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Contact Our Team

The ArtStarts team is driven by the fact that the arts are essential. We are committed to serving communities across British Columbia, continuously improving our programs and offerings, and exploring what is possible when young people engage in arts-based learning.

ArtStarts in Schools
808 Richards Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada
V6B 3A7 (map)

Phone: 604-336-0626
Toll-free: 1-855-292-7826
Fax: 604-683-0501

Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4:30pm
Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Watch Navida's talk at PechaKucha Night Vancouver.
Navida Nuraney

Navida Nuraney

Executive Director
604-336-0626 ext 107
navida@artstarts.com

Ask me about: The diversity of my professional and academic experiences have aligned in my leadership role at ArtStarts. The combination of my MBA from the Sauder School of Business and previous academic training in digital arts, architecture and social sciences, manifests in a fusion of both the art and business genes. I value the opportunity to impact the careers and professional growth of my team — together we have fostered a creative work environment that encourages us to practice what we promote. The arts truly are an essential part of life and ultimately help us better understand the world and better understand ourselves.

Emily Beam

Emily Beam

Director of Programs
604-336-0626 ext 110
emily@artstarts.com

Ask me about: Growing up I was actively involved in performing arts. It helped me learn who I was, what I was capable of, how to process my surroundings and how to express myself as an individual. As an adult, my role has migrated to that of audience member, supporter and weekend crafter. I am so fortunate to be part of the ArtStarts team and know that my work is supporting creativity and learning in young people across BC. I bring to ArtStarts years of experience granting and lending to non-profit organizations.
Rekha Pavanantharajah

Rekha Pavanantharajah

Director of Engagement & Development
604-336-0626 ext 103
rekha@artstarts.com

Ask me about: I believe that the arts have the power to transform our lives. It fills me with joy to share that I have dedicated the majority of my career to cultivating the role of the arts for young people. It was at Simon Fraser University, where I acquired my BA in Sociology, where I began to understand how art and culture are integral to creating sustainable, healthy and thriving societies. When I found ArtStarts, I was thrilled to be able to apply my passion for building community through the arts. As the Director of Engagement & Development, I’m able to collaborate with our community to explore what is possible for young people when the arts are considered essential in society.
Laura Harries

Laura Harries

Director of Finance & Operations
604-336-0626 ext 104
laura@artstarts.com

I believe that the arts are interwoven into everything that we do. Creative thinking allows us to thrive in any professional endeavour, to forge deep connections with others, and to build compassionate and strong communities. My role at ArtStarts allows me to embody the fact that studies in math or economics shouldn’t mean that art takes a back seat. I was actively involved in theatre and dance growing up, and after completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree at McGill University, and CPA designation with EY, I am so grateful to the arts for enabling me to expand my thinking in creative ways. I believe that arts integrated learning is crucial to nurture the imaginative leaders we need for a better tomorrow. It’s exciting to be a part of the ArtStarts team, creating a future where the arts are an essential part of education.
Pavan Thind

Pavan Thind

Program Manager
604-336-0626 ext 105
pavan@artstarts.com

Ask me about: After graduating with a BA in Communications, I found my way into the nonprofit sector where I worked directly with young people wanting to make a difference in their communities. I saw first hand the inspiring change youth are able to make when they are provided with the appropriate tools and support. I am humbled to be a part of an organization that recognizes the importance of exploring each young person’s creative potential and the positive impact this has on the world we live in.
Leah Horlick

Leah Horlick

Program Manager
604-336-0626 ext 106
leah@artstarts.com

Ask me about: I'm a professional writer and community organizer who grew up as a settler on Treaty Six Cree territory in Saskatchewan. I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and co-curated REVERB, Vancouver's only anti-oppressive reading series for LGBTQ artists, from 2012-2017. With my background in peer-led and museum-based social justice education, I'm passionate about the ways that multidisciplinary arts can transform dominant narratives and power structures. I'm thrilled about ArtStarts' mission to bring arts integration to learners and educators, and I look forward to supporting local artists as they build capacity for change in their own practices and communities.
Erica Lazo-Diaz

Erica Lazo-Diaz

Program Coordinator
604-336-0626 ext 102
erica@artstarts.com

Ask me about: I believe art is so important because it cultivates cross-cultural connections and it has the ability to connect people across borders deepening our understanding of the world around us. Providing young people access to the arts means they have opportunities to explore, discover, learn and develop new ideas, opening the door to a wealth of potential. I hold a BA in International Studies (Comparative World Politics, Culture and Society) and in the past I’ve participated in various film and theatre programs that have had a lasting impact on me. Today I continue to express myself creatively through writing. I am fortunate to be a part of the amazing team at ArtStarts where the value of arts in education is emphasized every day.
Lily Cryan

Lily Cryan

Program Coordinator
604-336-0626 ext 101
lily@artstarts.com

Ask me about: Coming from a Dance and Theatre background, I use choreography and the audience perspective in creating workshops, gallery showings, events, and more! I really take to heart "All the world's a stage, and all men and women, merely players" - William Shakespeare, and bring that into my work at ArtStarts! I love seeing the spark of excitement in young people when they find something new and exciting to try, especially in an arts context. I love working at ArtStarts because we get to start the spark that helps fuels creative engagement in young people across BC.
Kay Slater

Kay Slater

Preparator
kay@artstarts.com

Ask me about: I am proud to be a multidisciplinary artist in Vancouver. Each art space brings new challenges for me to consider the best solutions for the artwork and the audience. I’m proud to join ArtStarts where their core values, diversity and accessibility, overlap with mine. The organization and community inspire me. People of all ages and abilities can engage with the arts! In my fine art practice I explore value, perception, time, the act of playing and the discarded. I love language and the art of communication. J'ai hâte de vous recevoir une fin de semaine lorsque je suis au bureau.
Siobhan Rich

Siobhan Rich

Communications Manager
Away on maternity leave until August 2018

ArtStarts' aim to promote art and creativity in young people is something that resonates deeply with me. Countless studies show the benefits of embracing creativity — and it also just makes life sweeter. As an avid crafter/maker, I am always dreaming up new projects, keen to experiment with different materials and techniques. I feel fortunate to be a part of an organization that ignites and fosters a passion for the arts, and privileged to work with such a vibrant, engaged team. With a background in publishing, marketing and design, I am excited to apply my skills to spread the word about ArtStarts and the amazing programs and resources we continue to build.
Tom Fijal

Tom Fijal

ArtStarts Showcase Production Manager
tomfixx@whidbey.com

Tom Fijal is a freelance Production Manager who has been working in the arts and entertainment industry for over 25 years. After touring North America and beyond with theatre and dance productions, and marvellous musical artists Fred Penner, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Al Simmons and others, Tom settled in Vancouver where he works locally and regionally, producing events large and small. From 200-seat clubs to arenas and outdoor concerts for 40,000, he brings to the task an enthusiasm for making experiences special, and strives to facilitate the best possible relationship between artist and audience. Tom has produced the ArtStarts Showcase since 1996, and touts it as one of his favourite events.
Our Volunteers

Our Volunteers

We are lucky to have amazing volunteers at ArtStarts! Meet a Community Art Star is a regular interview series showcasing ArtStarts' amazing group of volunteers who are passionate, enthusiastic arts champions. Learn more about volunteering with ArtStarts.
Our Board

Our Board

We are proud of our Board of Directors who are all passionate advocates for the importance of arts in education. We appreciate their dedication to this cause and to forwarding ArtStarts' mission and vision.