Council Members

Aimée Craft, of Winnipeg, is an Indigenous lawyer and a professor of law at the University of Manitoba.  Her expertise in Anishinaabe and Canadian Aboriginal law. In her decade of legal practice at the Public Interest Law Centre, Craft has worked with many Indigenous peoples on land, resources, consultation, human rights and governance issues. Craft’s award-winning 2013 book, Breathing Life into the Stone Fort Treaty, focuses on understanding and interpreting treaties from an Anishinaabe inaakonigewin (legal) perspective. She is past chair of the Aboriginal Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association and was appointed to the Speaker’s Bureau of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.  In 2009, she successfully argued on behalf of language rights advocates in the first entirely French hearing at the Manitoba Court of Appeal.

Cynthia Rempel Patrick, of Steinbach, is the Executive Director of the Steinbach Arts Council.  She is the founder of the Steinbach Cultural Arts Centre, home to over 60 arts development programs for southeastern Manitoba. Her work and volunteer experience within the Department of Cultural Development, Associated Manitoba Arts Festivals, The Treble Teens, Southeastern Music & Arts Festival, Manitoba Arts Network and Arts & Cultural Industries Inc. is incorporated with her business experience as a florist and creator/manager of Kids R Kute! Custom Clothing. Cindi began her music career as a pianist, accompanist, singer, choral director and piano and voice teacher for over 25 years.  She finds it rewarding to give back to the community with her participation on numerous other boards in the non-profit sector.

Yisa Akinbolaji, of Winnipeg, is a full-time visual artist ( Since 1986, Yisa has professionally engaged in extensive art practice and exhibitions: working in a variety of media. He is a graduate of general arts and painting from Yaba College of Arts and Technology. He also holds a Diploma in Advertising Art from Red River College and MFA in Visual Arts from University of North Dakota. Before immigrating to Canada in 1997, Yisa was recognized with inclusion in Nigerian Artists: A Who’s Who and Bibliography (1993), compiled and edited by Bernice Kelly and Janet L. Stanley for the publication of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Yisa also a former art instructor is acclaimed for his use of ‘adaptive gum’, a medium he produced for his identifiable painting technique. His artwork now includes the creation of abstract metal sculpture. Yisa is the founder of Creative Foundation Inc. and has been president of the Manitoba Society of Artists. He has also been a juror for the Manitoba Arts Council.

Scott Baldwin, of Winnipeg, is the Chair of the Institute of Corporate Directors, Manitoba Chapter.  He is also the Governance Committee Chair of Frontier College Foundation and a Director of Frontier College in Toronto—Canada’s oldest literacy organization. Scott has led a variety of board governance reviews and audits, organizational assessments, and successful start-up board projects.  He works with the governance boards of arts and culture organizations, large health-care networks, and professional medical associations, and has provided advisory board services for social media companies. Scott has an MBA and earned professional certifications as a Corporate Director (ICD.D) and Management Consultant (FCMC).

Cheryl Bear, of Peguis First Nation, is an Annisinabe of Ojibway heritage. Upon graduating from Assiniboine Community College, Cheryl helped guide young people towards rewarding career paths as a youth employment worker for Peguis First Nation. For the past seven years Cheryl has worked as a project officer for the Peguis Development Corporation and actively assists artists in creating and sustaining their own businesses. Cheryl is a founding member of the Peguis Pow Wow Regalia Class, which was established in 2004 to help revitalize the pow wow traditions. Cheryl approaches everyday using the seven cultural teachings: respect, wisdom, truth, bravery, humility, honesty and love.

Brenda Blaikie, of Winnipeg, is a former teacher who worked with students from Grade 3 to Senior 4 (Grade 12). Brenda is also the parent of four adult children. Throughout her time as a teacher, Brenda was struck again and again by the value of exposing students to the arts, both through in-school programs and visits to various arts venues. Brenda firmly believes that these kinds of experiences add depth and understanding to the people who experience them.

Sharron Curry Wiens, of Morden, began studying music at the Maritime Conservatory in Halifax. She holds Bachelor of Music and Education degrees from the University of Manitoba and took graduate studies at the Royal College of Music, London, UK. Her career includes CBC Hymn Sing chorus, conducting choirs, teaching private lessons and as an early years classroom educator. Serving as chair of Manitoba Arts Network, Morden and District Festival of the Arts and the Pembina Hills Arts Council, she promoted the growth of the arts through team work, innovative programming and stable budgets. She participated in organizational governance workshops through ASM. A member of the Manitoba Registered Music Teachers Association and the board of Southern Manitoba Concerts, Sharron encourages young musicians and is an active supporter of many forms of accessible culture.

