CARFAC Alberta Staff

Sharon Moore-Foster

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Chris W. Carson With undergraduate studies completed at the University of Alberta and a M.F.A. in painting from the University of British Columbia, Chris W. Carson is both professional visual artist and arts administrator. His art career includes exhibitions at public, artist run and commercial galleries throughout Alberta. Currently his artwork is exploiting monsters, martyrs and himself. As an administrator, Carson worked for commercial and public art galleries, a professional arts organization and two provincial arts service organizations. Since August 2010, Chris W. Carson is the Executive Director for CARFAC Alberta (Alberta’s CARFAC affiliate since 2012). Website

Sharon Moore-Foster

PROGRAM + DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR: Sharon Moore-Foster is a professional visual artist, art educator, motivational speaker and facilitator with over forty years experience. In her 20 years experience in non-profit arts organizations, and currently in her role as the Program and Development Coordinator, she provides mentorship and professional development opportunities to help artists build their professional practices. She is dedicated both personally and professionally to developing involved artistic / creative communities. Website

OPERATIONS COODINATOR: Danyon Reeves graduated from the University of Alberta’s BDes program in 1996, majoring in Visual Communications Design and minoring in Sculpture. He has lived and worked in Calgary and Toronto, where he developed award-winning websites for VTape and The Walrus magazine. He is not looking forward to the impending dark age.

Tara Vahab

ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR: Tara Vahab is an artist, educator, entrepreneur and motivator. Tara received her BFA from University of Calgary in 2015 although she has been practicing visual arts professionally since the age of nine. Tara believes she has two main missions:

1) continue producing more art, and 2) promote arts values, its benefits and importance in our multicultural society. Coming from a diverse background, Tara has advocated for arts in every city she has ever lived. As a founder of LOUD Art Society, a non-profit organization that enhances mental health through art and creativity, she provides access to public art education and promotes art as a practice for positive psychology and development of higher emotional intelligence.

In her role as an engagement coordinator, Tara is a source of empowerment for Alberta professional visual artists. Tara’s vision is to spread awareness and create peace and unity. Through her art, she explores subjects of humanity, empathy and joy using newspapers and bright colours. Website

CARFAC – Alberta Board of Directors

2023-24 Board.

PRESIDENT: Todd Janes is a cultural worker who loves both casual and intentional interactions with people. He is a contemporary recovering performance artist and curator having curated and organised hundreds of exhibitions, interventions and exhibitions. He is one of the founding members of Nuit Blanche Edmonton; Visualeyez, an annual festival of performance art; and worked with Latitude 53 for over 20 years as their Executive Director where he placed the treatment of artists as professionals foremost. He has served on community, provincial and national Boards including a fairly notable stint as President of ARCA for nine years. He is deeply invested in advocacy work and community development as a settler based in Amiskwaciwâskahikan – Edmonton. He is excited to join the Board of CARFAC Alberta and to work with the membership, Board and staff to help build upon the strong organization created through the good work of others.

VICE-PRESIDENT: Toyin Oladele is an experienced multidisciplinary artist, curator and arts administrator with a demonstrated history of excellence in programming, community engagement and arts-based event planning and production. Her professional experience is firmly rooted in her ability to combine the arts with community spaces, which she strives to make very connective, inclusive and vibrant through collaborations and strategy. Toyin consults for cultural and arts organizations including the City of Calgary, Bird Creatives, Rozsa Foundation etc., and is an advocate for equity and inclusion in the arts community.

Toyin founded the Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation (ICAI) in 2019 and is currently the organization’s Executive Director. She is a board member for Calgary Young People’s Theatre (CYPT), Contemporary Calgary, Chromatic Theatre and CARFAC Alberta.

She is a member of the Community Working Group on Equity Diversity, Inclusion and Access for Calgary Arts Developments and has been a part of several jury committees and mentors many newcomer arts and culture workers from underserved communities. When she is not performing, planning projects or coordinating events, Toyin loves to watch movies in Yoruba language, her native tongue and connect with creative people.

