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About Our Community

In 2021, Place des Arts introduced a new series called, Our Community. Through social media and on this page of our website, we highlight either a staff member, artist, artisan, teacher, board member, another organization, volunteer or student who contributes to Place des Arts. Our goal is to share the stories of the many incredible people who make up our community.

Read all the stories below!

Submit your story

Jan 6, 2023

New year, new Our Community story! To kick off the new year, let us introduce one of our excellent teachers, Nick Stacey.

Nick Stacey (he/him/his)

Nick is an educator and an artist who enjoys working in many media, and Place des Arts is somewhere he can combine those interests. He has lived in the Lower Mainland most of his life, completing his BFA at UBC in 2009, majoring in Creative Writing. In addition to teaching/tutoring various forms of academic and creative writing, he pursues as many artistic projects as he can, including visual art, music, writing and film. His webcomic series, “Shadow Lair,” has paused after 300 issues as of November 2022, but can be viewed on Patreon or Tumblr. His teaching philosophy emphasizes student agency and independence, seeking to provide students the space, tools and support to create work that is uniquely their own.

Tell us a memory from your time at PdA that has brought you immense joy?

On the last day of one of my first summer camps at Place des Arts, a student came over at the end of class to ask if it would be all right for her little sister to enrol in a class so she could learn from me as well. That was a wonderful endorsement, and most welcome; I felt as though I’d passed a sort of test.

Get to know Nick and his teaching style in his Creative Writing and Writing Non-Fiction classes with us this Winter and Spring season! Register today to secure your spot!

November 22, 2022

Today’s Our Community post is a bit different (very meta). As the Marketing Assistant at Place des Arts, I’m usually the one writing about someone else so it’s a change of pace to write about myself. Some of you may know me as the girl behind the camera at PdA events or as one of the smiling faces at the PdA booths during the year. After almost five years, I have the pleasure of introducing myself to you. So, hello followers, my name is Susan Pereira and I am the woman behind Place des Arts’ social media.

Susan (she/her/hers)
I grew up in Coquitlam alongside my family. At a young age, I had the pleasure of exploring weaving at Place des Arts’ Summer Fun! art camps which led me to take many textile electives during my high school education. The lessons I learned from those classes, like trying something new & not being afraid to make mistakes have helped me in my career. In 2017, I got my Marketing Management Communications diploma from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). My passion for knowledge is continuous and I am currently working towards my Bachelor of Business Administration Degree (BBA) at BCIT. My hobbies include crafting, reading and watching Marvel movies.

Tell us a memory from your time at PdA that has brought you immense joy?

“Over almost 5 years at Place des Arts, I’ve had many moments of joy but one that stands out occurred this year at Teddy Bear Picnic. I had the lovely experience of assisting a Brazilian-Portuguese-speaking family new to Coquitlam at the PdA booth. This included an interactive experience teaching the meanings of animals through the lens of First Nations artist, Christine Mackenzie. I noticed that the family seemed hesitant to approach & as a bilingual individual I understood their fear of making a mistake when speaking English. Luckily, Portuguese is my second language, so I approached & explained the activity & animal meanings the best I could in Portuguese. The joy I felt when the mum thanked me for assisting and making the child feel included brightened the rest of my day. That interaction speaks to everything Place des Arts stands for to me- making the arts as accessible and inclusive as possible.”

November 4, 2022

Get to know Karlie Norrish McChesney (she/her/hers)
Karlie a multi-medium artist who expresses herself artistically in two-dimensional and three-dimensional formats. Right out of high school Karlie worked as a draftsperson in an architectural engineering firm before pursuing her BEd and MEd in Studio Art Practices. Retired from her 30-year teaching career, she now pursues her art practice fulltime.

Karlie articulates her art in a very precise manner. Her art practice requires much measuring and calculating to construct a finished piece of work, so much so that her work is a form of puzzle solving. Karlie’s preferred medium is fibre in the form of stitched textiles with elements of mixed medium applied to the surface. She often explores her passion for sculptural form and constructs with a variety of materials: textiles, paper, plastic, metal, clay and/or wood. Her skills are varied and flow freely from the making of one piece to another.

