Manitoba Arts Council appoints new CEO

The Manitoba Arts Council (MAC) has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer to guide the Council’s work into its 50th anniversary year and beyond, Cynthia Rempel Patrick, Acting Chair of the Council, has announced.

“On behalf of the Board of the Manitoba Arts Council, I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Akoulina Connell,” said Rempel-Patrick. “Akoulina’s work in the arts community, her national and international background, and her proven record of developing strong partnerships, while working collaboratively towards a strong vision, will support and bolster Manitoba’s vital arts community and help bring important arts and cultural experiences to all the people of the province.

For the past five years, Connell, who is fluently bilingual, has led the New Brunswick Arts Board as Executive Director. As a writer, editor, and arts administrator, Connell is passionate about supporting arts and artists and bringing art and culture into communities. Prior to joining the New Brunswick Arts Board, she worked as managing editor at Goose Lane Editions, as well as in the marketing, communications, and IT fields. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St. Francis Xavier and a Master’s Degree in English Literature from McGill University, and studied Interior Design at Ryerson. She has lived in Australia, France, and in six of Canada’s provinces. She will move to Manitoba in the spring of 2016 to officially begin full-time work as CEO of MAC.

“I am honoured to accept the position of CEO of the Manitoba Arts Council. I’m looking forward to coming to Manitoba to build on the important work of creating partnerships within the arts community,” said Connell. “This type of cross-sectorial engagement means a broader base for sustainable arts practice and organizational support.”

Public engagement will be a priority, to ensure that the societal impact of strong arts programming is accessible and well understood, Connell also noted. “It is essential to take every opportunity to showcase provincial talent, reflecting the work of Manitoba’s artists to the community we serve and the world beyond.”

“I’d also like to thank Douglas Riske for his years of service and wish him well in his retirement,” said Rempel Patrick.

The Manitoba Arts Council is an arm’s-length agency of the province and is dedicated to artistic excellence. Its mission is to promote, preserve, support, and advocate for the arts as essential to the quality of life of all the people of Manitoba.

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For more information, and interviews, contact:

L. Nadine Delisle

Director, Communications and Community Engagement