A Brief History

  • 1968 ARTSCO is founded (known as KADAC – Kelowna and District Arts Council until 2006)

  • 1974 – Honour in the Arts Award created in the City of Kelowna’s Civic Awards after lobbying by ARTSCO – this program continues to run today.

  • 1981 – ARTSCO opens new Art Centre at the corner of Bernard & Richter, which is now the French Cultural Centre

  • 1994 – ARTSCO expands its Civic Awards program to include a Teen Honour in the Arts Award

  • 1995 – Artscape Exhibition program begins – this program continues to run today.

  • 2006 – The Okanagan Arts Awards begins – this program continues to run today.

  • 2006 – Created and Hosted the Central Okanagan Open Studio Tour program.

  • 2007 – Okanagan Arts Magazine launches with the goal to highlight local artists and provide the general public a tangible resource for arts-related events and individuals in the Central Okanagan community. Magazine runs until 2008

  • 2010 – Forms Youth Arts Council. Youth Arts Council offered Open Mic nights, opportunities to exhibit work, mentorship, and networking for youth. Runs until 2012.

  • 2011 – Mad Hatter pop-up installation and sculpture exhibition begins. Runs until 2014.

  • 2013 – 60 Artists in 60 Spaces to Celebrate ARTSCO’s 60th Anniversary

  • 2015 – ARTSCO moves into the Rotary Centre for the Arts (RCA)

Our Mission

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.

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:

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.

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.

  • 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

ARTSCO Leadership

Katie Brennan, Executive Director

Katie Brennan is a professional artist, art administrator, curator and art consultant currently based in Kelowna, BC. She is currently serves as the Executive Director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan (Artsco). Previously she was the Curator of the Lake Country Art Gallery and a Sessional Lecturer at UBC Okanagan. Brennan holds a MFA from the University of Guelph in Guelph Ontario and a BFA from Emily Carr University in Vancouver BC. She has exhibited work across Canada, the United States and England and completed artist residencies at the Banff Centre (2011), the Caetani Cultural Centre (2015, 2016 / 2017) and UBC Okanagan (2015).  She has completed Public Art projects at the University of Guelph and in Lake Country, BC and her writing has appeared in Border Crossings and Galleries West magazines.

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


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.

Jennifer Lauriault, 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.

Hannah Griffin, Treasurer
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, 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, Director
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, Director
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.”


Keys to our Success