Board of Directors

Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS) is managed by an elected volunteer Board of Directors comprised of 8 – 11 members, one third of whom must live outside of HRM.  Most Directors are also working artists.

The Board of Directors is comprised of VANS members who are officially elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting to serve a minimum of one term (two years) to a maximum of two terms (four years).

The Board of Directors believes in the importance and value of VANS to the community and is able to endorse the mandate and objectives of VANS without reservation. Acknowledging their legal and fiscal responsibility to VANS, the Board of Directors is familiar with the organizations by-laws and policies, and prepare and meet for Board meetings.

2016 – 2017 Board of Directors

Pamela Swainson (Tatamagouche), President was born in Manitoba and made her way to the East Coast in the 70’s where she attended Mount Allison University in the Fine Arts Program.  As with many women, her art career was put on hold for some years with family commitments and other work.  Since 2007, she has revived her art practice. Pamela has participated in a number of local shows in Tatamagouche and Truro including a solo show, The Figure Made the Landscape in the McCarthy Gallery in Truro and a two person show Rural Roots, with Susan Sweet at the Fraser Cultural Centre in Tatamagouche. Pamela has been working primarily in watercolour, drawing media, and oil painting. Pamela’s earliest memories are of being close to nature.  “Even when I had an urban address, the country is where my heart lived and I would escape the city at every opportunity.  I celebrate the environment around me in my work.  The animals, the sunsets and the quiet growing of the trees all call me back to myself. I am committed to local living and sustainability.” She lives on a small farm near Earltown, in the Cobequid Mountains.  She shares it with her partner and an assortment of furred and feathered creatures.

Nora Macnee CGA (Ketch Harbour), Treasurer, spent her early life in Toronto and Kingston, moved to Halifax to attend Dalhousie University and stayed. She has held many accounting roles with non-profit organizations and recently joined the Board of Veith Street Gallery. Nora has facilitated workshops for Visual Arts Nova Scotia, NSCAD University and Outsider Insight on Taxes for Artists and Financial Management in the Arts.

Dozay Christmas (Membertou) has spent much of her life cultivating her passion for art. Growing up in Western New Brunswick on the Tobique First Nations, Dozay is the middle child of a large family. At eighteen, she left the banks of the Tobique to pursue a formal education at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and although she had always displayed an interest in art, her intention had initially been to pursue a career in education. It wasn’t until her third year at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, with encouragement from several individuals, Dozay decided to switch to the fine arts program and pursue a full-time career as an artist.  She has constructed her creative career around traditional native artwork, capturing First Nations culture and heritage. Dozay has created and displayed her artwork at galleries and exhibits across the Maritimes, Ontario and the United States.

Eryn Foster (Dartmouth) is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Halifax. Born and raised in small-town Ontario, Foster has also lived in eastern Québec, Tunisia, Montreal, Toronto, Algonquin Park, New England, Vancouver, the Yukon and most recently Sackville, New Brunswick. Foster studied at Concordia University (Montreal) where she received her BFA in 1997 and the University of Guelph, where she received her Master of Fine Arts in 2004. For over 15 years she has been actively exhibiting her work and also participating in various creative projects as artist, event organizer, curator and most recently filmmaker. Eryn Foster has been the recipient of several grants and awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and Arts Nova Scotia. Since the 90’s she has participated in artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Centre, the Macdowell Arts Colony (US), the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Centre for Arts Tapes (Halifax), Point Pleasant Park (Halifax), Struts Artist Run Centre (Sackville, NB) and  La Cité internationale des Arts (Paris). From 2005-2009 she worked as the Director of the artist-run centre Eyelevel Gallery and has also taught at NSCAD in the Departments of Foundation and Fine Arts. From 2010-2012 she worked as the Administrator/Program Director of the Yukon School of Visual Arts while also living off-grid in a cabin on the “other side of the river” in Dawson City.

Ian McKinnon (Halifax) is an artist and educator. He has a BFA from NSCAD (1980) and a MFA from Concordia (1994.) A part-time faculty member, Ian has taught drawing at NSCADU in the Foundation Division since 2003. After course work at the Atlantic School of Theology (2005/6) Ian transferred to the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College (University of Toronto) where he completed a Master of Theology Studies (2011). His thesis, Mutual Illumination and the Artist: Dispossession, Disinterested Love and Making Other is an exploration of and argument for the necessity of theology and contemporary art entering a dialogue. In 2011 Ian resumed his part-time teaching at NSCADU. March 2014 he became Parish Artist-in-Residence at St. Paul’s Anglican Church (Grand Parade, Halifax) where besides pursuing his own work in a studio graciously provided by the church, he has also established an exhibition program within the church itself. In the past several months Ian has been immersed in a new and large cycle of paintings he calls The Parish House Series. Most recently a new subset of this larger cycle of work, titled the Prayer Series, has been emerging.

