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Our Advisory Board

We are lucky enough to have a number people that make huge volunteer contributions to our organization without having to have the legal responsibility of being on our Board of Directors. These folks are dynamic volunteers and a a vital part of this organization. 

Valarie Arntzen

"Being an assemblage artist is a fun job! I get to collect, re-use, recycle and give new life to discarded objects, wood and metal. The found objects I collect can vary from a souvenir Statue of Liberty from New York to a complete set of sun dried animal vertebrae found on the beach in Mexico.

I collect when I am out for a walk or travelling different parts of the world. I almost always have my camera with me. My photos are used in lots of different ways: in my assemblages, covered with bees wax, collaged or made into books.

My studio is a visual feast piled high with labeled boxes and drawers stuffed chock o block on shelves holding my collections of junk and treasures. Files of photographs are categorized under themes such as fences, rust, texture, chairs. Getting out my treasures and creating an assemblage in a favorite box takes me back to a memory of a special trip, person or event."

Rena Cohen

Rena Cohen (MFA Theatre) is a director, theatre manager, teacher, writer, and proud ally to the disability community. Former managing artistic director of Realwheels Theatre, Rena has a strong artistic history as well as a reputation for innovative arts management. 

Re Outsiders and Others:  “The boldness of people making art because they need to—outside of conventional structures—is a source of constant surprise and interest. I’m captivated by and grateful to play a small role in this scene.”

Wendy D

Wendy D, professional photographer, capturing moments in life, who we are, what we do and showing it to the world through the visual image. She loves what she does, she helps people tell the story of themselves, their business, their event, their project, their voice, their passion. For Wendy, it’s a collaboration between photographer, her subject and her lens.

Some of her clients include, Creative BC, CMPA, William F White Vancouver, CBC Vancouver, CBC Radio-Canada Vancouver, Wish Drop in Centre, BCIT, Allard Law Careers, Sauder School of Business at UBC, IATSE 891, Josh Berson Photography, Bentley photographics, Scott McAlpine photograph, SFU, The Cultch, Women in Film and Television Vancouver, NDP, Engineers and Geoscientist of BC, City of Mission, City of Vancouver, Home Depot, Meinhart.

In 2012 Wendy was honoured with the Sharon Gibbon Lifetime Member Award for her 10 years of volunteer efforts with Women in Film and Television Vancouver. She continues to support WIFTV through her portraiture of Spotlight award recipients each year. “I’m privileged to collaborate with the most inspiring women every year to create a portrait that will represent them” Who or what inspires you?

Ray Ophoff

"When I started painting again I was blessed by having no expectations of a career in art.

As a child, I was lucky enough to be raised in the semi-wilderness that was suburban North Surrey during a time when kids were expected to stay outside until dinner at 5 o’clock—sharp!

I remember being shocked to discover that not all homes were filled with books and artworks.

My dad was a gifted painter and photographer his entire adult life and was an adventurous colourist. When my mother took up painting, she emerged as a natural draftsman with a great eye for composition.

The seeming chaos in nature belies an order and structure that I see over and over again. There are no random branches on trees.

I’m either cramming the entire horizon onto a 9” x 12” panel or painting a crocus bigger than your head. It’s all in an effort to make some sense of a small corner of the world.

Frankly, I feel everyone needs a couple of metres of swiss chard on their walls."

Seema Shah

"I am a  self-taught artist based in Vancouver, BC. My foray into creative work began gradually after the onset of chronic illness and disability several years ago. Although my initial creative focus was writing, visual art has been my focus since 2014. Collage has organically become my medium of choice. The frequent use of text and paint are relatively unique aspects of my collage work.

I am innately drawn to the use of collage – the piecing together of disparate elements to form a new meaning and aesthetic. I create layered narratives rooted in my relationship to myself and/or the world. Meaning tends to reveal itself obliquely in my art, often through the use of metaphor. Emotion and meaning are central to my work, but composition and aesthetics are equally important. Though much of my art is dark, this is balanced by a subset of my art that incorporates characters and humour.

Since 2017, I have searched for opportunities to share my work in ways that feel personally meaningful, including several group exhibitions specific to illness and disability, Outsider art, and collage. I had my first two-person exhibitions in 2021, both featuring collage artists."

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