Jerre explores the shifting rhythms of a particular space and uses gestural shapes, light, shadow and reflection, to capture these spatial rhythms.
Virginia Eichhorn has worked in the visual arts field for over twenty-five years. She is currently the Executive Director & Curator of Quest Art School + Gallery in Midland, ON. Previous positions include the Director & Chief Curator of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery (The TOM) from 2009-2018, and she was the first full time Curator of the Canadian Clay & Gallery from 2005-2009. In 2009 she won the Ontario Crafts Council Award for Curatorial Excellence. Under her leadership the TOM received an A rating from the Ontario Arts Council which means the TOM exceeded the standards of excellence artistically and administratively. In 2016 she successfully completed the Certificate in Not-for-Profit and Charity Finance Leadership programme through the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario programme. In 2017 she contributed a case study to the revised edition of the Manual of Strategic Planning for Cultural Organizations published by Lord Cultural Resources.
Celeste Scopelites is the Director of the Art Gallery of Peterborough, previously the Director/Curator at the Art Gallery of Sudbury, and prior to that Manager of the Residency Program and Curator at the Living Arts Centre. Her education was both in fine art and craft, specifically textiles. She graduated from the OCA Textiles Department and continued her studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art's Fibre Department. In her early career as a craftsperson she ran her own weaving business and studio shop. This practical experience served her well in future roles, and her interest and passion for craft has influenced many of the public gallery exhibitions she has programmed. In her current role at the Art Gallery of Peterborough she has helped build its Shop reputation for representing craft, and works with local initiatives, such as the Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour, to connect with and support craft. She has hands-on experience in dealing with critical and time sensitive organizational challenges, and she welcomes the opportunity to bring the expertise of her experiences to help support the ongoing vitality of Craft Ontario.
Katy Baker is a certified international trade professional (CITP), CPA-CMA, and has been an Export Development Officer and more recently operated her own Export Consultancy. Over the course of her career she has worked and collaborated with some of Canada's top trade development entities: Innovation PEI (PE), Kisserup International (NS), Atlantic Craft Alliance (NS), Grow Trade Consulting (ON), and BDC (ON) to name a few, where she worked, collectively, with over 500 companies across multiple sectors (bio-science, agriculture, fisheries, tech, craft & consumer products) and world trading regions (China, India, Brazil, UK, EU and US markets) assisting in client-companies' global growth ambitions. In her earlier career, Katy was the managing director of two non-profits, a Craft Development Officer and a regional event specialist building cultural collateral in her home province of Prince Edward Island Katy graduated from UPEI with her B-Com majoring in Marketing.
Linda Mather has no claim to craft talent or ability, but has a great appreciation for the skill and dedication of those who do. The greatest assets she has to offer are creative thinking and common sense, and a passion to be able to advocate for craft to collectors and the general public. Linda Mather’s professional background is in the medical field as a nurse specialist and she is active on several committees for Health Links Ontario. She has experience in the business of film and television sound as she is married to a musician, composer, and sound engineer, whose family has supported Craft Ontario for many years through the Barbara and John Mather Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Cliff has over 20 years of experience in senior and executive management as well as governance roles in the non-profit sector. With increasing levels of responsibility he has worked and supported the achievement of high performance standards in the community based primary health and community services environment. His leadership in the sector includes multiple site locations, developing and implementing innovative programs, services and special projects, community and primary care initiatives and capacity building, human resources, research, facilitation, multiple source fundraising, resource development and allocation and partnership building. Cliff is a former board member of two Community Health Centres as well as Open Studio Contemporary Printmaking Centre. Cliff brings excellent skills in communication, leadership, coaching/mentoring, innovative, strategic and analytical thinking/planning, systems (re)design combined with sensitivity, determination and motivation. Cliff has an MA in Canadian Art History and is an enthusiastic collector of Canadian studio ceramics - historical and contemporary - and related documentation material.
