John Van Burek
John Van Burek is the Founding Artistic Director of Toronto’s Pleiades Theatre, a company devoted to producing plays from other languages and cultures in new Canadian translations. Pleiades is equally devoted to working with New Canadian youth to help them bring their creative abilities to the fore and to reinforce language and communications skills. Its youth programs are offered in both official languages. Mr. Van Burek, who founded Toronto’s only French-language theatre, is one of Canada’s preeminent translators for the stage, a former member of the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal and he currently sits on the Board of the Toronto Arts Council.
Santa Monica, California
Lance Carlson was formerly President & CEO of the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary. Both a sociologist and a designer by education, he has worked in higher education for over 30 years, combining his passion for the arts with community-building activities such as the Stirring Culture initiative in Calgary. He has been on various non-profit boards for arts and community organizations, and has played a role in economic development initiatives linking cultural and community development activity to economic improvements. A citizen of Canada and the United States, he is presently Director of Strategic Consulting & Brand Design with Gensler in Los Angeles.
Valerie Pike, BA, BEd, MA (ED)
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Valerie is an educator in the area of second language learning and intercultural understanding with expertise in teaching via live application of information and communication technologies. With numerous stakeholders, she has implemented experiential learning programs in Cuba and Russia for Newfoundland and Labrador students and she has worked extensively through virtual platforms to deliver second language programs to rural and remote communities.
Valerie is Vice-Chair of Young Adult Cancer Canada and is Past-President of the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers. Her involvement in community arts endeavours include a retrospective art exhibition, biographical publication and scholarship endowment to Memorial University to honour the lives and artistic contributions of two of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most valued visual artists, Reginald Shepherd and Helen Parsons Shepherd.
She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, a Rotary Award for Excellence in teaching and the Canadian Parents for French award for French immersion teaching in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Stephen Wilson is currently the co-founder and Executive Director of Graffiti Art Programming. Wilson graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1986, with a Bachelor of Arts and a Criminology Major. In 1988, Wilson took a job with the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and worked as a prison guard for 9 years. His time with the CSC provided many key insights which served as a foundation for his later work as a front line community activist.
Established in 1998, Graffiti Art Programming is a community youth arts centre, located in Winnipeg’s historic Point Douglas Neighbourhood, that uses Urban Art as a tool for community development, social change and the individual growth of its participants. Over the past 15 years the agency has grown and evolved so that it now works with and supports all different types of artistic pursuits and young artists. Free after-school art classes attract more than 1,500 registered children and youth each year. Schools from across the Province regularly tour of the gallery’s Urban Art exhibition space attracting over 4,000 students and teachers each year. The Gallery’s exhibits also attract 10,000 additional visitors from outside of the school system each year.