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Equity Committee


Directed by the one of the goals of the Edmonton Art Council’s current strategic plan, the inaugural EAC Equity Committee was formed August 2013. This committee will advise and make recommendations to the EAC on policies, programs and practices to advance equity, cultural diversity, access, and inclusion for artists and arts organizations.

The Equity Committee meets quarterly, and is comprised of EAC Board and community members who:

  • are committed to promoting and practicing equity within the Edmonton Arts Council and the arts community
  • are knowledgeable of various art practices
  • are knowledgeable about the Edmonton arts community in addition to artists within their own communities who are experiencing barriers
  • represent various genders, age groups, cultural diversity, abilities, and artistic disciplines
‘Equity’ refers to equitable outcomes for all and requires the removal of systemic barriers and accommodation of differences whereby individuals and groups can benefit equally. Different treatment, rather than treating everyone the same is necessary to obtain equal results.*

Current Members

Ahmed Ali


Ahmed Ali

Community Representative

Ahmed "Knowmadic" Ali is a Somali-born Canadian poet, writer, actor, comedian and student of knowledge. He is one of the founders of Breath in Poetry Collective and also the founder of Edmonton Youth Poetry, a bi-weekly evening event that focuses on providing youth mentorship and opportunities to grow as artist. Ahmed is a 2011 Canadian Champion of spoken word poetry, becoming both the first Somali and Edmontonian to win the national competition. Within the same year Ahmed was awarded the RISE Award for community involvement in Arts & Culture. He was a finalist candidate for Edmonton’s 2012 Poet Laureate, and in 2013 Ahmed was awarded Artist-in-Residence at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Centre in Seattle Washington, where he performed several sold out shows.

Ahmed’s art has bridged cultural gaps between many communities; he has collaborated on events with the Punjabi, Chinese, Turkish, Palestinian, Eritrean, Sudanese, Tanzanian, First Nations, LGBT communities, and many more. He also provides workshops for both teachers and students throughout Edmonton.

Kaz Curtis

Kaz Curtis

Community Representative


Kaz Curtis (“KazMega") is a POEMcee/Producer and an artist of many hats. He has acquired many titles over the years, such as : 2012 WCMA Nominee for Krystle Dos Santos’ Fame Fatale; 2013 Kaleido Festival Words We ‘Ave Poetry Slam Winner; Producer/Writer/Performer on Politic Live’s “Pusha Man” (2013 Hot 107 Factor Winner); Host on CJSR FM 88.5’s Urban Hang Suite every Saturday (midnight-3am); Co-Founder of Hip Hop in the Park, and Captain of the 2013 & 2014 YEG National Slam Team. KazMega's record with DJ Baggylean G.R.I.L.L.I.O.S. was on the 2014 Edmonton Music Prize shortlist and in 2015, he was a nominee for the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts' Northland’s Emerging Artist Award.

KazMega has also worked with youth from indigenous; immigrant & refugee, and LGBTQ communities and has facilitated several Hip Hop and poetry workshops in the community in Edmonton, northern Saskatchewan and Denver.

Yazmin Juarez

Yazmin Juarez

Community Representative

Yazmin Juarez is a Guatemalan-born visual artist. She works with youth and young adults who suffer from mental illness or addiction. Yazmin is part of the Memoria Viva Society of Edmonton which allows her to be active and creative in building solidarity within communities and to fight for what she  considers to be important. in 2015 she founded a non-profit organization called Communities at Play, which empowers young women and girls through social work and recreation.

Jazmin has shown her art work at various community events and has developed workshops which use arts as a tool to deliver the subjects; she also teaches art classes through YEG Social Painting, an initiative that she started in 2015.

As a two-time Artist of the Year nominee through the Latin American Chambers of Commerce, Yazmin hopes to continue to work with different artists to enrich the artistic community in Edmonton.

Aasttha Khajuria

Aasttha Khajuria

EAC Board of Directors representative

Aasttha Khajuria is an artist, entrepreneur, businesswoman and community builder. Born and raised in India, she developed a strong love and passion for dancing. She brought that love with her to Canada where she professionally trained in a North Indian classical dance form known as Kathak. She is the owner of Root-School of Kathak in Edmonton, AB and co-owner of Baat Cheet Films, a creative film production house.

Aasttha's journey from India to Canada has given her a positive perspective and appreciation for both worlds. She is the recipient for the Edmonton Arts Council’s 2011 Cultural Diversity in the Arts Award.

Vern Thiessen

Vern Thiessen

Community Representative

Vern Thiessen is one of Canada’s most produced playwrights. Well known plays include Apple, Einstein’s Gift, Lenin’s Embalmers, Vimy, Shakespeare’s Will, Of Human Bondage and Bird Brain. He is the winner of the Sterling, Carol Bolt, and Dora Awards for Outstanding New Play. He is also the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama in 2003 and was a finalist in 2011. Vern is an Associate Artist at Epic Theatre Ensemble in New York where he lived and worked for seven years. Vern is currently the Artistic Director of Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre in Edmonton.

Brian Webb

Brian Webb

Community Representative

Brian Webb graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. In 1979, he formed the Brian Webb Dance Company as “company in residence” at Grant MacEwan College, where he was the Chair of the Dance Program for ten years. The company began presenting a dance season in 1991 and is now the largest season of contemporary dance west of Toronto. Since the beginning, the BWDC has been dedicated to experimentation, the new, and a collaborative creative process. His company has commissioned over 30 musical scores, numerous installations by visual artists and scripts by writers. Brian collaborates with local artists and works to give their work a broad context by tours across Canada and abroad.

Brian has a keen interest in working with artists from other media and believes in collaboration being the democratic exchange between individuals to make something new.

In 1995, Brian was awarded the Syncrude Award for Innovation in Artistic Direction and in 1998 he won the Telus Award for Arts of the Future (for Project Desire: The Mountains and the Plains). He was selected as an interdisciplinary artist in the 2000 Alberta Biannual of Contemporary Art. Brian has been inducted into the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame (2002), and received the Queens Jubilee Medal (2002) and the Alberta Centennial Medal (2005).

He was the president of Latitude 53 and PACE [locally], the Alberta Dance Alliance [provincially], and the CanDance Network [natioanally]. He has served on the boards of the Compassion House Foundation [7 years] and the Nina Haggerty Centre [2 years]. He believes that artists must be active participants in the community at large.


* “Utilization of an Equity Lens and an equity impact statement”, City of Toronto Office of Equity, Diversity and Human rights, June 2006, cited in Neighbourhood Arts Network Arts and Equity Toolkit, p.8 (2012)

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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