President | Communications Team
Membership in the BCATA offers us community. The richest resource we have as teachers is each other and the BCATA offers us opportunities to share, grow and support each other in art education. I currently teach art at Fleetwood Park Secondary in Surrey. I love what I do. It feels right to put my apron on each morning, roll my sleeves up and get ready to work alongside my students. Being a part of helping students to grow as a young artists, to help them find their visual voice, to provide a safe space and opportunities that foster creative thought is inspiring, energizing and gives me purpose. Teaching art means I have messy hands all the time and my clothes have paint stains marking the passing of assignments long after they have been completed. Teaching art means I have a hive of creative activity in my classroom that to others looks like chaos but to me looks beautiful. I love what I do.
1st Vice-President | Treasurer | Communications
I acknowledge that I live, work, learn and create on the ha-houlthees of the Hupač̓asatḥ and Tseshaht Nations. I am thankful to be able to live in the beautiful Alberni Valley, on Vancouver Island, surrounded by mountains, forests, and water, which inspire and breathe life into my creative spirit. I am an Artist
Teacher or Creative Facilitator to Grade 8-12 Artists at Alberni District Secondary School. I look forward to entering the studio everyday excited to make messes, explore creative possibilities and participate in Artful discoveries with young Artists. Studio 120 where I teach, transforms each semester from a 2D studio, with Drawing, Painting, Printing and everything in between, into a 3D studio with a focus on Ceramics. Life in the studio is always exciting. I teach mainly Studio Arts 2D 11 and 12, Studio Arts 3D 10-12 and one block of Grade 8 Art Elective.
In 2020 I completed my Masters in Art Education, with a focus on vulnerability in the studio and the influence being vulnerable has on the studio community as well as practice and process. This research has changed the way I facilitate in the studio. I have notice that I take more creative risks and that my students are more comfortable with being vulnerable in their creative process.
As an Artist, I take lots of Artful walks looking at the small vulnerable bits of nature or made materials. I reflect on the discoveries and treasures I find during these walks when I am creating. Thinking about how discarded items can be so beautiful when you stop to look at them or find the right angle. This is a direct representation of my own journey in life and my search as a Transman for that one part of me in the mirror that I identified with pre-transition.
I absolutely love my “work” as an Art Educator, maybe not the cleanup part or the switching of studios.
Being a member of the BCATA has opened up a community for me as an Art Educator, which can be a isolated place when you work in a small community.
BRANDON GABRIEL- Kwelexwelsten
Indigenous Curriculum Rep
Born and raised on the Kwantlen First Nation Reserve in Fort Langley BC, Canada. He was educated in Cultural Anthropology, Visual Art, and Marketing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, then received his Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Art from the prestigious Emily Carr University of Fine Art and Design (2006).
Brandon is a multi-talented contemporary mixed media artist who specializes in painting, drawing, graphic design, architectural design concepts, and public art installations.
His work has been exhibited in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, USA, and across Canada.
Gabriel specializes in:
- Architectural Conceptual Design
- Public Art Installations
- Graphic Design
- Education Modules for all ages and institutional settings
Primary Curriculum Rep
Teaching for almost 20 years and exclusively are for the last 12, I started my career in Winnipeg and moved out to Vancouver in 2006. Soon after I began my M.Ed in Art Education at UBC, I began working at West Point Grey Academy where I teach K-7 Art and am the department head of Junior School Visual Arts. I am excited to be part of this art teacher community and hope to bring new ideas and vital resources to primary teachers of art across the province.
Intermediate Curriculum Rep
After teaching for quite awhile now, I continue to feel happy walking in to work with students every day. That said, I'm happiest when students are painting, working with clay, or taking photographs. Kids amaze me with their creativity, their engagement with arts-based methods, and their ability to learn through the arts.
Why you view membership in the BCATA as important:
Membership in the BCATA is important for ongoing professional development. I continue to be motivated to be a better teacher because of BCATA fall conferences/workshops, and, also, because of the amazing people I've met in the BCATA. In particular, the educators I've met on the executive are a constant source of inspiration.
Graduation Curriculum Rep | Communications Team
I'm currently working for the Surrey School District as an Art Educator and Fine Arts Department Head at École Salish Secondary where I teach students ranging from Grades 8 to 12. I'm currently the Surrey Art Teachers Association President. My favourite activities outside of school are traveling, photography, reading, making art, spending time with my family and friends.
I love being an art teacher because it allows me to inspire creativity, nurture self-expression, and witness the joy that art brings to my students' lives. Guiding them through the transformative process of creating and expressing themselves through various artistic mediums is not only fulfilling but also a constant source of inspiration for both my students and myself.