From Karlie
As an artist new to exhibiting it was thrilling to be juried for the Positively Petite Exhibition. At the time I had never worked in a small size; after making the four items for the exhibit it launched me into the making of an entire series of small works.

Karlie’s newest exhibition with two other artists, Stitched Together, is on display at Place des Arts. Line and/or shape informs their art, but the imagery they arrive at creates a unique look for each. This is Karlie’s first group exhibit with her friends and she is very excited to be showing her work with theirs.

October 13, 2022

Ruth Griffiths, (she/her/hers)

Born and raised locally, fibre art skills including knitting, sewing and weaving were first passed on to me by family members. A self-taught spinner, to begin with, I have pursued a greater depth of knowledge through workshops and have won awards for my work. Dyeing with natural dye sources has become a great passion as well. I have taught “beginning spinning” at a local yarn store. Sharing my fibre passion with others is always a deeply satisfying process.

Share a memory that has transformed you into the person you are today?
I have been deeply influenced by memories of my maternal grandmother. She was someone who kept a sense of humour, compassion and a lively curiosity even after a life of toil and tragedy. She was able to learn new skills and ideas even in her old age. If I can be anything like the good person she was, I will feel like my life has been worth living. She was also a lifelong maker of things: knitted things, crocheted things, sewn things; rug hooking, baking, embroidery, gardening.

Join Ruth this Fall and Winter season to explore the art of spinning yarn! Learn more about her NEW Adult 18+ Creative Spin: Intro to Yarn Spinning classes here:

August 26, 2022

Cindy Wei, (she/her) 

As a kid, I took ballet, piano and flute lessons at Place des Arts with some wonderful instructors who made me realize that art and music are joyful—non-stressful—activities. I started volunteering at PdA in grade 11 and then joined the Youth Arts Council the following year. My sister and I feel like we’ve grown up at Place des Arts, and even though staff, programming, and branding have changed over the years, the inclusiveness and encouragement hasn’t. 

I’ve been a certified yoga instructor since 2016. I was a competitive figure skater throughout high school and university, skating for the University of Waterloo’s varsity team before picking up aerial gymnastics, where I learned stability/conditioning exercises that have since been integrated into my yoga teaching. I received my BSc. in Kinesiology in 2020 and am currently working towards my MSc. I’ve led yoga classes for people as young as 5 and as old as 95! 

Tell us about a memory from your time at PdA that has brought you immense joy? 

I love the happiness and gratification that comes with volunteering and working at PdA alongside great staff and students. In my volunteer experience, I loved Imagination Station and ArtReach, as well as Day of the Arts 

For several summers in a row, I volunteered for ArtReach and it was one of my favourite volunteer experiences of all time, because the idea of working towards one final performance is super exciting. I had so much fun being creative with designing performances/set pieces for the show. 

From student to volunteer to teacher, Cindy, never misses an opportunity to engage and share her passion for the arts with others.  


August 19, 2022

Naomi Fong, (she/her)

Naomi Fong is an illustrator and comic creator. Graduating from the Alberta University of the Arts, Naomi has been making comics since she was seven years old. In 2020, she won an Applied Arts Award.

Naomi believes in celebrating and encouraging creativity in action. She is excited to engage with the students of Place des Arts and share her knowledge and love for drawing and visual storytelling.

What is a memory that has transformed you into the person you are today?

When I attended the Alberta University of the Arts, I had a professor who treated every student as if they were rising star illustrators, and that success was inevitable. His absolute confidence in me back then continues to give me courage and confidence as an illustrator today. I want to share this philosophy of potential in passion and the joy of creating in my classes.

Explore the visual arts and express your artistic talents in classes with Naomi! This season, Naomi’s teaching kids and teens classes including:
• Drawing & Painting: Preschool (3 – 5 years)
• In-Person & Online: Drawing & Painting (5 – 17 years)
• Art of Comic Making (8 – 12 years)

Find out everything you need to know about Naomi’s classes (Description, Date, Time & Cost) here!

