Executive Director – Leduc Arts Foundry

Please consider me in your search for an Executive Director.

It’s just over a year since I was interviewed for Marketing and Communications Coordinator with your organization and I’m excited at the opportunity to apply for this position. I created a webpage in support of my application for Marketing and Communications Coordinator and have reposted it for you to review and created a new webpage for this application.

I have many, but not all, of the qualifications you’re looking for. It’s my hope that my combination of abilities and my vision, if you will, meet the core needs of this position “To open, inspire, and ignite the hearts and minds of [y]our community through the power of arts and culture.” I honestly believe that’s me and that my creativity, in whatever media supports my message, is my greatest strength. That creativity is almost always unerringly focused on opening a space in the mind of the viewer where a possible new or expanded awareness is can be gained.

Consider my painting, Still Life’s Good, (2018), featuring a vase of flowers on a mantle in front of an LG monitor as the sun sets. I’d like to say I deliberately planned to use an LG monitor, playing on the brand’s slogan, “Life’s Good”, but I didn’t, or at least not consciously. Do any of us know exactly why we experience what we do?

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 it’s one of my regrets that I didn’t stay with the program and opted to complete an Art Education degree instead. Here’s a gallery of some of my early works 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 curricula. Here’s an acrylic on paper, Nadia and Friend, (2004), of two of my students in Libya.

Another important work during this period is the video production of my children’s story, The Apple of Albert’s Eye, (2003), featuring illustrations by my students in Saudi Arabia and the voices of my fellow teachers and self.

My video application for the position of Traveling Ambassador for Air Transat, shot in Dubai circa 2010 features my script writing, video editing, narrating and music writing skills.

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. One of my major works on my return was a quilt, Death from A to Z by Adam Lanza, Dec. 14, 2012 (2013), which raises the issue of gun control. Moving to Prince George, I completed a major outdoor installation, The Spirit of Prince George, 2015, (2014) for Timberspan Wood Products.

My grant writing application experience includes, among others, working as Team Leader to submit a request for qualifications for the design of a Holocaust Memorial for Ottawa; a proposal to paint a mural for the City of Richmond and a submission (part one and two) for an installation to commemorate Prince George’s centennial. Note my extensive experience as well in communications, marketing and journalism with various organizations including The University of Calgary, Nanaimo Free Press, Nanaimo Business Examiner, Canadian Forest Industries Magazine and T-MAR Industries. I believe I am an excellent communicator and would be able to deliver a compelling message on behalf of The Leduc Arts Foundry.

While working as a Licensed Property Manager in BC, I supervised maintenance and repair contracts and worked with a specialized database for suppliers, owners and tenants.

My approach to motivating staff, board, volunteers and the community would be to build a consensus based on my belief that leadership comes through setting an example. The example I would strive to set is one of working together to develop an organization that thrives on mutual inclusion and respect, both for the person and for the ideas being presented. I believe my years spent teaching is valuable experience in this regard.

Since moving to Edmonton in April 2021, I have worked in the custodial field; last winter in homeless shelters for the Mustard Seed Organization and more recently for Horizon North in fire base camps, the company owned Iosegun Lake Lodge and currently as an Industrial Janitor at the MEG Energy oil production site at Christina Lake. This experience has introduced me to management techniques based on intimidation and control but also to a philosophy that I’ve mentioned. That philosophy is represented in this photograph from the MEG site.

In conclusion, I’d like to return to the Foundry’s goal to “open, inspire, and ignite the hearts and minds” of the community and emphasize this goal perfectly aligns with my artistic and personal interest in promoting the idea that, despite its seeming negatives, life is essentially a miraculous experience that can be appreciated in child-like wonder. My Happy Face Series is based on that premise, and I post a final video, Believe, Be Love.

And speaking of believing, I believe I am an excellent candidate for this position and hope that we can meet to consider the contribution I could make in filling the role of Executive Director for the Leduc Arts Foundry.

James Miller