They've been chosen!
Meet the 2016 BC Culture Days Ambassadors. This year's artists specialize in a multitude of different mediums and hail from Vancouver, Victoria, Smithers, Vernon and North Vancouver. Each ambassador will be stimulating conversations and encouraging the public to participate in activities celebrating B.C.'s artists, historians, curators, community organizers and culture enthusiasts.
Congratulations Lori, Deanna, Keyanna, Kirsten and Pooneh!
Lori Knorr was born in Kelowna BC and received her diploma in Fine Arts from the Okanagan University. She now lives near Smithers with her husband and two daughters on a farm in the Kitsequecla Valley. They currently grow garlic and raise turkeys. Lori has participated in group shows over the last 15 years as well as her solo shows the Treeplanter Series and the Salmon Journey. On a daily basis, the landscape Lori moves through is her inspiration. Lori considers herself to be very privileged to live in a part of the world so powerful in its natural state. In Lori's words, “This astounding beauty pulls something inside me so strongly-I must try to capture it.” Felting is currently the primary focus on her long list of creative endeavors. In 2015, Lori was the curator and visionary for the Salmon Journey at the Smithers Art Gallery, using felt as the medium. The vision was to explore the question: “What would the salmon see as it swims up river?” Members of the community were invited to participate and Lori taught over 500 people how to felt. Lori's ‘felt paintings’ were featured throughout the show, the walls covered in felt, as well as 3D salmon swimming up the river.
Deanna Peters is a professional artist for 13 years. She creates, performs, teaches and produces dance for stage, screen, specific sites and beyond. A professional communications designer, she also creates for print and web. Recent projects include choreographing, performing and touring NEW RAW, managing a team of pro dancers learning to play basketball and hosting public dance parties inspired by prairie socials. Deanna has also been busy presenting a screendance project internationally, performing an improvised act with a drummer, co-devising an online platform to create dialogue around dance, conducting improv sessions with musicians and dancers, teaching dance to hundreds of students in various contexts, learning to house dance off of the internet and running a Performing Arts Curation Meetup… It’s all dance.
Photo: Yvonne Chew
Originally from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Keyanna Burgher moved to Vernon, BC in the summer of 2015 following her graduation of the BFA Creative Writing program at UBC Vancouver. Primarily a writer and musician, Keyanna focuses on short story and long form fiction, playwriting, and songwriting. She has written several published, award-winning plays that have been performed across Western Canada, has several Best Actor awards from the Saskatchewan Drama Association, and many regional and provincial vocal awards from the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association. You can find her most recent album “Blind” on Itunes; all songs are written and performed by Keyanna. She has also directed many short films that have reached national recognition. When not writing or performing, Keyanna enjoys drawing, graphic design and abstract acrylic painting. Her passion lies in engaging youth in the arts and connecting with the community to strengthen that engagement. As an instructor and administrative assistant at the Vernon Community Arts Centre, Keyanna enjoys being exposed to new practices and sharing her knowledge of the arts with others.
Kirsten Van Ritzen is a professional actor who has performed across Canada in theatre, television, film and radio. Living in Victoria since 2011, she has performed in plays, musicals and workshops for Theatre Skam, Gotta Getta Gimmick, Belfry Theatre, Theatre One, Island Repertory and Kaleidoscope Theatre. She has performed in hundreds of stand-up comedy and variety shows and in several American made-for-television movies. She has also dabbled in puppetry and will co-host the upcoming Puppet Slam Jam. As Artistic Director of Broad Theatrics, Kirsten has produced and performed in six seasons of the acclaimed Sin City Live Improvised Serial (returning for Season 7 in October), the Funny Women Festival, Geez Louise, Fringe-provise Me, Boyle Street Blues reading. Furthermore, Kirsten has executive-produced and performed in the national APTN TV series She Kills Me. Her stand-up can be heard on CBC Radio’s Laugh Out Loud and she is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Her seventh solo play All My Day Jobs is currently published in One for the Road (Signature Editions). She is also the author of a humour novel the Comedy Diva Diaries. Kirsten enjoys teaching acting, improv and stand-up comedy in her spare time.
Pooneh Alizadeh (North Vancouver) is the Artistic Director of Academy of Middle Eastern Dance (AMED), and has a Masters Degree in Fine Art. She began her educational journey in dance at the age of 5 and has been performing since 1996. She has performed on a variety of stages and has won a multitude of prizes. She was a first place winner onstage at the Caribbean Festival in 2011. Pooneh pulls from a strong background in Middle Eastern, Folk and Ballet dance to create a fusion of dance styles and to delight audiences from all over. She holds beginner to advanced workshops that teach her students traditional Middle Eastern dance practices in a fun and modern environment. Pooneh created her own style, which is dynamic and floating, delicate and sensual, mysterious, yet sincere and natural. She practices at a high level of technicality, with an emphasis are on presenting variations of Middle Eastern folk dance through the personal message of the dancer. She believes there is no dance without real emotion. Pooneh’s passion for dance has allowed her to make deep connections with her community in the North Shore and she hopes to continue to make these connections through her involvement in Culture Days.
Follow our BC Ambassadors on social media to keep updated with their current projects and Culture Days News!
YouTube: Lori Knorr
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