June 24, 2022

Marcel Tremel, he/him/his

Marcel Tremel (@dancewith_marcel) is a choreographer, performer, adjudicator and dance educator based in the Vancouver area. He is a fully certified Dance Teacher with ADAPT Syllabus (Jazz, Tap), Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association (Jazz, Tap, Acro), Acrobatic Arts, Progressing Ballet Technique, Alixa Flexibility and is working towards completing his certification with the Acro Dance Teachers Association.

Share a memory that has transformed you into the person you are today?

A memory that I would like to share is about a time I failed a dance exam. I was quite young then and completely devastated at the time, but my passion for dance persevered. I learned many things from that experience.
1) That failure is an opportunity to come back better and stronger than ever.
2) Hard work equals success.
3) You can let the experience define you or you can rewrite the story.

Ultimately, I ended up continuing my dance training and really excelled after that experience. I learned to have resilience and developed a work ethic that aligned with my goals.

Join Marcel, this summer and explore the art of dance. Click here for a list of his available summer dance classes for kids, teens and adults!

July 22, 2022

Samantha Kerr (she/her)
Sam is a theatre artist who has lived and performed on the traditional, unceded and occupied territories of the Coast Salish Nation. She is currently an Acting student entering her fourth term at Studio 58, working towards a future in theatre and film. She has performed in a variety of plays, musicals and is in several short films and web series on the YouTube channel “YAP TV”. She enjoys all aspects that are involved in the performing arts, and since starting at Studio 58, has discovered her love for production. She is very passionate about the community aspect of theatre and is excited to continue working and connecting with equally eager artists in the future

How have you changed over the past two years?
Two years ago, I was in my final year of high school and I wasn’t set on what to do after graduation. Acting was my passion, but I thought it would be too risky to commit three years of my life to a full-time theatre program. It took not getting the role I wanted in my school’s musical for me to realize I had so much room to grow, and all I wanted to do was continue learning and performing after graduating. Studio 58 is a very intense program that requires my full time and commitment, yet I feel happier and more fulfilled than I ever did back when I was indecisive and trying to balance way too many subjects and hobbies in high school. I now know myself more than I did back then, and I’m so grateful to be studying and pursuing my passion.

Join us for From Now to Nowhere, at the TD Community Plaza from July 26-31. Admission is free! Sam will also be performing in the upcoming season at Studio 58! The lineup includes Risky Nights, Metamorphoses, A Chorus Line and The Kitchen. Learn more:

June 24, 2022

Marcel Tremel, he/him/his

Marcel Tremel (@dancewith_marcel) is a choreographer, performer, adjudicator and dance educator based in the Vancouver area. He is a fully certified Dance Teacher with ADAPT Syllabus (Jazz, Tap), Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association (Jazz, Tap, Acro), Acrobatic Arts, Progressing Ballet Technique, Alixa Flexibility and is working towards completing his certification with the Acro Dance Teachers Association.

Share a memory that has transformed you into the person you are today?

A memory that I would like to share is about a time I failed a dance exam. I was quite young then and completely devastated at the time, but my passion for dance persevered. I learned many things from that experience.
1) That failure is an opportunity to come back better and stronger than ever.
2) Hard work equals success.
3) You can let the experience define you or you can rewrite the story.

Ultimately, I ended up continuing my dance training and really excelled after that experience. I learned to have resilience and developed a work ethic that aligned with my goals.

Join Marcel, this summer and explore the art of dance. Click here for a list of his available summer dance classes for kids, teens and adults!

April 30, 2022

Lois Ichlen

Place des Arts has been part of my life for a little over thirty years. I started with the intention of updating my office skills and going back to work after my youngest graduated from school. I worked every Tuesday with Gillian Elliot – Place des Arts’ Executive Director from 1989-2003 – and after my husband retired, I decided not to work and stayed on as a volunteer.

While volunteering, I have done many jobs. In recent years, I’ve assisted with hanging the artwork identification cards. I enjoy this task as it allows me to see the different mediums of art that come through the centre.

What small or big transformation has been a milestone?

Not so sure if there’s been a transformation but I do want to say that I’ve worked with some wonderful people at Place des Arts. Of the past and current individuals, I’ve worked with, I always enjoyed my conversations with them and noticed their interests.

