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2017 BC Culture Days Ambassadors

Bobby Bovenzi (Summerland) M.Ed. B.S. African & Afro-American Studies, is a Registered Artist in Residence through Vancouver based ArtStarts AIC and in the Central Okanagan ETTA Excellence Through The Arts. Bobby is a full-time Master Rhythm Circle Facilitator, a seasoned West African drum and dance instructor, and has been a professional percussionist over the past 20 years. Bobby credits the teachings of Arthur Hull for his ‘Rhythm Circle’ techniques as well as extensive study with Master drum and dance instructors: Khalid Abdul N’Faly Saleem, Clyde Alafiju Morgan, Kpani Addy, Mamady Kourouma, Famadou Konate, Mamady Keita, Arturo Muffufo, Keith Terry, and Youseff Koumbassa. Bobby’s troupe Nankama West African Drum and Dance is comprised of 15-20 drumming class students aged 40-80 based out of Penticton. Nankama has been recognized within the Okanagan Life magazine Best of List, Live Performing Act in 2013 and 2014, and nominated in 2015. The troupe has performed in over 300 performances in the Okanagan Valley since 2007 and has helped raise more than a  hundred thousand dollars for local and African charities. 

Culture Days Event: Bobby worked to organize activities at The Summerland Arts Centre, Museum, Beadtrails, Library, Badminton Club, Fitness Centre, Organic Farm, Centre Stage Theatre, and a local Church. He personally provided music and dance workshops for the Philosopher’s Café, Library Reading Time, Centre Stage Afternoon Drum, Dance and Song Circle, and evening musician’s sharing of how songs are created that included a 20-person jam.
INSTAGRAM: @bobbybovenzi
TWITTER: @bobbybovenzi

Robert Brown (Dawson Creek)is a prolific Canadian writer, creator, performer, and artist. He has written more than 8,000 newspaper stories and 5,000 poems and has won an AWNA news story of the year and two MCNAs for photography. Stage roles include Macduff, Petruchio, Crassus, Tybalt, and countless others over the last fifteen years. Film work includes RV, Locked Down, Sunday, and Goodbye Planet Earth. He’s performed three times on the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s stage, including an acclaimed Shakespeare run during the Winnipeg International Fringe Festival, and directed his own four-act script Los Angeles, 1983 for 2013 Culture Days.  He has also directed his own acts, Revolver 101 and PCP: Picketwire Community Park, which picked up recognition in Manitoba and Alberta respectively. In 2014 he worked with novelist, Stephen King, on bringing three of King’s short stories to the stage. This year he was cast as the lead in a pair of Stage North’s 40th season performances, in the first of the season’s God of Carnage, and as Lou Largo in the dinner theatre and live music extravaganza Colosseum, which ran to sold out houses in February of this year in Fort St. John. He is also the managing editor of the Dawson Creek Mirror.

Culture Days Event: Robert’s activity began with a 15-minute creation presentation/discussion with two writers about writing for TV, followed by a live performance of a 53-minute television script entitled City News and a presentation about future seasons of the show. The event ended with a Q and A discussion on the presentation, theatre, and other related topics.

Roxanne Charles (Semiahmoo First Nation) Roxanne Charles is a mixed media artist from Semiahmoo First Nation. She is an active member of her community where she promotes arts, language, and culture. She explores a variety of mediums including digital, jewelry, engraving, painting, weaving, sculpture, ceramics, and installation based works. Roxanne received a BFA as well as a BA in General Studies with Minors in Art History and Cultural Anthropology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University is 2016. She is currently completing her Master of Fine Arts at Simon Fraser University. Her work explores a variety of themes that reflect her lived experience as an indigenous woman on Turtle Island. Some of the themes commonly explored in her work are culture, nature, spirituality, environment, identity, hybridity, urbanization, exploitation, intergenerational trauma, and various forms of violence (such as lateral, systemic, and domestic). Roxanne is a contemporary storyteller and historian. Her work activates visual representation, oral history, and ceremony (methods which have been utilized by the Semiahmoo People for thousands of years).