Barbara has always had a passion for working with her hands, and after graduating from the University of Western Ontario, embarked on a career in the garment industry. She graduated from the Academy of Fashion and Design in Toronto, and started a 15 year business that manufactured imported and exported technical outerwear. After the free trade agreement, a recession and three children, Barbara became head buyer for Northern Getaway. This was a great opportunity to balance a smaller scale business with a large corporation, combining manufacturing and retailing. After 25 years, Barbara decided to take time for family and follow a more creative path. After several years of taking pottery classes and workshops, Barbara enrolled full time in the Craft and Design Program at Sheridan College in 2007, and graduated in 2010 with above honours. This opened up a whole new community of clay. In 2010 she joined the FUSION board of directors, where for over a period of 12 years she held many different portfolios, including President. Her key passion during this time was developing and delivering over 10 mentorship programs throughout Ontario. Barbara currently lives in the Township of Georgina, where she has her own clay studio, making and selling work, and also serves as Chair of the Georgina Studio Tour. She is active with Toronto Potters and many of the ceramic guilds in Southern Ontario.
Christy Haldane joined the Glass program at Sheridan College in 1996 and has been working with glass as her primary medium ever since. She further participated in a student exchange program with the Canberra School of Art in Australia, which expanded her experience of the intrinsic value of the relationships between art, artists and the broader community. With over two decades as a practicing glass artist, Christy rarely relegates her work to the confines of the studio, and exercises her diverse set of skills in fostering relationships. This is demonstrated through her work as website and membership coordinator with the Glass Art Association of Canada (GAAC), the pivotal role she played in establishing the Electric City Culture Council (EC3) as a sustainable arts incubator in Peterborough, as well as her proprietorship of Proximity Fine Art; a gallery hub on Stoney Lake that made the work of Peterborough Country available to collectors and enthusiasts from across the continent. Christy continues to evolve her practice as a glass artist and has successfully moved her business online to better respond to the market during the Covid-19 pandemic. Christy's life experience dictates that the future is unpredictable and the last couple of years have driven that home, but she sees no end to her continued championing of the arts toward creating a united and sustainable arts community.
Nersi Makki holds a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and has been practicing law since 2005 with a focus on civil litigation. He is a member of the York Region Law Association. Nersi is actively involved with the University of Toronto Schools Alumni Association. He is an avid skier and an aspiring gardener.
Viktoriya Rudenko is a visual artist with over 43 years of experience in the field of visual arts. She studied art and design in Ukraine and Russia, and moved to Canada in 2009. After focusing on learning English and taking on different roles, she rediscovered her passion for art in 2014 and began painting as a way of expression. Since then, she has studied new art mediums such as glassblowing and has exhibited her work. She is also a committee member of the Royal Ontario Museum and has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council for professional development. Recently, Viktoriya participated in the Disability Holiday Market in Toronto, Ontario, and is a member of the Deaf Culture Centre. She is known for bringing new methods of art and representation to the Deaf community through her work.
José Niaison has over thirty-five years of experience in the field of visual arts. He recently retired from the Canada Council for the Arts where he spent the last twenty-two years. Among his responsibilities as a Program Officer were all grant programs to fine craft artists and organizations, including the Jean A. Chalmers Fund for the Crafts and, until 2018, the Saidye Bronfman Award (now a Governor General Award). Fully bilingual, José cultivated relationships with provincial/territorial craft councils and the Canadian Crafts Federation, facilitating access to public funding opportunities for the craft sector nationally. Before joining Council, he also gained invaluable experience in the management of commercial and public galleries, both in Montreal and Ottawa. Trained as an artist and an educator, José has hands-on experience of many craft practices, with an emphasis on ceramics, and a deep enthusiasm and appreciation for the creative process and technical skills of craft artists.