One memory that sticks out in my mind was when I was working in Mackin House while they were renovating “the old, original” Place des Arts into the lovely building it is now. That was an experience!

April 15, 2022

Jennifer Misera

I have always been an artistic person and enjoy learning new ways to be creative whether it’s through art, singing or acting. I feel my best when I am creating something that makes me feel proud.

In 2021, I was fortunate to find a volunteering opportunity at Place des Arts. I joined for the Summer Fun! Art Camp, where I began volunteering over Zoom. Place des Arts extended an invitation for me to continue volunteering in the Fall. I accepted and have been volunteering ever since.

How have you changed over the past two years?

What I’ve learned over the past two years is that it’s important to be open to trying new things as well as doing what we love even when life gets complicated. Being artistic and creative was not only a fun activity but also one that brought me a real sense of peace. During a time when the world kept changing and was very chaotic, I had found something that I could do that made me happy.

My volunteering experience with Place des Arts has helped me regain the creativity I thought I had lost, and I encourage everyone to try something artistic. You never know when you’ll find a new passion and outlet for your creativity.


March 25, 2022

Jessica Kang, (she/her)

Jessica is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Board after being a student (1994-) and a member of PdA’s staff (2002-2004). Since then, her career has led her to live around the world for several multinational corporations. She now works in the public service as a policy director and runs her namesake art & design studio @jessicakangstudio .

Jessica holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from UBC Sauder School of Business and has completed MFA-level design studies at Parsons in New York. She credits PdA for fostering rich, immersive art and music experiences for her growing up and is thrilled to share this passion with the community.

What small or big transformation has been a milestone over the past two years?

So much has changed over the past two years for everyone, but I would say my one big transformation has been becoming a first-time mom. It truly is life-changing and I have so much respect for parents everywhere. I also can’t wait to introduce our little guy to art, music and culture via PdA!

Anything you want to share? Long before today’s recognition of diversity, inclusion and representation, I have personally experienced PdA championing and modeling this. When I identified that the growing Korean community could benefit from translation support at the front desk, they gave me the opportunity to work at PdA and help remove barriers.

It’s always heartwarming to hear from our community members especially those that have been with us for many years in different capacities. Jessica is among many of our community members who continue to not only inspire us but inspire those in her community.
Photo: Lara L Hill @lara_hill307

February 25, 2022

Hazel Kang, (she/her)
Hazel studied Psychology and Cinema at University of Toronto, which operates on the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. She has worked as a programmer for the Toronto Korean Film Festival, where she witnessed the strength of a shared experience of art and grew to love showcasing art to empower communities. She also enjoys theatre and has acted on physical and digital stages for campus theatre productions including “The Madness of the Square” and “Porcelain Tigers”.

Share a memory that has transformed you into the person you are today.

“When my family first moved to Canada, I was enrolled into a very small school with an average of ten students per class, per grade. We learned knitting, cursive writing and woodwork, and drew/wrote our own textbooks every day. It sounds like the dream school any kid would beg their parents to go to, but I had no particular interest or talent in any of these crafts.
It wasn’t until my class put on our year-end play, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde, that I realized how excited I could be about making art. I played Lady Bracknell, an arrogant Victorian lady who interferes in her daughter’s marriage, and I couldn’t wait for every next day to come so I could run to school to practice lines and build scenes with my class. I remember the thrill of waiting for my cue backstage on the opening night, and the energy and connection I felt when I finally stood in front of an audience who breathed, laughed and cried with me. That moment was something truly magical and transformative that it drives my love for making and showcasing art to this day.”

Next time you are in the facility, make sure to say hello and welcome Hazel!

February 11, 2022

Lillian Liu
Lillian is a creative photographer who utilizes digital techniques to create unique atmospheres in her work. She is part of the humanitarian artistic collective Free Spirit, headquartered in Paris, as of 2016.

Features include: Marie Claire Taiwan, Vogue Taiwan, Penguin Random House, CTV News Canada, Craftopia on HBO Max, and many more.

