One in Spirit Healing Arts Society strives to ignite a more inclusive level of healing by helping people connect their personal and family stories, with nature and with each other through community.  Wisdom and science are merging – the opportunities are ripe to use multiple dimensional expressions of art to reconnect communities while promoting equality, unity, reconciliation, and healing. The urgency to create healthier communities for our children has never been greater.
 

Our programs and projects will focus on:
- promoting personal mental health, while preserving and protecting local culture through storytelling;
- bringing all people together through guided, yet organic activities that build mutual empathy, equality and compassion;
- supporting and enhancing knowledge and experience of the arts and of nature as optimal ways to support human health.

OUR TEAM

Randy Fred - 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.

Ann Graham Walker - Board Member

Ann comes from a rich background in storytelling and writing, as well as non-profit leadership and volunteering.

 

As a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio journalist working in Nova Scotia, she produced a daily morning current affairs program and led a creative team. Her favourite part of the job was the opportunity it gave her to capture fragile oral history, bringing people onto her show to tell their stories and producing radio documentaries. As a community broadcaster, she covered a wide range of stories, from live industrial disasters in Cape Breton’s coal mines and steel plant to the politics of health care, Indigenous justice issues, and love stories shared by War brides. She became a fierce believer in the importance of creating opportunities for people to listen to each other, across divides.

 

Subsequent to her career in radio, Ann worked as a speechwriter for a Nova Scotia premier, then as a medical journalist writing for a national newspaper. But when she moved to BC’s beautiful Vancouver Island in 2002 she decided to dedicate herself to creative writing. She got an MFA in creative writing at Goddard College’s Port Townsend campus, in Washington state. She studied for several years with Canadian master poet Patrick Lane, attending his annual retreats. She has been published in literary magazines and anthologies and has been a finalist in a number of important Canadian poetry prizes, most recently the Fiddlehead Review Poetry Prize in 2021. Ann continues to work on her poetry and is writing a novel.

 

Ann was the president of the Federation of BC Writers from 2016 to 2019 - a non-profit currently with a membership of nearly 1000 members. She is a trained volunteer at the Nanaimo Community Hospice. She was drawn to the One In Spirit Healing Arts Society as a founding member because of the exciting continuing opportunities the organization offers to use her writing and other skills to bring people together through the storytelling and writing — tools she believes to be uniquely powerful in building and communicating empathy across diverse communities.

Dr Ansel Updegrove, Founding Board Member

Highly respected NUCCA practitioner, Dr. Ansel specializes in traumatic brain injury and concussion. His focus is on upper cervical-specific chiropractic and he has cared for hundreds of patients since 2005 helping them avoid surgery and pain medications.


A graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, he practiced in Victoria before moving to Nanaimo in 2011.


Dr. Ansel brings the science and practical application of healing through self-awareness, nature immersion and behavioral change.

Loretta Friesen - Chair & Executive Director

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.

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."