Risa Payant is driven to support community building efforts in service of the continued development of a vibrant, thriving, and diverse arts ecology for the people of Saskatchewan. She is the Executive Director at Common Weal Community Arts, an organization with a vision of Saskatchewan communities engaged in participatory art for social change, and a freelance consultant dedicated to supporting artists and organizations with persuasive writing and strategies for community engagement. Since settling in Regina in 2008, she has held positions at the Regina Folk Festival, MacKenzie Art Gallery, and the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Risa became involved in the cultural community as an Art History and Interdisciplinary Studio Art BFA student at the University of British Columbia. There, she immersed herself in roles at the Vancouver Art Gallery, ArtsStarts in Schools, and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. She has created programming for diverse global communities, in addition to collaborating with companies such as Crayola and Nickelodeon. Risa does important work championing the arts across sectors and connecting artists to broader community-building efforts in meaningful and mutually beneficial ways.
Will Brooks began his career as an actor, playwright, and stage manager. Will has served on numerous boards including the Saskatchewan Playwrights Centre, 25th Street Theatre, and a founding member of the SatAwards. In 2007 Will filled a temporary position of Assistant Artistic Director as it transitioned to a new Artistic Director, opened a new building, on time, on budget, and 100% paid for. A permanent position then saw Will revamp, develop and grow the youth programs. Duties like Artistic Associate, second stage and main stage director, Literary Manager, and others were added over time. In 2014, Will had the opportunity to take over leadership at Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan. Highlights include building financial reserves, Indigenous programming, gender parity, spearheading a major site redevelopment project, community engagement and partnership, highly regarded productions, guest artists working at high levels, program expansions, and the development of outreach and education programs
Mary Blackstone (Professor Emerita, Department of Theatre, University of Regina; Director, Centre for the Study of Script Development) serves as Director of the Saskatchewan Partnership for Arts Research. She oversees both the evolution of the partnership and the 3 year arts ecology research project. Past Dean of Fine Arts at the University of Regina, current board member and chair of the Research Committee for the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, and current or past board member for several other provincial arts organizations, Blackstone brings a broad knowledge of the provincial arts scene and demonstrated administrative ability. For the past 13 years she has also served as Director of the Centre for the Study of Script Development (a community-based research centre set up in 2000 by 10 partner organizations from the arts community). She has worked as a dramaturg with playwrights and directors in the development of new dramatic work for stage, screen and new media. She worked with the Canadian Panel on Research Ethics towards the 2nd edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement. As an early modern cultural historian she examines the role of travelling English performers and the networks they formed in the negotiation of political allegiance, social, cultural and religious values in the communities they visited. Although distant in geography and time, her study of the cultural neighbourhoods created by early modern performers, draws on theoretical material relating to place making as well as cultural and economic networks that are central to the study of the local arts ecology in Saskatchewan.
Daniel Parr received an English degree from the University of Regina in 2008, and has dedicated his adult life to the arts community in Saskatchewan. With almost ten years of experience as a program manager for SaskBooks, he has traveled the length and breadth of the province (and beyond) promoting Saskatchewan publishers and books. Six years sitting on the board of the Saskatchewan Book Awards, three as the Chair, provided further opportunities to champion books. Experience with serving on juries and advisory groups rounds out his experience of the arts ecology of the province.
Member at Large
Karen Reynaud is the General Manager of Opera Saskatoon and also oversees the production of the main stage show each June. She is an accomplished pianist who has played for many vocalists, choirs and instrumentalists in her impressive career. She holds a Masters Degree in Chamber Music and Accompanying from the University of Saskatchewan.
Member at Large
Colin McFadyen is a lifelong resident of Saskatoon and graduate of Medicine Hat College. For 20 years he has been a major influencer in the paths of many corporations and organizations within Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and abroad. His work has garnered awards for both brilliant design and strategic effectiveness. Besides 14 stellar years at the Marketing Den, he has also been a V.P. Creative at Refresh Inc. and Marketing Manager/Brand Manager at FFUN Motor Group before forming National Brand Communications. From national award-winning city bus passes to record sell-out Home Lotteries, Colin’s design work has helped to inspire the current landscape of graphic design in Saskatchewan.
Member at Large
Jaime Boldt is a dedicated member of the Saskatchewan community who is committed to a personal and professional life rooted in holistic, collaborative and humanizing approaches. Jaime holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Public Policy with an undergrad in Human Justice. Jaime is a champion for vulnerable populations and those without access. She has received a number of awards for her work in this area both locally and nationally. Jaime has held various strategic and leadership roles in provincial not-for-profits as well as the Saskatchewan government.
Her unique combination of education and experience laid the groundwork to open her own consulting business which she operated for 8 years. With a strong knowledge and background of not-for-profits, she provided support and guidance in development, sustainability and governance to groups across western Canada. Jaime currently is the Executive Director of Globe Theatre, a recently created position within the organization. She also sits on the Saskatchewan Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Board of Directors and continues to teach and facilitate in the practice of restorative justice at the University of Regina and Athol Murray College of Notre Dame
Dr. Kathryn Ricketts has been working for the past 30 years in the field of dance and visual arts, presenting throughout Europe, South America, Africa and Canada. Her work in schools, galleries and community centers focuses on social/political issues with dance, creative writing and visual art as the mobilizing ‘voice’. Her Doctoral research furthered this into areas of literacy, embodiment and cultural studies with a method she coins Embodied Poetic Narrative. She is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education in the University of Regina as the chair of the Dance area. She will be launching "The Listening Lab", a visual and performing arts series in her loft in the John Deere Tractor Building this Fall.
Communications & Outreach Officer