Lillian’s latest awards are the Grand Award, Creative Division at the 2021 WPPI Competition, first in the 2020-2021 WPPI First Half Competition (Open Category) and first in the 2021 Muse Photography Awards for digitally enhanced photography.

Lillian has also collaborated with The Colour Lab to release her own set of colour-toning actions.  She is also an ambassador for lighting company Lumecube.

Lillian shoots in Canada, the USA and the EU, and is also a full-time music teacher.

Share a memory that has transformed you into the person you are today?

“I’ve been reminded that you cannot take health for granted and that health spans deep into workflow especially for artists. Desk setup, stretches, repetitive muscle strain, tension and posture all can take a toll on you over time and result in injury. Especially, if you work on your craft every day at a desk. One day the cards—our health—could come falling down. Being mindful of our wellbeing translates directly into better productivity and art.”

Lillian’s photography can be found, not only on walls in galleries, but on the cover of your favourite book! One of the most recent books that have her photography as a cover is a YA/teen novel titled “Castles In Their Bones” by New York Times bestselling author Laura Sebastian (author of Ash Princess). It was just released this February and can be found in all major bookstores! Lillian is super proud of it and we encourage you to check it out!

January 28, 2022

Laurie Jones-Canta, she/her/hers

Laurie graduated from SFU in the Contemporary Arts Program as an interdisciplinary performer & has been artistically creative all her life. She began carving four years ago, studying with Master Carver, Al Phillips, and Bill Skerret. She has taken courses at Lee Valley for wood, bark carving and pyrography. As a working artist, Laurie has produced private commissions and unique works from bark, cedar and bass wood. Lighthouses, boathouses, gnomes, castles, gothic spires and fantasy houses are Laurie’s focus.

How have you changed over the past two years?

“The past two years have been life changing in so many ways, with the launch of my website, joining art groups and councils for support. The isolation and restrictions of COVID, brought a resurgence of support for local artists’ creative endeavours.

I made a concerted effort to be intentional with my art after retirement three years ago. In 2019 I had the opportunity to take Robert Bateman’s masterclass, a once-in-a lifetime chance to do something great, a gift to myself…from that experience I now sketch every day and see my natural surroundings according to “Bob’s quips and quotes”.

Once I became serious and committed about my approach of wanting to share my skills and voice in my work, I answered many artist calls. Being accepted to “On the Edge” was a sincere boost to my confidence. I continue to explore sculpting and carving mediums deriving such joy from the surprising outcomes and sharing my work with others.”

Love Laurie’s work? Get one for yourself! Laurie welcomes private commissions, visit her website for more details:

December 17, 2021

Gabrielle (Gabe) Unser, she/her/hers

Growing up in the Tri-Cities, Gabrielle fell in love with music at a young age. She began her musical journey with the piano at the age of six. After the birth of her daughter, Gabrielle applied and was accepted into Capilano University’s Music Therapy program and graduated in September 2021. Prior to her graduation, Gabrielle did a thousand-hour internship within the Delta School District where she learned how to best provide music therapy for both neurodiverse and neurotypical children and youth. Gabrielle believes that children have the capability of developing and learning best when they are having fun. Her music therapy is heavily influenced by client-led and play-based forms of therapy. There is no right or wrong in Gabrielle’s music therapy sessions.

How have you changed over the past two years?

Over the past two years, Gabrielle has grown from a student into a Music therapist running her very own private practice. As a mom and a community member of the Tri-Cities area, Gabrielle noticed how inaccessible music therapy was for families. During her music therapy education, Gabrielle made it a goal of hers to create music therapy programs for the Tri-Cities that would be accessible to all types of families. She is beyond ecstatic to see this dream come into fruition.

Follow Gabrielle on Facebook or Instagram @gabeunsermt to learn more about her music therapy services.

December 3, 2021

Clarissa Banos, she/her/hers

Clarissa Banos is a visual artist originally from El Salvador, whose artwork focuses on traditional Latin American culture and folklore.

She is passionate about the magnificence of indigenous civilizations of the Ancient Americas and particularly intrigued by the Pre- Hispanic iconography found in ancient textiles of Mexico, Central America and South America.

