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.
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.
Jasmine Alexander, Director
Jasmine is an interdisciplinary visual artist who moved to Williams Lake in 2017 after completing her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax. She is passionate about the intersection of arts and community engagement, and believes in the importance of making arts and culture accessible to people in all walks of life.
She worked with Downtown Williams Lake as their Events Coordinator for the past 3 years, and coordinated the 2019 and 2020 Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk. She has been a part of various collaborative art projects in Williams Lake, has volunteered for a local youth program, and had her first local solo art exhibit at the Station House in 2018.
Jasmine enjoys painting, hiking the Cariboo with her husband, playing piano, cooking, and surfing.
Jane Bowser, Director
Jane Bowser has called the Cariboo her home since the day she was born. Raised on a small farm near McLeese Lake, Jane has been involved in the arts from a young age, studying various dance disciplines in Quesnel and Prince George over the course of 12 years. Jane has also pursued writing, drawing, film making, and photography on an amateur level. Jane has been a long-time participant and volunteer with the Quesnel Festival of Performing Arts, and in recent years has managed the Williams Lake Farmers’ Market, which provides a venue for farmers, artisans, crafters and performers.
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.
Erich Zirnhelt, Director
Despite growing up and building a family in Toronto, Erich’s always felt the call of his Cariboo roots, and in 2008 Joanne (Meyrick) and he moved “back” here to raise their children. This started in Horsefly, but the demands of teenager activities led them into Williams Lake in 2014. While in Horsefly, Erich often volunteered with Arts on the Fly, and fell in love with the local arts community.
Erich’s been working in IT for over 25 years, with various roles with several enterprise software vendors based out of the US. It’s this foundation of “remote work” that granted him the flexibility to choose to live in the Cariboo.
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 Montréal to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Major in Photography at Concordia University. While attending studies in Montréal, 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!