2020 has brought many changes to the W.D.C.A., including many new faces on our Board of Directors. Please take a moment to get to know them here:
Chair – Dan White:
Hi, I am Dan White, Arts Council Board of directors Chair. I was born, raised and taught in Sarnia until 2017 when I retired, got married to Joni Yazbeck and moved to Wallaceburg. I am the father of 3 adult children, Joseph, Erin and Jacob.
I have been invested in the arts for over four decades starting in high school with band and the drama club. I hold a Bachelor of Musical Arts, having completed my degree in music education long ago. As a secondary school teacher, I conducted concert and jazz bands and through my combined experience with high school and community theatre productions I have been involved in over 100 shows.
Upon relocating to Chatham-Kent Joni and I began seeking performance opportunities in Wallaceburg. We mounted what is currently the final performance to take the stage at the Jean Gordon Theatre in 2018. I currently play tuba in both the Wallaceburg Concert Band and The Wallaceburg Brass quintet and I am a member of Theatre Kent where I have performed twice since relocating to C-K. Along with my good friend Dave Babbitt, I write a weekly arts column in the Courier Press.
I have previously served on the Huron House Boys Home board of directors (11 years) and the Theatre Sarnia Board of Directors (7 years). I am passionate about the arts and joined the Wallaceburg and District Council for the Arts to help foster and grow all fine arts in the area.
I believe that a vibrant arts community is the soul of any healthy community.
Vice-Chair – Dave Babbitt:
Dave has long been associated with the cultural fabric of Wallaceburg. Recently retired after serving as Music Director at WDSS for 31 years, he now serves as the Music Director for the Wallaceburg Concert Bands which he helped establish 4 years ago. He is also the founder and playing-leader for The Brass Factory Big Band and a member of the Wallaceburg Brass Quintet. He served as President of the Wallaceburg and District Council for the Arts for several years, was Music Director for several large-scale musicals, is a former member of The Lounge Lizards, Music Director for the WAMBO Interdenominational Church Service, is active in the Music Ministry in his own church and contributes an Arts column in the local Courier Press.
Secretary – Fran Aarssen:
Hello, I am Fran Aarssen, Arts Council Recording Secretary. I was born in Blind River Ontario, number 10 of 11 children. We moved to Wallaceburg in 1975. I attended WDSS where I studied art under the guidance of Mr. Race, and music under Mr. Botai where I learned the clarinet.
I went on to study art at St. Clair College with the focus on painting, drawing and sculpting along with other forms of crafting.
In 1982, I married Mark and had 2 children, Audrey and Joshua. I now have soon to be 4 grandchildren, Summer, Wolfe, Edie and new baby Aarssen due June 30, 2020!
Through the years I have volunteered on various committees, boards and churches. I became interested in singing in choirs, vocal ensembles, duets, and as a soloist. Currently I am a member of the Wallaceburg Concert Band where I play the alto saxophone.
I can’t imagine life without the arts! It has always been a part of my life and has helped me relax and express myself in various forms! I am happy to be a part of the Arts Council to help reach others so they too may find some form of joy and relaxation as they explore this wonderful world of the arts!
Treasurer – Sonya De Naeyer-Louzon:
Hello, I am Sonya De Naeyer-Louzon, Treasurer of the W.D.C.A. since January of 2020. As a new director, I also assist by developing and maintaining our website.
I was born and raised in Wallaceburg. My love of music was inspired early by Mrs. Shirley Sewell while attending A.A. Wright, and further developed by Mr. Dave Babbitt while attending W.D.S.S. What phenomenal mentors!
I currently live in Chatham with my amazing husband Gary. I have three wonderful children (Jesse, Joshua, and Hannah), each grown and living away from home.
I have been an LKDSB teacher now for 14 years, and am currently teaching elementary music and drama. I have been a part of the Wallaceburg Concert Band since its’ inception, both as a performer (playing flute) and as part of its’ executive. I have recently joined the Brass Factory, and enjoy the challenge of learning to play some “very difficult to me” guitar pieces.
I look forward to great things to come in Wallaceburg, while supporting the Arts through my role within the W.D.C.A.
Director – Jane McGee:
A little about Jane McGee
I was born in Chatham (Wallaceburg didn’t have a hospital when I entered this world), and raised in Wallaceburg. I attended Central Public, W.T. Laing and WDSS. Received a diploma in Recreation Leadership in 1977. I have worked in Municipal Recreation for the Town of Wallaceburg and subsequently the Municipality of Chatham-Kent ever since.
One of my more formidable assignments upon securing the Community Recreation Manager’s position with the Town of Wallaceburg was to work towards the organization and development of an Arts Council for the Wallaceburg area. I have continued to be involved throughout the years with the exception of the small hiatus or period of inactivity the Arts Council took in the mid 2000’s.
I am pleased and excited that through the efforts of many, in 2012 the Wallaceburg and District Council for the Arts regrouped and re-energized.
My gift for the Arts is NOT in music, nor visual arts, nor performing arts. Honestly, I have no artistic talents at all. What I do have is a great appreciation for those who do. I very much enjoy being in the audience, gallery etcetera enjoying their craft.
Director – Troy Brooks:
Troy Brooks has garnered an international audience for his elaborate images of elongated female characters in allegorical settings. His paintings have been shown in galleries and museums around the world and collected by such luminaries as Madonna. In 2018 Troy bought a converted 19th century bank in Wallaceburg and decided to relocate here from Toronto.
Director – Danielle Coleman:
Coleman is a 2019 Drawing & Painting graduate with a BFA with distinction from OCAD U. Within her multidisciplinary practice, she is actively showing across Ontario. Coleman’s representation consists of the online artist market-based in Toronto, Partial Gallery and in Chatham at ARTspace. Coleman is a member of a multidisciplinary collective of graduate and current OCAD U students, Tactical Movements Towards Fluidity. At OCAD U, Coleman was an active artist within studios and utilized the resources offered, resulting in employment experience through the gallery system (Ignite and Onsite) within OCAD U and Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers. Coleman is currently employed as a recruiter for OCAD University and instructing programming for children and adults through Thames Art Gallery and Brio Art Academy. Coleman is also practicing community art and curatorial projects such as the tīnē Zine artist publication series.
Obsessed with the element of kitsch and heartache within her practice, Coleman challenges the taboo of creating work that speaks to romantic relationships. Coleman’s material experimentation includes materials such as wallpaper, tablecloths, electrical tape, and floral textiles, considering the kitsch qualities of the perfect home and traditional images that are produced around idealized romantic relationships. Drawing from cliché lyrics of love songs, break-up tunes are key to Coleman’s studio atmosphere, creating a visual language of mark-making that communicates and reclaims emotional trauma. Coleman’s works are conceptually emphasizing cliché notions and practices within romantic relationships. Seeking to visualize the kitsch feeling of heartbreak of post-relationship status, experimental techniques and expanded notions of the painting are used.
Coleman is a member of WDCA since January 2020 and is researching and completing grants for WDCA programming.
Director – Steven Reeves: