Instructor Bio

Instructor Biographies:

Jeremy ADDINGTON is a commercial/fine art photographer living in Vallican, BC. He taught photography at David Thompson University Centre and Selkirk College in the last century. His work has been published in magazines and books and is in the collections of the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and the B.C. Provincial Art Collection in Victoria, B.C.

Martina AVIS is a local theatre practitioner. She has a BA in Theatre from the University of Victoria and takes a special interest in community and youth projects. Recently, she worked with Winlaw School to put on a play with a cast of over 80 students. She is extremely well-versed in Shakespeare and has directed numerous youth adaptations of his plays featuring Shakespeare’s original language, fast-paced movement, hilarity and exuberance.

Seathra BELL received her BFA from the Alberta College of Art+Design in 2011 and has recently completed a Masters in Textile and Fashion Design at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. Seathra has received several private commissions and has participated in fine art and design shows in Canada and the UK. The recipient of a major project grant from the Columbia Basin Trust, Seathra is currently conducting research into the traditional textile and dye plants of the First Nations within the Columbia Basin. Seathra divides her time between teaching, costuming for film, and working from her home studio near Nelson B.C.

Louis BOCKNER is a Canadian photographer and writer living on the unceded traditional territory of the Sinixt First Nation. He specializes in telling stories of people and the places they shape and are shaped by, with a particular affinity for those who live close to the Earth in a simple way.

His past clients include The Narwhal, The Globe and Mail, Kootenay Mountain Culture, Coast Mountain Culture, The Sierra Club, America Magazine and The Wilderness Committee.
His 2018 photo essay for The Narwhal and Sierra Club BC that documented the challenges facing Wood Buffalo National Park and the First Nations communities that surround it, was nominated for a Canadian Publishing National Magazine Award as well as a Canadian Digital Publishing award.

He currently lives in Argenta — the small community in which he was born — with his partner Danielle, surrounded by the friends, family and forests he loves so dearly.

Val CAMPBELL is an actor, director and movement educator who has worked for decades in many modalities of actor training and theatre. Notable roles are Mother Courage and the Fool in King Lear. She is an Associate Professor Emerita from the School of Creative and Performing Arts – Drama, University of Calgary. She now resides in Slocan, BC.

Marcus Dénommé was born and raised on Algonquin Temiskaming first nations territory in Ontario, canada. It was here at a young age that Dénommé began to explore street art and artistic interventions on public and private property. Throughout the years, they grew a deep passion for the intersection of art and activism such as civil disobedience, direct action, community level organization, etc. Dénommé honed their craft as communications designer at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, where they discovered traditional printmaking and bookmaking practices. Although their practice includes a variety of disciplines including painting, sculpture, mixed media, they love exhibiting printed work in independent shows and book fairs. Dénommé is the editor of the Veins & Arterys publications and now calls home to unceded Sinixt territory.

DELLA is a voice empowerment coach, vocal composer, songwriter, performing artist and a soul-driven teacher with a vision for inspiring all people to sing with confidence. She has performed and taught nationally and internationally for more than a decade. Della has created a process that inspires her students to experience singing as a powerful tool for healing, transformation and connection. Her parents are jazz musicians and met at Berklee College of Music. She grew up in a musical household and the foundation of her musicality is jazz. Della specializes in collaborating, improvising, harmonizing, and vocal composition. She has been writing, recording and touring soul, hip-hop and dance music for over a decade. Della has completed a two-year Performance Diploma at Selkirk College Music Program and since has acquired intensive study of dance, facilitation, and circle singing.

Marya FOLINSBEE is a clown, actor, playwright, and teaching artist from Edmonton/Amiskwaciy Waskahikan, who now lives in the Slocan Valley/Sinixt Territory. Marya studied theatre at the Victoria School of the Arts and McMaster University, and independently with artists including David Diamond (Theatre for Living), Jon Davison (London Clown School), Deanna Fleysher (Don’t Call it Clown), and others. She helped create Valley Gems Community Theatre, and is co-artistic director of Material Theatre with her friend and collaborator Martina Avis – they have produced two original works, Be/Longing and Domesticated Disputes. Marya facilitates clown and theatre workshops for all ages, and is currently writing and devising two new plays – PLAY! and The Mosquitos.

Susan Andrews GRACE is a writer and visual artist. Her sixth book of poetry, Hypatia’s Wake, will be released by Inanna Publications (Toronto, York University) October 2022. Her visual art practice includes textile installation, mixed media, and sculpture. Andrews Grace holds an MFA in Creative Writing and a BA in Philosophy.

Jim HOLYOAK’s art practice consists of drawing, writing and ink-painting, artists’ books and room-sized drawing installations. Throughout his life, drawing has been a way of contemplating animals and monsters, the real and unreal, metamorphosis and hidden worlds. He received a BFA from the University of Victoria, an MFA from Concordia University, and studied as an apprentice to master ink-painter Shen Ling Xiang, in Yangshuo, China. In parallel to his solo practice, Holyoak has orchestrated numerous collaborative drawing projects, often with fellow artist Matt Shane, and sometimes involving hundreds of people drawing together. Holyoak has attended artist residencies in New York, Mumbai, Banff, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, England and throughout Norway. 

Jaymie JOHNSON  is a visual artist whose work spans drawing, printmaking, and textiles. Her formal education includes studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, where she received her BFA in 2015 and later taught as a sessional faculty member.  Her informal education includes mentorship in community engagement and environmental public art from Sharon Kallis (EartHand Gleaners Society) and Cameron Cartiere (Border Free Bees). Jaymie currently resides in her hometown of Nelson, B.C., where she spends her time spellbound by plants: drawing, weaving, growing, spinning, dyeing, listening, and generally enamoured by their magic. 

fanny KEARSE In an act of courageous rebellion, fanny walked away from nearly a decade as a social worker and headed west to pursue lifelong dreams of being a poet and disrupting the system to be more diverse, inclusive and equitable. fanny fuses her experience as a social worker and lived experiences as a marginalized human to express her activism through means of poetry and storytelling.

fanny resides in so called ‘vancouver’, on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. she lives with her dog, Sullivan and future wife, Jen.

Sophie KOHN is a humour writer and instructor originally from Toronto. Her humour writing has been published in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Reader’s Digest, and Chatelaine. Her most recent piece for The New Yorker — “If You Ever Hurt My Daughter I Swear To God I’ll Let Her Navigate Her Own Emotional Growth” — was very popular online and led to a New York production company turning the story into a short comedic film of the same name, in which Jon Hamm played the lead role.

For many years, Sophie was the head writer on various CBC Radio and television shows in Toronto, such as q with Tom Power, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, and GO! with Brent Bambury. In 2015, Sophie became the founding editor of the CBC Comedy website, where she wrote and edited daily satirical Canadian news stories.

Sophie is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory program in improv and sketch comedy and went on to become a standup comedian in Toronto. Prior to the COVID pandemic, Sophie created, produced, and hosted a monthly comedy show called Forever Jung, in which standup comics did a set and then got analyzed by a therapist live on the stage. About five years ago, Sophie designed a class for The Second City’s writing program called Satire and Humour Writing, which she continues to teach virtually to students all over the world.

In addition to her humour writing, Sophie is a prolific writer of other forms of creative writing. Her personal essays and memoir writing have been published in Hazlitt, The Globe and Mail, Today’s Parent, and Outpost. In 2018, Sophie was a finalist at The National Magazine Awards for her memoir “A Body in Motion”, which is about the major spinal deformity that derailed her ballet career. NPR picked up the story in 2023 and aired an audio version of it on their storytelling show Snap Judgment. Later in 2023, Sophie was shortlisted for the International Amy MacRae Award for Memoir for a personal essay called “The Almost-Dad”. 

Sophie is represented by Transatlantic literary agency and her first book of personal essays is currently out for submission. Her first children’s book, Katrina Hyena, which is about a laughing hyena who laughs at the wrong times, will be published by Owlkids Books in 2024. Sophie lives in beautiful Nelson, B.C. with her partner and their extremely hilarious 3-year-old son.

Eimear LAFFAN’s aboutness was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in
September 2023. She was a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Emerging Poetry Prize
in 2022. She has a BA in Psychology and a Masters in International Relations. You
can find her work in Ambit, Funicular, Geist, The Ex-Puritan, wildness, and in the
League of Canadian Poets Visual Poetry Anthology, Spectral Lines.

Emilie LEBLANC KROMBERG started her practice in the applied arts and has been a professional artist since 2010. Materials, their transformation and ancient techniques where aspects that ignited the spark that brought emilie to work with metals, textiles and clay. Goldsmith by trade, she explored the subject of adornment by the making and selling of her jewellery in art shows across Canada. For the originality of her approach as well as the quality of her works, she won the Art and Craft Award at the 2016 Grand Prix Desjardins de la Culture in Lanaudière, Québec, Canada.

Since studying Fine Art in the Netherlands at the ArtEZ AKI Academy for Arts & Design, her work has expended out of the 3-dimensional form to incorporate painting, photography, video and sound. Through the exploration of these new mediums in tandem to her initial disciplines she seeks to investigate the multi faceted bonds between human and object.

Rayya LIEBICH (she/her) is a Canadian writer and educator of Lebanese and Polish descent. Winner of the Richard Carver Award for Emerging Writers (2019), The Geneva Literary Award (2015), and The Golden Grassroots Chapbook Award (2015), she holds a degree in English Literature from McGill University and a B. Ed from The University of Victoria. Her debut full-length poetry collection Min Hayati was released in  2021 by Inanna Publications and her poetry and prose have appeared in literary journals internationally. Passionate about writing as a tool for transformation and changing the discourse on grief, she teaches poetry and CNF to youth and adults in beautiful Nelson, BC.

Brian LYE is a filmmaker and artist who recently moved to Nelson from Vancouver.  He enjoys collaboration, analogue film production, bricolage, and jokes.  His research interests include early cinema, special effects, play, human/nature, cognitive development, psychogeography, and the everyday. Brian’s films have screened in festivals, galleries, and television networks such as Sundance Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Canal+, SBS Television Australia, Images Festival Toronto, Vancouver International Film Festival, The Museum of Sydney, Centre of Contemporary Culture Barcelona, and others. He holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia (2018), a BA from the University of Victoria in Film Studies and Japanese Studies, a Diploma of Screen from Sydney Film School (2008), and was a guest student at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (2010).

Catherine MCINTOSH holds an MA Hons in Fine Art from Edinburgh University with a specialization in painting. After graduating, she chose to train as a graphic artist and worked in that field for many years before turning her attention to education. Since graduating from UBC, she has worked in schools, taught at Selkirk, and presented small workshops and classes in and around the Kootenays. Catherine has a passion for sharing her love of art with others.

Rose NIELSEN is a poet, songwriter, and fiction writer and has published work online and in print journals such as CV2, Open Minds Quarterly, 3Elements, DoveTales/Writing for Peace, and in an anthology of Mississippi River poetry, Down to the Dark River. Rose is also a musician with two recordings of original music, and a physiotherapist. As well as a BSc, she has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, and diplomas for Instructor of Adult Education, and in Mental Health and Addictions, and recently
received a diploma in Dream Work Facilitation from Haden Institute in
North Carolina.

Jonathan RAMOS is a mixed multimedia designer and storyteller. Having studied visual arts, film and music production, Jonathan brings years of experience to any project he’s a part of. Creativity and expression through the arts is the foundation he stands on, fusing old school principles with modern perspectives using his extensive knowledge of analog and digital media.

Myra RASMUSSEN graduated from Wesleyan University in 2004, where she was awarded a degree in studio arts with high honors.  She is a multi-disciplinary artist with a focus on community and festival arts.  Since 2009, she has been based in Nelson, British Columbia, where is the artistic director of Polka Dot Dragon Arts Society, which produces a community lantern festival each February.  In addition to her work with festivals, she also has extensive experience with lino and woodblock printmaking, bookmaking, and collage.

prOphecy SUN is an interdisciplinary performance artist, movement, video and sound maker, and mother currently living in Nelson on the unceded territories of the Ktunaxa, Syilx and Sinixt peoples. Her practice celebrates both conscious and unconscious moments and the vulnerable spaces of the in-between in which art, performance, and life overlap. Her recent research has focused on ecofeminist perspectives and site-specific engagements along the Columbia Basin region and beyond. She is a Ph.D. Candidate at the School of Interactive Arts + Technology at Simon Fraser University and holds a BFA and MFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Informed by her creative studies in vocal and movement improvisation, her facilitation experience includes work with Dance Troupe Practice, Her Jazz Noise Collective, DTES Women’s Rock Camp, VOXXY Choir, Girls Rock Camp Vancouver (GRCV), Rock Camp Galiano, and Girls Rock Camp Portland. She performs and exhibits regularly in local, national and international settings, festivals, conferences and galleries and has authored several peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and journal publications. She is also the recipient of the Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition Jurors Prize, the Helen Pitt, the Joseph Armand Bombardier CGS Scholarship and the Governor Generals Award.

Amber SANTOS is an artist and art educator based in Nelson, BC and is grateful to live and create on Sinixt Ktunaxa and Silyx traditional and unceded territory. She has been working as an educator with kids, youth, and adults for 16 years. She brings a passion for collaborative and process-based work as well as a love for drawing on walls. Currently, in as a mixed settler (German, French) and indigenous (Saulteaux, Cree, Metís) woman, she is interested in themes of decolonization, healing, connection to landscapes and belonging in her personal painting practice. Check out her illustration, murals and full bio here:

Maggie SHIRLEY‘S work is based on thematic research into the human body, environment and technology, primarily taking the form of performance, installation and socially-engaging projects using AR technology. She graduated with an MFA from UBC Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies in 2013. Prior to doing her Masters, she completed her BFA at the Limerick School of Art and Design in 2008. While she lived in Ireland, she was honoured to act as an Invigilator for the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2007). Following her undergraduate degree, she returned to Canada and worked at the Banff New Media Institute (The Banff Centre). She is currently living in the Kootenay region of BC where she works at the Kootenay Gallery of Art and continues to make art.

Kelly SHPELEY is a self taught, multi-disciplinary surrealist from Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. She has had gallery showings in Canada, the United States, and Norway. She’s been published in Juxtapoz Magazine, Print Work, and Trend Prive. She has also worked in the film industry with a number of directors ( Steven Spielberg, Duncan Jones, and J.J. Abrams, etc…) She also worked with Miss Norway on a body painting photoshoot for Print Work magazine. She’s done artwork for Stan Lee… Excelsior! And was lucky also to be part of Neil Gaiman’s “Calendar of Tales” (January).  She also painted the original poster for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival (Coastal Jazz) 2015. John Cleese and Noam Chomsky, are a couple proud owners of some of her art prints. She is currently working on a stop motion animation, and will also be a part of Tiny Lights Festival, and the Nelson International Mural Festival. Busy times!

Natasha SMITH holds a BA Hons. in Fine Art Printmaking and has been a practicing visual artist for over 20 years. Natasha’s personal and physical environment inspires her most recent semi-abstract works, which combine printmaking, collage, painting and assemblage. Natasha works intuitively, allowing process, landscape and a love of the primitive mark to direct her work. She is a self-defined teaching artist and has taught at KSA (Kootenay Studio Arts at Selkirk College), Oxygen Art Centre, Red Deer College, Metchosin International School of the Arts and Malaspina Printmaking Studio in Vancouver. Natasha has been an artist in residence in Slocan Valley and Nelson schools as part of the ArtStarts in Schools, Artists in the Classroom Program. Natasha works from her studio in beautiful Krestova, BC. and is on the faculty of Oxygen Art Centre.

Deborah THOMPSON is a Canadian visual artist who resides in Nelson, B.C. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1984 spending her final year of study in Florence, Italy. She then spent a decade teaching and traveling in wilderness environments from East Africa to the North American Arctic during which she received a B.A. in Experiential Education from Prescott College in 1995. She then put roots down in Missoula, Montana to return to her studio practice completing an MFA in painting at the University of Montana in 1997. She was awarded the Fell-Oskins Scholarship (faculty award) two years in a row for her studio work. She has done residencies at the Vermont Studio Centre and the Banff Centre. She now resides in Nelson, B.C where she maintains a studio and exhibition practice, teaches for the Oxygen Art Centre (she is a founding member of the Centre,) and curators for Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History. In 2008 she went to the Netherlands to research medieval altar pieces in Holland. In 2011, she received a Major Project Grant from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance for the research and creation of Bird Woman in which she is exploring the ascetic practices of female mystics in the late middle ages. This spring she is going to Avila, Spain to continue her research focusing on the life and work of Saint Teresa of Avila. 

Bessie WAPP is a musician, theatre-maker, educator, and 2015 City of Nelson Cultural Ambassador. Bessie was based in Vancouver for 20+ years where she was a core member of stilt-dance theatre company Mortal Coil and Eastern European music sextet Zeellia. With these groups she performed throughout North America and in Europe, including at New York City’s Lincoln Centre and Zagreb, Crotia’s, DanceWeek Festival.
In 2006 Bessie co-founded Twin Fish Theatre in Nelson, and with the company co-created Hello, I Must Be Going and Loco Phantasmo, two works inspired by stories in her family history.
Local stage roles Bessie has performed include The Witch (Jorinda), Hedwig (and the Angry Inch), Pontius Pilate (Jesus Christ Superstar), Hekate (KHAOS), and Orpheus (& Eurydice).
Bessie regularly performs with acoustic quartet Bessie Wapp & Friends, RnB dance band Bessie & the Back Eddies (2012 Kootenay Music Award), estrogen supergroup Kootenay Divas, Balkan brass band Oxygen Orkestar, and as a guest vocalist with Clinton Swanson & Friends.

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