2018 BC Culture Days Ambassadors
Elana Bizovie (Kelowna) is a graduate of the University of Alberta, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in anthropology and drama. She also holds a diploma, with distinction, in Arts & Cultural Management from MacEwan University.
Elana owns and works as an independent contractor with EB Consulting, providing artists and arts & cultural non-profits with a wide range of administrative support and advising so they can focus on what they’re most passionate about. She also works at the Rotary Centre for the Arts as a Grants Coordinator/Programs Coordinator (with a focus on Culture Days planning). Elana is an actor, director, writer, and producer for the stage and occasionally appears on-screen in local independent film projects. In 2019, she co-founded The Virago Collective, a theatre company focused on connecting artists from all disciplines with the community through thoughtful creation and dialogue.
With a passion for making the arts visible, accessible, and inclusive, Elana focuses on community based solutions through all her work, that can help support a sustainable cultural sector. She believes arts education, collaboration, and quality opportunities for both artists and the general public are essential to a healthy and vibrant community.
Culture Days Event: Elana presented Play in a Day. Participants were registered in teams of 2-6 people, where they were given rules, props, and prompts for their plays. They then had 24-hours before presenting their creations to an audience. After the 24-hours, teams were adjudicated by Christopher Weddell, a graduate of the Playhouse Acting School and founding member and past Artistic Associate of Bard on the Beach. Winning teams were awarded either a judges and/or an audience-choice prize.
INSTAGRAM: @ebizovie @the_virago_collective @e_b_consulting
FACEBOOK: @theviragocollective @ebconsulting
TWITTER: @virago_collect @e_b_consulting
Rob Buchanan (Revelstoke) is an award-winning professional photographer, artist, designer & editorial cartoonist. His photographs have appeared in many places including National Geographic Adventure and Traveler Magazines, Bike, Powder, Snowboarder, Explore, the Knowledge Network and the Patagonia clothing catalogs. His winning images have been on two world tours with the Banff Film Festival, have hung in Canada’s McMichael Gallery, and even appeared on the Jumbotron in New York’s Times Square.
He has worked as an editorial cartoonist for 26 years for the Revelstoke Review where he has won 2 provincial awards, and his drawings have also been featured by the David Suzuki Foundation and the Canadian Avalanche Association. His paintings have been presented as gifts to British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor, as well as Canada’s top General for the Department of Defence and British Columbia’s Minister of Transportation. His large-scale metal interactive public art installations have been used by tens of thousands of visitors to Rogers Pass and Revelstoke, BC, including a Member of Parliament, Rick Mercer and members of the Japanese consulate. He has taken documentary photos for the Canadian Physicians for Aid & Relief in Malawi, Africa, worked in Nepal, Belize, Costa Rica, Turkey, and the Western Arctic. In his 25 year career as a professional exhibit designer for Parks Canada, he has worked in mediums as diverse as sand-blasted rock, water-jet cut steel, wood, moss, spray paint, fiberglass, linocuts, film, sound, light and recently helped design a giant cake for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Currently, he can be found plotting and scheming about contemporary art installations for Revelstoke’s Luna Art Festival as well as Art Alleries, a permanent outdoor public art gallery in the alleys of Revelstoke.
Culture Days Event: Rob presented the Fish Bowl Immersive Art Installation at Luna Arts Festival. Revelstoke B.C.’s iconic downtown bandshell was transformed into the imagination installation “Fish Bowl.” With the help of bubble machines, kinetic circling fish, iridescent aqua LED lights, swaying coral, a pirate ship, an interactive submarine, giant tropical fish, swim-wear props, helium-filled fish drones, and upside down floating goldfish, a team of volunteers created an immersive installation for submariners of all ages as part of the nocturnal Luna Art Festival!
Ashley Good (Victoria) likes to stay busy. She is a writer and independent filmmaker, which she produces through her production company, Black Frames Communications.
Her first novel, Mary and the Alien, was published in July 2020 and is now available through all major book retailers.
Ashley is also the host of the podcast, Ready, Set and is the director of the annual Foggy Isle Film Festival.
Culture Days Event: Ashley presented Spotlight on BC Indie Film. Her and several other Victoria-based indie filmmakers held a celebration of BC film at CineVic: Society of Independent Filmmakers. A collection of locally produced shorts were screened, with a Q&A period following each screening.
Lynette La Fontaine (Prince George), otipemisiwak artist, creates traditional and contemporary Métis artwork in the form of beading and painting. Their work is inspired by connection to land, heart, spirit, ancestors and teachings from Elders and knowledge holders. Their beadwork is custom designed using traditional Métis practices and materials. No two pieces are alike. The Métis are known historically as “The Flower Beadwork People” as a result of the elaborately beaded, floral designs on garments and personal items. Lynette’s work honours this identifiable way of beading in all their unique designs.
Lynette was raised in Fraser Lake. Their Métis roots are in Northern Saskatchewan and the Red River Valley. They have been creating art all their life. Lynette is a self-taught, traditional and contemporary artist. They taught themselves to bead while attending university and working with the Elders, in 2007. Since this time, they have been gathering teachings and knowledge from various community members and Elders. In 2016, Lynette received funding from the First Peoples’ Cultural Council as an emerging artist. Their mentor is Lisa Shepherd, well known Métis artisan. Lynette’s work has increased to a more professional level in order to do commissioned work, start a business, and share their skills and knowledge to teach others.
Culture Days Event: Lynette presented Tea ’n Bannock ’n Beads. They lead a beading workshop to create orange shirt lapels in order to continue the awareness around the damaging legacy of residential schools in Canada. Tying into the National Culture Days theme of OnBeat, they also included drumming and singing during the workshop.
