Arts Council of the Central Okanagan (ARTSCO)

The Arts Council of the Central Okanagan is a non-profit organization that is the underlying support for anything and everything that is art. The Arts Council of the Central Okanagan (ARTSCO) supports and strengthens the arts throughout the Central Okanagan by championing artistic excellence, accessibility, communication, awareness, and mutual support of the arts within the broader community.

Official Mandate

In order to enrich the cultural life of our community, the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan has undertaken the mission to support, strengthen, and promote all arts disciplines and traditions and encourages education in and appreciation of all aspects of the arts.

Our Vision

That all disciplines and traditions of arts, culture and heritage be made available and accessible for all to experience and enjoy. The Arts Council is also committed to:

  • Nurturing emerging creative expression within the community
  • Support practicing artists with opportunities and resources
  • Facilitating established member groups to achieve financial independence.
  • Stimulating and encouraging community arts projects and activities
  • Educating the community to understand that appreciation and respect for creative diversity promotes healthy and harmonious social growth
  • Encouraging individuals, groups, and government to adopt cultural responsibility for supporting our community’s artists
  • Fostering pride in the arts heritage of the region

Art includes writing, music, sculptures, printmaking, media arts, dance, theatre, design and more! Art is culture, entertainment, recreation, lifestyle and worldview. Arts and culture shaped our society; it contributes to the quality of our lives, helping us express who we are and where we come from.


ARTSCO Leadership

katie-brennan-executive-directorHi there! Let me introduce myself.

I’m Katie Brennan and I’m the new Executive Director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan.

You may know me from my previous role as the Curator of the Lake Country Art Gallery where I served for the last 4 years. I hold a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and a MFA from the University of Guelph, both in studio art. I maintain a healthy professional art practice – see more katiebrennan.ca . I’m also an art consultant, and the Founder and Editor in Chief of the Okanagan Art Review, an online art magazine and online hub for all things visual arts in the Okanagan. I am also a producer and facilitator of ecstatic dance practices, like 5 Rhythms. 

I’ve previously served on the ARTSCO board (2013) during which I conceived of the project “60 Artists in 60 spaces to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of ARTSCO” for which I designed the accompanying exhibition / participant catalogue, attended the inaugural Cultural Roundtable session in Vancouver, BC and the Arts BC Conference held in Vernon, BC.

Since beginning this position with ARTSCO on Sept 1st, which also included moving the ARTSCO office into the Rotary Centre for the Arts in downtown Kelowna, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the purpose of an arts council is and how it can best support and showcase what is happening in the arts in our region. And my thoughts keep coming back to two main points. …

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 Katie Brennan, official bio

Katie Brennan is an artist, art administrator, curator and art consultant currently based in Kelowna, BC. She completed her MFA at the University of Guelph in Guelph Ontario and her BFA at Emily Carr University in Vancouver BC. Her work has been offered at major retailers such as Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma Home and appeared in interior design work in House Beautiful and House and Home. She has completed Public Art projects at the University of Guelph and in Lake Country, BC. She has taught at the University of Guelph and the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. Her writing has appeared in Border Crossings Magazine and Galleries West and in 2014 founded the Okanagan Art Review, an online visual arts magazine – a project that has now come to a close. Her curatorial work includes shows at the Helen Pitt Art Gallery, the Concourse Gallery at Emily Carr University, Gallery Vertigo, UBC Okanagan’s FINA Gallery, and the Lake Country Art Gallery where she served as Curator from 2011- 2015. She has also put on several pop-up galleries in 2013, in and around Kelowna. Currently she serves at the Executive Director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan. She also continues to maintain an active art practice.

To contact Katie email director@artsco.ca // 250-861-4123

Board of Directors

The Arts Council’s Board of Directors are made up of key community arts organizations, artists, arts educators, and professionals who have the skills, the community support, the capability, and the commitment to take action as required to keep pace with the growth of the arts in our community and to enhance the Arts Council’s position in the areas of arts advocacy and education.

Board of Directors 2016

Jennifer Lauriault
Title: President
Jennifer has spent the past 25 years in the Forest Industry as a Silviculture Contractor. Jennifer decided to change her life’s direction and went back school to completing her BFA in 2012. Jennifer was involved in ARTSCO’s first Mad Hatter and participated as an artist and a committee member in this past year’s Mad Hatter: Into the Subconscious and Mad Hatter: beyond the invisible. This is Jennifer’s fourth year on the board. 