TREASURER: Abdul Anjum, CPA • As a senior accountant at Crowe Mackay LLP, I am responsible for leading and managing Assurance services across multiple industry sectors most notably, government, privately held businesses and not-for-profits. Having also worked in public service at the government and provincial levels, I am able to bring a different perspective to the table. The best part about my jobs is being the advisor who can help find solutions for my clients, and I enjoy playing this role.

Hailing from the small town of Wetaskiwin, Alberta I completed by undergraduate degree from NAIT before pursuing my master’s at the University of Alberta and I have successfully passed by CPA exam back in 2021. I have also worked in different industries such as construction, logistics, retail, and manufacturing. I enjoy travelling and exploring new cultures and places. I have also taken a keen interest in cooking and love outdoor cooking and grilling. I also enjoy hip-pop and rap music and you will likely find more memes in my phone gallery than selfies.

CARFAC NATIONAL BOARD REPRESENTATIVE: Jennifer Rae Forsyth is an artist, independent curator, and museum professional who has exhibited and curated internationally. She holds a Masters in Fine Arts from The University of Calgary, a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the University of British Colombia, and a Diploma in Visual Art from Camosun College, in Victoria, BC. Forsyth is currently enrolled in the Collections Management Certificate Program at the University of Victoria. She has worked for and volunteered at, museums, galleries, and Artist Run Centres, in Alberta and British Columbia for the past twenty years. She currently holds the position of Advancement Lead for the Alberta Museums Association. Her paintings and mixed media works examine material culture, focusing on traces left in the urban environment, unusual collections, and organizational systems, often using everyday objects as subject, object and substrate simultaneously. Forsyth’s Curatorial Practice focuses on combining divergent practices to explore how we collect, organize, and display as ways to create place. Forsyth a co-founding director of fast & dirty, an Edmonton based rotating collective of artists and curators that creates exhibitions and art events for short durations in unusual environments and projects that challenge curatorial methods.

SECRETARY: Jessica Plattner is an American/Canadian artist and educator. She earned a BFA from Washington University School of Fine Art in St. Louis, and an MFA in painting from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and Temple Rome, Italy. She has exhibited her work in the USA, Canada, Mexico, and Italy. Artist residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The Vermont Studio Center, SACI (Studio Art Centers International) and a Fulbright Scholarship in Mexico. Since moving to Canada, Plattner has had solo exhibitions at the ASA Gallery in Calgary, the Art Gallery of St. Albert, the Okotoks Art Gallery, and the Esplanade Art Gallery in Medicine Hat, with upcoming exhibitions at the ACE Gallery in Oregon, and Gallery@501 in Sherwood Park. Her work is held in the public collections of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA), the City of Medicine Hat, and the City of St. Albert. She currently teaches in the Art & Design Program at Medicine Hat College and lives with her partner, artist/musician Dean Smale, their 12 year old daughter, and their poodle Caniche. Website

Shelby Charlesworth is a visual artist and educator currently located in Mohkinstsis (Calgary). She received her Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of Connecticut in 2021 and was Instructor of Record for Sculpture. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Alberta University of the Arts (formerly Alberta College of Art + Design) in 2017 and attended an exchange program at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon in 2015. She worked as a studio assistant, sculptor and ceramicist in Los Angeles prior to returning to Alberta in December of 2022. Through her residency at Casa in August of 2022, the Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge presented her with the Artist in Residence Award and she was the recipient of the Pilot Art Award for 2022-23.

Charlesworth’s practice is centred around themes of collective trauma, loss, longing, grief and empathy. Personal experiences, repetition and labour are used to respond in an interdisciplinary manner to larger social issues. Her primary focus both through education and personal practice is community engagement and arts accessibility through visual language. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Website

George Lessard

DIRECTOR: George Lessard From a community access & media training base, George Lessard creates in print, broadcast radio & TV and educational media. Now a Lethbridge artist in electronic & digital media, George is a Francophone Quebecois born / brought up in Rosemère, north of Montreal, Canada.

