The Founding Members
We are a group of artists who came together to build something we knew this town needed. We've been working hard to get this far and are so excited to be able to welcome our community to join us in making this a reality!
Bee Schroeder is a glass artist and community arts organizer in Nelson, BC. In their art, they explore themes of flora and fauna, drawing on a past career in Forest Ecology. They began blowing glass over a decade ago in their cinder block garage in Austin, Texas. In this non-air conditioned box, they gathered together a community of glass artists to form a cooperative studio that supported gender diversity in the local glass scene. Bee returned home to Canada in 2016 to raise their young family. For the last four years, they have been organizing local artists of all mediums to build a cooperative that supports Nelson’s creative community.
Jill McKenna is a musician, arts administrator and a proud coffee addict. Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, she studied jazz performance on the upright bass at the New School in New York City. Choosing mountains over skyscrapers, she moved to Nelson in October 2019 where she composes, performs and facilitates art. She currently works at Renascence Arts and Sustainability Society as a coordinator for Tiny Lights Festival, as well as a program producer for artistic residencies at Hollyhock Leadership Institute, while she finishes her debut album and continues to perform as a touring bassist.
Hannah DeBoer-Smith is a doer. These bios are usually too short to list the things she does, but in short is a community organizer, visual artist and educator, musician, maker of many things. She is formally educated in Fine Woodworking and has a BA in Public Administration, and Community Development and informally in basically everything else. You could put coop at the end of something and ask her to help, she probably will. When not doing artsy things, you’ll find her running community food based programming, farming, looking at the ground at plants and mushrooms, making snacks for meetings or getting really excited about spreadsheets.
Myra is a community engaged artist, who focuses on the role of festivals and celebrations in bringing people together. Originally trained in sculpture, her interest in festival arts developed through time spent assisting in carnival and parade productions in Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Port-of-Spain, Cleveland, Toronto, and Minneapolis. In 2008, she received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council to travel to Aomori, Japan and apprentice with Master Artist Sakuryu Chiba, learning to make giant lanterns for the Aomori Nebuta Festival. She is drawn to events that showcase the compelling combination of visual arts, theater, dance, and music, as well as the experience of creating art in community. Since 2009, she has been based in Nelson, British Columbia, where she is the artistic director of the Polka Dot Dragon Lantern Festival, which showcases giant lantern puppets, shadow puppet shows, and community lantern installations.
Brian is a tradesman focusing on finish carpentry, cabinetry, millwork and fine woodworking. He has spent the last ten years in the industry honing his skills in the trade as well as building a relationship with Selkirk College since his graduation in 2012 where he now enjoys substituting for the instructors of the Fine Woodworking program when the need arises. Brian was born and raised in Nelson and feels compelled to help graduates from Selkirk and KSA succeed in their passions as artisans and tradespeople.
Marnie Christoffersen is an artist, graphic designer, and an enthusiastic beachcomber. Upon moving to Nelson in 2007, she quickly became a keen member of the arts community. Passionate about celebrating and supporting local artists and makers, she has helped facilitate and coordinate local events, markets, art shows and pop-up shops. Marnie has a background in retail sales, merchandising, and interior design. She grew up in Ireland, England and on the west coast of BC. Calling Nelson home for now, she currently works for a local leather goods manufacturer, as a sewing production assistant and training coordinator.