Board Members & Staff
Janice Armstrong - Chair
Delores Coghill is the Manager for the Red Deer Cultural Heritage Society, which operates both Festival Hall and the Cronquist House. She also leads the events for Canada Day at Bower Ponds annually with the many heritage groups that are represented in the City of Red Deer.
Michael Richard is a Tree House Youth Theatre alumni and he’s been performing with Central Alberta Theatre since 1996. Through high school he studied drama, exploring lights sound and directing for zones festivals then continuing his training with Red Deer College’s Technical Theatre program. His lifelong passion for the arts drives him to pursue filmmaking and photography work, play guitar, and promote his designs through a variety of platforms including his YouTube channel DarkflameStudios. Michael works as a professional chauffeur, taking care of VIP clients on the most important days of their lives. He’s looking forward to working with the Arts Council in the upcoming year to bring new insights with fresh ideas.
Hi, my name is Janice Armstrong and I am excited to work with the Red Deer Arts Council. We are planning bigger, better and exciting things starting with our new home. The visibility, location and workable space will help us to more forward in the future.
Although I am new to the Chair position, I have been with the Red Deer Arts Council as Secretary for the past two years. I have lived in Red Deer for 8 years now and truly love our little city. Over the past years I have sat on many boards while raising my family, and although they were mostly sports oriented, I also reached out to the arts through pottery, sewing and painting lessons.. I began sewing at age 6, taught by my Mother on my Grandmothers treadle machine, and have moved on to modern technology and learning something new every day. Another passion is painting…..mostly on rocks, but I am enthralled with flowers, so I never run out of ideas. I served on the Board with the Rocky and District Victim Services Unit for a few years until I finished my VSU training, and was then hired to do Victim Advocacy and Court Support, as well as front line crisis aid which I did for 10 years. This was a very rewarding and fulfilling time of my life and the education I received both in training as well as “real life” prepared me for most anything.
My husband is a musical artist and we have enjoyed many events over the years, here in Red Deer, and I a looking forward to expanding “Creative Red Deer” with the Red Deer Arts Council.
Delores Coghill - Treasurer
Scott was born in Winnipeg, raised in Saskatchewan, and has lived in Red Deer since 1985. Scott was the Chair of the RD Arts Council Board for the past six years and is now serving as our Past Chair.
As a very amateur musician Scott plays the guitar, upright bass and violin. In an effort to keep people’s expectations in check Scott no longer says that he has “played” guitar since he was 12, only that he has “owned” a guitar since that age.
Scott was on the executive of the Waskasoo Bluegrass Music Society. He was on the executive of Cultural Charter Partners at the time of the merger that created the Red Deer Arts Council. Scott hopes that the streamlining and efficiencies of merging the three arts and culture umbrella organizations will lead to better communication between the arts and culture groups and individual artists; will provide a strong advocacy voice on behalf of the arts community; promote community awareness of the importance of arts and culture; and increase attendance at arts and culture events.
Marnie Blair - Vice Chair
Marnie Blair, she/her is a white settler from Northwestern Ontario. She received a BFA with distinction from Lakehead University and an MFA from the University of Calgary. Her current practice in print media aims to recontextualize early modern medical flap anatomy.
She has studied at the Royal College of Art in London, UK, the Studio Art Centres International in Florence, Italy and has interned at Manhattan’s Lower East Side Print Shop. Blair has worked as the Print and Paper Facilitator at the Banff Centre, taught at Thompson Rivers University, and is currently an instructor in the School of Creative Arts at Red Deer College, located in Treaty 6, Treaty 7, and the Metis ancestral lands.
Ranjit grew up in Mumbai, India. Film making is a way of life for many there and Ranjit was surrounded by Bollywood as he grew up. He worked in Bollywood for approximately 6 years. When Ranjit came to Canada in 1998 and settled in Red Deer, he did not find an active film industry, so he temporarily put aside his ambitions to work in the industry. In 2015 he founded Central Alberta Film Festival Association as a platform for filmmakers to showcase their work and as a place to network and show appreciation for local films.
As a husband, father and businessman, Ranjit has built connections in the community over the last couple decades, and understands the importance of people and groups working together. It can and will make a positive impact on the community as a whole. In bringing his love of film to CAFF and sharing it with Central Alberta Ranjit has made new friends and met more people with similar interests in arts and culture. He looks forward to sharing his ideas and passion for this area by serving on the Red Deer Arts Council board over the next few years.
Film is in my blood, as is Red Deer, where I was raised. I was voice-trained for three years and classically trained in music theory and classical flute. My art history and English literature education, combined with a film degree and business certificate, have allowed me artistic opportunities not many newcomers to Canada have access to. I do believe that life is a stage and the performance I deliver reflects directly on my productivity. Having studied Drama, I chose to pursue Film Studies because it encompasses all artistic mediums.
I have come back to Red Deer to expand the film Industry with the aid of the arts. The Red Deer Arts Council has been a supportive organization for many artists over the years and supported community projects, which also help to build the strengths of the talented people here at home. My hope and shared vision is to retain our talented individuals by providing community involvement and suggestions creating placement within the arts with projects significant to their education and passions where their artistic talents are related.
Hand Crafting Guitars Since '95
Originally from Radville, Saskatchewan, Canada. After 18 years growing up on the farm, David hi-tailed it to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and enrolled at WABC radio school. He got his first "on-air" job on January 11, 1981.
David embarked on a radio career that lasted 30 years and spanned all 4 western provinces. Within that 30 year time frame he never put the guitar down. David spent time on the road playing in bars in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. Also, in that time, he was able to meet many of his musical heroes. There is a "wall of fame" at the shop with photos of David with several artists.
David started building guitars in 1995. Adrienne, his wife, graciously allowed him to attend a 10 week course at Timeless Instruments. There, under the tutelage of David Freeman he received his education and certificate in Lutherie. This course was only the beginning of a journey that is still happening.
"Gilmore Guitars" opened on a full time basis May 1st, 2011. David says "I got to that age where, if I didn't do it now, I never would.
Along with a few like-minded individuals David started GuitarZ For KidZ in Red Deer. It started out as a conversation around the shop bench and has turned into something very real. GuitarZ For KidZ has already accepted well over 25 guitars as donations, and have already given guitars to Kidz in need.
Suzanne Hermary - Coordinator
Suzanne Hermary grew up in Red Deer on lands farmed by her northern French immigrant family and Scottish settlers via Antigonish, Nova Scotia. She is grateful to reside on the lands of Treaty 6 & 7 territory, which is also home to a Métis gathering place where stories, arts, and culture have been shared for innumerable generations. She studied French Immersion and performed in shows at a school that was built upon her family’s homestead on the North Hill. She loved to perform from a young age and worked with Tree House Youth Theatres in her teen years while also participating in school productions.
She studied music and completed the Theatre Studies Performance diploma program at Red Deer College, then continued her studies at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, eventually graduating with Honours from Sheridan's Bachelors of Musical Theatre Performance Program after completing their degree expansion program in 2018.
Living in Toronto and Paris with many travels abroad developed Suzanne’s love of fine arts, architecture, food, history, culture, music, and literature. Her desire to share these passions with others led to her career as a travel agent, helping others to discover new experiences at home and abroad. Suzanne has volunteered with local theatre companies to direct, perform, and produce plays and musicals since her return to her hometown.
Red Deer has both a vibrant music community and a theatre community, so she developed the Broadway Open Mic sessions for people to share their love of musical theatre, and she is excited to bring these nights back to the stage very soon. During the day, she works with artists of all genres in her role as Coordinator for the Red Deer Arts Council and she is excited to share her passion for arts and culture with the broader community.