Banos holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Universidad Dr. Jose Matias Delgado, El Salvador, and an MFA in Graphic Design and Illustration from University of Illinois at Chicago, where she graduated as a Fulbright LASPAU Scholarship grantee.

Her professional background combines over 25 years of experience as a graphic designer, visual artist and visual arts instructor.

She moved to BC in 2001, where she now lives and works.

How have you changed over the past two years?

“The past two years have been very transformative for me greatly due to the unforeseen outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020 and the many challenges it has brought upon all of us around the world.

Personally, it has challenged me to re-consider and to re-establish my priorities, goals and dreams as an individual and as an artist and to acquire a much greater appreciation for the simplest, yet most fulfilling things in life.

Some of those simple things include:

  • Enjoying quality time with and taking good care of yourself, your loved ones, your community & the planet.
  • Dedicating non-negotiable time to do & to enjoy your creative work.
  • Learning to pause, to be mindful and to live in the present moment with gratitude & appreciation.

Join Clarissa on her artistic journey by engaging with her on her website & social platforms!

November 19, 2021

Gloria Jue-Youn Han, she/her

Gloria Han studied ceramics at Emily Carr University of Art + Design (BFA) and received her Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2019 as a New Artists’ Society Fellow. She continues her education by training under Master Clay Jung-Hong Kim in traditional Korean ceramics. She uses Korean ceramics as a case study to understand how traditions are adapted, adopted or created anew. She sees craft as a mode to express extreme care, commitment, intimacy and love.

How have you changed over the past two years?

“The past two years have given me the clarity that I’ve needed to pause and re-evaluate my priorities. I feel much more comfortable saying no to things that do not serve my practice so that I can say yes to things that are more important to me. It’s a huge privilege to be able to be selective and intentional with my work.”

What small or big transformation has been a milestone?

“I am the recipient of a BC Arts Council Early Career Development grant which will allow me to study traditional Korean ceramics much more intensely with Master Clay Jung-Hong Kim for a full year. I am so excited to come out of these studies and share my knowledge with the BC ceramics community. I didn’t have any mentors who looked like me while in university, so I am beyond excited to become the representation that I never had.”

We are delighted to be a part of Gloria’s story and can’t wait to see her pass on her knowledge of ceramics at Place des Arts and in the BC ceramics community.

October 29, 2021

Marley Jordan (she/her/hers)

Marley has lived in Coquitlam her whole life. Her childhood consisted of many theatre and dance performances, where she then found a love for the Arts and her community. Performing arts provided her with countless memories and experiences that shaped her into the person she is. She recently graduated from Douglas College with a Certificate in Office Administration.

What small or big transformation has been a milestone?

“When the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and my Douglas program was about to end, I searched for a way that I could expand my creativity and apply it to an administrative role. This was a transformative time as I began growing a vision for my career. I am now working to complete an associate’s certification at BCIT for Marketing Management & Event Planning. I always hoped to find a job where I could express my passion for the arts in a community-driven environment. I am looking forward to being a part of the impact Place des Arts has on the Coquitlam Arts Community.”

As both a registration desk clerk and events assistant at Place des Arts, Marley, is excited to welcome art enthusiasts from all over to future Place des Arts events and wants to encourage youth to join this year’s Youth Arts Council (YAC).

When you see Marley at our Place des Arts events make sure to say hello.

October 1, 2021

Justin Anthony

Justin has trained extensively in film and theatre from a very young age and continues to do so. When in his class, you’ll find that Justin strives to cultivate creative confidence with empathy of an actor’s individual process. Justin is a big proponent of creating one’s own work, developing several films as his own producer and writer with accolades. He is thrilled to be at Place des Arts and helping young artists unleash their creative potential.

What small or big transformation has been a milestone?

“Together with my co-producer and good friend, we sold a film I wrote and acted in, to a syndication in Canada. It is very rewarding to have my work not only be recognized but be given a platform to be shared to others.”

Enroll in Fall, Winter and Spring On-Camera Acting classes with Justin. You will gain confidence and become comfortable performing on camera while honing your skills and . Already enrolled in the Fall? Enroll for Winter. Returning students will be given new challenges.

