CoastArts Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body of the CoastArts Association, an umbrella organization that includes both the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts and Two Planks and a Passion Theatre. The Board provides leadership and strategic direction while delegating our trust and confidence in operating the organization to
the senior officers (Artistic Director, Executive Director and Managing Director). The board also includes two standing committees (Finance and Governance) which offer focussed oversight and specific advice to management.

The board is governed by our mission, giving voice through the arts, and operates according to this statement of principle:

CoastArts is the umbrella for both The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts and Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, and is dedicated to life-long learning in and through the arts. 

We affirm that as a board and membership dedicated to this Organization, which seeks to unite people and communities through cultural expression, creativity, and education, we have a heightened responsibility to hold ourselves accountable to our community. 

We commit to listening, learning, and acting for reconciliation, equity, justice, and freedom in our work as stewards of the CoastArts Association. This includes a specific commitment (but is not limited to) to anti-racism, Indigenous reconciliation, and climate action.

Further, we commit to engaging our community and each other with a joyful spirit of collaboration to continue to build and maintain a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. 

Our decisions and actions as a board and membership will be guided by and made in reference to this statement. 

Accepted at the AGM, 2021

Current Board Members (listed alphabetically)

Lakishma Bailey

Lakishma Bailey

Lakishma is a Regional Enablement Coach for Business Markets at the RBC in Halifax, where she was formerly a Commercial Account Manager focussing partially on non profit organizations in the region. Before coming to Canada, Lakishma was the General Manager of Simpson Finance Jamaica Limited in Jamaica.

Andrew Barnard

Andrew Barnard

Andrew is a long-time supporter of the arts and has had ties to Ross Creek and Two Planks and a Passion Theatre for over ten years. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Acadia University in 2014, Andrew obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant in 2017 and has over 6 years of professional experience. Andrew enthusiastically joined the board in May 2021 and is keen to assist in all aspects of the organization, from fundraising, corporate governance, and furthering the community impact of all programs. Andrew currently resides in Halifax.

Brenda J. Gainer

Brenda J. Gainer

Brenda spent most of her career as a professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto where she was Co-Director of the Arts Management Program and Director of the Non-profit Management and Leadership Program. Her areas of teaching were arts management, non-profit and co-operative organizations, social enterprise, and marketing. Many of her MBA students occupy senior positions in these fields today and she is very proud of them and their work. Brenda has also developed several capacity-building leadership programs for immigrant and refugee-serving NGOs, child welfare organizations and the social housing sector.  Before embarking on an academic career, she worked as the Marketing Director of the Canadian Opera Company and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.  Earlier jobs included land claims research for First Nations’ bands and historical research for Parks Canada. Throughout her career she has been active in her community, serving in advisory, consulting, and executive roles. Since moving to Nova Scotia full time, Brenda has begun to work with CoastArts board as well as the Western Regional Housing Authority of Nova Scotia. She splits her time between her homes in Queens and Kings counties–with frequent visits to her daughter and a lovely greyhound in Cambridge, England.
Sheri  Hancock Tomek

Sheri Hancock Tomek

Sheri is a printmaker and graphic designer. She earned undergraduate degrees from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, which led her to work as a graphic designer for four years at Gottschalk+Ash International, a Swiss visual communications firm in Montréal, Québec. She produced corporate communications for companies such as Air Canada, Canadian Pacific, Canada Post, and many others. Sheri went on to complete a Master of Arts at the University of Iowa. After moving to New Hampshire, she became the Director of Two Rivers Printmaking  Studio (TRPS), a non profit organization that provides workspace and support for artist members. At TRPS, Sheri organized public workshops, lectures on the history of the print, curated exhibits and instituted an arts rental program.
Sheri has exhibited her prints at a number of galleries in the northeast United States and  her work is included in numerous public collections. She has just recently returned to live and work in her childhood home of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. 
Peter Hicklenton