Don Ferguson
Vice President

Don Ferguson moved to Kelowna 12 years ago from Calgary for a change in both landscape and career. Over those years Don has used his degree in Landscape Architecture to work on many projects all over the Okanagan Valley. His design background and creative talent has enabled him to be part of many successful development and artistic endeavours over the years. Currently self-employed and a stay at home father, Don is currently focusing his career on more public art and urban design projects. Recent local success include; two winning designs for the Okanagan Regional Library cards, completed poetry panels for the Kelowna Gospel Mission and a soon to be installed sculpture piece in Lake Country. In addition to this work, a successful career in design consultation has allowed him to work many projects recently ranging from one of a kind nature-play and early childhood development play spaces to campus planning and urban renewal projects throughout the Okanagan Valley.

It is this mix of art and design that he hopes will bridge the divide between urban development and the artistic talent that exists in the Okanagan.

With his position on this board, he is looking forward to strengthening community connections and changing some perceptions of what art is and who is doing it in the Okanagan.

Cheryl Miller, CIRS
Title: Past President
Cheryl Miller is the Grants Manager for the Central Okanagan Foundation; managing five grant programs and thirty volunteers. Cheryl also manages the Community Entity and Vital Signs programs of the foundation.The majority of Cheryl’s career has been community development and program management. Cheryl has served on several boards including InformCanada and Central Okanagan Community Gardens. Cheryl has been an ARTSCO board member for three years.
Hannah Griffin

Hannah Griffin was born and raised in West Kelowna, BC. In 2010, she graduated from UBCO with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Painting major, and History minor. Hannah spent the year after graduation living solely from her artistic endeavours: creating, showing, and selling paintings, as well as teaching art classes. Due to the economic recession, she turned to Accounting as a career path to support herself, and her artistic practice. In Summer of 2016, she finished a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Accounting from Okanagan College. She is currently employed at Crowe MacKay, while pursuing her CPA designation.

While at Okanagan College, she helped create CANsave, a Financial Literacy program geared towards primary students. The program has been met with great enthusiasm. It won second best Financial Literacy program in Canada at the Enactus National Competition in May 2016.

When she is not working, or volunteering, or doing schoolwork, she loves to spend time with her daughter Lucia.

Peter Breeze

Title: Board Member

With an insatiable need to perform and a natural flare for all things campy Peter Breeze definitely stood out growing up in Calgary, Alberta. Peter made his stage debut at age 9 when he starred in his school play. After receiving a standing ovation for his performance Peter turned all of his focus on becoming a star. His performing career quickly surpassed the lead roles in school productions when he was cast as a full time cast member of Calaway Live, and received formal training in acting, dancing and singing with The Youth Singers Of Calgary, The Young Canadians and eventually The Vancouver Film School where he graduated from the full time acting program. Peter has also released two full length pop albums and toured around north america opening for acts like Bif Naked and Aaron Carter. Peter started his 30’s by moving to the Okanagan and opening his own talent agency, Peter Breeze Creative.

Gillianne Richards

Gillianne Richards knows local culture. Four generations of her family grew up in the Okanagan, and it was her grandparents who first introduced her to the thrill of being on stage as a child when they preformed together with Kelowna Community Theatre. Gillianne graduated from KSS, studied fine arts in Europe and at the University of Victoria, and worked as an artist in the United States before returning to the Okanagan in 2008 with her husband and three kids. Since then she has worked as a host and producer for Shaw TV, an associate producer and arts columnist for CBC Radio, an arts and culture columnist for Okanagan Life Magazine, and a weather personality for CHBC news.

Tanya Nahachewsky

Tanya Nahachewsky is an art supporter and community volunteer. She knows the important role the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan plays in supporting art, artists and art lovers across the Okanagan valley.

Tanya currently works as a business freelance contractor.  With over ten years of experience in administration with government, private, and non-profit sectors, she delivers high value solutions helping organizations move forward in every part of their business; from customer service, project management, marketing, and day to day operations. In all industries in which she has worked, she has found the most fulfillment and purpose serving communities.

“I am very interested in serving on the board of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan to support and strengthen the arts throughout the Central Okanagan. I look forward to working with like-minded people to build long lasting connections and commit to sharing my time and talent to supporting art and culture in the community.”