A Kodak Brownie box camera in his hands at 12, encouragement from a family of artists, opened up a beginning back at 1969’s Montreal’s first English language CEGEP, Dawson College through with the unboxing of the student radio station’s Revox stereo reel-to-reel tape recorders and a subsequent immersion in the dawn of Canadian community access radio at the then Radio McGill (now CKUT 90.3 FM) where we were part of the enabling of Montreal’s Radio Centre-Ville 102.3 FM  (the city’s first multilingual/cultural broadcast community station) and the fight for community access cable TV in Canada…

Two years as SENIOR AUDIO VISUAL TECHNICIAN – VANIER COLLEGE Snowdon Campus, Montrèal, Quèbec, George managed a multimedia production centre; created classroom audiovisuals & instructed the use & production of multi-camera live video, super 8, audio and black & white photography was his lead in to a stint as the only EDUCATIONAL MEDIA CONSULTANT & AUDIO VISUAL TECHNICIAN – CHATEAUGUAY VALLEY REGIONAL PROTESTANT SCHOOL BOARD Ormstown, Quèbec. George was responsible for the day to day operations; the software, hardware & allocation of capital equipment; maintenance & repair of all equipment; provided support services for about 125 high school and elementary school teachers & their students in this 6 school organization.

Late in the ’70’s George’s first exposure to the world outside Quebec was in the as MANAGER & TRAINER OF VOLUNTEERS – ROGERS CABLE TV, Toronto, Ontario where he taught all aspects of community TV production & managed the volunteer corps of Canada’s largest access station.

Returning to Quebec’s Arctic as MEDIA PRODUCTION & MANAGEMENT TRAINER for TAQRAMIUT NIPINGAT INC., Salluit, Nunavik in the early ’80s, he helped local media workers learn  all aspects of media production, scripting, construction and content & management at an Inuit owned and operated radio & TV broadcast centre that was one of the founding members of TVNC (TV Northern Canada) the immediate predecessor of the Aboriginal People’s TV Network from late 1981 to 1988.

In 1985 George was a featured presenter on Inuit broadcasting in Canada’s Arctic at the University of Pennsylvania’s ANNENBERG SCHOOL FOR COMMUNICATION at that year’s meeting of the Visual Studies Conference.

In 1988, he then undertook a similar posting to that in Salluit, at the INUVIALUIT COMMUNICATIONS SOCIETY, Inuvik, N.W.T. getting a return gig in 1999..

In the late 1980’s George was able to undertake studies at The Banff Centre in ADVANCED TV PRODUCTION – ELECTRONIC & FILM MEDIA with the eminent documentarian and American TV producer of the war crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann, Milton Fruchtman and a second full scholarship for the Visual Arts (Audio Program) .

During this time at Banff, amongst his many collaborations as video artist & editor, in 1986  the dramatic narrative, video “RUMBLESPHINX” (with video artists Robert Hamilton and Dave Clark)  won the 1987 PRIX RADIO-QUEBEC from Quebec’s educational TV network and the AWARD OF EXCELLENCE, 10th TOKYO VIDEO FESTIVAL and was distributed in both the US and Canada by Vidéographe.

This was his first work where he collaborated using the first Kou Nakajima “Aniputer” digital animation device outside of Japan  The Aniputer was an animation device that combined a video camera and a personal computer. Using joysticks instead of a keyboard, artists used the Aniputer to create animation in real time without the need to know a programming language…

George toured Canada demonstrating the Aniputer, stopping at VIDEO POOL, Winnipeg; EM MEDIA, Calgary; INTER-ACCESS, Toronto; the VISUAL STUDIES WORKSHOP, Rochester, NY; and La Maison de la Culture du Plateau Mt. Royal Montrèal in addition to his presentations at Banff.

In 1992 George was offered the position of LECTURER at the COLLEGE OF THE BAHAMAS, Nassau, Bahamas, lecturing & providing hands on training for Journalism & Communications majors in Electronic News Gathering (ENG), Photojournalism, Business Communications and Introduction to Interpersonal & Small Group Communications.

