Harry Jennings, President
Harry Jennings has been involved in arts and culture in Williams Lake for several years as Town Crier, Quintet Plus member, Studio Theatre actor and executive, Community Band tuba player, Community Arts Council President and Treasurer, Elvis tribute artist, Performance In The Park MC and audience member at untold events.
Jane Perry, Past President
Jane Perry went west from Ontario to ski as a teenager and has considered herself a western Canadian since. She studied forestry at the University of Alberta, and as a summer exchange student in Finland she learned to weave on a pirta backstrap loom. Back in Edmonton, she took an after-hours weaving course during her final year of studies. After graduation, she worked as a professional forester in the Cariboo for over thirty years while enjoying weaving as a hobby. She recently switched priorities and became a full-time weaver through her business, Cariboo Handwoven.
Jane has immersed herself in local arts and culture for 35 years. She is a member of the Williams Lake Spinners and Weavers Guild, past-president and treasurer of the Cariboo Festival, and an occasional cellist playing Baroque chamber music with her musical friends.
Bettina Johnson, Vice President
Bettina is closely tied to the community of Esk’etemc (First Nation), where she manages Employment Assistance/Economic Development for the band. She is a big believer in promoting artistic giftings, while honouring cultural heritage & perspectives.
She is a native of Switzerland, with childhood/formative years shared between her home country and the Cariboo. After completing a Diploma in Business (in areas including marketing, accounting, and communications) within a 3-year apprenticeship in Switzerland, she returned to the Cariboo area, and as of 2015, to her husband Robert’s home community of Esk’et. Together with Robert, she has created artistic tiny homes and a Bed & Breakfast business, named “Esk’et Tiny House”. Bettina is an entrepreneur at heart – she loves business, the arts, and helping to grow sustainable, thriving communities.
Thomas Schoen, Treasurer
Thomas Schoen, a native of Germany, immigrated to BC in 1993 where he established the award winning Xats’ull Heritage Village as one of BC’s premier First Nations Tourism sites. He restored and successfully operated two businesses in Barkerville Historic Town: The St. George Hotel and McMahon’s Confectionery. He held contracts with HRDC to plan and facilitate long-term training programs for the Aboriginal community, formed partnerships and consulted with BC’s First Nations’ groups for the past 17 years. Tom has been involved in the Arts & Culture Sector studies and strategies for the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition and is currently the Executive Director for the Central Interior Regional Arts Council. Thomas serves as a director on the following boards: The Williams Lake Cycling Association and the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium. Previous board positions include: Island Mountain Arts, The Barkerville Advisory Committee, The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, The Wells & District CoC, the Barkerville Merchants Society and the Wells & Area Trails Society.
Lisa Bland, Director
Lisa has lived in wild, beautiful places as long as she can remember. The tidal pools, coastal rainforests, and friendly rural communities of Northwest British Columbia shaped her sense of place, passion, and commitment to caring for the world. Lisa has been involved in writing and publishing for the last 18 years. She has volunteered with numerous conservation groups and has worked in field research doing forestry, fisheries, bird, and plant studies. She holds certificates in Professional Publication Writing and Magazine Publishing and has lived in the Cariboo Region on and off for the past 20 years. Lisa attempts to juggle her passion for writing, photography, and activism with time spent outside exploring wild places. Nature is by far her favourite and most inspiring teacher.
Ann Smith, Director
Ann was born and raised in New Brunswick, and ventured out to BC early on her social work career. She has been in the Cariboo for most of the last 28 years, with her partner and their twin boys. Ann’s work in community social services with Axis Family Resources keeps her challenged and motivated to provide the best possible service to children and families in this area, as well as other parts of the North and Interior. Ann has been involved with the Cariboo Festival Society for several years, a fabulous volunteer-run organization incredibly dedicated to the development and showcasing of performing arts by children, youth, and adults in Williams Lake.
Diane Wright, Director
Diane moved to Williams Lake to begin her career as a teacher. She believes the arts are a critical component of personal and community well being. She encouraged and supported her children and students to participate in a variety of art opportunities. In retirement she loves to spend time learning about indigenous art and local artisans, visiting art galleries, theatre performances and concerts wherever her travels take her. Diane recently joined the Cariboo Camera Club to discover more about her latest interest – the art of photography.
Leah Selk, Executive Director
Leah grew up in Williams Lake and has been involved with the arts community from an early age. Shortly after graduating from Columneetza Secondary, she moved to Victoria to complete the Diploma program in Visual Arts at Camosun College, garnering a taste of a great variety of mediums. Originally having an interest in drawing, painting, and print media, she found her niche in film photography and moved to Montreal to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Major in Photography. While attending studies in Montreal, she also worked as a technician for the University’s Photography Department, curated for the Art Matters 2008 festival, and completed two professional internships as a teacher’s assistant for Digital Photography. Leah returned to Williams Lake in 2008 to take on the position of Gallery Exhibition Coordinator for the Station House Gallery until becoming Coordinator for the CCACS in late March 2011, and now Executive Director.
Emily Clearwater, Arts Centre Administrator
Emily hails from New Zealand and moved to Williams Lake in 2017. She is a professional engineer and specialized in geothermal reservoir modelling. However, since moving to Canada she has been pursuing other interests; Emily is president of the Williams Lake Climbing Association, a member of Quintet Plus choir, a member of the Williams Lake Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists’ Guild and on the Board of Directors of the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake. Alongside her enthusiasm for the local arts and culture scene, she enjoys exploring the outdoors of this wonderful province, as well as learning how to be a Canadian!