Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS) is managed by an elected volunteer Board of Directors who come from all regions of the province. Most Directors are also working artists.
The Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS) Board of Directors is comprised of VANS members who are officially elected by the membership at the organizations Annual General Meeting to serve a minimum of 1-term (2-years) to a maximum of 2-terms (4-years).
The VANS Board of Directors believe in the importance and value of VANS to the community and are able to endorse the mandate and objectives of VANS without reservation. Acknowledging their legal and fiscal responsibility to VANS, the board of directors are familiar with the organizations by-laws and policies, and prepare and meet for quarterly board meetings.
Alongside their roles and responsibility as a VANS Board of Director, regional representatives represent VANS in their designated regions, promoting the organizations mandate and activities, providing regional reports at quarterly board meetings, liaising in their community and with the VANS regional membership, assisting VANS staff with the coordination of activities in their designated region, and optionally, organizing a regional activity once every two years.
2012-2013 Board of Directors
Andrea Puszkar, Interim President and Treasurer, is a clay artist from Regina, Saskatchewan who has lived and worked in Halifax for the past 15 years. She founded Turnstile Pottery in 2001, directed the 4Cs Foundation from 1999- 2005, and has worked primarily in community based arts. She has spent the last 3 years at Lakecity Woodworkers teaching ceramics to adults who are unemployed due to their mental health. She is presently a stay at home mom to a 4 year old and 11 month old and part time social work student at Dalhousie University who finds a bit of time to cast ceramic rabbits in her basement.
Katie Belcher, President (1-year leave, 2012-13), is an artist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Halifax). Belcher’s drawings have been exhibited in galleries in Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia. She is the recipient of numerous grants, and has participated in artist residencies in Canada and Europe. Belcher’s drawing-based practice examines the ways in which humans process experience and build memory, making unusual connections between the objects, literature, spaces, and species by which we are surrounded. Her large-scale charcoal drawings make significant use of erasure. In addition to her studio practice, Belcher works as the Program Coordinator of MSVU Art Gallery (Halifax) where she has curated three exhibitions. She writes for Visual Arts News and various independent contracts. Belcher has served on the Board of VANS as Secretary, and is in her second year as President. www.katiebelcher.com
Eliza Fernbach, Vice President (see bio below Region 7 rep)
Susan Malmstrom, Secretary, attended California State University, Long Beach where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a Specialization in Printmaking, and was awarded a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from the University of California at Irvine. Malmstrom’s work is digitally-based photography, and it is exhibited and collected in both the United States and Canada, where she has received grants and awards. She immigrated to Canada in 2004, and works and resides in the rural village of Bear River.She has been a VANS member for a number of years, and enjoys the networking, exhibition, plus other participatory opportunities that VANS provides, and currently serves as the VANS Regional Representative for Annapolis West.
Vacant – Representative, Yarmouth and La Baie Sainte Marie (Region 1)
Alexa Jaffurs – Representative, Annapolis West (Region 2a) - began blacksmithing in Florida in 1980. Banging on metal proved to be the perfect counterpoint to her career as a librarian. She has been moving her scrap pile northward ever since. Initially she produced small abstract sculptures for interiors and for gardens and other exterior spaces. When she established Ladysmith Forge in Connecticut in 1991, she learned to make hardware and fireplace paraphernalia suitable for 18th and 19th century buildings.
In 2006, she immigrated to Canada. Today, she and her wife live on a 50 acre farm in Mt. Hanley, Nova Scotia. Alexa forges garden sculpture in a converted barn under the watchful eyes of a small flock of sheep. Her work is on display at the Tangled Garden in Grand Pré and the Annapolis Royal Historical Garden.
Lis Van Berkel – Representative, Annapolis East (Region 2b) – is a writer, poet, sound recordist and rural mail carrier who lives in Canning. Lis has published art reviews for The Coast and Atlantic Books Today, and she has worked for CBC Radio and CKDU-FM. She has also curated audio projects through the Centre for Art Tapes and the School of Architecture at Dalhousie. Lis graduated from the University of King’s College Journalism program and from Dalhousie University with her MA in English.
Sally Warren, Representative, South Shore (Region 3), graduated from the Ontario College of Art (Toronto, ON) as a Textile Artist in 1971. She has had a 15 year career as a weaver, tapestry maker, teacher and business owner and a 20 year career in museum and gallery education, during which time she initiated a number of innovative and award-winning programs and publications including two books for teachers on how to use heritage resources in teaching across the curriculum. After retiring from museum work in 2006, she studied at Latrobe College of Art and Design (Melbourne, Australia). She has lived in Nova Scotia since 2008. Warren’s studio practice in Mahone Bay includes drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. She is a member of Peer Gallery in Lunenburg. Warren coordinates the Access Art workshops for artists on the South Shore weekly life drawing sessions and teaches workshops and courses in figure drawing. She continues her work with museums and galleries and the Nova Scotia Department of Education as an education consultant, having recently finished a contract with the Africville Heritage Trust. www.sallywarren.org
Natasha Krzyzewski, Representative, Halifax (Region 4a) is a local artist, activist and volunteer. She works and lives in Halifax and has previously worked with Boards at NSCAD University, the Student Union of NSCAD and the Dalhousie Women’s Centre. Currently, she is building her artistic career and developing her sense of community and engagement in her area. Natasha’s work deals with interpersonal relationships and societal norms.
