Who We Are

THE VESSEL PROJECT TEAM

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ARTISTS

DR. KAYT LACKIE

Artistic Director

Award-winning writer and musician Kayt Lackie (pen name Kayt Burgess) was born in Manitouwadge, Ontario and grew up in Elliot Lake. She studied classical music at the University of Western Ontario, publishing at Humber College, and creative writing at the University of Auckland and Bath Spa University.

Her novel Heidegger Stairwell was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in September 2012. It won the infamous International 3 Day Novel Contest and was a finalist for the 2013 ReLit Award for Fiction. The short film adaptation “We Forgot to Break Up” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 and has screened at the Whistler Film Festival, New York LGBT Film Festival, and SXSW.  Kayt is a staff scriptwriter on the best-selling augmented reality app Zombies, Run! and has published/sold numerous short stories, poems, plays and musicals, and produces work in experimental digital storytelling. She was employed for several years in the public sector, coordinating local arts council initiatives, and working in economic development in Serpent River First Nation. She has worked as a graphic designer for over ten years, providing services to such entities as Bath Spa University, the University of Ottawa, White Mountain Academy, Time to Give Charity, Cycle 66 Production company, etc.

She received her Ph.D. from Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom where she lectured in the Creative Writing department. At the university, Kayt sat on the Digital Writing Research Group and the Writing and Empathy Research Group. Kayt researches multimodality, transmediality, extended reality and digital storytelling through poststructuralist and narratological lenses.

Website

LINDA FINN

Traditional Media Advisor

Born in Parry Sound, Linda Finn moved to Orillia with her family when she was a year old. Twenty-two years later, she returned to Northern Ontario, “immediately feeling I had arrived home.” This affinity with the land led her to respond to the landscape and its people in a variety of ways—first through painting in watercolour, then moving to printmaking, painting in acrylic and eventually, mixed media. Since then, her work has been shown in over two hundred exhibitions and earned her election to the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, the Ontario Society of Artists, the Society of Canadian Artists and the Northern Ontario Art Association. The recipient of many awards for her artwork, Linda has also received the Lescarbot Award for her volunteer efforts in the arts community, plus numerous Ontario Arts Council grants for professional development.

A love of language continues to influence Linda’s work. Her style has evolved by experimentation with new media and techniques. Using paint, paper, found materials and textiles to express her ideas, she makes unusual pieces that are sometimes mysterious, always thoughtful, and at times just plain fun.

“When developing a theme, I may be inspired by my collection of found objects, fragments of poetry or prose, historical research, a radio programme, photos or sketches. I am intrigued by curious combinations and situations that have meaning for me and also for the viewer.”

Linda’s work may be found in many public and corporate collections such as those of the Ontario government, Ontario Northland, Cambrian College, the Timmins Museum, Northeastern Oncology Centre, Crownx, and numerous private collections around the world.

Website

RJ LACKIE

Media Writing Advisor & Social Media Coordinator

Writer-producer and transmedia storyteller RJ Lackie grew up in Barrie, Ontario, and has spent the last ten years splitting his time between Toronto and Elliot Lake. He studied at the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University, and is an alumni of the Canadian Film Centre’s Prime Time TV Writing Program ’17/’18.

He is a prolific writer-creator primarily in the digital series space, having written or co-written over 100 digital series episodes in the last five years. His series Inhuman Condition was nominated for Best Digital Series, Fiction at the Canadian Screen Awards. In addition, RJ’s first feature film, Darken (released in 2017), was an Official Selection at the Phoenix Film Festival and the Boston Sci-Fi Festival.

Beyond his work as a screenwriter, RJ is passionate about transmedia and interactive storytelling. He was the writer on iOS app game State of Syn: The World Outside, an extension of the motion comic produced by Shaftesbury Films (Murdoch Mysteries, Carmilla).  His Streamy-nominated series All For One (co-created with Sarah Shelson) produced the first live scripted web series episode, complete with audience interaction with the characters; the following season, the team repeated the feat, integrating a live audience vote that determined which of two season finale episodes would air. His series Damaged includes an interactive story experience (thewolflives.com) from the perspective of the protagonist’s virtual desktop, as well as a scripted podcast extension, What Big Teeth You Have.

MURRAY FINN

Advisor

Born in Orillia, Murray moved to Elliot Lake with his family in 1975 to teach school and enjoy the convenience of recreation opportunities at his doorstep. His love of wood began in childhood, building forts and birdhouses, and continued into adult life with home repairs and construction projects.

Retiring from teaching in 1999, Murray began doing fine woodworking with hardwoods and exotic woods, creating small decorative boxes that evolved into complicated designs that reflect his love of form and function.

Murray has participated in juried shows in Northeastern Ontario and the Petroff Gallery in Toronto, garnering awards and recognition for his boxes in the process. His work is displayed at the Perivale Gallery on Manitoulin Island and Sudbury Paint and Custom Framing.

KRISTY LACKIE

Advisor

Artist Kristy Lackie grew up in Burlington, Ontario. In high school, Kristy would come to Elliot Lake often for workshops learning oil painting, figure drawing and printmaking with local artisans. After falling in love with the city of Elliot Lake, Kristy attended White Mountain Academy of the Arts, where she discovered her passion for leather-work. She has since moved permanently to Elliot Lake and continues practicing her craft, including making leather pieces privately for friends and family.

