A Brief History


    1968 ARTSCO is founded (known as KADAC – Kelowna and District Arts Council until 2006)


    1974 – Honour in the Arts Award created in the City of Kelowna’s Civic Awards after lobbying by ARTSCO – this program continues to run today.


    1981 – ARTSCO opens new Art Centre at the corner of Bernard & Richter, which is now the French Cultural Centre


    1994 – ARTSCO expands its Civic Awards program to include a Teen Honour in the Arts Award


    1995 – Artscape Exhibition program begins – this program continues to run today.


    2006 – The Okanagan Arts Awards begins – this program continues to run today.


    2006 – Created and Hosted the Central Okanagan Open Studio Tour program.


    2007 – Okanagan Arts Magazine launches with the goal to highlight local artists and provide the general public a tangible resource for arts-related events and individuals in the Central Okanagan community. Magazine runs until 2008


    2010 – Forms Youth Arts Council. Youth Arts Council offered Open Mic nights, opportunities to exhibit work, mentorship, and networking for youth. Runs until 2012.


    2011 – Mad Hatter pop-up installation and sculpture exhibition begins. Runs until 2014.


    2013 – 60 Artists in 60 Spaces to Celebrate ARTSCO’s 60th Anniversary


    2015 – ARTSCO moves into the Rotary Centre for the Arts (RCA)

Our Vision

A vibrant and empowered arts community.

Our Mission

To serve the Central Okanagan’s artistic community and fuel the creative economy through advocacy, empowerment, and partnership.

Our Values

Collaborative: We work with local individuals and groups towards the creation and success of arts-based events, projects, and cultural experiences.

Regional: We specifically engage with and support people, projects, and groups in the Central Okanagan.

Effective: We have guidelines and best practices in place to achieve measurable and/or expected results in a timely, efficient and effective manner.

Advocates: We are an active part of a multitude of arts-related causes and ventures and are available and committed to assisting our members in ways that will help them and their work thrive, succeed, and be handled fairly in all situations.

Transparency: Our operations are fully transparent and performed with trust and integrity to the communities and members we serve.

Inclusive: We are fully inclusive and strive to continuously assess, improve and share our practices with both the arts and the greater community.

Vibrant: We foster the growth and survival of the arts in a way that is strong, impactful, and with a positive and memorable impression on the residents and visitors to the Central Okanagan.

Excellence: Our organization seeks to perform these values with professionalism, efficiency and excellence.

Our Staff

Kirsteen McCulloch, Executive Director

The Arts Council of the Central Okanagan respectively acknowledges that the land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) Peoples.

Kirsteen McCulloch is the Executive Director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan.  Born and raised in the Okanagan, Kirsteen recently returned to Kelowna after many years living and working in the technology sector in Vancouver.  Her love of all things creative, progressive and boundary breaking was fostered at an early age.  In her role with ARTSCO, Kirsteen is returning to her roots as an arts advocate and community organizer.  Her natural sense of curiosity allows her to find solutions, solve challenges and create opportunities in the most complex situations.  Kirsteen’s effervescent optimism shines through in her humour  and her ability to relate to others.  She’s constantly looking for the dots — the sparks of magic — the moments of inspiration — that connect people, purpose and possibilities.

Our Board

The Arts Council’s Board of Directors are made up of key community arts organizations, artists, arts educators, and professionals who have the skills, the community support, the capability, and the commitment to take action as required to keep pace with the growth of the arts in our community and to enhance the Arts Council’s position in the areas of arts advocacy and education.

Gillianne Richards, President

Gillianne Richards knows the local culture. Four generations of her family grew up in the Okanagan, and it was her grandparents who first introduced her to the thrill of being on stage as a child when they performed together with Kelowna Community Theatre. Gillianne graduated from KSS, studied fine arts in Europe and at the University of Victoria, and worked as an artist in the United States before returning to the Okanagan in 2008 with her husband and three kids. Since then she has worked as a host and producer for Shaw TV, an associate producer and arts columnist for CBC Radio, an arts and culture columnist for Okanagan Life Magazine, and a weather personality for CHBC news. Gillianne started a film company in 2017, Silver Twig Entertainment, and is producing a number of small projects as well as currently working towards producing her first independent feature film.