Vacant – Dartmouth, Bedford , Sackville (Region 4b)
Judith Brannen, Representative, Eastern Shore (Region 5) studied at the New Brunswick Craft College in the 1970’s, graduating with a Major in Weaving and a MInor in Pottery. She and her husband developed a craft-based business in New Brunswick that continued into the 1990s. They moved to Nova Scotia in 1973 for good surfing! In 2004 she began studying theology at St. Stephen’s University in St. Stephen, New Brunswick and is now on the Board of Governors of that University. Brannen started painting seriously in the 1990s. She works in watercolour and oil. About her work, she states, “I love the dynamic of the ‘outward expression of the inward life’. Brannen has been a member of VANS for many years and decided to take the position of regional representative to contribute to the organization and learn more about the role. “We have had some very inspiring Reps from here, and I feel a bit awkward in their shoes, but I rely on the grace and talent of our members to make our time together awesome.”Brannen’ssolo exhibitions include, Halifax Metro Vineyard (2003) and Calais Public Library (2003, 2000). She has participated in group exhibitions in the Atlantic Provinces and Ontario.
Vacant – Representative, Cumberland, Colchester and East Hants (Region 6)
Eliza Fernbach, Representative, Guysborough, North Shore, Antigonish (Region 7) lives and works in Paris, France and Merigomish, Nova Scotia. She specializes in cinema poetry /installation art and collaborative projects. Fernbach holds a BA in Philosophy from McGill University (Montreal, QC) and a Mastere in Arts Plastiques/Arts Numeriques from the École des Beaux Arts (Rennes, France). She has completed Short Film and Feature screenplay seminars at Ryerson University (Toronto, ON) and Color Theory Studies at The New School University (New York, NY). Fernbach has worked with the Mew Media Department at the Pompidou Center (Paris) and at the Internet Art Site “Rhizome.org” (NYC). Active as an educator at the University level, her teaching focus is on Cinema History, The Art of Film and Psychogeography in the US. In Canada she has worked in Theatre, Cinema and for the CBC. Fernbach’s cinema poems have been screened in Festivals worldwide. Her most recent film, La Fête des Mères was inspired by the poem ! by the Canadian poet Anne Simpson. She is represented by Propellor Films in London UK. Excerpts from her cinema and installation work with photo documentation have been published in AdBusters and SPECS journal. She is currently in pre- production on the Cinema Poem SACRED.
Onni Nordman, Representative of Cape Breton (Region 8), is the only son of immigrants from Finland. He entered NSCAD in 1972, the moment when the school was a hotbed of Conceptual Art. It was a formative and galvanizing experience, but immaturity and restlessness led him away to pursue painting, then out of fashion, on his own. He has kept studios apart from his residence since 1978, and has fulfilled multiples of the prescribed ten thousand hours needed to acquire a skill. He has visited many of the world’s art museums in North America, Europe and Russia. In 1990 he returned to NSCAD, majoring in studio, minoring in art history. Garry Kennedy was his studio advisor. In 1995 family crisis caused him to return to Cape Breton where he remains, working out of a studio on a cliff overlooking the mouth of Sydney Harbour. He is the 2009 recipient of the Established Artist Recognition Award from the Nova Scotia Arts & Culture Partnership. His website www.onninordman.com contains an archive of work and a detailed CV of shows.
Charlotte Wilson-Hammond, CFNS Representative, is a visual artist living and working in Nova Scotia for the past forty years. Awarded the Portia White Prize in 2004, Wilson-Hammond was elected to the RCA in 2006. As a passionate advocate for the arts she currently serves on the Board of the Nova Scotia Talent Trust as well as the Cultural Federations of Nova Scotia, and is ex-officio on the Board of Visual Arts Nova Scotia. Wilson-Hammond explores images and associations with the land, earth and sea as well as the human form using mixed media to convey the depth of sensuality and fragility of the world.
Bonnie Baker, AGNS Representative is a Nova Scotia-based artist who was born and raised in Ontario Canada. She studied at Humber College in Toronto, and printmaking at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, (NSCAD University) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale NY and under private tutelage. Baker’s visual art practice—transversing textile, drawing and printmaking—reflects a fascination with the representational element. Her current work centering on historical maritime maps and nautical artifacts, examines the relationship between real object and the illusionary object. She has shown in several solo exhibitions and numerous invitational and group exhibitions including Cambridge Art Gallery, Canadian Textile Museum, Art Gallery of Peterborough, Mary E. Black Gallery, The Ink Shop, Ithaca, NY and in artist-run spaces and commercial galleries. Baker’s work can be found in the public collections of the Art Bank of Nova Scotia, Royal Bank and Societe internationale des enterprises ECONOMUSE as well as private collections throughout Europe and North America. One of her larger drawings has been juried for publication in the The 7th International Drawing Annual 2012.
Alani Caruso Fitterer, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCAD) student representative – bio to follow shortly.
Briony Carros, Executive Director, Visual Arts Nova Scotia