About the Alliance for Arts and Culture
Founded in 1986, the Alliance for Arts and Culture represents over 350 member organizations and individuals from across the artistic disciplines.
We advocate for our sector by monitoring public policy, synthesizing issues for our members, and representing the interests of artists. We also offer a range of services that allow artists to publicize their events, network, and access affordable and relevant professional development opportunities.
Executive Director Rob Gloor is a leading cultural manager with twenty years’ experience garnered in organizations across Canada. His education includes a Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Western Ontario, an MBA from Queen’s University, and specialized training in arts marketing, development, and strategic planning through the Centre for Cultural Management and the Banff Centre.
Rob has held positions with the Edmonton Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Orchestra London, the London Youth Symphony, and Opera Hamilton, and he taught strategic planning in UWO’s Arts Management diploma program. Since moving to Vancouver, he has provided general management services to several music organizations through his company, GSI Management, and he has served as Managing Director of Pacific Cinémathèque. Rob has been active in cultural advancement and advocacy throughout his career, serving on arts councils, national awards juries, peer assessment committees, municipal task forces, and community boards.
BOARD MEMBERS - 2013–2014
The Alliance for Arts and Culture is governed by an elected board of directors.
President Paul Gravett studied piano in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, receiving a degree in piano performance from the University of Manitoba, after which he worked as a freelance accompanist and vocal coach in Toronto. The desire for a stable income eventually took over and Paul shifted careers to artists’ management. After another move and shift in career, Paul became a facility manager and concert presenter, first at ArtSpring on Salt Spring Island (2000-2005) and then at West Vancouver’s Kay Meek Centre (2005-2011). Paul is currently executive director of the Vancouver Recital Society.
In addition to sitting on the Alliance board, Paul is treasurer for CAPACOA and past chair of the BC Touring Council.
Paul was honoured to receive two awards in 2008: the Business Citizen of the Year Award by the West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, and the Unity in Diversity Award from the West Vancouver Bahá’í community.
Vice President Cory Philley is a writer, performer, producer, director and for over twenty years has worked at every aspect of theatre performance and production, from actor to stage manager and from publicist to performer.
Cory was one of the founding members of La Luna Productions (1999-2007) where she served as co-artistic director and general manager from 2000-2007. She was the production manager for the Jessie nominated “Love Bites” and “Pillar Clock” and wrote and performed for La Luna’s “Shaking the Tree” and Small World, “da big womb, Faith & Two Lip Tango”.
Cory’s one-woman show, “Contrary”, premiered as part of La Luna’s commissioned performance series “Stripped” at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in November 2006. For the third installment of the series in April 2007, “Stripped (3)”, she directed “Hurted”, a new work by Adrienne Wong. Cory has worked as a freelance theatre publicist and production manager for such Vancouver-based companies as Ruby Slippers, NeWorld Theatre and Boca del Lupo.
She is currently the facility and events services coordinator at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby, where she programs the theatre season and supervises the festivals and special events. She is a graduate of the Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts.
Treasurer Jon-Paul Walden has been the executive director of the Evergreen Arts Centre in Coquitlam for the past three years and previously held the position of general manager / artistic director of Keyano Theatre Arts Centre in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Prior to Keyano, Jon-Paul was the general manager of the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver for five years.
He has performed around the United States in theatre and film, residing in New York City for five years after his undergraduate degree, and throughout Canada as a stage performer, with most recent performances for the Arts Club at the Stanley Theatre. Jon-Paul holds a BA from UBC and an MBA from York University.
Secretary Laura Murray is the founder and principal of Laura Murray Public Relations (LMPR). A proven and passionate leader, Laura founded the company to be a bastion for ingenuity and to support Vancouver’s cultural and creative industries. Having trained as a classical ballet dancer for 18+ years, she then turned her aesthetic insights to journalism, providing arts commentary and reviews for the Vancouver Sun, Georgia Straight, and Dance International Magazine. Serving as Ballet British Columbia’s publicist, Laura managed the public profile of the company from 2005 to 2006, working closely with then-artistic director John Alleyne. And later, when she led the successful marketing campaign to save Ballet BC from impending insolvency, securing record amounts of media coverage and raising much needed public awareness. Laura’s strong management style is distinguished by her open-minded creative approach, her attention to detail, and her personal investment in every client’s success. As vice president of client services at Curve Communications, she created and managed a division of the company devoted to arts and culture, while simultaneously managing a number of high profiled corporate clients. LMPR currently represents a number of prestigious arts organizations, including The National Arts Centre, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Vancouver Bach Choir, Artspoints, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Dances for a Small Stage, Blackbird Theatre, among others. Laura was named the Globe and Mail’s November 2010 ‘Employee of the Month.’ She currently sits on the Marketing Advisory Committee for The Cultch.
Fatima Amarshi is the executive director of the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society. Born and raised in Mwanza, Tanzania, Fatima first fell in love with jazz upon her arrival in Toronto in 1986 when she came across Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue”. Trained as a social scientist, the lure of the arts world couldn’t be held at bay for long. After a short stint in the world of cultural anthropology, Fatima made her way onto Toronto’s burgeoning arts and cultural scene cutting her teeth as an executive director at the leading-edge Desh Pardesh Festival almost 12 years ago and ultimately managing one of Canada’s largest festivals – Pride Toronto, a 10-day event drawing over 1.2 million people annually – before making the move to Vancouver. Drawn by the allure of jazz in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, surrounded by a passionate team of staff, volunteers and board members, this East Coast gal has officially succumbed to the charms of BC and is thrilled to call Vancouver her new home.
