Our Board & Staff
Canadian Mountain Arts Foundation Board and Staff
The Canadian Mountain Arts Foundation (CMAF) is the artsPlace governing body. Established in 1996, CMAF is a volunteer-run registered Canadian charity with a mandate to increase and broaden the opportunities for the residents of the Bow Valley to enjoy and participate in the arts.
Neither CMAF nor artsPlace would be possible without our volunteers — from the individuals who devote many, many hours year-round to sit on the Board of Directors and its committees to all the Bow Valley residents who contribute a few seasonal hours each year to The Canmore Festival of Art and Creativity, the Vic Lewis Band Festival and numerous other arts events hosted throughout the year. In 2014 and 2015, we especially acknowledge the volunteers who have helped shape, launch and continue to support artsPlace.
As a registered non-profit charity, The Canadian Mountain Arts Foundation is able to issue income tax receipts for all donations.
Board of Directors
With a passion for bringing people and communities together, Barb’s career has crossed numerous industries leading teams and building engagement with a creative and innovative approach over a span of 25 years.
Barb is a Senior Manager with Banff & Lake Louise Tourism. Prior to returning to Canmore in 2015 with her family, her leadership role at the University of Saskatchewan with the Division of Continuing Medical Education ignited a passion to inspire continuous learning and professional development. As a classically trained musician, artsPlace is a catalyst inspiring her to re-connect with the arts and explore the stories of local artists and musicians. Barb holds a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta. Along with volunteer roles that strengthen families and communities, her leadership experience in the tourism industry, financial services sector and not for profit post-secondary institution supports the vibrant Board of Directors committed to the vision of artsPlace.
Peter holds a BSc. from McMaster University and an LLB. from the University of Calgary. He has practiced law in Alberta since 1991, working on a broad range of legal issues. He has been a Crown Prosecutor since 1997.
As many before and since, Peter migrated to the Bow Valley from eastern Canada in the early 1980s to ski. His passion for the high snowy places brought him back to Canmore in the 1990s, and he has not yet managed to find a better place to live. He has been active as a community volunteer and with a number of organizations including the Alpine Club of Canada. As a fan and supporter of both the visual and performing arts, Peter is excited to participate in enriching our community through artsPlace.
Patricia has Bachelor of Science, Master of Clinical Science and MBA degrees and was an owner/operator of a thriving non hospital surgical and medical center prior to retiring to Canmore. Through her training and experience, she honed her expertise in business development, strategic planning, asset management (tangible, intangible and intellectual), human resource development, financial planning and analysis, marketing, public relations and networking on an international, national and local level.
She has pursued her passion for healthy, thriving communities through her philanthropic endeavors with a variety of organizations including the Phoenix Theatre, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Lois Hole Foundation, Compassion House, the Bukavu Foundation, Eighteen Bridges, Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International. The Johnston Family Endowment Fund has been established by Patricia’s family in support of the University of Alberta Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute. Patricia along with her family members have oversight of this fund and have taken on fundraising activities to ensure that the valuable work being done at the University continues.
On a personal level, Patricia is a student of oil painting. She is passionate about all artistic endeavors and is keenly aware of the benefits that creativity brings to our lives. She embraces the opportunity to become more engaged in the arts community of the Bow Valley through her affiliation with artsPlace and the CMAF.
Jen brings over 15 years of financial and accounting management experience to the CMAF Board. As a designated professional accountant, her areas of expertise encompass accounting operations, systems, governance, policy development, planning, and financial reporting.
Before shifting her focus to the not-for-profit world, Jen owned and operated a successful inbound tour operation for many years. Since then, she has served as Executive Director of the Bow Valley Learning Council and as Accounting Manager at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Jen currently works as an independent management consultant in the areas of finance and accounting, primarily in the not-for-profit sector.
Since moving to the Bow Valley in 2000, Jen has also served on numerous volunteer boards including the Elizabeth Rummel School Council, the Canmore Minor Soccer Club, and the Rundle Pointe Condo Association.
Jen lives in Canmore with her husband and two children. She is honoured to work with such an amazing team and to support the vision of artsPlace, helping to ensure its sustainability and success.
Afton Aikens holds a bachelor of journalism with honours and a post-baccalaureate diploma in public relations. She is a communications and marketing professional with a love for storytelling.
Afton has eight years of experience in the field in areas such as arts education/events marketing, agency project and client management, travel media, and news reporting. She now works as a marketing officer at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
Afton is driven by building relationships and brands. She has had roots in Canmore since 2007, and first got involved in artsPlace in 2015 as a ceramics program participant.
Afton currently serves as CMAF’s Fund Development Committee Vice-Chair, and previously served as CMAF’s representative on the Canmore Public Art Committee.
Town of Canmore Arts & Culture Liaison
A career partnership-broker and stakeholder-relations specialist, Sabrina has found inspiration in the cultural sector for the past 20 years. With a focus in graduate school on contemporary literary theory and a background as a writer and editor, she served The Banff Centre as a builder of strategic relationships across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors for the last 15 years. She now works as Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Pembina Institute.
A native of the Bow Valley (Harvie Heights), Sabrina is passionate about the role the arts can play in enhancing communities and the lives of diverse groups of people, and is proud to play a role in the governance of artsPlace. She and her husband are raising two fine sons in Canmore.
Nan Hughes Poole
Mezzo-soprano Nan Hughes Poole has a varied and lauded career. She has toured and recorded throughout Europe, the United States, Ukraine and Brazil, as soloist with New York’s Continuum, a contemporary chamber music ensemble. Her repertoire ranges from classical to modern, with symphonies in Vienna, Hamburg, and Kiev, among others. A member of the close harmony vocal trio, Times Three (www.timesthree.org), Nan appears with pops symphonies in the USA and in Canada. She has performed in recital in New York at both Carnegie Recital Hall (as laureate of the Artist International competition) and Merkin Hall. She created the role of Katherine Anne Porter in Anton Coppola’s opera Sacco and Vanzetti, in Tampa, Florida and the role of Mrs. Stone in The Agony of Mrs. Stone by Sebastian Hutchings, here in the Bow Valley. Summer sees her return to Music by the Sea, a two-week festival on Vancouver Island, for chamber music and the American songbook with some of Canada’s best classical and jazz musicians.
Nan has a degree in English Literature from Harvard University and a Masters in Music from Boston University. She was a member of the prestigious Juilliard Opera Center, where she was chosen as a Lincoln Center Student performer, sharing her love of music with school children in the 5 NYC boroughs. Here in the Bow Valley, Nan is a frequent faculty member at the Banff Centre, has run Girl Guides, and teaches voice. She also volunteers with the Banff Community High School drama department, to teach the next generation of performers.
Director - Town of Canmore Council Representative
In 1993 Kari found the art of jewellery making, literally by accident. While recovering from a serious snowboarding injury, she enrolled in her first jewellery class on a whim. Two decades later, she is still at it and still loving it.
Kari is an honors graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design, the former owner of INFLUX Jewellery Gallery in Calgary, an aspiring sculptor and a proud parent. She currently works out of her home-based studio in Canmore, producing two collections of sterling silver jewellery and custom-designed creations for her clients. Her work can be found across Canada and abroad through independent boutiques, galleries and tradeshows, as well as online.
Kari has been active with CMAF since 2012, and is currently working as part of the communications team for the new art centre. She deeply believes that art changes lives and is very excited to be able to contribute to the establishment of what will become an integral part of the Canmore community.
Bellanne (Belle) Meltzer Toren, B.A.S, J.D., ICD.D
Bellanne (“Belle”) Meltzer Toren has more than 30 years of experience in the international petroleum industry involving in over 21 countries. In July 2017, she obtained her ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. Since 2009, she maintains her own practice as an international petroleum consultant in Canmore. From September 2006 to the end of 2008, she has worked as a consultant in the Calgary office of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP. Prior to 2006, while residing in Dallas, Texas, she held the roles of Director of International Negotiations for Hess Corporation, Vice President Legal of Triton Energy Ltd, and associate lawyer at Thompson & Knight LLP.
