The KAC is actively recruiting for its Board of Directors. If you’re interested, please get in touch with Kirsi Hunnakko, Executive Director at email@example.com.
Billyann Balay, Chair
Billyann Balay began her professional arts career in dance, performing with several chamber ballet companies in Ontario and later with the Toronto Dance Theatre. She was the Principal of The School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, the premier modern dance training institution in Canada, from 1981 to 1991. She joined the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) as Associate Dance Officer in 1991, and became Dance Officer in August 1993. She was promoted to Director of Granting Programs in the spring of 2001.
While at OAC, Billyann participated actively in the ongoing development of the arts community. She was instrumental in the establishment of Arts 4 Change, which later became Creative Trust, a consortium of performing arts organizations in Toronto formed to work together to achieve positive organizational change and a secure financial future. She was also a constant champion of the needs and concerns of Aboriginal and culturally diverse artists and arts organizations.
When she retired in 2013, she and her husband Roelof (Ron) Peter Snippe, a dance and theatre lighting designer, were delighted to make Kingston their new home.
Will Britton, Treasurer
Since arriving in Kingston to attend the Concurrent Education program at Queen’s University as a Drama Major twenty-five years ago, Will has been actively involved in both the professional and amateur theatre community. He has filled the role of producer, director, designer, stage manager and/or performer in well over 100 productions. He was General Manager of Theatre Kingston when they became the resident company of the Baby Grand, and later served on the Board of Directors. He has also completed a board term with Domino Theatre, and was recently the Chartering Secretary of Kingston Waterfront Rotary Club, of which he remains a member. While still engaged with Kingston’s vibrant theatre scene and maintaining his own production company (Op Knox Entertainment), Will began his career in Financial Services with Sun Life in 2007, earned his Certified Financial Planner designation in 2012, and now provides financial planning to his clients through his own independent firm, Tidal Financial Management Inc., established in 2017.
Stephen Elliott, Board Member
Stephen Elliott has recently retired after completing a six-year term as the Dean of Education at Queen’s University. A sampling of his administrative experience include: curriculum reform consultant with the Ministry of Education (Ontario), Dean of Education, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Vice President and President of the Canadian Society for Education through Art. As a tenured Professor with expertise in Art Education, Aesthetics, Curriculum Design and Educational Philosophy, Steve served for many years as Co-coordinator of the Artist in Community Education Program, working closely with fine artists, dancers, creative writers, musicians, and actors. He is a practising printmaker and painter currently working from his studio in Gananoque.
Megan Sirett, Board Member
Currently the associate director of the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, Megan Sirett has a strong background in cultural management working for organizations in both Kingston and Toronto including the Kingston Arts Council, the Kingston Symphony, Cantabile Choirs, and Soundstreams. She studied communications and culture at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo and graphic design at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. In addition to arts administration, Megan worked as a freelance designer and event planner and ran a bespoke floral boutique before realizing it’s not as nearly as charming as it sounds. She spends her free time meditating, trying to like gardening, and chasing after the perfect cup of coffee.
Mariah Horner, Board Member
Mariah Horner is a theatre creator and producer based in Kingston, Ontario. Selected credits include: directing Hana Hashimoto: Sixth Violin (Thousand Islands Playhouse), assistant directing Behaviour (GCTC), assistant directing Butcher (Theatre Kingston 2018); assistant directing The Revolutions (SpiderWebShow 2017); and directing girls!girls!girls! (
Barb Danielewski, Board Member
Barb Danielewski is a social artist and facilitator who is committed to supporting community through mentorships, peer to peer learning, and group coaching. She has designed and led over 170 experiences for community partners such as the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, H’art School, Boys and Girls Club, Peacequest, Providence Care, KFL&A Public Health, OPIRG, Kingston Immigration Partnership, and the City of Kingston. From 2013-2019 she received an OAC Artist in Residence grant to implement collaborative inquiry projects with intermediate students at the Limestone District School Board. Her studies since 2014 with Partners for Youth Empowerment have led her to receive a certificate in the Art of Facilitation, a mentorship grant from the Ontario Arts Council in Community Arts, and training in co-facilitation from her mentor Nadia Chaney. Her screenprinted activist neckties, clothing, and patches have been shown in artisan stores and gallery shops from Vancouver to Halifax. In her secret life as a mechanic and tradesperson, she has repaired bikes, designed sustainability and conservation workshops, including for Kingston Utilities, and worked as a farmhand.
Elizabeth Hesp, Board Member
Elizabeth Hesp is a self-taught, practicing visual artist and fine art photographer since 2011. Originally from India, she has been a resident of Kingston for 23 years. She advocates arts entrepreneurship and cross-cultural collaborations in the community through her volunteering, mentoring, and artist projects.
Focused on arts education, she engages elementary students and the public, with tours and talks at her solo exhibitions. She has been a recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assistance Grants, in 2014 and 2018. Her first artist project, Visual Rhythms, Architecture Dance Music (2013 – 2018), was a collaboration with youth performance artists from Queen’s University and Kingston. The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts hosted the exhibition. Her project book Finding Rhythm in the City is being released later in 2019.
As a member of the Professional Development Working Group (2018-2019), she contributed to the research and survey included in the recommendation to the City’s Arts Advisory Committee. As the owner of Elizabeth Hesp Fine Art, she created her Art for Business service to provide interior art for design projects. She is a mindfulness practitioner and a trained, solution-focused Coach and facilitates perspective shifts for those seeking change. She enjoys long walks by the lake.