DIGITAL CREATOR NORTH

Past

BRITTANY SHERIDAN

Project Manager

Brittany is a working artist and emerging museum professional who attended the Museum Management and Curatorship program at Fleming College after completing her Visual and Creative Arts diploma at the Haliburton School of Art and Design. Her interests and practice include textiles, ink, film and digital photography, and digital manipulation using the Adobe Creative Suite. She has been working towards a goal of providing accessibility to the arts to anyone who wants to create, experience or interact with creative tools, concepts, or endeavours.

Brittany is currently employed with the Near North Mobile Media Lab in Elliot Lake, providing digital arts access and education for teens and youth.

Website

CITY OF ELLIOT LAKE

KATE MATUSZEWSKI

Coordinator of Arts & Culture

Kate Matuszewski possesses over 25 years of experience in the arts and culture sector in creating, implementing and managing events, programs, staff and a large volunteer base. Ms. Matuszewski has also managed successful youth arts programs throughout her career. Developing partnerships and relationship building, both in the community and in the arts sector, are strong attributes held by Ms. Matuszewski, in addition to extensive marketing expertise in promoting large regional events. This will be valuable in assisting the project organizers in the promotion of the program.

ARIEL (Arts & Culture Roundtable of Elliot Lake)

BILL GOULDING

President

ARIEL Chair Bill Goulding has over twenty years’ experience in business and project management, ranging from the tech field to construction. He is currently Restoration Project Manager for Quest Enterprises and recently finished his tenure as VP in Business Development for the Property Loss Management Group.

Bill is active in the community: as a Rotarian and coaching the Elliot Lake ski racers.  In addition to chairing ARIEL, Bill has also sat on the ELNOS board of directors since 2014 where he is currently president.

KATHLEEN BURKE

Kathleen Burke has over 25 years experience in the social service & arts sector as an educator, facilitator, counselor, advocate and programmer. Most recently she worked with Lakeshore Arts, to manage the delivery, implementation and development of the innovative “Shazaam! Literacy through the Arts Program” for the grade 7 and 8 students of Second Street JMS. Under her direction for 6 years, this multidisciplinary art in the school program evolved into a best practices that has seen the program funded (Ontario Trillium Foundation) to expand into other schools. She created the curriculum and handed the program over to a new generation to oversee it’s successful expansion. Her legacy now includes a satellite Shazaam! Art Centre at Second Street JMS.

She sat on the Board of Lakeshore Arts (www.lakeshorearts.ca) for six years (including a term as Chair). For another seven years she assumed many roles at Lakeshore Arts, which is a dynamic community arts organization in Mimico, Toronto. She played a pivotal role in the organization’s vision and its growth from a small grassroots concern to a successful storefront office and gallery that serves as a lynchpin in the Toronto arts sector and in the communities along the Lakeshore in South Etobicoke.

Experiences include, an artistic path led her to teach English as a Second Language to visual artists in Slovakia and seeing first hand the beauty and constraint evoked by communism after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Additionally she spent nine years as a counsellor and advocate in the social housing sector in Parkdale Toronto. Her focus was expressive arts programming for adults dealing with issues of addiction, mental health and social isolation. The deep inner growth she facilitated and developed in the support groups were part of her own art and personal growth. She believes  in the healing properties of the creative process – individually and collectively. Writing (especially poetry), is her passion.

In 2013 Kathleen moved to the great white north to make Elliot Lake her home and devote time to herself as an artist & poet.

Website

GWEN GOULET

Gwen Goulet brings with her a wealth of experience in information sciences and management. She is the CEO of the Spanish Library and has worked in libraries in Toronto, Guelph and Elliot Lake, and has also worked with not-for-profits such as Maplegate and the Algoma district school board.

Gwen has been involved with ARIEL for several years, beginning as program coordinator on a two-year contract before matriculating to board member status in 2014 and joining the gallery as an artist. As an artist, Gwen works in handmade jewellery, painting, drawing, photography, and textiles.

FRAN PERKINS

Born and raised in England, elementary teacher Fran Perkins moved to Elliot Lake during the mining era with her husband and her three children. Since retiring, Fran has been indispensable in the local arts community. She has sat on the ARIEL board for many years, several of which were as chair. Fran also chairs the Elliot Lake Arts and Culture Committee, sits on the Arts on the Trail committee, and is a member of the Elliot Lake Arts Club and the Gallery at the Centre. In the past, she has sat on the boards of St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Pentecostal Church, and the Tennis club. Fran has been a palliative care volunteer for over twelve years.

CHERYL SHARRATT

Cheryl Sharratt comes to ARIEL with a wide range of managerial and financial experience. She worked as an office manager for over sixteen years, and operates as a bookkeeper for over fifteen businesses and organisations. She has worked as an Insurance Adjuster for the last five years. She is active in her community and church and provides piano accompaniment for services at Elliot Lake First Baptist Church. Cheryl is ARIEL’s treasurer and has been a board member since 2014.

BRIAN WILLIAMS

“I was born in England in 1946 then immigrated with my parents at age 7.  From high school I joined the RCAF to get a trade as an Aero engine tech.  After the Air Force I acquired a 2nd trade as an Industrial Millwright.   My working career ended after 33 years with Ontario Power Generation, Nuclear Division as head training technician for new mechanical maintenance employees.

I have always been interested in art, starting with photography then oil painting for which I have won awards.  Currently I find myself back to photography as I do not have the time to dedicate to oil painting.  Since moving to Elliot Lake my interest in music has been rekindled and I find myself involved with a band and working towards solo performing.   It is tough being retired with so many interests.”

UPCOMING POSITIONS

Transmedia Coordinator

Technologist