She holds a J.D. with High Honors from Duke University School of Law and a B.A.S. with High Honors from Guilford College. During her studies at Guilford College, she was a police officer with the Greensboro Police Department.
In the mid-1970’s, Belle Toren lived on Kibbutz Gevulot. Her acrylics canvases and silk screens were exhibited throughout Israel and she was elected to membership to the Israel Painters and Sculptures Association and Kibbutz Artzi Artists Union. Prior to moving to Israel in 1973, she studied fine arts at Bennington College in Vermont.
Jeremy has worked in the non-profit arts sector his entire working career and is passionate about the vital role that the arts and creativity play in the development of any vibrant community. A graduate of the Schulich School of Business (York University) MBA Program with a specialization in Arts and Media Administration, he spent over 17 years as Director of Marketing at the Canadian Opera Company where he was part of the senior management team that oversaw the building and opening of Canada's first purpose-built opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. He also served as Managing Director of Autumn Leaf Performance, and General Manager of Solar Stage theatre company both in Toronto. A native of Montreal, Jeremy also holds a BA in North American History from McGill University and sits on the Board of Directors of the Canmore Downtown BRZ, Canmore Community Cruisers, and the Bow Valley Music Festival.
An engaging arts and community professional, holding a Diploma in Broadcasting, Radio and Television from the School of Communication Arts at Seneca College, and Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Theatre and Film Studies from Queen's University. Kizzie has applied her education to a gamut of capacities both here in Canada including lighting and sound design, dramaturgy, production management, directing, youth mentorship and programs management, at a number of theatre companies, arts and public sector organizations in Toronto ON and northern Alberta; and internationally for Royal Caribbean International, cruising the St. Lawrence Seaway, the North American Atlantic coast, and throughout the Caribbean.
But, it was her work at The Banff Centre through which she fell in love with the Bow Valley, and she seized the opportunity to return to Canmore - not only to play, but also work, bringing her skills and passion here to artsPlace, as well as to the Bow Valley Learning Council as a member of Board of Directors.
Communications Manager (On Leave)
Paula has called Canmore home since moving here from Poland 11 years ago. An experienced communications and fundraising professional, she is passionate about connecting with her community in everything she does. With education in communications from University of Warsaw and Mount Royal University, as well as a previous fund development role at the YWCA Banff, Paula is excited to use her diverse set of skills in writing, marketing, relationship-building and project management to support the excellent work of artsPlace.
Evening Administration Coordinator
Administration and Operations Coordinator
Charlene holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Science Degree in Computer Science. With these degrees, she spent 22 years in the high-tech industry before switching gears to work in arts administration. After the switch, Charlene spent 8 years at the Banff Centre, most recently serving as their Registrar. Charlene is passionate about community arts because she believes that everyone has a creative spark. She is happy to have the opportunity to utilize her extensive administrative skills in support of our creative community. In support of community arts, Charlene's photo was taken by one of our Rock Your Camera workshop participants. Photo credit goes to: Seth Perez.
Communications and Fundraising Manager
Laura McLean is a communications professional in the cultural not-for-profit sector, with extensive experience in writing, fundraising and project management. Prior to this transition to the administrative side of the cultural sector, she worked as an actor in the Canadian theatre, TV and film industry. This wide range of experience on both sides of the stage has given her a unique sensitivity to marketing artistic projects.
Vic Lewis Band Festival Producer
Elections to the volunteer Board of Directors are held annually. The board welcomes interest from all involved in the arts as well as arts lovers who wish to share their skills, as well as representation from Canmore’s various arts and culture organizations. Please contact us directly for more information on volunteering on the board, or for a wide variety of other volunteer opportunities.