Peter Hicklenton

Peter Hicklenton has been a resident of Grafton, Kings County for the past 34 years. He is a former research scientist and National Science Director with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, based at the Kentville Agricultural Centre (Kentville Research Centre). Since retiring from AAFC he has served as director and chair of FarmWorks Investment Cooperative, a Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF) created in 2011 to promote and provide financial resources to food and agriculture businesses throughout Nova Scotia, and is currently chair of the Hants Kings Community Business Development Corporation board. Peter is active in the cooperative movement in the Annapolis Valley having served on the board of Valley Credit Union and chaired VCU’s Audit, and Social and Environmental Responsibility Committees. He also volunteers with the Nova Scotia Cooperative Council, and several community organizations including Friends of the Kentville Ravine, Black Rock Trails Society and, through 2014, the Out of the Cold Emergency Shelter. Peter is married with one daughter, living and working in Halifax. He enjoys sailing, bicycling and medium-distance running, and, of course, attending all Two Planks and a Passion plays accompanied by his wife, Joyce, (who shares his life-long passion for theatre), and Halifax-based family members Kylie, and Justin.
Christina V. Macdonald

Christina V. Macdonald

Christina joined the board as secretary in April 2019. Christina is a partner at Kimball Law in Wolfville, where she has practiced primarily civil litigation since being called to the Nova Scotia bar in 2018. She is a graduate of the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law. While in law school, she coordinated the Weldon Literary Moot, a theatrical annual fundraiser for Halifax Humanities 101 in which students and lawyers stage a mock trial based on a book or play. Before law school, Christina worked in fund development and academic administration, and enjoyed supporting Halifax’s vibrant community of emerging theatre artists as a stage manager for several productions. She previously served on the board of the Bus Stop Theatre Co-op in Halifax. Originally from Fall River, she’s now pleased to call the Annapolis Valley home. She enjoys visiting the region’s excellent cideries and singing in a local choir, though not always in that order.

Chaiti Seth

Chaiti Seth

Chaiti Seth is a mother, farmer, researcher, and experiential educator from India currently living in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia). She is a faculty member with the Department of Community Development at Acadia University and learns, writes, and teaches about sustainable food systems and the inner work and community practice of healing for equity and social change. Chaiti has a Masters in Community Development from Acadia University as well a Bachelor’s of Geography and Environment from the London School of Economics which she completed remotely while living and learning from incredible grassroots organizations doing ecological conservation, educational, social justice, and advocacy work including the Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary and the Centre for Learning in southern India and Maati Sangathan and Himal Prakriti in the Indian Himalaya. She currently lives with her partner and two wild and incredible children as part of Lorax Woodlands, an intentional community on south mountain above Sikunme’katik (the Gaspereau river).

Elisha Sidlar-Monroe

Elisha Sidlar-Monroe

Elisha Sidlar-Monroe is an artist, educator, and earth mama. She studied the performing arts in Vancouver at Spirit Song Aboriginal Theatre Company and Tooba Physical Theatre Center. In 2002 she joined Debajehmujig Theatre Group based on Manitoulin Island in Ontario. Here she led projects showcasing and celebrating our relationship with community, land, art, and food. In recent years, she has made family caregiving her primary focus while earning a diploma in early childhood education and another in horticulture. She moved to Nova Scotia in 2016 to be closer to extended family. Since being here she has had the honour of having a small hand in many a garden; the gardens of her family with four generations, the beautiful historic gardens in Annapolis Royal, and the gardens of the Ross Creek Centre.
Susanne Wise

Susanne Wise

Susanne retired in Nova Scotia following an extensive career built around international development, as well as northern development work with indigenous communities in Canada. After teaching high school as a CUSO volunteer in the Caribbean she worked in three African countries as CUSO Field Director, and in Ottawa with the CUSO Canada network involving fundraising, recruitment etc. Following diplomatic postings with Foreign Affairs and armed with an MBA she worked in Treasury Board and CIDA in Ottawa, managed a Frontier College Project in northern Ontario, and served as Director of the Economic Development Branch in the Department of Northern Saskatchewan. Latterly, she worked as a senior manager with UNICEF Country Programs in three African/Asian countries, and participated in consulting missions as well as UN Peacekeeping in Cambodia. In Nova Scotia, Susanne volunteers with non-profit organizations and enjoys women’s dragon-boating. She and her husband and two adult sons all live in HRM.