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2016 BC Culture Days Ambassadors

Lori Knorr (Smithers) was born in Kelowna B.C. and received her diploma in Fine Arts fromthe Okanagan University. She now lives near Smithers with her husband and two daughters on a farm in the Kitsequecla Valley. Lori has participated in group 9 shows over the last 15 years as well as her solo shows the Treeplanter Series and the Salmon Journey. Felting is currently the primary focus on her long list of creative endeavours. 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.

Culture Days Event: Lori presented an NWCC Arnica Salve Making Workshop; she taught about the medicinal properties of Arnica and demonstrated how to make salve; she organized a successful Community Kitchen Cultural Luncheon; at Studio 8, she invited people to discover the world of wool and needle felting; and she organized the Valley Youth Fiddlers Backdrop Felting Project, where she invited the public to help create the first panel of the felted backdrop for the VYF upcoming tour called Alaria’s Fiddle. At the Bovill Square she coordinated an event, where Charrine Nazil Lace was available for discussions about local First Nation’s legends and turning them into children’s books, as well as an event by Jana Fox, who did a timeline demonstration using a long string of beads to show how long the Witsuwit’en have been on the territory and how it coincides with the pyramids and other world events.

INSTAGRAM: @loriknorrstudio8
FACEBOOK: @felting.artist.lori.knorr
TWITTER: @Nika_LoriKnorr
YOUTUBE: Lori Knorr

Deana Peters/Mutable Subject is an artist working in dance since 2003. Living and learning on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-waututh Territories (Vancouver), she creates, performs and produces for the stage and DIY spaces. As a designer, she also create for web and print. She’s on staff at CADA/West, advocating for fair standards in dance. Her embodied knowledge informs all of her work. It’s all dance:

Culture Days Event: Deanna presented Body Talk, a movement class, talk/discussion and multi-media installation, in the hopes of bringing some of the physical knowledge of the dance artist out into the open, to share with everyone. Body Talk was open to all ages and abilities and was wheelchair accessible. The class was 1.5 hours long, with 15 mins on each end for preparation and discussion. She also created a webpage to accompany and document the project.
INSTAGRAM: @mutable_subject
FACEBOOK: @mutable.subject
TWITTER: @MutableSubject

Keyanna Burgher (Vernon), originally from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, moved to Vernon, BC in the summer of 2015 following her graduation from 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. 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.

Culture Days Event: Keyanna presented the Stories of the Past Opening Reception. She partnered seven artists with seven local seniors and over the summer had them create an art display based on stories from the seniors’ past. The opening, on September 30, consisted of the artists and seniors speaking about the project; how their stories were transformed into artwork, and how their experience was working with each other. There more than 120 people in attendance, making it a very successful event. She also hosted a two-hour Stories of the Past workshop for artists, writers, and musicians, in which she did a presentation on how to transform a story into a piece of art/writing/music.

INSTAGRAM: @keyannaburgher
FACEBOOK: @keyannaburgher
TWITTER: @keyannaburgher

Kirsten Van Ritzen (Victoria)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 11 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.

Culture Days Event: Kirsten presented a workshop and play reading of her new work: Radioland 48. The workshop was an opportunity for actors to be seen at the auditions for the play and future projects. It also gave young actors the opportunity to perform and participate in the workshop.
INSTAGRAM: @kirstenvanritzen
FACEBOOK: @kirsten.vanritzenr
TWITTER: @mscomedydiva

Pooneh Alizadeh (North Vancouver) is the Artistic Director of the 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 five 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 on presenting variations of Middle Eastern folk dance through the personal message of the dancer. She believes there is no dance without real emotion.

Culture Days Event: Pooneh presented a Middle Eastern dance workshop at Lonsdale Quay, drawing in huge crowds and audience members willing to try out the moves with her dancers around the stage.
INSTAGRAM: @amed_dance_academy
FACEBOOK: @amed.pooneh