ARTSCO names new executive director

Former Lake Country Art Galley curator Katie Brennan says she wants to build on what is already here.

Katie Brennan

The Arts Council of the Central Okanagan has named Katie Brennan as its new executive director.

Brennan, a professional artist, joins ARTSCO having served the last four years as the curator of the Lake Country Art Gallery.

“I want to see ARTSCO support and amplify the great work already being done by local artists, musicians, writers and dancers,” said Brennan. “Let’s build on what is already here”.

In an open letter posted on the ARTSCO website, she said she wants to position ARTSCO as a service group for “art makers” and art lovers.

She wants ARTSCO to “serve art makers by supporting and providing resources and opportunities that support all the extra things that artists, dancers, writers, musicians, etc. need to do to get their work out there and make it as easy as possible for them to get that support and get them back into the studio, and making, as soon as possible.”

As for art lovers, she wants to make finding out about the arts as easy as possible: “So that you practically have to trip over it,” she wrote.

The new executive director is inviting anyone with ideas about how arts council could be of even greater service to the Central Okanagan, to contact her with their ideas.

To facilitate that, she’s holding open office hours from 1 to 6 p.m. Oct 19 and  26 and Nov. 2 and 9, on a first-come first-served basis.

She also welcomes appointments with her at other times, if that is more suitable. Brennan can be reached at 250-861-4123 or email director@artsco.ca.

The appointment is not Brennan’s first association with ARTSCO. She served on its board of directors in 2013, during which she conceived the 60 Artists in 60 spaces project to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the arts council. For that project, she designed an accompanying exhibition and participant catalogue.

Brennan holds an MFA degree in studio art from the University of Guelph and a BFA, also in studio art, from Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

She has taught in UBC Okanagan’s visual art department and maintains strong ties to the university here. In 2013 she co-curated an off-campus showcase of student work in downtown Kelowna and this past summer she was part of UBCO’s inaugural summer artist in residence program.

Brennan is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Okanagan Art Review, an online magazine and hub for visual arts in the area.

ARTSCO presents the annual Okanagan Arts Awards and the Mad Hatter pop-up/temporary art exhibition, held last year at the B.C. Tree Fruits packinghouse on Clement Avenue to much acclaim and huge attendance.

The council also runs the Artscape program, which places work by local artists in venues such as the downtown Kelowna public library, Okanagan College’s library and Cottonwoods Extended Care Home.

New this year was a collaboration between ARTSCO and the Uptown Rutland Business Association, called Art in Empty Spaces, which placed local artwork in vacant retail spaces in Rutland.