Co-Graduation Curriculum Rep
Visually Speaking Editor
Past positions: Membership, President, Past President, Treasurer, Webmaster, Conference Co-Chair
I teach art at Westsyde Secondary in Kamloops, which is also the high school I attended. Although I work mainly in acrylic in my own studio practice, my work is defined more by the element of colour than it is by a particular medium or genre.
Why membership in the BCATA is important:
I value membership in the BCATA because it connects me to inspiring visual arts educators around the province. I’ve been hooked every since I attended my first BCATA conference.
I am happy to be joining as the inaugural BIPOC Art Educator Rep for the BCATA. Art Education, in particular through the lens of underrepresented groups, has and still is a big passion of mine. I am a 2nd generation immigrant from Hong Kong and am so grateful and humbled to live, work, raise a family, and continue my journey on what it means to be an unsolicited settler on the traditional unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. The path ahead may be tricky, but I believe having compassion and keeping an open mind and open heart will lead to better listening and understanding.
My art teaching career spans 15 years and counting. Most of my experience lies in independent schools as I have taught at St. George’s School, Collingwood, Fraser Academy, and Crofton House School from Grade 2-12. I studied Visual Arts and have a BA and BEd in Secondary Methods in Art from UBC. I also studied and taught in Japan for a cumulation of 2 years. Currently, I am finishing a Masters in Museum Education at UBC.
In my spare time, I love to spend time with my daughter and partner. We love to go swimming, go for bike rides, and of course, make art! Aside from being a teacher, I am also part of an art collective called Yactac (Young Asian Canadian Twin Artist Collective). We have been curating art events and supporting young, contemporary artists in the local art scene since 2007.
Photography & Media Curriculum Rep
Bob St-Cyr teaches Photography and Studio Arts at Rick Hansen Secondary School in Abbotsford. Along with teaching Bob has remained active in his own professional development through various photographic opportunities to present his work in Fraser Valley galleries as well as showing his images abroad in countries such as Japan and France and having work published in various magazines. The BCATA is an encouraging place for the Art teachers of British Columbia to collect and share ideas within a welcoming Art pedagogy.
Teaching in the Arts has been an incredibly fulfilling, humbling and enlightening life for me. I teach Art and Photography courses at King George Secondary School in downtown Vancouver. Though teaching takes up the majority of my time, I've found continuing to practice as an artist has strengthened my enjoyment in the classroom and passion for finding new opportunities for my students. I work in many mediums including painting, drawing, photography, music and sculpture. I also love bikes of all kinds, but particularly BMX.
Why you view membership in the BCATA as important:
I view membership in the BCATA important because so many art teachers work on islands in their schools so to speak. There is often only one or two per school and that few in some districts. It can be hard to network, find new information or simply just find peers and the BCATA is an excellent source for that along with all of our other forms of professional development.
Past positions: President, Past President, Conference Co-Chair, Intermediate Rep, District Rep
An artist/educator who has taught K-12 and post secondary studio art and curriculum classes, most recently at Royal Bay Secondary SD62 and University of Victoria.
Currently a member of arc.hive, an artist run centre in Victoria.
Why you view membership in the BCATA as important:
The BCATA is welcoming group of professional artist / educators devoted to promoting quality arts education K-12 and post secondary. Belonging to this association connects us, enriches us, and reminds us why we create art, and find joy in mentoring others to discover and develop their ‘inner artist’.
I currently teach at DW Poppy Secondary and enjoy painting as my primary art form although I have been expanding my carving practice (wood and stone) over the past few years. I think our PSA offers art teachers a host of benefits in the shared knowledge and experience of our membership, whether it is from our publications filled will helpful ideas for the classroom or our Conferences that provide both practical profession development as well as collegial collaboration and camaraderie. I have personally benefited from my membership in the , and I look forward to giving back in my role on the executive.
Retired Teacher Representative
I have been fortunate to have enjoyed a lengthy career teaching art in public schools in West Vancouver, at all the grade levels. In my recent years, I have become involved in offering the Advanced Placement (AP) Art and Design courses. I am currently involved as an AP consultant, workshop presenter, and scoring team member for AP Art and Design. I very much value working with teachers and first-year faculty who are located across the US and in a variety of countries.
In my current BCATA position, I am working to promote inclusion, networking, and an exhibition opportunity for our retired members.
Vancouver Island University Representative | Secretary
Artist, Teacher, Researcher, Professor of Art Education at Vancouver Island University. Heather teaches Art Education for pre-service teachers in the Faculty of Education at Vancouver Island University.
Why I am a member of the BCATA…
I have been involved with the BCATA executive since 1992 - an organization that I feel very passionate about! The executive members of the BCATA are hard working professionals and like minded advocates for art education. As members of the BCATA, we have the opportunity to collaborate and implement change for positive growth and development of art in education, not just locally and provincially, but globally, through our network of art educators and art organizations all over the world. Our annual conferences, newsletters, and journals are the best- extremely well thought out and designed with the needs of our provincial classroom teachers and learners always at the forefront.