Get to know more about Justin on his website,

September 17, 2021

Kiranjot Kaur (she/her/hers)

Kiranjot Kaur is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist, illustrator, and writer. Her work involves many artistic adventures, and she enjoys painting vibrant, exploratory pieces and drawing high-contrast and bold ink designs. Her current work aims to celebrate her artistic influences including a background in engineering, Sikh philosophy, her Panjabi and Canadian heritage and growing up in a family fabric store.

Kiranjot is the creator of Little Sahibs, a series of colouring and activity books for children, and the upcoming book Sangeet and the Missing Beat.

Share a memory that has transformed you into the person you are today?

“When my younger daughter was born, I felt like I met my mother and my grandmother for the first time. It was tremendous. I have since felt a profound shift in my personality to mirror theirs.

I remember memories from a different perspective, and I feel what I think they felt. I can easily side with my mom on almost every argument. I’m in awe. I see how her motherhood continues as we, her children, age. I look back at photos and videos and feel a presence of a person who existed at a time when I couldn’t see them. Years later, I see them.

This shift has fueled me to create art that truly celebrates what makes me who I am and see the value in my little piece of history. I am proud of my lineage and heritage, which I am happy and excited to share through my art.”

Mark your calendars for the debut of Kiranjot’s authored and illustrated children’s picture book, Sangeet and the Missing Beat, published by Rebel Mountain Press, releasing early 2022. To follow her artistic journey, follow Kiranjot on Instagram @kiranjotart or check out her website at

August 20, 2021

Luana Magno (she/ her)

Luana Magno came from Brazil and chose Canada as her new home. She is a trained lawyer who expresses herself through art, especially photography. She is delighted with the opportunity to serve on the board of directors at Place des Arts, as she believes art stimulates personal growth and is one of the best tools to create community connections.

Her solid corporate and legal experience of 8 years working in the international department of a well-known global consulting firm, enables her to support the Board in various matters. However, she believes she brings more than her professional background…she brings fresh eyes, caring ears, her willingness to learn and passion to help.

What does Belonging mean to you?

“In my point of view, belonging is feeling as an important part of a group. To be accepted and valued by who you are with all the differences and similarities. It is a deep connection. It is the feeling of holding hands and looking in the same direction. To me, it is simply what every human being needs… to be loved and to belong. It is exactly what I aimed to promote with the Nice to meet you Project.”

Support Luana and her artwork by exploring her current exhibition, “Nice to meet you Project” that is on display at the Port Moody Station Museum now until October 2021.

For more information about the “Nice to meet you Project” visit,

Photographer – Silmara Emde

July 30, 2021

Subyn Cho (she/her)

Subyn has been attending dance and music classes as well as Summer Fun Camps at Place des Arts since she was in elementary school. Her love for performing arts directed her to volunteer at Place des Arts during high school and is now working as the Summer Fun Day Camp Coordinator for this year. With an interest in human movement and dance, she recently graduated with a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of British Columbia and hopes to pursue a career working with performing artists and pediatric populations through a clinical lens.

Experience Subyn’s love for the performing arts, by registering for a Dance & Movement class at Place des Arts. Hey, you might even bump into her in one of our classes and make a lifelong friend.

July 12, 2021

Jared Batac Co. (he/him)

Jared is a 15-year-old teen who loves the arts – especially the performing arts such as music and theatre – and to entertain! He has been a part of Place des Arts’ Coquitlam Youth Theatre (CYT) for three years. Alongside those in his troupe, Jared, has performed in Place des Arts’ productions of the Jungle Book, Dear Edwina and most recently in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is available for you to watch on Place des Arts’ YouTube channel here.

Place des Arts holds a special place in his heart. If you want to see more of Jared and the Coquitlam Youth Theatre students, stay tuned for when they come back next year!

Also, check out The Honey Files, a series of monologues created by our CYT students and directed by Seamus Fera that explore issues relating to emotional and physical well-being facing young people today.

We also would like to congratulate Jared on his Place des Arts Scholarship! Keep doing what you love.

