Native Women in the Arts Bids Farewell to Former Artistic and Managing Director and Welcomes New Artistic Director

There have been some exciting structural and staffing changes at Native Women in the Arts lately. We are delighted to announce that NWIA’s long-time Programming Manager Quach George has been appointed to the new position of Artistic Director! 

Quach George first started working with NWIA in 2015 as a Programming Coordinator, eventually being promoted to Programming Manager. She comes to the position of Artistic Director with much knowledge of the organization, a deep commitment to our mandate, and a wide range of artistic, creative, administrative and presentation experience with other Indigenous arts organizations.

Quach George is succeeding Ariel Smith who held the position of Artistic and Managing Director from 2018-2023. After six years as both the artistic and administrative head of NWIA, Ariel has stepped down from her position  due to a move out West to the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples in Vancouver, and a desire to  take time to focus on her own artistic practice.

Ariel is temporarily continuing to work for NWIA remotely from Vancouver in the position of Interim Administrator until a Toronto based replacement is secured. Keep your eyes out for a job call coming  in April of 2024! In her role as Interim Administrator Ariel remains responsible for coordinating administrative operations of the organization, as well as grant writing, fundraising, and financial management.

The organization expresses its deep gratitude to Ariel for her contributions and visionary leadership during her tenure as Artistic and Managing Director. Ariel oversaw and curated numerous presentations including:
Inaabandama 3-day symposium held in January 2020 which foregrounded issues of concern and interest to Indigenous Women and other Indigenous Gender Marginalized artists, featuring teachings with elders; panel discussions with Indigenous artists, curators and leaders, a visual arts exhibition, and an opening reception that included live musical performances.
Native Americana: Indigenous Women in Roots Musica concert series featuring Indigenous artists working in genres of country, bluegrass, blues and roots rock. Programmed artists included Samantha Crain, Dawn & Shawna Redskye, Celeigh Cardinal and Layla Creppel. Due to the pandemic the concert series was presented online. Each musician was commissioned to self-produce their own broadcast quality concert and was provided with the resources to do so. Afterwards the artists were able to maintain ownership of the videos.
Materialized, a visual art exhibition which opened in April 2023 examining themes of intergenerational memory, familial narrative, and decolonization. Combining portrait photography with elements from adornment arts, textiles, sculpture, and customary Indigenous art practices curated artists Joi T. Arcand, Celeste Pedri-Spade, Catherine Blackburn and Nadya Kwandibens all resist colonial meta-narratives contained in settler-made images of Indigenous portrait subjects. 

Please join us in welcoming Quach to her new position!

Quach George’s long history with the NWIA coupled with her creative vision and passion for Indigenous arts, and community building make her the ideal person to lead NWIA into its next chapter. The transition between Artistic Directors marks an exciting time for NWIA as we continue to grow and seek new ways to support Indigenous women and otherwise gender marginalized Indigenous artists in the spirit of collaboration, community and celebration.

“I’m so happy to step into this role at NWIA and look forward to working in this new capacity within the community. I am honoured for this exciting opportunity and I want to thank Ariel Smith for all of her dedication and hard work over the years and join the NWIA board of directors in wishing her luck with all of her future endeavours.”
– Quach George, Artistic Director

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