Braden Phelan (President)

Braden Phelan is a Guelph-based singer-songwriter, community-builder, and wannabe gardener. Through involvement in diverse and dynamic creative and administrative projects, he 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 centers (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.

Zandra Juarez (Secretary)

Zandra was born and raised in Mexico City. She holds a BA on Modern English Language and Literature as well as a Major on Literary Criticism by UNAM (Mexico). Her passion for teaching and writing has been instrumental for her career with over 20 years experience as a professor. As an advocate for the Arts, she has founded a school community-based bilingual literary magazine and contributed as editor and author to different bilingual publications. She has participated in translation and literary criticism congresses, as well as international cultural festivals both in Canada and in Mexico. Her growing interest in health & wellness has led her to pursue certifications in these fields and start her entrepreneurial path. In 2020 she moved to Guelph with her son and her husband. She started writing her first book in 2021. She values the impact of mentorship to impulse new talent as well as its power to create connections across generations within society. She serves on the GAC Communication Committee and is also Secretary to the GAC Board of Directors.

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. 


Danna Evans

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 almost 14 years; starting her
City 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 supervision and front of house. Danna is actively involved
with Girl Guides of Canada as a Volunteer Leader with the Guide program.

Amber Ozols

Amber Ozols is a multidisciplinary artist who creates paintings, murals, and paper
products. She has studied Studio Art at Concordia University and Illustration at Sheridan
College. Her work is centered around keeping open line of communication between
art and science. The Canadian Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council have
awarded her grants for her series of Personal Protective Visuals (PPV) which investigates
the science-backed ways visuals can influence and improve mental health.

Paul Barson

Paul Barson has been involved in the Guelph theatre scene since 2010. First as an actor and singer and then as a producer, director and writer. Paul has been involved with Guelph Little Theatre and Royal City Musical Productions as a board member, producer, actor and director. In 2017 Paul co-founded The Downtown Theatre Project where he acts as producer and technical director. DTP shows consistently sell out and attract the city’s best talent. In 2019 Paul took over as the Festival Coordinator of The Guelph Fringe Festival. The festival returns to Guelph August 4-7, 2022 with 15 productions and 45 shows at 3 venues. One Kid Show, an original musical written by Paul will be performed at the festival. Paul has spearheaded other artistic endeavors in Guelph, as the producer of Winter Wonderland Theatre at Riverside Park (2020) and Spider Secrets at Exhibition Park (2021). Paul is also the lead vocalist and songwriter for The Vanishers (Burlington) and Pantsuit Fridays, a duo with his multi-talented partner, Jen Barson.
Paul has been spearheading a group passionately looking to build a small performance venue in downtown Guelph that can host theatre, comedy, improv, dance, spoken word, burlesque, and other performance art forms that don’t currently have a space to collaborate, workshop and create.

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