ACEC – Jubilee

Dear Jonathan Love:

Please consider me in your search for an Arts and Community Engagement Coordinator.

Making art has been a part of my entire adult life. After studying Commercial Art in high school, I enrolled in a BFA program at the U of A and then opted to complete an Art Education degree. Here’s a gallery of some of my early work and you’ll note that Bombus Terestris (1970), is adapted as the banner on my website. The annotation on the painting reads, “A colorful play on words emphasizing that the “bee” at the centre of our lives is, Being”, which references the spiritual nature of much of my work.

I continued to explore my interest in making art while teaching the subject internationally. Working in six different countries outside Canada, I taught art using the Irish Leaving Certificate, IGCSE and International Baccalaureate PYP, MYP and Baccalaureate curricula to students as young as grade-four to adult. Here’s an acrylic on paper, Nadia and Friend (2004), of two of my students in Libya.

I’ve always worked at creating educational experiences based on the needs and interests of my students and the resources at hand. For example, while teaching Vocational Mathematics in the UAE and awaiting teaching resources for a new school in Al Ain, I developed my students’ English skills and cooperative abilities through making a short movie, God is Love.

I believe this experience would be beneficial in this role in coordinating and facilitating the Inquiring Minds project and the customized workshops. As a practicing artist and former teacher, I believe I am well suited to supporting the promotion of the rotating public art spaces and liaising with artists, facilitators and teachers delivering programs. I am a member of the Alberta Crafts Council and an active volunteer for the Latitude 53 gallery. One of my pieces, a photograph, Spool on the Water, has been accepted for the upcoming show, FLOW, organized by the Edmonton Public Library.

I’ve also been contracted by the Stathcona Place Society to instruct two courses: Acrylicreativity and Glitter, glue and what have you? These courses start September 18 and run concurrently on Monday until early December. I have yet to receive final confirmation that class enrollment is sufficient but, should the courses proceed, I would like to honor this commitment and would be willing to work extra hours or Saturday to make up for the difference.

Returning to Canada in 2012, I worked with a web designer to launch my WordPress website highlighting my creative abilities in writing, photography, art, music and video production. I am skilled in Microsoft Office, Illustrator, Photoshop, video editing programs and manage my WordPress website. I enjoy learning new software programs. I’ve had some exposure to Zoom. 

Moving to Prince George soon after, I completed a major outdoor installation, The Spirit of Prince George, 2015 (2014) for Timberspan Wood Products. This project involved working with a variety of power tools and a team of Timberspan employees. 

I’ve gone on at some length about my creative work to demonstrate the energy, ingenuity and enthusiasm I bring to bear in everything I do. I believe this is a vital ingredient in filling the motivational aspect of this role.

Other relevant experience includes my editorial and public relations work with The University of Calgary, Nanaimo Free Press, Nanaimo Business Examiner, Canadian Forest Industries Magazine. My varied duties as Marketing Manager for T-MAR Industries included launching the company newsletter and designing and overseeing the installation of the company’s annual show booth at the Truck Logger’s Convention in Vancouver. I also coordinated the company’s display for DEMO 2000, a “live forestry” exhibit in the BC interior.

Since moving to Edmonton in April 2021, I have worked in the custodial field, beginning in homeless shelters for the Mustard Seed Organization. For my current employer, Horizon North (a division of Dexterra Group), I’ve worked as a custodian and currently serve as a Second Cook at the Cenovus Energy Sunrise site near Fort MacMurray. But I never stop making art.

The gallery that follows shows some of my most recent interests, including my “On the Ball” series where I take two-dimensional styles of artists, Mondrian for example, and imagine what that work would look like projected onto a sphere. Other current projects include a large painting, Sleeping Madonna; revisiting my work, Bombus Terrestris (using color-shift paint), “glitterizing” an incense burner and overalls referencing my belief in happiness. Some samples of my work in wood are also included.

My return to Canada has exposed me on a personal and professional level to the existential challenges of a society searching for fulfillment, purpose and happiness in ways that have instead led to drug use, homelessness and despair. My belief that the power of the Human Spirit and the Divine are one and the same has led me to create a number of works works expressing that idea and my and my Happy Face Series emphasizing the overarching, timeless and eternal power of Love is one example. Instead of a Death Star, I created a Life Star. Believe Be Love and Teach Only Love,  are two other examples.

The Jubilee is rightfully famous for its musical and other presentations and I’ve taken in many events over the years, two highlights: Lyle Lovett and Monty Python. I’m an avid fan and lover of music, which is yet another medium through which I express myself. My music video, Brand New Song, features much of my art and the song, which I wrote, sang and produced, expresses my belief in a better world.

I believe this letter, especially when viewed as a webpage, demonstrates my “engagement” in the process of enriching those around me (and the world at large) through my creative expression in a variety of media. I believe this talent and energy could be effectively utilized in helping your society realize its vision “To entertain, enlighten and educate Albertans through world-class arts and culture.” Accordingly, let me suggest we meet to discuss the contribution I could make to your organization in filling this role.  

Yours truly,

James Miller