Public Art Curator – Strathcona County

Dear hiring decision maker(s):

Please consider me in your search for a Public Art Curator.

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. 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.

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. For this project, I needed to learn how to work with a sewing machine, which demonstrates my lifelong interest in learning new skills.

Moving to Prince George, 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 have had an avid interest in working with wood, since junior high school.

I’ve gone on at some length about my work to demonstrate the energy, ingenuity and enthusiasm I bring to bear, whether it’s making art or creating smoothies for 400. I believe this is vital ingredient in filling the motivational aspect of this role, whether it’s with artists, teachers, students, administrators, the public or, in short, anyone.

That energy is also demonstrated in my explorations in songwriting, prose or critical analysis. It’s also demonstrated in my grant writing application experience, which 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 a submission, in consultation with a local architect and suppliers, for an installation (part one and two)  to commemorate Prince George’s centennial.

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 and T-MAR Industries. In all of these positions, my skills as a writer, photographer and designer were utilized and, while serving as a Journalism Instructor at Grant MacEwan Community College, one of my photographs was added to their permanent collection.

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, 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 in Alberta’s fire base camps and the company owned Iosegun Lake Lodge. Most recently, I’ve served as an Industrial Janitor, and now Second Cook, at the MEG Energy site at Christina Lake.

Safety and other training have been a vital component of my recent work. In addition to completing WHMIS for the Mustard Seed, I have completed courses in Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ), Food Safe and Workplace Violence, which also deals with harassment, for Horizon North. For my position of Industrial Janitor, I completed Energy Safety Canada’s Common Safety Orientation and H2S Alive safety training courses and AMA’s defensive driving course. In addition to completing these online courses, daily “tool box” sessions were held, along with weekly department safety meetings.

When looking at the Skills, Abilities and Qualifications required for this position, I say to myself, “I can dream and do that,” and I hope you agree. Accordingly, let me suggest we meet to discuss the possibility of my filling the position of Public Art Curator for Strathcona County.

Yours truly,

James Miller