The BCATA is a welcoming professional organization that offers so many opportunities for teachers to explore their love for art, teaching, creativity, and commitment to children and students in the K-12 system and teacher education in our province. My involvement in the BCATA, over many years, has endured many changes in curriculum models and delivery of art education throughout all of the grade levels. However, the BCATA members through affiliation and collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the BCTF, have ensured that art education remains at the “heART” of education and a critical component of our children’s education in BC. Many BCATA members are my longtime friends and colleagues, and my career has been enriched because of their friendship, and commitment and dedication for art in education.
Thompson Rivers University Representative
Art in Public Places- Vancouver
BCATA Archivist | UBC Representative | BCATA Journal Editor
Committed to art museum education for more than twenty-five years, I was Responsable des visites at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal from 1995-2008, then I had the great pleasure to work as gallery educator for over a decade at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and I am currently a full-time lecturer in art education at the University of British Columbia. Other exciting challenges for me are being president of the Special Interest Group on Education & Mediation in Museum (SIGEMM) within CSSE, and co-editor of the Canadian Art Teacher. After an M.A. in Art History from l’Université de Montréal, I completed my Ph.D. in Art Education at UBC. My research interests are the notion of the art museum educator as the Deleuzian ‘mediator’, interrogating the concepts of interpretation in the art experience, in unsettling received ideologies and pedagogies in art education, and developing spaces of encounter for pre-service teachers. In my spare time, I am a devoted apprentice of ceramics and cello.
Since I work with UBC teacher candidates (the elementary generalists and the secondary arts cohort), being a member of the BCATA has been extraordinary as a way for me to reflect on my practice, to better grasp current issues in art education in B.C., to learn about stimulating projects developed across the province, and to enjoy the collegiality of amazing art educators.
I am grateful to live, learn and work on the ancestral territories of the ʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
BCATA Member at Large Outside Lower Mainland Representative
Hi there! I am an artist and teacher, living on unceded Witsuwit'en territory of the Gidimt'en Clan near Smithers with my family. As the art teacher at Smithers Secondary School for nearly 20 years ongoing, I thrive on creating opportunities for all levels of developing art students. I love providing my classroom to be a creativity zone where students get to explore all kinds of materials, ideas and processes, and get to interact with and inspire each other. It’s important to me that it is an equal playing field for all. I also seek out projects for students to be involved in the community. I have received recognition for my innovative youth projects (a prominent one is the Honouring Our Elders Legacy Portrait Project), and presented at provincial and international art education conferences. In 2020 I received the inaugural Excellence in Education award for our Northern region; 2022, received the Excellence in Art Education Award from the BCATA; and in 2023 received the Premier’s Award for Excellence in Education for Social Equity and Diversity - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeQg8Wk_Gzo
I work with students on social justice, diversity and environmental advocacy, being teacher-sponsor for our Gender-Sexuality Alliance, founding VP of the Smithers Pride Society, and run Youth For a Better World.
Being in the somewhat isolated rural north, we face different kinds of challenges as teachers and for our students. I have lived here for 23 years, and learned how to facilitate student learning within this environment. I have helped many young people make the step into developing their careers in the art field.My own diverse artwork of paintings, installations/objects, printmaking, collaborations and more has been exhibited in extensive regional, national and international venues for over 25 years. http://perryrath.com/
BCATA Member at Large Outside Lower Mainland Rep
Webmaster | Communications
Donna Usher taught Photography, Graphic Design, and Arts & Activism at the Langley Fine Arts School for over 24 years. During that time, Usher also produced the Arts Matter lecture series for 10 years, co-organized Compassion 2 Action Conference, co-founded Project Kenya Sister Schools (now PA-MOJA), lead the LFAS Photographic Mosaic Mural, initiated “This is Kwantlen” public art installation, and curated countless photography exhibitions and projected shows.
Now Donna has recently retired to explore new creative possibilities and is now living on Galiano Island.
The BCATA is a great venue for BC Art teachers to connect and share the art of Art teaching.
Current Status: Dr. Bill Zuk, Professor Emeritus. Art Education, University of Victoria. Active studio practice: Multimedia artist specializing in print, sculpture and film.
See some of my work at: www.zukart.ca and www.intotheice.ca
Why you view membership in the BCATA as important:
My membership allows me to advocate for the vital role that creativity and the imagination play in our lives. It also allows me to promote Indigenous art and culture in this province where more than half of the 50 languages and cultures in Canada are represented. The province of British Columbia is culturally very rich.