Amy Karlinsky, of Winnipeg, has a BA in Visual Arts from York, a B.Ed. in Art Ed from the U of Calgary, and an MA in Art History from SUNY with doctoral studies in Art History at UBC. She has experience as a guide, art educator, and arts administrator at the St. Boniface Basilica, McMichael Gallery and the Nunatta Sunaqutangit Museum. She has curated for the Winnipeg Art Gallery and St. John’s College. She has published over 100 reviews and essays on the arts for magazines, newspapers, artist-run centres, public and private galleries. She has served on the boards of MAWA and the Richmond Public Library, as well as on juries for arts councils, and civic and national arts competitions. She has taught art and literacy in rural, northern, public and private schools, and colleges across Canada including Winnipeg’s inner city and the University of Manitoba. She lives in Winnipeg with her family, teaches at TEC VOC High School and spends most summers close to Hnausa Dock.

Crystal Kolt, of Flin Flon, is the Cultural Coordinator of the Flin Flon Arts Council. She is on the Provincial Task Force for Culture Days and on the International Council for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Crystal was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba’s Award for Volunteerism (2007). In 2012, she received the Diamond Jubilee Medal and was invested into the Order of Manitoba. Crystal has produced numerous musical theatre and classical masterworks productions, several of which were collaborations with the Winnipeg and Saskatoon symphony orchestras. Other career highlights include taking members of the Flin Flon Community Choir to Carnegie Hall to participate in the New York premiere of Canadian composer Scott MacMillan’s Celtic Mass for the Sea (2002), the Lincoln Centre’s Avery Fisher Hall performance of Messiah Refreshed with DCINY in 2013 and commissioning Aboriginal caribou-hair-tufting artist Theresa Wride to create a Diamond Jubilee Anniversary tufting to present to Queen Elizabeth II.

Tricia Penner, of Winnipeg, is an Educator and a Performing Artist. She has studied the performing arts and education in Manitoba and with various experts from Canada and the United States. She has taught in both rural and city schools. She was the Performing Arts Consultant in the Winnipeg School Division, worked with the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Learning Through The Arts program and is the Artistic Director and Producer of two main stage productions of the Youth Singers of Calgary. She works as a Guest Conductor throughout Manitoba and conducts the Winnipeg Girls Choir. She is currently the Vice Principal of Norquay School.

David Roberts, of Winnipeg, is a writer and painter. Trained in theatre at Drama Centre, London, and, after study at The University of Winnipeg, The University of Manitoba and The University of Western Ontario wrote for newspapers and magazines and published fiction. Twice served on MAC writing juries and as a juror for the Manitoba Magazine Awards. Served on the board of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and on the executive of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival. Served on the board of the Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art.

Gurpreet Sehra, of Winnipeg, is a multidisciplinary artist who works in traditional and contemporary media, including painting, video, printmaking and installation. In her current practice, she uses Dutch wax prints to examine trauma, gender and cultural appropriation. She recently completed her first public art commission in Winnipeg, titled Close Commons. She has an MFA from the University of Manitoba and a BA from the University of Toronto. She has taught visual art privately and at the university-level in Toronto and Winnipeg. She serves on the board of Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art. Gurpreet was born and brought up in the Greater Toronto Area. She has lived and worked in Winnipeg for the last 5 years.

Jason Smith, of Winnipeg, is the VP of Entertainment & Events for the Winnipeg Football Club, and President of the 2015 Grey Cup, Jason oversees the events at Investors Group Field as well as all aspects of the upcoming 2015 Grey Cup Festival in Winnipeg. Prior to this, Jason held the position of Manager, Music Programs at Manitoba Film & Music, where he managed the recording, marketing, touring, and out-of-province funding programs. Jason has previously worked in several positions within the local, national and international music and event industries, including as the Managing Director of The 2014 JUNO Awards in Winnipeg. He has 14 years’ experience as co-owner and operator of Smallman Records & Artist Management and over 25 years’ experience as a production manager with Paquin Entertainment, an event manager of Edgefest, a local promoter rep for The Union, Live Nation concerts, Much Music, and the Music West Festival; and as a musician for five years as lead guitar, vocals, and manager with the band Twelve Eyes. Passionate about growing Manitoba’s music industry, Jason currently sits on the executive board of Manitoba Music and the boards of the Western Canadian Music Awards and the Manitoba Arts Council. In the past he has held board positions with The West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers and the FACTOR National Advisory Council.

Étoile Stewart, of Winnipeg, is a longtime fan, consumer, and supporter of art of all kinds. She has worked as a cultural policy advisor, author, and researcher, and has volunteered as a grant writer, steering committee member, and gallery help.  She graduated from York University and Ryerson University in Toronto with an MA Joint Program in Communication and Culture, with a specialization in politics and Canadian cultural policy. She has deep family ties to the arts community in Winnipeg and Manitoba.

Lea Stogdale, of Winnipeg, is a small-animal veterinarian who runs her own practice. She has been involved in various community organizations, having previously served on the boards of directors for Hostelling International, the Manitoba Crafts Council and the Manitoba Naturalists Society. She is a part-time professional photographer who has produced the local bilingual book, St. Boniface & Norwood. Lea is an active supporter and attendee of Manitoba’s wide variety of music concerts and festivals, dance and theatre productions, and visual arts exhibitions.