Hannah Griffin, Treasurer

Hannah Griffin was born and raised in West Kelowna, BC. In 2010, she graduated from UBC Okanagan with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Painting major, and History minor. Hannah spent the year after graduation living solely from her artistic endeavours: creating, showing, and selling paintings, as well as teaching art classes. Due to the economic recession, she turned to Accounting as a career path to support herself, and her artistic practice. In Summer of 2016, she finished a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Accounting from Okanagan College. She is currently employed at Crowe MacKay, while pursuing her CPA designation.

While at Okanagan College, she helped create CANsave, a Financial Literacy program geared primary students. The program has been met with great enthusiasm. It won second best Financial Literacy program in Canada at the Enactus National Competition in May 2016. When she is not working, or volunteering, or doing schoolwork, she loves to spend time with her daughter Lucia.

Max Walker

Bio coming soon.

Philip J. Ashman M.Sc.

Phil Ashman grew up in Nigeria while attending school in England. He moved to Canada in 1986 to complete his education and holds a Master of Science in IT Network Infrastructure and Design, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. Phil spent 8 years working in Information Technology at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg followed by the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George. In 2002 he joined Okanagan College as a professor in the newly created department of Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technologies. He spent eight years in an instructional role before moving on to become department chair. In 2013 he became the Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health and has served as the Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan since 2017. Phil is a director on numerous boards and works actively with employers and community partners to generate learning and employment opportunities for students throughout the Okanagan. One of the departments Phil helped bring to the College was the Animation Diploma program, currently taught out of the Centre for Innovation in downtown Kelowna, which inspired him to learn more about Fine Arts and join ArtsCO. Although his career has been focused on technology, he is a curious lifelong learner and excited to become more connected with the creative community of the Okanagan.

Barbara Jagodics, BBA, Thea Dipl.

Barbara mother was Ida Emile and father was Bill Jagodics. Barbara is a proud member of the Tsq’escenemc, “The People of Broken Rock” Shuswap First Nations from Canim Lake, BC. Her Dad was “straight off the boat” from Hungary. This makes for an interesting mixture of creativity and boldness in her life.

Barbara’s first love is her family, second love Prince (the Artist Formerly Known as Prince), 3rd, performance art. For the past 15 years, Barbara was involved in over 40 performance productions in all capacities, her favourite being onstage or directing. Forever 10 years she worked for Rainbow Productions, an Aboriginal production company, whose mission was to teach the community about issues facing Indigenous people.

The past 20+ years she has been working with the vulnerable population in education, employment and service work in the non-profit sector. Currently, she enjoys the little things, such as holding karaoke with the seniors at the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society where she works. Her journey of learning: Bachelors of Business Administration, marketing major. Theatre Diploma. Career Development Practitioner.

Barbara is excited to be a part of the ARTCO board and meeting fellow artists!

Sarah Sutherland

Sarah Sutherland is an Okanagan gal through and through having been born and raised in our beautiful city. No stranger to participating in the community, Sarah spent much of her youth volunteering in local sporting events and competitions as well as participating as backstage crew for Theatre Kelowna. She graduated from Mount Boucherie in 2003 and was given a scholarship to play varsity volleyball in university where she was also able to pursue her love of the arts.

Subsequently, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of British Columbia – Vancouver. After moving to Australia on a whim after graduation, Sarah retired her Outback gear and returned to the northern hemisphere to take part in a wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Paris at the Sorbonne University where she was surrounded by the great masters of art and culture every day. She later graduated with honours from business school with a specialization in Human Resources Management.

Sarah and her partner James moved back to Kelowna two years ago to work in Human Resources Management and Energy Efficiency Engineering, respectively, and she is thrilled to be involved in community endeavours once more. Sarah is passionate about helping others reach their highest potential and is especially excited to see all the positive growth changes happening to Kelowna. During her downtime, Sarah enjoys woodworking and building furniture in her shop at home, as well as hiking near and far with James and their puppy Forest.

Keys to our Success

Join Our Board of Directors