Board & Advisory Council

Board of Directors & Advisory Council

CNAL is governed by a Board of Directors. This group of dedicated and committed volunteers is comprised of professionals who lend their expertise in providing vision, strategic leadership, policy directives and stewardship for the organization.The Board of Directors has legal and fiduciary responsibility for managing the organization, with input from the Advisory Committee.

Board of Directors

Chair: Larry O’Farrell

Larry O' Farrell is Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education and UNESCO Chair in Arts and Learning at Queen's University, Canada. He is Chair, Board of Directors, Canadian Network for Arts and Learning.  Larry has served as Chair, Steering Committee, International Network for Research in Arts Education, President, International Drama/Theatre and Education Association, and Honorary Professor, Hong Kong University of Education. Larry is widely published and has presented keynote addresses, academic papers and professional workshops in 30 countries on 6 continents.  As General Rapporteur for the 2nd UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education (Seoul, Korea, 2010) he authored The Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education which was unanimously endorsed by the General Conference of UNESCO. His research interests include creativity and intercultural understanding through drama/theatre, singing and arts education. Larry is a recipient of the Campton Bell Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.

Vice Chair: John Hobday C.M.

Arts Consultant and Board Member, John Hobday served as the former Director, Canada Council for the Arts. (2003-2006). From 1982 to 2002 he served as Executive Director of The Samuel & Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation and played a key role in advancing the importance of arts management. He was also responsible for Corporate Donations for Seagram Canada, including the award winning “Seagram Symphonia” program. John was the National Director of the Canadian Conference of the Arts from 1971 to 1982. Prior to that he was the Administrative Director of the Neptune Theatre; Theatre Administrator at Confederation Centre; and a CBC Radio Drama Producer. In 2001 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada and holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Waterloo and King’s College.

Secretary: Marnie Gladwell

Marnie Gladwell is Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, a member organization that works to advance the arts through advocacy, policy development and proactive leadership. Marnie is a former member of the Regina Modern Dance Works company and also worked as an independent dance artist. Over her career, she has taught dance in both community and public schools, and was a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Regina. For more than a decade, she served as Dance Consultant with Saskatchewan Education and while there, wrote the dance strand of the K to 12 Arts Education curriculum. In 2002, Marnie was awarded an artist in residency at New Dance Horizons. 

Director: Angela Elster

Ms. Elster, one of Canada’s preeminent Arts & Learning executives, is currently the Vice President, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music and Community Programs. Following three decades of leadership, most recently as Senior Vice President of The Royal Conservatory where she launched ‘Learning Through the Arts’ in addition to many other successful education and wellness programs. She has held leadership positions with the Coalition for Music Education and the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning and currently leads several Canadian creative projects. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto, an MA from OISE and the Certificate of Leadership in Expressive Arts from the European Graduate School where she is in the process of completing her PhD. She brings to organizations demonstrated expertise in teaching, research, curriculum development, government relations, fundraising and strategic  planning. Central to all of her work is the creativity, inspiration, excellent quality, depth, and joy she learned through her music education and music teaching. Angela was awarded one of Canada’s highest honors – the Meritorious Service Medal from the Right Honourable David Johnston, former Governor General of Canada recognizing outstanding accomplishments that set an example and bring benefit to our country.

Director: Tim Borlase C.M., ONL

Tim has been actively involved in promoting and sustaining the arts and culture of Labrador for more than 40 years. He was a program specialist for art, music, drama, Labrador studies, and social studies with the Labrador School Board for 28 years. He then became the Director of the Labrador Institute of Memorial University from 2002-2006 where he involved the university in responding to the educational, cultural and research needs of Labradorians.  He is the author of numerous publications on the heritage and culture of Labrador including The Labrador Inuit, Songs of  Labrador the first pan Labrador songbook, Tusanittut, a book of nursery rhymes and songs in Inuktitut and It Can Be Done an online handbook about how to write a community play based on the community of Mud Lake.  He is also the founder and organizer of the Labrador Creative Arts Festival, an event which involves about 4500 students annually from many Labrador communities in the presentation of their original scripts on issues of concern and workshops with professional artists. In 2005, Tim retired to Moncton, New Brunswick where he became Director at the Performing Arts School at the Capitol Theatre. He is currently Past President of the New Brunswick Arts Board and Chair of the Greater Moncton Music Festival.

Advisory Council Liaison: Douglas Riske

Douglas Riske was Executive Director of the Manitoba Arts Council from 1998 to 2015, following two years as Executive Director of the Yukon Arts Centre Corporation in Whitehorse. Prior to moving into the public sector, Riske worked in the arts and culture sector for over 40 years as an actor, stage manager, director, artistic director, producer, consultant, teacher and cultural manager. He founded two theatre companies in Calgary, one of which, Alberta Theatre Projects, continues to produce challenging new Canadian work each season. He served as Artistic Director in Kelowna at Sunshine Theatre and at the New Bastion Theatre Company in Victoria.

Advisory Council:

  • Katie Bergin, Former Executive Director of CNAL/RCAA
  • Mary Blatherwick, Professor of Visual Art Education, University of New Brunswick
  • Mary Dinn, Program Development Specialist  - Fine Arts/Coordinator - Cultural Connections, Dept. of Education & Early Childhood Development, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Dr. Eric Favaro, Arts Education Consultant, Nova Scotia; Chair, Coalition for Music Education
  • Patty Jarvis, Arts Engagement and Education Consultant
  • Victoria Lesau, Chartered Professional Accountant (CA, CPA)
  • Marie-Claude McDonald, Coordonnatrice d'éducation artistique, Division scolaire franco-manitobaine
  • Francine Morin, Professor and Department Head, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba
  • Ken Murphy, Program Manager, Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
  • Aaron Paquette, Edmonton City Councillor, award-winning Indigenous artist and author
  • Douglas Riske, Former Executive Director, Manitoba Arts Council
  • Sanjay Shahani, Executive Director, Edmonton Arts Council
  • Trevor Strong, President, The Arrogant Worms
  • Jason van Eyk, Manager, Azrieli Music Initiatives at Azrieli Foundation