Jeanette Romkema is an educator and artist, with a long history of volunteer and community involvement. As an educator, Jeanette currently holds a Masters Degree in Education, serves as Strategic Director and Senior Partner with Global Learning Partners, Inc., a global education and training firm, and is adjunct faculty at the University of Toronto. As an artist, Jeanette earned her Bachelors in Fine Arts in Michigan and a graduate degree in fine arts from Belgium with a focus on photography. In her vocation, she has always woven education and art together. As a customer of Craft Ontario, Jeanette has long admired the craftspeople whose work is featured in the Shop and desired to make a contribution to the craft community. As she has served on several Boards in leadership roles, she brings a wealth of governance experience to the position at Craft Ontario. Jeanette further brings a special interest in the collection and appreciation for Indigenous art and artists. Her profession has allowed her to travel extensively around the globe, and she has a solid collection of artwork from many corners of the world.
Nikesh Shah is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner, and currently serves as Director, Finance Transformation at the Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario’s largest paediatric hospital. Nikesh has nearly ten years of experience supporting and guiding board of directors on financial planning and reporting as well as strategic decision making and change management. Nikesh also has significant experience in supporting the growth of small business through financial planning, marketing, and retail. Having observed the use of art and craft in paediatric healthcare settings, Nikesh is a great believer in the therapeutic benefits of creativity and self-exploration. Nikesh is an aspiring adventure photographer and is passionate about photographing nature, culture, and architecture. Nikesh also has great appreciation for architecture, contemporary art, and music, and thoroughly enjoys observing the creative process and the discovery of aspiring artists across all disciplines.
Helen Song is a Toronto-based craft artist who specializes in ceramics. She currently runs her own business and teaches at clayArt Studios, where she works alongside a diverse community of artists and ceramic enthusiasts. Helen was previously the Philanthropy lead for Harbourfront Centre’s Development department. She gained valuable experience fundraising for a dynamic arts and culture organization where she catered to the organization’s network of donors through research, events and annual campaigns, and secured grants for its diverse roster of programming. Helen holds a BA in Art History from the University of British Columbia and completed additional training in the visual arts and graphic design. She has an international background which contributes to her global perspective on life and art, including prior experience with art institutions in China and the United States. She maintains a passion for discovering and supporting emerging artists and elevating craft as an art discipline. She is also an emerging collector who is interested in ceramics and illustrative works. She looks forward to offering her skillset and experience in strategic planning and fund development activities to support Craft Ontario in service of her love of craft, as well as building on her leadership and governance experience.
Brandon Sousa is an experienced corporate communications professional who has worked for some of Canada’s largest brands and publicly traded companies. With a passion for travel, Brandon writes articles on destinations around the globe for magazines and online news publications, and is accredited by the Travel Writers’ Network. Brandon holds a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations with Honours from Humber College, a Bachelor of Arts in Media, Information & Technoculture, and a Certificate in Writing from the University of Western Ontario. He served on the Craft Ontario Board of Directors from 2016 to 2018 during the organization’s chapter of change.
A non-profit management professional with 15 years experience in the arts, Diana Weir has a successful track record in building strong organizations, supporting great art, and promoting access and inclusion values through programming, policy, and organizational practice. As a seasoned performing arts executive with experience in the opera, theatre, and orchestral worlds, she has held leadership positions in a range of organizations from internationally recognized institutions to grassroots arts organizations. She has deep experience facilitating strategic and operational planning, working with diverse stakeholder groups on complex, long-range initiatives, and partnering successfully with artistic leadership to further the mission and reach of their art.
Diana has served as Executive Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, worked for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as Vice-President, Strategic Partnerships, and served as Interim Managing Director for Toronto Dance Theatre, the legendary artistic home and collaboration hub for contemporary dance in Canada.
Diana studied piano in her undergraduate education and has a Master’s degree in Communications Management. In 2020, she was the recipient of the YWCA Hamilton Women of Distinction award for her contribution to the arts and culture sector and was honoured with the Canada Council for the Arts’ John Hobday award in 2019. Her professional commitment to supporting the advancement of vibrant, artistically relevant, and financially healthy arts institutions is evidenced both in her work life and volunteerism. She is a volunteer mentor for the Business/Arts artsVest program and an adjudicator for the Loran Scholars Foundation. In her spare time, Diana is an amateur musician and metalsmith.