turnbull

David Turnbull - Director of Public Art and Conservation

David is a graduate of the Master of Art Conservation program at Queen’s University. He has worked at the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the National Gallery of Canada, and most recently at the Denver Art Museum where he specialized in the conservation of paintings and Modern and Contemporary Art. He is especially interested in working with living artists to document their working methods and materials as well as their attitudes towards the aging and long-term care of their artworks. 

Jenna Turner - Communications Director (on Maternity Leave)

A passionate communicator, Jenna Turner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French from the University of Alberta. Before coming to the Edmonton Arts Council, she held positions with the Government of Alberta Public Affairs Bureau and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. A strategic and creative thinker, her academic accomplishments are rounded out by coursework in MacEwan University's Public Relations Program. Jenna has volunteered her talents to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, the CJSR Board, and the Canadian Public Relations Society. Jenna is also a skilled and innovative musician playing violin and the musical saw in local bands.

 Justina Verboom - Grants, Awards & Support Programs Officer

Justina Watt received her Bachelor of Arts degree in music and anthropology from the University of Alberta in 2010.  In 2012, she completed her Masters in Ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta, focusing on contemporary music by Inuit singer-songwriters.  During her time at the U of A, Justina worked as an intern at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in Washington D.C., traveled to Ghana to study at the University of Ghana, Legon, and as a trumpet player, participated in the Middle Eastern and North African Music ensemble.  Justina has worked for the Canadian Society for Traditional Music as well as the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and is a member of the Mill Creek Colliery Band.

Stephen Williams

 

Stephen Williams - Director of Grants, Awards & Support Programs

Stephen Williams joined the Edmonton Arts Council in 2010 after holding positions with the Government of Alberta and the Canada Council for the Arts. Before moving into those roles he was an active trumpet player, stage manager, community band conductor and music educator in Northern Alberta.  Stephen holds a music Diploma from Grant MacEwan College, a Bachelor of Music degree from the U of A, and recently completed a Masters degree in Public Administration from Dalhousie University. He lives in Edmonton with his family, including the cats Mary and Pippin.


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Edmonton Arts Council • Prince of Wales Armoury, 2nd Floor, 10440 108 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T5H 3Z9 • info@edmontonarts.ca • p. 780.424.2787 | f. 780.425.7620