Culture Days Event: In the spirit of giving, Roxanne and other community members shared songs and dances from the Semiahma people. It was a gathering intended to bring people together for fun, laughter, learning, sharing, and strengthening of our relationship to the land and each other. The first portion of the event was a social gathering where participants had the opportunity to take part in a community weaving project and enjoy delicious foods. The celebration concluded with a mini trip on the water, where participants had the opportunity to try canoeing on a beautiful 24’ clan-dancer canoe.
INSTAGRAM: @semiahmoogirl
TWITTER: @SemiahmooGirl

David C. Jones (Vancouver) Actor, director, writer, filmmaker, event producer, teacher and coach, David C. Jones makes his living in the performing arts. A graduate of Studio 58 and a teacher at The Vancouver Film School, he has acted in plays by Mamet, Coward, Shakespeare and Stoppard. He also works as a corporate comedian and a keynote speaker with the Audience Engagement Academy. His short film Same Boat won the People’s Choice Award in 2015. He is was a recipient of a Legacy Award in The Arts and sainted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. He was also the Entertainment Manager of the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

Culture Days Event: David presented an activity called Confidence On Stage, which was an interactive workshop with games and exercises to help participants find confidence in public speaking. He was also very active in getting other performing arts community members involved, leading to registrations by Vancouver TheatreSports, Tomo Suru Players, Trembling Void Studios, Sister Petunia Encarnata, and Instant Theatre.
INSTAGRAM: @iamdavidcjones
TWITTER: @iamdavidcjones

Jocelyn Pettit (Squamish) West Coast Canadian touring musician is an award-nominated fiddle player, stepdancer, singer, and composer. With grace and passion, Jocelyn delivers an exciting and uplifting performance of original and traditional music, inspired by her heritage, and the Celtic and folk music cultures of Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany (France), and Galicia (Spain). With her band, Jocelyn has ignited stages across Canada, and in the U.S., the U.K., Europe, and Malaysia. She has performed on national television and radio, performed at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Victory Medal Ceremony, and shared the stage with Irish supergroup, The Chieftains. Jocelyn’s debut album received multiple award nominations, and her latest album, Caravan, was nominated for “World Artist of the Year” at the 2017 Western Canadian Music Awards, and at the 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards. With a love for sharing the joy of music and helping learners of all ages, Jocelyn enjoys teaching fiddle lessons and workshops, and has taught at schools, camps, and festivals, including the Squamish Academy of Music, Squamish Waldorf School, Vancouver Celtic Traditions, Bella Coola Music Camp, Georgia Straight Guitar Workshop, Dusty Strings (USA), and La Semaine Acadienne (FRA) 

Culture Days Event: Jocelyn produced the 2017 West Coast Kitchen Party, a community celebration featuring multiple music, song & dance workshops; a BBQ and craft market; performances by a talented line-up of musicians and dancers; and a participatory traditional music jam session. She was also invited to perform at the Audain Art Museum’s provincial launch event in Whistler, where she played the fiddle as guests arrived and toured the facility.
INSTAGRAM: @jocelynpettitmusic
FACEBOOK: @JocelynPettitBand
TWITTER: @jocelyn_pettit

Lyn Verra-Lay (Surrey) life has always revolved around the arts. Coming from a family of musicians and crafters, she built an arts-rich life in beautiful British Columbia. Lyn put her art education from Douglas College and Kwantlen Polytechnic to use, sharing her love for visual and performing arts with countless youngsters during her fifteen years in early childhood education. She has worked for nearly two decades at the Surrey Arts Centre, where she fills many roles, including a children’s art instructor. In 2015, Lyn became the coordinator for the Youth Arts Council of Surrey; a great opportunity for mentoring youth in literary, performing, and visual arts. When she’s not working in the arts, Lyn is playing in the arts. Performing arts ventures include producing and performing in community theatre, and she has won multiple awards for singing and dancing in the Surrey Festival of Dance. Recently, Lyn’s visual art practice has centred on studying the art of shibori (techniques of hand-dyeing silk) which she uses to upcycle clothing. She also works with mixed media, preferring to recycle and re-use objects in her work. Lyn is passionate about connecting with community and she believes that art is the hub where we can all meet.

Culture Days Event: Lyn’s event was a celebration of the Surrey Arts Centre’s 50th anniversary. She enlarged two archival photos of the building from 1967 and had them mounted on coroplast, so that they could be used as collaborative mixed media pieces. She also had a large memory book from which she had loose pages available for writing memories of taking art classes, visiting exhibits or watching theatre events at the SAC. Her activity was part of a Culture Days event hosted by the City of Surrey (the SAC is a city facility), which also included an art activity from the Surrey Art Gallery, music and dance performances, activities from Surrey Archives and Heritage, and youth engagement activities. The four-hour event took place in Central City Shopping Centre and saw attendance of more than a thousand participants.
INSTAGRAM: @lyn.verra.lay
TWITTER: @lyn_verra_lay