Laurel McKellar (President)
Laurel is the Senior Director, Curation, Exhibitions & Program Development at THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener. Much of her 17+ years of experience in the arts and culture sector has been in Waterloo Region, however, she has lived in Guelph for over 20 years since studying Art History and Studio Arts at the University of Guelph. She is the proud parent of two young daughters. She served on the Cultural Advisory Committee for the City of Guelph before joining Guelph Arts Council board in 2016. She is also the former chair and current active member of GAC’s Fund Development Committee. Laurel enjoys meeting and learning about new Guelph-based artists and being involved in and supporting Guelph’s vibrant arts scene.
Tamarie Dobias (Vice President)
Tamarie was born and raised in Guelph and maintains deep roots within the community. She was with RBC Global Wealth Management for over 17 years and held executive roles in marketing communications, sponsorship and corporate philanthropy. In 2015 Tamarie shifted her career toward the non-profit sector, bridging the transition with international aid work and post-graduate study in cultural development. She currently works as an independent consultant on projects in both the corporate and non-profit sectors and remains driven by the power of arts and culture to impact social change – both locally and globally.
Erik Grosz (Treasurer)
Erik is a manager at RLB LLP in Guelph. He has worked in public accounting for the past five years serving Guelph and the surrounding area and holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. He has always been aware of Guelph’s strong arts culture and is pleased to support the efforts of the Guelph Arts Council.
As General Manager of Culture and Recreation for the City of Guelph, Danna and her team manage the River Run Centre, Sleeman Centre, Guelph Museums,, Culture Programs, Recreation facility and programs, Local Immigration Partnership and Community Investment (Grants, subsidies). Danna has worked for the City of Guelph for over10 years, starting her career at the River Run Centre. Danna’s passion for culture stems from performing arts and special event management. An alumnus of The University of Waterloo, Danna got her start in theatre as an Equity Stage Manager. In 2003, Danna moved from theatre production to theatre administration with the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, assisting event planning, technical relief and front of house. Danna is actively involved with Girl Guides of Canada as a Volunteer Leader with the Guide program.
Jane is a writer and editor who started her career in newspaper and magazine journalism and moved into marketing.. She studied anthropology at Laurier and journalism at Carleton. She moved to Guelph to raise a family in 1994 and found it an ideal place to do so. She now splits her time between Guelph and Thornbury, Ontario. Jane has been active in amateur theatre as an actor and board member. She served on the GAC Communications & Membership committee, which she now chairs, before joining the board in 2018. She enjoys writing articles and social media posts for GAC to help spread the word about Guelph’s vibrant arts scene.
Barbara Salsberg Mathews
Barbara is a practicing artist, retired Visual Arts secondary school teacher, and published author/illustrator living in Guelph. She enjoys making art and engaging the community with the arts. While in her teens, she wrote and illustrated two children’s books published by Annick Press. She also studied mime in Paris, France. Barbara graduated with honours from the Ontario College of Art (OCADU), completed a B.A in Fine Arts at the University of Guelph and a B.Ed. at the University of Toronto. She earned her M.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and taught arts in high schools for over 25 years. She is also the proud parent of two adult children. She enjoys bringing her experience as an artist and arts educator to the work of GAC. She is a member of GAC’s Communications and Membership Committee.
Aisling is a practicing artist, who currently works out of her Guelph-based studio. Her work as a painter has led her to both study and practice in cities all across Canada. She holds an Honours BFA from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Aisling has worked in the arts industry for the last eight years, in both the public and private sector, where she saw the direct benefits of community-based arts organizations, and their importance in supporting both artists and local culture. She is an active member of the Guelph Arts Council’s Fund Development Committee.
Braden Phelan is a Guelph-based singer-songwriter, community-builder, gardener, and artist manager. Through involvement in diverse and dynamic creative and administrative projects, Phelan has found that each collaboration informs the next. Whether it be performing and recording with acts Tragedy Ann or The Lifers, facilitating recording production through collective label Yukon Gold Records, or sitting on the Guelph Arts Council Board of Directors and presenting community fundraising concerts, bringing out the best in others brings out the best in him. Through these musical projects he has been privileged to tour across Canada and internationally, playing festivals, folk clubs, and Belgian equine centres (just once) alike. He’s the grateful recipient of two different “Songs From the Heart” songwriting awards from Folk Music Ontario, and is part of the Stonebridge Guitars Artist Collaboration program. With experience in production, recording engineering, tour booking, graphic design, and live sound, Braden brings a DIYT (“Do It Yourselves, Together”) mentality to every aspect of his work.