Staff and Board of Directors


Yuri Arajs

Managing and Artistic Director

Yuri is a working artist who has dedicated much of his practice to advocating for fellow artists, including artists who live with a disability. He has founded and run a number of arts organizations and art galleries in the US and in Canada over the last 20 years, including as former Gallery Director of Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts and Outsiders and Others in Minneapolis; as former Artistic Director of Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture in Vancouver, BC, and now Managing and Artistic Director of Outsiders and Others Art Society in Vancouver, BC.

His advocacy in the arts community focuses on working with, showing, and facilitating public exposure and financial compensation for self-taught and non-traditional artists. 

Yuri has been recognized by the press and received numerous awards for his arts advocacy and promotion, as well as for his curatorial work as a gallerist, and was named most influential curator by the Minnesota Monthly in 2008. Yuri is also an accomplished artist, holding three degrees, including a Masters of Fine Art from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work is in both private and public collections. 


Valerie Arntzen

Board of Directors - President

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.

I like to work in series mostly due to the fact that I collect in multiples but I also find my thought process needs more than one piece to be complete. One assemblage piece seems to complete the other.

“I chose to join the board be the president of Outsiders and Others Non-Profit Society to help the progress of this much needed gallery. In Vancouver we have several of ways for the schooled artists to be represented, attend residencies and apply to museums but there is a lack of places for the “others” to exhibit and be represented.  As I got to know Yuri and started to learn about his background and what he has accomplished it was a no brainer for me to jump on the team.  The other board members were also a draw as they all bring something different to the table. I look forward to working with them all.” 


Andrea Petrini

Board of Directors - Vice President


Andrea is an artist whose work combines found textiles, used fabrics—old dish towels, mattress ticking, flour sacs, felt, or materials of her own making with stitching, drawing, sewing and other media. The textiles she uses often hold an inherent memory or context of the domestic or the familiar, and offer their own language of history, abstract patterns, rips, tears, stains and other signs of wear and decay, which she then approaches as a canvas. These are cues to begin a communication of sorts with the textile. She responds intuitively to those marks—adding, building, visibly mending, taking away, weaving into, darning, often ‘fixing’ while further destructing—as a non-verbal conversation emerges. 

She finds inspiration in many things, among them, minimalist art, modern art, historic sewing samplers, weaving, fiber arts and tactile media, pattern and fabrics, darning and mending, classical Indian miniature painting and Rajasthani tantric paintings, which are highly abstract paintings with an ancient symbolic and sacred-geometric lexicon, created for purposes of meditation.

Andrea has a 20+ year career in the field of Development for cultural institutions and currently serves as the Director of Institutional Giving and Government Affairs at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. She resides in Brooklyn, New York. 

“Having worked with Yuri in many capacities for over 30 years and witnessing firsthand his incredible work with the Outside art community in Minneapolis, Minnesota and now, Canada, I am honored to be the enthusiastic VP of the board of Outsiders and Others Society, Vancouver.”


Nora Arajs 

Board of Directors - Treasurer


Kait Blake

Board of Directors - Secretary


Kait Blake is a nor’wester (originally hailing from Thunder Bay Ontario), an arts administrator, a disability stigma fighter and body positivity advocate with fattitude! In her professional life, she is the Administrative Director of Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture.  While she is not an artist per se, she has been a lover and supporter of the arts since early childhood. Much of her youth was devoted to participation in every theatre endeavour available to her, whether it be performing, working backstage or attending productions. When she wasn’t doing that, she was performing original plays for her family, friends & stuffed animals, creating artistic “masterpieces” (and messes), singing in choirs (or anywhere she was allowed to sing) and writing short stories & angsty teen poetry. These days she dabbles in art & crafts when time/energy allows, an enthusiastic dog & cat mom and is a lover of all things food related & enjoys getting creative in the kitchen. Kait lives with synchronous disabilities and is vehement about breaking down the stigma associated with all disability, and most specifically mental illness.
Facebook: KickstartDisabilityArts
Instagram: @kickstartarts
Twitter: @kickstart_arts

“I am absolutely thrilled to sit on the Board of Outsiders & Others to assist in propelling this amazing arts non-profit forward!”


Carl Baird

Board of Directors - Member at Large


Carl makes paintings, drawings, music performances and media art. By using popular themes such as sexuality, violence and urbanity. Baird focuses on the idea of 'public space' and more specifically on spaces where anyone can do anything at a given moment: the non-privately owned space, space that is economically uninteresting. 
His paintings often refer to pop and mass culture. Using written and drawn symbols, a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined is created. By emphasizing aesthetics, he seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exists to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life. His works are often about contact with architecture and basic living elements, space and landscape are examined and sometimes developed on reclaimed boards from the urban environment. 


Carl Baird currently lives and works in Vancouver BC, Canada.


Carl is currently represented by The Creative Framing gallery in Vancouver, Roam Gallery,  and Buz3Gallery Vancouver. Carl is a member of I.A.T.S.E local 891 as a scenic artist and recently completed War of the Planet of the Apes for 20thCentury Fox, Barbarian, and Troll for Nickelodeon TV.


Artist_Carl_baird on Instagram and Carl Baird artist on Facebook 


“The reason I wished to be a part of the Board of Directors is that I see an opportunity to help my community, the art community, and establish networking and educational opportunities to further myself. Through my education and experience at this point being on the Board is an opportunity and an honor to give back to this community.”