June 25, 2021

Maria Carinha (she/her)

Maria Carinha was a dressmaker in the country that she grew up in, Portugal. When she came to Canada, she worked in sewing factories until she opened her own dry cleaning and alterations business, which she ran until 1998. After retiring, Maria continued creating various styles of scarves, bags, jewelry bags and totes sold at galleries, craft fairs and more! She also crochets scarves and capes.

Maria loves creating, sewing and crocheting. Maria volunteers at Burnaby Hospital two days a week and donates the proceeds of her sales to them.

Next time you are in our centre, make sure to stop by our Artisan Shop and explore the accessories that Maria has created.

You can also browse our Artisan Shop online here:

June 18, 2021

Amanda Lau (she/her)
Amanda is a performing artist, choreographer, dance educator and vocalist with over 15 years of training in jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, stage, tap, street jazz and ballet. She performed across BC with Vancouver Tap Dance Society’s touring ensemble, TAPCO. Amanda is a dancer on the NLL Vancouver Warriors Dance Crew and a Captain of the SFU Athletics Dance Team. She adjudicated at the Performing Arts BC Regional Festivals and Tri-Cities Got Talent for many years. Amanda studied with Arts Club Theatre and The Gateway Conservatory for musical theatre and acting. Past nominations include “Best Supporting Actress” (CTC Awards) and “Outstanding Supporting Performance” (Ovation Awards). Amanda is at SFU studying Communication and Education, a peer mentor and a Board Director for a non-profit society.

What does Belonging mean to you?
“Belonging is building a community of support where people empower each other to learn and grow.”

Amanda will be teaching Jazz and Lyrical this summer and in the 2021-2022 season! She will also be available for private, semi-private and trio dance lessons! For more information, click here.

June 11, 2021

Shreyasi Das (she/her)
Shreyasi Das is a Digital Lighting and Look Development Artist working on feature animated films. In her free time, she “moonlights” as a contemporary visual artist specializing in textiles and mixed media. Das loves working with her hands and exploring the texture of various materials. Her main areas of focus are weaving and hand embroidery, consciously made with as little waste and as much respect for the environment as possible. Most of her work is made with thrifted or recycled materials. When Das is not working on abstract pieces, she embroiders detailed pet portraits for her clients!

What does Belonging mean to you?
“When I hear the word “belonging” I think of a safe space or community in which individuals can grow, thrive, and be loved for who they are. Belonging is being ourselves in front of others, unabashedly. It has been difficult to connect with other kindred spirits during the pandemic which has led to a lack of belonging and as a result, a lack of wellbeing. I look forward to the day we can reunite and rejoice with the people who lift us up.”

Want to learn more about Shreyasi and what she’s up to? Visit her website and subscribe to her monthly newsletter to get updated!

May 28, 2021

Dayton Chan (He/Him)
Born and raised in Vancouver, Dayton has been immersed in music at the young age of six and is presently studying with Marjory Purdy at Place des Arts. His interest in music started way back when he would fall asleep to his sister practicing piano. His parents helped him grow his passion into a means of expression which is one of the greatest gifts he could ever ask for. Aside from piano, Dayton is a hockey enthusiast, aspiring cook and is working to become a lifeguard.

What does Belonging mean to you?
“To me, belonging is when changing yourself feels unnecessary.”

If you want to sign up for private piano lessons with Novice Teacher-in-Training Dayton, call Place des Arts at 604.664.1636!

May 14, 2021

Jessie Au (she/her)
Sr. Fine & Performing Arts Programmer for Place des Arts for over 10 years

Jessie’s love for the arts began when her mom enrolled her at the wee age of three to study at Jean M. Wong School of Ballet in Hong Kong. Upon moving to BC, her arts education expanded to include tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and contemporary dance, as well as piano and musical theatre. A graduate of UBC with a Bachelor of Science in Food Nutrition and Health, Jessie works full-time at Place des Arts as the Sr. Fine & Performing Arts Programmer and teaches dance and fitness classes throughout Greater Vancouver.

What does Belonging mean to you?
“Being in a place (whether that is a physical space or a state of mind) that makes me feel accepted, celebrated and connected.”

If you want to sign up for a dance and fitness class with Jessie, visit her website at to find out more!

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