Board of Directors and Staff

How do members get on the Board of Directors?

The members of the Board of Directors are elected by the membership of the Cowichan Valley Arts Council at their Annual General Meeting. The Board may appoint Directors from the membership to fill vacancies which occur between General Meetings.  Interested in finding out about the Board and its valuable and fun work?

CVAC Bylaws

Who is on the CVAC Board of Directors?

The Board of Directors is comprised of up to seven Directors at large and five Executive Officers:

The 2018-2019 Board members are:

 President – Susan Down


Susan Down is a communications specialist with a daily newspaper background as an arts reporter, columnist and marketing manager. She has had six youth non-fiction books published. She has degrees from Carleton and Royal Roads and has served on numerous theatre and cultural boards in Toronto and Victoria.   Susan joined the board in 2016.


Vice-President- Janet Magdanz


Prior to moving to the Island, Janet was a school administrator in Alberta. She and her husband raised two amazing young men, who now live in Edmonton and Germany.  Janet runs a small pottery studio called Shades of Green and the couple’s aim is to farm their small acreage. She joined CVAC within a month after moving here because of the opportunity of networking with other artists and to serve in the community.  Janet coordinated the Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show for 2017 and 2018.

Past President-  Judy Brayden

Judy is a teacher, artist and designer by training and sees herself as a retired “jack of all trades”. She was CVAC president from 2011 to 2014, the Nanaimo Federation of Canadian Artists president for four years and has been the recording secretary for the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society since its inception in 2009. During her teaching career she taught art, gifted-enrichment education, global education and creativity. She organized professional development for her 1000 teaching colleagues and stood as second vice-president of her local teachers’ union. Judy is dedicated to the continued success of the Cowichan Valley Arts Council.


Secretary- Rory Macdonald


Rory MacDonald is a retired teacher who moved to the Cowichan Valley last October from West Central Alberta. Rory is a self-taught visual artist and has painted for many years and has been active in art group organizations in Edson, Edmonton and Jasper. He has recently gained active status in the Federation of Canadian Artists.


Director at Large- Travis Rankin


Travis Rankin grew up in the Cowichan Valley and moved back here in 2012 from the Lower Mainland. He has been crafting and teaching artistic metalwork for almost 20 years and runs Wroughtenart, a successful metal art shop specializing in designs for homes and garden.


Director at Large- Diana Batcheler


Originally from England, Diana lived in Toronto until 2007 when she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. She was senior law clerk with Stikeman Elliott, one of Canada’s top law firms, handling complex merger/acquisition transactions. After retiring in 2012, she took up painting and joined the Maple Bay Painters where she organized workshops, coordinated the last five annual art shows and served as president for the past three years.


Director at Large- Simon Warne


Born in London, England, Simon has had a long career in the advertising industry in print, and film and television. Starting as an illustrator, he later moved into graphic design and film production for accounts such as Max Factor and Vidal Sassoon. Now he is the owner/instructor at his own Sweet Art Design Studio in Duncan. He has served on numerous boards including Ladysmith Arts Council, Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Association

Director at Large- Sheila Nykwist


With a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University, Sheila went from newspaper reporter to ShawTV host based in Calgary. She recently moved to the Cowichan Valley where she is president of New Branch Media, creating videos for clients in Alberta and BC. Sheila is an experienced parade announcer, telethon host, and panel moderator. She has also taught English in Japan, Taiwan and Spain, and ran her first 80 km ultra-marathon through the trails in Fernie, BC

Director at Large – Lon Wood

Lon Wood is a 35-year veteran reporter, editor and columnist having served at the Vancouver Sun, The Province, The Canadian Press, Daily Colonist, Victoria Times and then as City Editor of the merged Times Colonist. Lon also worked as contract writer, editor and media consultant for government and private agencies from the Vancouver Rapid Transit (Skytrain) Project and Vancouver School Board, through to both the BC Medical and BC Veterinary Medical associations. Lon recently completed the 320-page art volume and biography, Stephen Lowe — A Bridge Between Cultures, in both English and Chinese editions containing 112 colour  plates of the late artist’s works.  Lon and his wife Lorrie recently moved to Maple Bay from Victoria and are enthusiasts of both the fine and performing arts — particularly opera, a focus of their travels. Lon joined the board in 2019.

Director at Large- Fran Benton


Fran has degrees from Camosun College, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, and the University of Victoria. “These schools taught me to embrace the wonderment of the world and respond in kind. I taught art for many years and that experience reminded me to always be on the lookout for new and innovative ways of art making and appreciate finely crafted works and ideas. My current practice includes sculpture, painting, ceramics, and video.” After 30 years of intense studio practice Fran reveals her innermost artistic thought “It’s great that art is hard work but it should be more fun!”  She likes designing, and toying around with all sorts of project ideas. “I do think outside the box, and occasionally I do not know where the box is!” And that’s a good thing!


Manager  –  Cheryl Galloway –  [email protected]

Born on Vancouver Island, Cheryl arrived in the Cowichan Valley to take a position as Community Recreation Coordinator in the Island Savings Centre. Cheryl holds a BSc from the University of Oregon in Recreation Administration. To her, recreation means a process of re-creating who we really are and living in a way that leads us to self-actualization, recognizing that for many, it is through art.  She later accepted a position as Community Education Manager and then Administrative Coordinator in Training & Development at VIU’s Cowichan Campus. Cheryl is committed to community and a love for art and a desire to support it brought her to CVAC.


Board Duties:

President: Presides at meetings, provides support, guidance and supervision to the directors, and advises on issues related to arts and culture in the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Vice-President: Assists the President and, in the absence of the President, exercises all duties and possesses all powers of the President.

Past-President: Assists the Vice-President and, in the prolonged absence of the Vice-President, exercises all duties and possesses all powers of the Vice President.

Secretary: Ensures that all books and records of the Society are kept in safe custody, that correspondence is carried out, and that correct records of the proceedings of all meetings of the Society are maintained.

Treasurer: Ensures that there are proper and accurate records of all receipts and disbursements of the funds of the Society, that signing authorities are valid and up-to-date, and that required budgets, financial statements, and requests for grants are prepared.

Protected: BoardDirectors