Diane Moran (Port Renfrew) Diane Moran is a visual artist committed to projects that help educate others about everyday issues through art. Since 1998 Diane has been involved in both international and local projects with schools and communities throughout the lower mainland of Vancouver British Columbia. Now Residing in Port Renfrew on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. She studied art at Emily Carr, Langara and through private teachings. She has exhibited both solo and group shows in several galleries. Such as the BAG, FLAG, Burnaby Arts Council, Leigh Square, Presentation House, The Stanley Theater, Silk Purse, and Water Front galleries.
She has artwork published in magazines and Calendar’s. Diane has exhibited and facilitated workshops at many events. Such as the World Peace Form, Evergreen State University, Culture Days 2011-2012 and in 2018 was the South Island Ambassador for Culture Days.When she planned and coordinated a handful of community events in Port Renfvrew BC. Her art was featured in the PNE Dream Home, and has been on display at Vancouver TV, World Rivers Day, The American Zoological Assoc. and two ACEbc Teachers Conferences. Abstract and mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture arts that capture and celebrate local history, conservation and environmental awareness are common themes.
Culture Days Event: Diane presented Driftwood and Drum, an afternoon of art and cultural connections. She offered hands-on art opportunities using recycled and natural materials at the Port Renfrew Community Centre. A historical photo exhibit was also on display. Diane also took on the role of spearheading Culture Days in Port Renfrew and introducing it to the community. Her community engagement led to the participation of musical groups, such as Mexican Bus Ride and the Edgedwellers, and led to the registration of the Avatar Grove Listening Hike presented by the Ancient Forest Alliance.
Lori Paul (Vancouver) is a Canadian singer/songwriter and recording artist whose 40-year career highlights include opening for B.B.King and Tower of Power at Expo 86 and being nominated Female Vocalist of the Year by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) that same year.
Culture Days Event: Lori presented So Long Summer Garden Party Picnic,an outdoor music event at Gwynne Vaughan Park, including a “make your own percussion instrument” and drum circle with local drum maker Greg Webber. Live music was played throughout the day by musicians and singers of all ages, including student performers and established local heroes: Ember Glo, Mary Lindsay, Shawn Balsillie, Portraits Of Us, Brian Lowen’s Kid, Brook and Darcy Potter, and Spiderlodge.
Mandy Rushton (Vancouver) is an exciting and engaging vocalist. She got her chops being in musical theatre for many years as a dancer, singer, and all around entertainer. With a vocal style that’s been compared to the likes of Billy Holiday and Shirley Bassey, the stage presence of a young Ethel Merman, and the comedic timing of Lucille Ball, Mandy wows audiences wherever she goes.
Culture Days Event: Mandy presented Pop Culture Cabaret and Sing-a-Long an informative behind-the-scenes take on the last 100 years of pop culture and The Great American Songbook. This cabaret-style, all-ages friendly performance piece was based on her own life experiences woven through personal stories and linked by songs. Participants and passersby were invited to join in for a live collective karaoke sing-along at the new Vancouver Culture Days hub.
Johnny Trinh (Vancouver) is an interdisciplinary and spoken word artist. Exploring the use of spoken word, music, video, social media, movement, theatre, and creative technology- Johnny’s practice integrates the multi-layered realities within which we exist to create immersive spoken word experiences. Johnny’s pedagogy is rooted in the constant goal of fostering a sense of empowerment, agency, and compassion through socially engaged, community based art. Johnny recognizes that many of us are uninvited guests on this indigenous Turtle Island, and continually works to negotiate that through accountability, solidarity, and integrity in practice. He creates opportunities to support marginalized communities cultivate their voice: “It takes a community to build an artist… whether we are nurtured by it, or resist against it.”
Johnny D Trinh is an award-winning playwright, and author of several chapbooks. Johnny’s first audio album #undeniable was released in July 2017.
Johnny is currently the Program Manager for the Community Arts Council of Vancouver.
Johnny is also the creator of Stage to Page: Poetry Development Project, a online panel workshop series that brings Poets/Writers, Publishers, and Theatre Makers together to support folks spoken word poets looking to publish their work. We apply contemporary play development/scriipt development frameworks to spoken word, and explore how these techniques can help spoken word poets translate their performances to the printed page.
Highlights: Feature Poet- BC Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Multiculturalism Awards (2020), Artist in Residence- John Howard Society Pacific (Vancouver), Poet in Residence- Burnsview Secondary School (Delta), Verses Festival- Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (CIPS) Tournament Director 2017, Regina Slam Champion 2016, Finalist- CIPS 2016, Finalist- Capturing Fire 2016 & 2015 (Washington, DC). Feature performances: Victorious Voices, Tongues of Fire (Victoria), Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (2016, 2015), Pride Toronto (2016), Toronto Poetry Slam, Tonight It’s Poetry (Saskatoon), Victoria Poetry Slam, Toronto Art Bar Poetry Series, Saskatchewan Festival of Words (2017,2016,2015), WordPlay Poet, Saskatchewan Artists in Schools Program. Training: Banff Centre for the Arts, MFA: Interdisciplinary Studies: Theatre & Creative Technology- University of Regina, Dell’Arte International School for Physical Theatre: Summer Intensive, Musical Theatre Performance: Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, Hon. BA- Drama- University of Waterloo.
Culture Days Event: Johnny presented Poetry in the Kitchen. Based on Youtube series, Poets in the Kitchen, Johnny invited guest artists including: Johnny MacRae, Anjalica Solomon, and Andrew Warner to participate in a live cooking tutorial and art performance. Throughout the performance, there was dialogue around artists’ practices and socio-cultural and ethno-cultural significance of the food being prepared. Artists performed short sets following the meal. Audiences could watch live or join the live stream to participate via instagram. There was also a Q&A after the performance. Food and refreshments were available to audiences.