In 1995 he was hired as a FOREIGN EXPERT – COPY EDITOR / POLISHER for the CHINA DAILY GROUP, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, copy editing & polishing stories written by Chinese reporters and editors for the only English language educational “21st Century” publication distributed across China.

In Eastern India as a MEDIA PLANNER for Gram Vikas in Orissa, India George took up a post to this rural development NGO to establish a media facility and to document its field work and create training media for its staff; advise on the purchase of appropriate hardware; and train staff in the operation of audio, video & photographic hardware for a year in 1996/7.

From the first year Nunavut existed, 1999 and until 2004 he was the senior MEDIA SPECIALIST for the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, GOVERNMENT OF NUNAVUT in Arviat, Nunavut. This included setting up the media production facility so that there was the necessary equipment to create any media (analogue & digital) necessary to deliver curricular programs to the K-12 teachers of the Nunavut school system. Production included print publications and digital media of many kinds in Inuktitut and English.

George has volunteered for the Canadian Executive Service Organization with placements in La Paz, Bolivia; Chelyabinsk, Russia; and Manu, Peru…

George’s work with non-for-profit boards began back in Montreal with the artist-run centre PRIM (Video as it used to be called) newly 40 years ago, in the early 1980s… when he served on their board…

When he moved from Arviat, Nunavut to Ft Smith, Northwest Territories in 2004, he was also a MEMBER OF THE BOARD of The Artists of the South Slave Society for three years and he also served on the board of the Association des francophones de Fort Smith and served on the Fort Smith Tourism Committee.

His move to Yellowknife four years later enabled him to join the board of the Aurora Arts Society; serve as VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD – The John Howard Society of the Northwest Territories; be a MEMBER OF THE BOARD of The Frozen Eyes Photographic Society of the NWT; enjoy a nine year experience as a Member of the Board of the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre; participate as a MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY JUSTICE COMMITTEE; and be a Member of the Northwest Territories Elders Parliament in the ‘first in the British Commonwealth’ Elder’s Parliament organized by the Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

His muse now moves from his postings to & showings in Toronto, Vancouver, Banff Calgary, Yellowknife, Inuvik, and Fort Smith Northwest Territories, Salluit, Nunavik (Arctic) Quebec & Arviat, Nunavut, Beijing, China; Nassau, the Bahamas; La Paz, Bolivia; Butare, Rwanda; Chelyabinsk, Russia; Berhampur, Odisha, India and Manu, Peru.

These days he uploads / streams reflective experiential imagery from Lethbridge, and the surrounding parries and coulees … On the traditional territory of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), Nakoda (Stoney) and Tsuut’ina.

DIRECTOR: Lisa Matthias is a visual artist and ecologist who has lived in the Edmonton area since 2003. She has a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from the University of Alberta, a Master of Science in plant ecology from the University of Manitoba, and a Bachelor of Science in ecology from the University of Guelph. Her interdisciplinary artwork and each of her career paths in the arts and sciences have been inspired by animals, plants, and the natural world. Lisa spent many years studying botany and wildlife biology as an ecologist. She worked for Alberta Fish and Wildlife for the better part of a decade, pursuing her MFA during the last few years that she worked there. In 2013 she switched career paths from professional biologist to professional artist.

Lisa often uses science-based approaches when researching creative ideas. She studies and documents natural history through photography, sound recording, research collaborations, specimen collection, drawing, writing, microscopy, and more. Focusing on woodblock print and other forms of printmaking, her work is experimental, often abstract, and she strives for continuous growth and change. Lisa’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows provincially, nationally, and internationally. She has been represented by Christine Klassen Gallery in Calgary since 2014, and also has work available through Birch Contemporary in Toronto. Her work is part of private and public collections, such as Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Lisa is also an arts educator, teaching at various art galleries, artist-run centres, and institutions over the years, most recently with the City of Edmonton and the Spruce Grove Art Gallery. Lisa is mom to a twin son and daughter, several dogs and cats, and she and her family moved to rural Alberta just outside of Edmonton in 2018. Website

For all general inquiries and to contact any CARFAC Alberta Board Member, please send an email to indicating who the email is for.