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Board & Team




Sean Gallagher has a Master’s of Fine Art, studying at ACA in Calgary and the HdK in Berlin, and has shown his work internationally. He also has extensive business experience and a BCom in Finance and Marketing from the U of A. He is eager to help Nanaimo Arts Council deliver their range of programs, events and services aimed at promoting and supporting local artists and performers, and enriching the lives of Nanaimo residents and visitors.



Steven was the founder and CEO of a social and market research firm specializing in program evaluation, data management and custom research programs. He also taught research and program evaluation methods to graduate students at the University of Alberta. As a social scientist, he assisted governments, NFPs and businesses by mining data to measure performance and inform consumer engagement efforts. Among his clients were museums, galleries and arts organizations seeking to assess their community impact and discover alternative ways to engage their audiences. The Dennis family also supports the arts through a Community Foundation by awarding an annual scholarship to a high school graduate pursuing a career in the visual or performing arts. Steven and his wife, Sandra, retired in Nanaimo.



Sandra’s career encompassed a variety of industries in administrative and management positions, and she specializes in corporate governance and working with Boards of Directors. Sandra’s most recent experience was obtained at the Nanaimo Golf Club where she was both a Director and the Board Secretary. She holds a Business Administration diploma from Calgary’s Mount Royal University. She also has a keen interest in strategic planning, the foundation to any organization’s growth and sound development. Although not an artist, she appreciates the goals and objectives of NAC and wishes to contribute to the effectiveness of a progressive, professional organization.



Kam Sandhu, CPA, CAFM, is a Partner and Business Advisor with MNP’s Assurance and Indigenous Services Niche based in Nanaimo. Kam works closely with First Nations across B.C. He delivers a broad range of customized services and advice to support his clients in moving their communities and businesses forward.

With a keen understanding of the opportunities and challenges that First Nation communities face, Kam works with his clients on everything from policy development to project management. He also helps his clients with audits and other assurance services and provides management and external financial advisor solutions.

Kam earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from the University of the Fraser Valley in 2012. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), qualifying in 2016 and a Certified Aboriginal Finance Manager (CAFM).


Director at Large

Chai Duncan is a visual artist, curator and art educator. He has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions, and curated the works of other artists in galleries across Canada and in the USA. With an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan, he has taught at post-secondary institutions in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and now teaches art in the Department of Art and Design at Vancouver Island University. He is excited to join the board of directors at the Nanaimo Arts Council where he hopes to help meet the goals of the NAC in bringing relevant and vital programming to the wider regional community, while at the same time supporting local artists from all disciplines.


Director at Large

Margot is a memoir writer and small business owner. She has a BA from the University of Winnipeg and is completing a Creative Writing degree at Vancouver Island University. She has been involved in the Gabriola Island arts scene for over fifteen years, literally pouring her creativity into many mediums including natural soap making and working in acrylics. She believes art in any form is the key to creating a vibrant community.


Director at Large

Laurel Karjala is a visual artist and educator. She has BA in Arts Education from WWU and diplomas from the Victoria College of Art. Laurel has shown her work in solo and group exhibits and is a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. She is committed to a vibrant arts community, where all artists can thrive individually and collectively.


Director at Large

Kamal is a writer of creative non-fiction and a published poet with many publications in Canada, India and the USA. She also has extensive experience as a volunteer presenter at the famous McMichael Art Gallery in Ontario. She was a manuscript evaluator for the Alberta Writers’ Guild and is an Associate member of the League of Canadian poets, The Writers Union of Canada, Haiku Canada and an active member of the Federation of BC Writers. She feels that the Nanaimo Arts Council can play a pivotal role in supporting and promoting the arts in our community with respect to the Creative Word, and thus assist in bringing together the Writers and other artists that compose a greater part of our diverse community.


Director at Large

Newsletter Editor + Website

Lena is a visual artist and has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions. She has been a member of the NAC for about 17 years. She is excited to join the Nanaimo Arts Council board. She supports the goals of the NAC to support local artists, festivals and events and to provide educational programming for the Nanaimo Community in a centrally located Arts Centre. There is a need for Nanaimo to have an Arts & Cultural and Educational space that has classrooms, an art gallery, a café and a black box theatre.


Director at Large

As a poet, printmaker, arts administrator, and art collector, the arts permeate all aspects of Aaramë’s life. Originally from Texada and the upper Sunshine Coast, she has called Nanaimo home since 1999. She is grateful for the privilege to spend her life on Tla’amin, Snuneymuxw, and other Coast Salish territories.

Since 2008, she has operated a small home-based printmaking studio creating handmade serigraphs, intaglio etchings, and hand-bound books. She has taught printmaking workshops through Nanaimo Art Gallery, Vancouver Island University, Gabriola Isle of the Arts Festival, Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery, and private studio classes. She holds a Diploma of Visual Arts from Vancouver Island University (2013) and is an alumna of the Leadership Vancouver Island program, and is currently the Visitor Services Coordinator at the Nanaimo Art Gallery.

Aaramë has over 20 years administrative management experience, and has been a part of the Nanaimo arts community for over 10 years, having also worked for Crimson Coast Dance and Centre for the Arts Nanaimo. She is a strong advocate of the power of art to create bonds, build communities, and transform lives.


Director at Large

Becky Thiessen has eighteen years of dynamic community development work. Her work has ranged from women’s advocacy, family and community outreach and child and youth arts education.  Her work has taken her across Canada to the high Arctic with Statistics Canada and in various rural, coastal, northern and inner city communities as an Arts Educator with Winnipeg Art Gallery, Art City, Manitoba Arts Council, Winnipeg Arts Council and several other arts and community organizations.  Community and art are her core.  With a Master’s of Community Planning she hopes to encompass all that she has learned to help create and design places that inspire creativity and community.