Board of Directors
Founder and President
Barrie Mowatt has a long and accomplished history as an educator, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, having opened the Buschlen Mowatt Fine Art Gallery in Vancouver in 1979. Barrie is the visionary behind the Vancouver Biennale, where he combines his passion for art, education and community service in exhibitions that bring great art to public spaces where people live, work, play and transit, free for all to enjoy, explore and be inspired by. Barrie is also the founder of the Celebration of Hope Foundation, co-founder of Taste the Nation, and the Buschlen Mowatt Scholarship Program at Arts Umbrella. Barrie received the Vancouver Business in Arts Award from the Vancouver Board of Trade, and the Ethics in Action Award, presented by Vancouver City Savings and the BC Work Ministry. He has twice been nominated for Western Canada’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the category of Socially Responsible Businesses.
John Harrison is currently the President of Inter-City Gas Ltd. John, who retired in 2009 from his position of elementary school principal with the Burnaby School District, began his education career as an upper intermediate teacher. He has also worked with the UBC Faculty of Education as a Faculty Associate and Social Studies Curriculum Instructor, and with Simon Fraser University as a Faculty Associate. During his tenure as an educator, John developed learning resources for teachers in literature and critical thinking. He also presented workshops for educators in conflict resolution, creating cohesive and caring school communities, and building leadership capacity. John recently completed a diploma in Sustainable Community Development at SFU City Program.
A classically-trained pianist, music educator, and music-education advocate, Murray Nichol is an examiner for Royal Conservatory Examinations in Canada and the United States. As a Vancouver Biennale educational advisor and arts advocate, he has been integrally involved in outreach and the development of the Biennale’s International Residency Program, which he has helped integrate into the Biennale’s BIG IDEAS education program. He acts as a Biennale Ambassador on his many travels and, as Secretary of the Board of Directors, oversees the management of archives and inventory. Murray is also a director of the Buschlen Mowatt Nichol Foundation, a philanthropic foundation whose focus is on lifelong learning, education, and the arts.
Miriam Blume is an accomplished marketing and communications consultant with 20-plus years of experience in the profit and non-profit sectors. Her professional career began at TELUS, where she learned the discipline of best-in-class brand management and CRM marketing, contributed to the delivery of an annual $25M advertising plan, and managed the high-value consumer-loyalty program. After 12 years in the corporate world, Miriam decided it was time to steer her career in a different direction. Inspired by her love of art, she now works with independent artists and arts organizations to build their business strategy, brand identity, audience engagement, and funding. She has worked on several high-profile projects, most notably SweaterLodge, the Canadian entry to the 2006 Venice Biennale of Architecture, and the Vancouver Biennale as Director of Marketing. Miriam was a keynote speaker at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival and at two Pecha Kucha events, and has attended major art fairs, festivals, and biennale exhibitions worldwide.
Jesse Saniuk is the Vice President and co-owner of the real-estate brokerage Four Sails Realty Inc. based in West Vancouver. He has a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in African studies from the University of British Columbia. He is also a collector of contemporary art with a particular interest in sculpture. It is a combination of his passion for real estate, history, and art that led him to his ownership of the B.C Binning House (a National Heritage Site of Canada), which he is currently working to restore with the hopes of preserving it as a private museum with public accessibility. Jesse is a former member of the Vancouver Biennale’s Young Ambassadors group.
Kirsten Larsen is a British Columbia-born, self-taught artist, and creative consultant whose career aptitudes include graphic design, branding, business development, art curation, social-media strategies, event production, and fundraising. Founder of the Vancouver Biennale’s Young Ambassadors group, she is deeply committed to collaborative projects that benefit the arts and culture community at large. Having worked with the Coast Mental Health Foundation, Disability Alliance BC, and the BC Centre for Ability, she also sits on the board of the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, the first arts council in North America.
Marty Hasselbach is a successful CEO with experience in stakeholder relations and communication including institution to consumer, industry, and government; regulatory body to industry, consumer, and government; and board of directors to agency, consumers, and government. He has over thirty years’ experience working on executive teams with a focus on business/educational metrics, change management, and program development. A transformational leader, he has conducted many needs analyses and departmental reorganizations at both management and support department levels. As Managing Director of Vancouver Film School for over 15 years, Marty brought his entertainment production and private post-secondary education experience to the school. This blend of production knowledge and experience in private for-profit education is truly unique, and with his hands-on style and fervent desire to “get things right,” he can walk into a classroom of students or a boardroom of financial analysts with equal ease and understanding. His knowledge and executive leadership expertise in technology have led him to pivotal CEO roles in the arts and tech sector over the last 5 years.