Originally from Ontario, Kelly Markovich (Dartmouth) and her family moved to Halifax in 2009 in order to pursue a Masters degree at NSCAD University. They are now happy to call Dartmouth, NS their home. Kelly is a practicing artist and entrepreneur whose work encompasses photography, painting, screen-printing, letterpress, and upholstery. Her work has been exhibited in cities across Canada and in the USA. Kelly occasionally instructs courses at NSCAD University and NSCAD University School of Extended Studies. She is an active member of the NSCAD University Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Letterpress Gang at the Dawson Print Shop. Kelly was excited to be the curator for the 2015 NSCAD University Alumni Association Exhibition “I AM NSCAD”.

Ceramicist Fenn Martin (Antigonish Co.) was born and raised in Port Hood, Cape Breton, and currently lives and works in rural Antigonish County, Nova Scotia. A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCADU), Martin largely works in the tradition of the narrative frieze. His innovative style investigates present life while extending historical traditions in architectural ceramics.  Most recently, Martin has participated in solo gallery shows while developing a rapidly growing list of personal and public commissions. His latest public pieces have commemorated the Bergengren Credit Union’s 75th Anniversary (The Gift, 2009), the 50th anniversary of the Coady International Institute (She Does, 2009), and the opening of Antigonish’s new public library (Living Stories, 2011). However, Martin’s most challenging and well-received commission to date has been Making Peace (2011), a testament to the unique ability of clay to commemorate the values and histories of a people.  Fenn Martin masterfully pays tribute to the values, histories, and people who inhabit architectural spaces. Starting with clay, the most organic of materials, Martin crafts an earthen legacy for building inhabitants, visitors, and generations to come.

Hannah Minzloff (Dartmouth) is actively involved in the local arts community.  In 2012 she received a Presentation Grant from Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture and Heritage, in 2009 she was short-listed for the Mayors Award of Distinction: Contemporary Art.  Her work has been exhibited locally and nationally, has been purchased by the Art Bank of Nova Scotia and is in private collections around the globe. Hannah first studied photography in Montreal under the guidance of Clara Gutsche & David Miller.  With an interest in mastering the technical elements, she worked in photography studios in Montreal, Toronto and then Munich, returning to Toronto in 1994 to earn a BAA in Stills Photography at Ryerson University.  Throughout her career as a photo-based artist Hannah has continued to pursue both an aesthetic vision along with specific inquiries into digital imaging and design, to allow herself to grow in a contemporary world of image making and to give voice to her vision.

Carl Snyder (Wolfville) has been involved with photography most of his life and began working professionally in Montreal just after completing a B.A. and M.L.S. at McGill. After 25 years of commercial/advertising work in Montreal and (mostly) Toronto he decided to slow the pace to occasional freelance work for a small local graphics house in Aurora, ON. This allowed for involvement in the local arts community in Newmarket, Ontario and the development of his studio/landscape work, which regards the near abstraction of form (geometry) and color we encounter every day. A move to Wolfville in the fall of 2011 has given him the opportunity to become involved with other artists, communities and landscapes. In Ontario he has exhibited in Toronto, Newmarket, Aurora, and Elora and served on the board of the Newmarket Group of Artists 2009 – 2011. In Nova Scotia he has exhibited in Wolfville, Pictou, Halls Harbor and Halifax. Snyder is currently serving on the board of ViewPoint Gallery as director of communications.

Susan Wood (Halifax) was born in Saint John, N.B. and grew up in Amherst, N.S. She attended Mount Allison University (BFA 1976), participated in the Banff Winter Studio Program (1976-1977) and received an MFA from The University of Calgary (1981). She lived in St. John’s, Newfoundland (1983-1989) where she was a founding member of the Eastern Edge Gallery, taught at MUN Extension Arts and continued her studio practice. Wood moved to Halifax in 1989 and has been teaching at NSCAD University since 1990. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions across Canada and in Finland, Germany, Scotland and Iceland, and has also held a number of solo shows including her nationally touring Devil’s Purse, Dress Drawings and Taxonomies. She is a member of the RCA and is the recipient of grant awards from the Canada Council, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the Nova Scotia Arts Council. Her work is represented in private, corporate and public collections across Canada, UK and in the USA. She lives in Halifax, NS. Earth Skins: Three Decades of Drawings by Susan Wood, curated by Susan Gibson-Garvey, was held at MSVU Art Gallery from August 21 through October 2, 2011.


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