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)
A vibrant and empowered arts community.
To serve the Central Okanagan’s artistic community and fuel the creative economy through advocacy, empowerment, and partnership.
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.
Kirsteen McCulloch, Executive Director
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 of 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 humor 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.
Maura Tamez, Indigenous Curator
Maura Tamez (she/her) is a Ndé (Lipan Apache; Southern Plains Dene) installation artist who is located on the Okanagan Indian Band Reserve amongst Sqilxw peoples, and a guest on the unceded territory of the Syilx peoples. She is a 2022 graduate of the University of British Columbia Okanagan and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She has been featured in numerous exhibitions at galleries such as the Alternator, Kelowna Art Gallery, Terrain Art Gallery, Lake Country Art Gallery, and the Polygon Art Gallery. Her work explores themes of belonging, place, and history to advocate land-based struggles and matrilineal ways of working. These thoughts extend into her curatorial practice. In the summer of 2021, mentored by Tania Willard, Maura curated the show Shi Kéé at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.
2022 Summer Students!
Emily Jayne Myatt
Emily Jayne May Myatt (they/them) is a BFA student at UBCO about to enter their fourth year. Their focus of study is thematic painting which explores queerness and historical narrative. Emily will be working with Artsco during these summer months planning and executing programs and upcoming exhibitions.
“Artsco has such a rich backstory and deep roots in our cultural district, it feels really special to have a part in enriching others and creating meaningful connections.”
Kelsey Morrison (she/hers) will be starting her first year as a BA undergraduate at UBCO, finally embarking on her post-secondary education after taking time away from school to establish her own media presence, and to fill her portfolio. Her style combines gothic and tribal inspired elements, and has a heavy influence from Japanese media. Kelsey will be focused on creating new media for Artsco, and managing social media this summer.
“Kelowna’s future potential in the arts community to connect artists in their youth, and older age has me particularly inspired. We have a new wave of art to nurture and create space for, while also honouring all of our predecessors.”
The Arts Council’s Board of Directors is 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.
Philip J. Ashman M.Sc., President
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.
Associate, Lawson and Lundell LLP
Bio coming soon!
Faye has lived the majority of her life in the beautiful Okanagan. After spending a few years traveling and soaking in the cultures of various locations around the globe, she returned home to Kelowna. Faye obtained her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Okanagan College with a specialization in Human Resources management. Currently, Faye works as a Human Resources Manager for a mid-size Accounting Firm.
Faye loves Art and Culture in all their forms, and although an artistic flair is not something she is naturally blessed with, she is excited to have found a way to contribute to the community by utilizing her strengths in administration and organization. Supporting Local people and creating a vibrant community connected by art is the driving factor for Faye’s volunteerism.
Victoria Verge is an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She received her BFA in Visual Arts (with an equivalent major in Art History) from the Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2015. She is currently the Education Coordinator of Adult Programming at the Kelowna Art Gallery and an active member of the local arts community. Verge has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally at venues such as the Kelowna Art Gallery (British Columbia), Tina Dolter Gallery (Newfoundland), Water Street Gallery (Newfoundland), Art Mur Gallery (Quebec), Gatehouse Arts’ Eastgate Gallery (England).