Board of Directors and Staff

Gabriola Arts Council Board of Directors

The Directors of the Gabriola Arts Council form a hard-working and committed volunteer Board that directs and guides the staff, volunteers, and the organization. We are always interested in hearing from members who have new ideas or who would like to volunteer to help with events or fundraising. Contact us!

Charlie Cheffins | President | charlie <at>
Charlie enjoyed a 35-year career in broadcasting. Now a senior citizen and retired from the rat race, he is resisting the impulse to spend his dotage drinking tea and watching Coronation Street in his carpet slippers by spending as much time as possible riding his bike. Charlie also serves on the board of Gabriola Players.
Board member since October 2015

Tawny Capon | Vice President | tawny <at>
Tawny is an artist, mother of three grown children, and married to musician John Capon. She has lived on Gabriola for 30 years, and has been very involved in the community as PAC Presidents for Gabriola Elementary School and NDSS, Director on the first Gabriola Island Museum Board, a paramedic on the island for 10 years, President of the Gabriola Ambulance Society, Chair of the first Gabriola Ferry Committee, Vice Chair of the Coastal Council to BC Ferries, and on the Parks and Rec Planning Committee, planning parks for Gabriola for the Regional Director. Tawny’s passion now is making mixed media and installation art, sharing it, and supporting the art-making community of this fabulous island. Check out the GAC directory for images and interviews about Tawny’s art making.
Board member since February 2017

Dirk Huysman | Treasurer | dirk <at>
Since moving to Gabriola with his partner in life, love and glass, Dirk has spent his creative time indulging in glass art and photography. Involvement in the Gabriola Island Photography Club has resulted in a community of like-minded folks passionate about the photographic arts, supporting each other through an exploration of photography as an art form. Enjoyment of poetry and performance art led to a two-year stint on the Poetry Gabriola Board. The completion of their glass blowing studio (D’Dance Glass) has resulted in an almost full-time obsession with glass blowing. Life has been very good here.
Board member since February 2018

Margy Gilmour | Secretary | margy <at>
Margy is a TV story producer and researcher working in the areas of documentary and factual entertainment. She has been a photographer for as long as she can remember, and is now trying her hand at silversmithing. Margy previously served as a Director with GAC from 2007 to 2010.
Board member since October 2014

Mary Holdgrafer | Director | mary <at>
Mary Sullivan Holdgrafer is textile artist and creativity coach. She uses her mixed media textile work to question, explore and explain topics of interest. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is held in public and private collections. She is a member of the Haven Foundation Board of Directors.
Board member since September 2015

Bill McGann | Director | bill <at>
Bill is a part time speech therapist with Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools, and full time admirer of the arts.  He has a passion for effective communication and collaboration.  He served as the President of the Oregon Mediation Association for two years as well as having a private practice in workplace and special education mediation.  Bill has provided consultation services and training to help presenters make their work more engaging.  An amateur photographer, woodworker, kayaker, and avid reader, Bill is constantly astounded by the breadth of artistic creativity on Gabriola.
Board member since August 2018

Mary Ann Richards | Director | maryann <at>
As a Gabriola glass blower, one of many diverse roles, Mary Ann has great gratitude for the opportunity to live and create on Snuneymuxw lands. Her endeavours continue to include parenthood (5! adult children), teaching, teacher education, educational research, drama, outdoor pursuits, reading, and joy in life. In organizational roles such as communications chair, political action chair, and teacher education and certification committee member with the Alberta Teachers Association, she has focused on building connections and maximizing potential, and looks forward to continued opportunities with GAC.
Board member since February 2018

Frank Shoemaker | Director | frank <at>
After growing up in Vancouver and working for a major accounting firm there, Frank has welcomed the change of pace Gabriola has offered for the last twenty years. He is a CPA CA and for the first five years here had an accounting practice. Following that, in retirement he formed The Lunch Bunch that has purchased and maintained the ferry camera set up, was commodore of the Silva Bay Yacht Club for a year, and volunteered with PHC for several years by providing technical support to their bookkeeper. He is an active basket maker, woodworker, and supporter of the arts.
Board member since February 2018

April Vannini | Director | april <at>

Back in 2010, April and her partner, up-and-moved their family from the faraway lands of Ladysmith, B.C. They now live as visitors on what is called Gabriola Island, in Snuneymuxw Territory. She is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Royal Roads University, and an Associate Faculty since 2007 in the School of Communication and Culture where she teaches community-based research, arts-based inquiry, and visual ethnography. Outside of University research, she co-founded, and works closely with, the artistic collective Murmur Land Studios and is most inspired by site-specific land art and art as a social practice widely known as Socially Engaged Art. She gets most excited about quirky, off-the-wall, absurd ideas. April is the producer and co-writer of the film A Time for Making.
Board member since July 2018

Are you interested in joining GAC’s Board of Directors? Our directors commit to a three-year term, and can serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. Our Nominating Committee is always interested in receiving applications for board positions. Except under special circumstances, we elect new directors at our AGM in February. We are happy to receive applications at any time. Click here to download our application form. You can also click here to complete an online form. Thanks for your interest.


Michelle Benjamin | Executive Director | michelle <at>
Michelle worked in book publishing for twenty years, including ten years owning and operating a small literary press. She has been with the Gabriola Arts Council for five years, and is committed to making a meaningful contribution to the Gabriola community, not only through her work with GAC but also through collaborating with and supporting the programs and services of other community-based organizations.

Joan Harrison | Financial Administrator | joan <at>

Moe Hill | Administrative Coordinator | moe <at>

Mitch Miyagawa | Program Director | mitch <at>

Mitch has been producing large-scale community and arts events for 20 years, and is a nationally-recognized writer, playwright, and filmmaker. His film A Sorry State won the 2013 Writers Guild of Canada award for Documentary. Mitch joined GAC in 2017. He lives on Gabriola with his partner Angela Walkley and their 2 sons, Tomio and Sam. He also creates and delivers compassionate communication workshops and events with Angela in their business, Farthest Shore Workshops.

Maya Ruggles | JCP Team Lead | maya <at>


Job Creation Partnership Team

Max Cossette | max <at>

Joelle Baird | joelle <at>

Yarrow Koontz | yarrow <at>