Founding Board Member
Randy’s passion is the sharing of stories. “Stories are healing,”. Randy was inspired to create this society by listening to personal stories on CBC Radio about the healing power of art. He is an Elder with the Tseshaht First Nation in Port Alberni, BC. Story telling has been central to Randy’s life. His career has enabled him to respectfully engage people from all walks of life, to share their stories and create lasting bonds– often creating extraordinary moments of healing and releasing traumas. A professional interviewer on radio and television, an editor and publisher and predominant supporter of the arts; Randy has bridged many hearts and minds with his talent and empathic gift. “Two of my greatest honours were in 2005 being presented with the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award for my contributions to the BC publishing industry; and, in 2010 being wrapped in a ceremonial blanket in Penticton BC in celebration of 30 years for Theytus Books Ltd.” Among his many accomplishments are: - radio broadcaster - newspaper columnist - organizer for several communications related short courses for First Nations people at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo BC) - producer for “Native Watch”, a pilot news-magazine format television show - founder of Theytus Books Ltd., still actively publishing - founder of Tillacum Library, an imprint of Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver BC - trained people with mental illness to use computers, publish 2 poetry books written by clients, and secured funding for them to publish their own newspaper, “Mid Island Advocate” - promoter for Saysetsen ’91, a very successful arts fair on Newcastle Island, Nanaimo harbour - founded “Strait Arrow”, a well-read publication on Vancouver Island - founded FACE Magazine, an acronym for “Food, Arts, Culture & Entertainment” - produced and worked on several videos, including two for CBC-TV Vancouver - columnist for Geist Magazine - recipient of the 2005 Grey Campbell Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the BC publishing industry “Reconciliation is a 2-way street. We need to learn from each other.” Every culture since the beginning of civilization has endured trauma and resiliency. We can unite and heal our divisions when we reach out and listen with our hearts and minds open.
Lewis Beck - Board Member
Lewis was raised in Vancouver, B.C. and blessed with a 25-year stint in Canada’s north, attending SFU and Aurora College in Ft. Smith, NT.
"I have always integrated the Arts in my role and recognize the importance of Art to heal at both an individual and societal level. A musician, poet, songwriter, filmmaker and proprietor of Inspirations Designs. A member of the Baha’i Faith, that teaches world peace; something that we believe is possible and inevitable.
Over the years I co-created and managed several arts-related organizations such as The Whitehorse Music Society, The Breakup/Breakdown Music Festival in Inuvik, The Inuvik Music Society, The Artists of the South Slave Society in Ft. Smith, NT and The Kole Crook Fiddle Association in Wrigley. I am delighted to be part of this promising nascent healing arts organization here in Nanaimo.
I’ve had a great honor to work with Aboriginal people over the years and have come to deeply appreciate the sharing of their important gifts and wisdom. My own personal hope is that our budding arts society will bridge even more healing and understanding across our cultures and communities."
Loretta Friesen - Chair & Executive Director
Ann Graham Walker - Board Member
A published writer, poet, journalist and literary advocate. Ann has enjoyed a diverse upbringing on numerous continents and has been settled on Vancouver Island since 2002. Ann believes strongly in the power of ‘WORDS’ to explore our depths of creativity and support mental health.
After a decade as a CBC radio producer and several years writing for The Medical Post, Ann now divides her time between freelancing, poetry and a novel-to-be. As a poet, she’s been published in literary magazines; in numerous chapbooks edited by Patrick Lane; three anthologies (Rocksalt, The Wild Weathers and Poems from Planet Earth) and her own chapbook, The Puzzle at the End of Love (Leaf Press/2012), in which "A Place Like This" first appeared in slightly different form.
Entrepreneur, HR professional, certified coach, MBA and ultimate gig guru, Loretta's path has led her full circle to follow her instincts, follow her passion and find her wholeness back to what truly matters.
“We are here, each one of us, with our unique gifts. Gifts that create and co-create! When we unlock our truly innate gifts, we have the confidence to explore the world with passion. We can create contrast and confusion, frustration and joy in our interactions with others and when we do this with an inner knowing we are everything we were designed for, then we truly shine our light and learn to love ourselves and therefore all humanity in oneness, unconditionally.”
An advocate for inclusion, collaboration and ‘Mother Nature’, she believes we need each other to grow and thrive. "Science is slowly proving what our Indigenous Elders and wisdom keepers have always known."
"Human potential is limitless and yet we consistently give away our personal worth and constrict our creativity as we live on autopilot and fall into unhealthy patterns of survival. Many generations are suffering from the disconnection to the earth, never respecting the symbiotic relationship that is so critical for our wellbeing. The future of the human species is at stake and we are not even paying attention to this interdependent microscopic disfunction.