Behind The Curtain

Profiling people in the Yukon arts scene whose jobs normally don’t put them into the spotlight.

Laurel Parry – Loud and Proud

On her first day as a government arts consultant in 1987, Laurel Parry was ushered to a desk that held a typewriter, a large black ceramic ashtray, and an in-box loaded with letters and materials from Yukon artists. “The job had been vacant for quite awhile and the sport consultant had been pinch-hitting, so I …

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Michele Emslie Loves Art

Michele Emslie doesn’t even try to disguise her enthusiasm for her job as an arts administrator. “ I love art. I love artists. I love what they give to the world,” she declares. The Yukon Arts Centre’s community programming director is proud to live in a “fairly isolated and remote” place that “can boast a …

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Greg Hakonson – One Man’s Dream Of The Arts As An Economic Engine For Dawson City

The way Greg Hakonson tells it, the Dawson City Arts Society (DCAS) had its beginnings in a chance encounter with his across-the-street neighbor, artist John Steins. “We started chatting, and decided we should build an arts society,” Hakonson says. “He was coming at it from the arts side, and I was coming at it from …

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Andrea Simpson-Fowler has a Passion for Dance — and for Building Communities

There’s a moment near the end of the TEDx talk Andrea Simpson-Fowler gave in Whitehorse last year that explains in a nutshell what her life’s work is all about. “Kids can become extraordinary people with unique skills, while learning how to build, how to share, how to create, how to engage, how to manage and …

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Dan Sokolowski Can’t Stay Away from the Dempster

Dan Sokolowski doesn’t disguise his fascination with the Dempster Highway area. “There’s something in the air that makes you feel the people that have been before you, or the caribou that have been through there, but you can’t see,” he says.“I think there’s lots of good old ghosts and spectres that are somehow affecting everybody …

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Yukon Arts Centre CEO Al Cushing jokes that a fortune cookie clinched the decision to come North

Al Cushing sits on a bench in historic King’s Square in Saint John, New Brunswick, reminiscing about his high school grad party on this very spot. It was a blistering day, and the hotel where the event was scheduled had no air conditioning. “We were going to die of heat prostration,” he recounts. “One of my classmates was a son …

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For Patti Flather, Gwaandak is about building connections by sharing our stories

When Patti Flather left Vancouver for the Yukon, she had no thoughts of becoming a playwright, let alone co-founder and artistic director of a busy theatre company. “It was not at all part of life,” she says. “My parents were not theatre goers. I had one wonderful teacher in elementary school who did drama with …

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David Skelton Nakai Theatre’s artistic director

A high-school excursion to a Toronto production of Peter Shaffer’s play, Equus, is what triggered David Skelton’s fascination with theatrical design. “The set and the costumes were just so evocative, so simple, so full of meaning, and just so functional. Scene starts, scene ends, move, move, move, quickly, quickly,” Nakai Theatre’s artistic director recalls. “I …

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Andrew Connors behind the camera or behind a desk

If you ask Andrew Connors to explain the appeal of film, the answer is simple and direct. “It transports me,” he says without hesitation. A self-professed “art nerd” who loves to read, Connors sees a strong parallel between the storytelling power of film and that of books. “It transports people into other worlds in that …

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Mary Bradshaw sees her curator’s role as a bridge between artists and the public

Tourism officials in Barbados market their island as “Distinctively Charming”. But when Mary Bradshaw was weighing the option of a Barbadian internship against one in Whitehorse, she opted for the distinctive charm of the Yukon. “I figured, ‘Oh, I can live anywhere for six months, and it’s the same time zone as where my family …

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