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.
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.
As a registered non-profit charity, The Canadian Mountain Arts Foundation is able to issue income tax receipts for all donations.
Board of Directors
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.
Pauline is passionate about the Bow Valley community and providing opportunities for residents to participate in and engage with the arts. She is grateful for all of the work previous artsPlace Board members and staff have played in establishing artsPlace as such an integral part of community life in Canmore and the wider Bow Valley, and welcomes the opportunity to participate in the further development of artsPlace. Pauline came to the Bow Valley in 1977 after completing her Bachelor’s degree at the University of New Brunswick. After graduate studies in Forest Science at the University of Alberta, she worked as an arts administrator for over 34 years at The Banff Centre encompassing various roles including Program and Operations Manager in Visual Arts, and Employee Relations Manager in Human Resources. Her last 10 years at the Centre focused on work with the Board of Governors, Board standing committees and the President dealing with board/government policy interpretation and compliance, board governance and board relations matters. Pauline retired in 2016 and lives in Canmore with her husband, Martin Finnerty.
Sandi has lived in Canmore for over 5 years, but as an Alberta native has been visiting the Bow Valley her entire life. A member of the ACC, she is an avid skier, rock climber, mountain biker and hiker, but balances those physical pursuits with academic and creative outlets as well. She has a passion for getting involved and making things happen, and is keen to help elevate the (already mighty) role of artsPlace in Canmore, and beyond.
In her current role as a Director of Customer Experience at ATB Financial, she is responsible for the direction and overall product vision for two main product areas: fraud prevention and customer identity and access management (CIAM). She also leads the “Run the Bank“ program, which is aimed at sustaining and improving all major technology systems at ATB. Sandi holds a Masters degree in Education, with a specialization in adult and distance education. She has created programs and products for diverse audiences, and has held leadership roles in both the technology and financial services sectors. Sandi also has certifications in change management (ADKAR model), project and product management.
Since moving to the Bow Valley in 2000, Jen has served on numerous volunteer boards including those of the Elizabeth Rummel School Council and Foundation, the Canmore Minor Soccer Club, and the Rundle Pointe Condo Association. She currently also serves as Treasurer on the Canmore Illusions Gymnastics Club Board.
Jennifer was born and spent her childhood and early adulthood in New Brunswick. She moved to Fort McMurray, Alberta in 2005, where she completed a two year Visual Art Diploma program at Keyano College. In 2012, she made her home in Canmore, further studying and completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2015. She actively participates in various print calls, exhibitions and exchanges nationally and internationally. She shares studio space with two accomplished artists, and teaches printmaking at artsPlace. Jennifer is a maker and promoter of the arts in Canmore and is eager to invest her ideas to the already successful community hub that is 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.
Stephen Legault is an author, photographer, strategy and communications consultant and political organizer who lives in Canmore, Alberta. The author of fifteen books, Stephen was honoured with the Mayors Spotlight on the Arts in 2019. He writes extensively about nature and wilderness, political issues and energy and conservation matters for the Globe and Mail, the Calgary Herald and the Edmonton Journal, and publishes books of photography, essays on landscape and culture and mystery novels with Rocky Mountain Books and Touchwood Editions. His consulting practices includes advising governments, political parties and non-profit organizations on communications, energy transition, organizational development and conservation matters. He is the father of two boys – Rio and Silas – and is married to Jenn Hoffman. Together they spend as much time as possible in the mountains, foothills and canyons of North America.
Sandy is passionate about artsPlace and enthusiastic about her involvement in the Canadian Mountain Arts Foundation. She has been an active volunteer and participant in workshops and courses since artsPlace opened its doors at the same time she and her husband retired to Canmore from Manitoba.
Sandy has a strong commitment to lifelong learning, having been involved in community education, coordinating adult continuing education programs and developing community based family education. She has served on numerous community boards and committees and volunteered in a variety of community services. Sandy's professional career spanned 40 years within the education system as an advocate for inclusive practices for children and youth; Speech/Language clinician, Director of Student Services, University instructor, program and staff developer, guest lecturer and program consultant (locally, nationally and internationally). She has as Masters degree in Education and has published journal articles related to her field; written educational materials for parents and teachers and is is a contributing author of two books.
Now truly retired, she is pursuing her love of writing and the magic of stories by creating flash fiction. She hones her artistic skills by attending courses at artsPlace and last year, drummed up the courage to perform at spoken word open mics, because ... “artsPlace a safe and welcoming space to try new things and be creative.”
Throughout his 45-year career as a lawyer and securities commissioner, Ed has been engaged in the non-profit arts sector and has been a passionate supporter of the arts. Prior to retiring to live in Canmore in 2017, Ed lived and worked in Toronto and also in Calgary and London, U.K. He was a member of McCarthy Tétrault LLP from 1971 until 2010 and was a Commissioner of the Ontario Securities Commission from 2011 until 2017.