Tammy Isaacson has worked as an arts administrator for fifteen years and is the owner of Canopy Arts, providing administration services for non-profit organizations. She has experience working in theatre, dance, opera and festivals. She has worked as a director, producer, administrator and stage manager for a variety of organizations including the Belfry Theatre, Pacific Opera of Victoria, Theatreworks, Vancouver Civic Theatres, the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Alberta Opera and Northern Light Theatre. She has been the general manager of the Creative City Network of Canada, general manager of Pi Theatre, artistic director of Intrepid Theatre, producer of the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival, as well as co-producer of the See Seven Performing Arts Society. Tammy is passionate about contributing to community and the value of the arts to society.
Darrin Morrison is the director/curator of West Vancouver Museum. For over 25 years Darrin Morrison has worked as a senior museum/gallery professional in Canada. He possesses extensive administrative, curatorial and collections experience with an in-depth understanding of all aspects of managing and operating large and small cultural institutions. He was exhibition coordinator at the Art Gallery of Mississauga before undertaking a professional development internship at the Museum of Anthropology at University of British Columbia where he then worked as a project manager in design and conservation for fifteen years. In his role with the West Vancouver Museum Darrin has led the Museum through a process of renewal, implementing a broader mandate and program emphasizing art and architecture and is currently working with a Board on the development of a new facility. He sits on the advisory committee of the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. He is an Associate of the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University), completed courses in Museum studies at the University of British Columbia and, in 2012, received a certificate in Leadership Development from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
Lindy Sisson was the executive and artistic director of the Vancouver International Children's Festival from 2000 to 2009 and produced both the Edmonton International Children's Festival and the Teen Festival of the Arts from 1988 to 1991. Other positions she has held include executive director for the ARC Arts Council for the Tri-Cities, general manager for the Playwrights Theatre Centre, tour manager for the Judith Marcuse Dance Company, publicist for the Citadel Theatre, and administrator and promotions coordinator for the University of Alberta Students Union Theatre and Dinwoodie Lounge.
Lindy has a BA in Theatre and Anthropology from the University of Alberta and also studied dance at Grant MacEwan College. Volunteer positions she has held most recently include: Board President for Dancing on the Edge in Vancouver, the Canada Council InterArts Advisory Committee, Canadian Professional Festivals Advocacy Group, Canadian Children’s Festival Association Chair and Canadian representative to the Asian Pacific Presenters Association (APPN).
In her current position as executive director for The ACT Arts Centre and Theatre, and Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Arts Council, Lindy’s mandate is to continue connecting community with the performing and visual arts in significant ways; offer interactive arts education opportunities; and enable performing artists to stage their work and engage with new audiences. With respect to performing arts programming she looks forward to building on her diverse experience in presenting theatre, dance and music and work that resonates with regional audiences of all ages.
Paul Sontz is Tourism Vancouver’s manager of cultural tourism and Tickets Tonight, where he oversees communications, works with event promoters, creates new partnerships, builds customer relations and markets Tickets Tonight. Paul launched Tickets Tonight—Vancouver’s community box office and the only same-day half-price ticket outlet—ten years ago as a joint venture between Tourism Vancouver and the Alliance for Arts and Culture. As manager of cultural tourism, Paul works to build a stronger relationship between Vancouver’s arts and culture scene and its tourism industry. Paul’s prior experience includes working for Northwest Airlines, First Night Edmonton and The Works: A Visual Arts Festival.
He currently serves on the Culture Days Task Force and was recently a part of the Metro Vancouver Regional Culture Committee. Paul is a member of INTIX, the International ticketing association, where he is a jurist on the awards committee and has led sessions at annual conferences. Paul has held various box office positions at the Shaw Festival and BASS Ticketing. He served on Playwright’s Theatre Centre’s board and the Edmonton Professional Arts Council board. Paul holds a BFA from Brock University in Drama and a MFA from the University of Calgary in Theatre Directing.
Jovanni Sy assumed the position of artistic director of the Gateway Theatre in May 2012. He was born in Manila and raised in Toronto where he was based professionally for 20 years as an actor, playwright, director, and dramaturg. For six seasons, he was the artistic director of Cahoots Theatre Projects in Toronto. Under his tenure, Cahoots produced new works by Anosh Irani, Ahmed Ghazali, Marjorie Chan, Guillermo Verdecchia, Marcus Youssef, and Camyar Chai. Jovanni has performed with theatre companies across Canada including Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland (St. John’s), The Grand Theatre (London), The Citadel (Edmonton), The Banff Centre, Theatre Junction (Calgary), Globe Theatre (Regina), Nakai Theatre (Whitehorse), and Soulpepper, Canadian Stage, Theatre Passe Muraille, and Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. His most recent appearance was in Fear of Flight at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Among his numerous film and television credits are regular roles on two CBC series—Riverdale and Side Effects. In 2010, Jovanni was the Playwright-in-Residence at the Shaw Festival where he worked on The Birth of the American Empire (as told by those who received the Blessings of Liberty), an epic drama set during the Spanish-American War. In July 2010, Jovanni wrote and performed his one-man play A Taste of Empire which was nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards including Outstanding New Play. Jovanni directing credits include Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, David Harrower’s Blackbird (Theatre du Pif in Hong Kong) and The Five Vengeances (co-directed with Guillermo Verdecchia for Humber College Theatre). In August 2011, he directed Clifford Cardinal’s award-winning play Stitch for SummerWorks. Jovanni is proud to make his home in Richmond with his wife, playwright and actor Leanna Brodie.
Dorothy Woodend is the festival programmer for DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver. Dorothy has an extensive background in film, arts management and event production. Since 2004, she has been the film critic for The Tyee in Vancouver. Dorothy's writing has been published in magazines, newspapers and books across Canada and the US, as well as a number of international publications. She has worked with the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Whistler Film Festival, the National Film Board of Canada and is a member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle.