Oxygen Art Centre welcomes two new members to our Board of Directors: Laurryn Asbell Samonte Cruz!


Laurryn Asbell is an artist educator in Nelson, BC. A graduate of the Integrated Media Arts program at Emily Carr in 2004, she brings her love of art processes, materials and inquiries to student learning and art experiences.  Laurryn has been a teacher of K-12 in public and private schools for over a dozen years.  She is currently teaching Art + Ceramics at LV Rogers as well as enjoying working with WKTEP teacher candidates at UBC in an elementary art processes course. Laurryn is thrilled to join the community at Oxygen, and is imagining many unique and authentic ways of sparking further youth engagement with the artist run centre.

She is committed to truth and reconciliation in her work as a teacher and on the board and would like to acknowledge the Sinixt, Yaqan Nukiy Ktunaxa, and the Métis people for the opportunity to live, learn and share in cultural experiences on this land.


Samonte Cruz is a mixed-gender, mixed-race, Filipinx goldsmith, multi-media artist, community organizer & educator, living on unceded Sinixt Territory, also know as, Nelson, BC. They run Samonte Cruz Studios, an arts-based business making custom, one-of-a-kind jewelry, accessories and apparel. Samonte also works as an apprentice to award-winning master goldsmith, Paul Durkin, at Lauener Brother’s Jewellery in Trail, BC. In 2018, Samonte founded Bent On Art, the Kootenay Queer & Trans Arts Festival, where they now serve as the Festival Director. Most recently, Samonte was selected to be an anchor artist for Nelson & District Arts Council’s interdisciplinary art project called, Outside the Box, which is scheduled to be released in January of 2022. Samonte wrote & performed original music and collaborated with glass artist, Bee Schroder & textile artist, Jennifer Burke, to build a couture garment that embodies the experience of chronic pain. For more information about the artist visit or find them on Facebook and Instagram: @samontecruzstudios.

With my background as a multimedia artist & 20+ years experience as a community organizer, I believe it’s important for me to connect with other artists & contribute to the on-going improvement & long-term success of an artist-run centre like, Oxygen. Because of the multiple intersecting identities I hold as a QTPOC immigrant living with disabilities, I believe I can offer valuable insight, especially around matters of access, diversity and inclusion.

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