Ed has served as a director and executive on the boards of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (Toronto), Canadian Stage Company, University of Toronto, a private charitable foundation and private and public corporations.
Ed holds a B. Sc. from University of Toronto (1968), an LL. B. from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University (1971) and an ICD. D. designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors / Rotman School of Management (2005).
Director - Town of Canmore Council Representative
Born and raised in Canmore – Jeff if happily married to his beautiful wife Megan, and has three children; Josephine, Brayden & Paul. He is the Master Installer of G. Hilstad Roofing of Canmore and a proud member of the Canmore Golf and Curling Club. His interests include spending time with his family, politics, playing sports especially hockey and golf.
Jeff was a Founding Member and Executive Member of Canmore Collegiate High School Student Council (2006/07) and served as President & Vice-President of the Blakiston Condo Board Corpoation from 2011-2015.
Town of Canmore Arts & Culture Liaison
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.
Nicole Fougère is a mountain-trekking, truth-dancing, language-lover who believes that creativity transforms lives. She is passionate about community engagement in the arts. At the Royal Conservatory of Music, Nicole innovated many successful arts education programs. She launched and managed these new programs nationally and internationally. She is a specialist in facilitating leadership training for artists, teachers and community facilitators. As an Artist-Educator, Nicole has lead workshops for children and adults in ten countries on three continents. She creates the learning structures in which people can let their own creativity thrive. Nicole is also a dancer, storyteller and an emerging writer. In her performance career, Nicole danced with several Canadian dance companies including Foundation Jean Pierre Perreault, The Karen Jamison Dance Company and Dance Theatre David Earle. Nicole is inspired by the energy of nature and this influences both her dancing and her stories. She is currently working on a book about mountains, love, spirituality and the importance of change.
Paula has called Canmore home since moving here from Poland in 2006. An experienced communications and fundraising professional, she is passionate about connecting with her community in everything she does. With a communications degree from the University of Warsaw, and a public relations certificate from Mount Royal University, Paula is excited to use her diverse set of skills in writing, marketing and project management to support the excellent work of artsPlace. Prior to working at artsPlace, she has spent 5 years at the YWCA Banff managing fund development activities, community relations, events and communications. She has also volunteered for a number of local organizations, including 3 years on the Board of Directors for Canmore Communtiy Daycare. Currently, she volunteers on the communications committee for the YWCA's VINEart fundraiser.
Becky Lipton Fournier
Fund Development Manager
Becky has a passion for building engagement and capacity that allows great ideas to take flight, innovative programs to become reality, and communities to thrive. Becky has spent the majority of her career in the not-for-profit world, including running programs for youth at risk, working overseas, and in not-for-profit management. In her most recent position before coming to artsPlace she spent over a decade as the Executive Director of Organic Alberta where she took the organization from a $30,000 annual budget to over $1 Million. She has extensive experience with corporate sponsorships and grant writing and has successfully raised several million dollars for various organizations across her career. Becky has also worked as a consultant providing services from fund development, to research and analysis, to strategic planning, to organization and industry capacity building. She has an undergraduate in Environment, a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Education and a Masters in Anthropology. Becky brings an entrepreneurial drive to her work and believes whole-heartedly that embracing the arts and creativity leads to healthy and resilient communities.
Administration and Operations Coordinator
Mia Riley is an emerging ceramic artist with a nomadic art practice. After graduating from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2016 she has embarked on a professional journey that has been fostered through residencies, work and teaching in the arts. In the Bow Valley she works as an arts administrator, ceramics instructor and maintains a studio practice. Prior to returning to Canmore this year, she completed a 9-month internship at the Harvard Ceramics Program where she received specialized mentorship in technical studio operations, ceramic arts education and academic cross-departmental collaborations. She prides herself on the relationships she’s forged within local, national and international ceramics communities and is an advocate for contemporary craft.
Joe found his passion for clay during a 5-year art course in high school, continuing ceramics studies in a 3-year program at Sheridan College. He retired from a 33-year culinary career in 2015 to go back to working with clay. artsPlace has given him the opportunity to develop and share in the world of ceramics with a very eager community. At artsPlace, Joe wears different hats – as a building caretaker, ceramics studio technician, and a popular ceramics instructor. You are bound to see him around the building and in the ceramics studio, keeping things running and sharing his craft with the Bow Valley community.
Evening Administration Coordinator
Maria Gregorish is often the first person you see when you come to artsPlace. A customer service extraordinaire, she welcomes you with a smile when you arrive at front desk to see a movie or a live performance.
Maria moved to Canmore from Romania, where she worked as a writer, teacher, historian and archaeologist. She enjoys living in Canmore with her husband and son.
Vic Lewis Band Festival Producer
artsPlace staff photos by Eva Urbanska Photography