“Engaging community is essential in a time when genuine connection can be so rare.”
— Risa Payant —
Risa lives in Treaty Four territory with her children, Gaia and Ever. She has over 15 years experience in socially-engaged practice and is committed to supporting a thriving Saskatchewan arts ecology. Since settling in Saskatchewan in 2008, she has supported the province’s vibrant arts ecology through positions at the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Regina Folk Festival, and MacKenzie Art Gallery. Risa has an urge to contribute and is committed to roles as an arts volunteer, audience member, and patron. She maintains a freelance consultancy supporting artists and organizations in persuasive writing and strategies for public engagement, and sits as Treasurer on the board of the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance. Risa became involved in the cultural community as an Art History and Interdisciplinary Studio Art student at the University of British Columbia. There, she immersed herself in roles at the Vancouver Art Gallery, ArtsStarts in Schools, and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. Risa is a passionate champion for the arts across sectors, dedicated to connecting artists to broader community building efforts in meaningful and mutually beneficial ways. She has been with Common Weal since 2015.
SOUTHERN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Shaunna is an artist, educator, and cultural programmer. Community engagement, interdisciplinary collaboration, and educational models have become the focus of her creative practice. She has spent nearly two decades contributing to Saskatchewan’s cultural landscape as an artist educator, and served as the Director of the Globe Theatre School from 2010 to 2017. She has worked closely with numerous local and national artists to create professional workshop opportunities, build collaborative artistic programming, and develop community partnerships in support of access and inclusion. Shaunna holds a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Regina and an MFA in Sculpture and Ceramics from Concordia University. She has taught with the University of Regina, Concordia University, Regina Public Schools Learning Through the Arts, Neil Balkwill Centre, and MacKenzie Art Gallery. In 2012 she was awarded the Mayor’s Arts and Business Award for Excellence in Arts Related Service. Shaunna has been with Common Weal since 2018
NORTHERN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Judy is a visual artist and cultural animateur living in Prince Albert. She received a bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics sculpture from the University of Regina and a Master of Fine Arts degree through Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Throughout her career she has been socially motivated, which manifests in cultural activism and socially engaged projects. With a lifelong dedication to Saskatchewan cultural life, she often integrates national artists into locally relevant interdisciplinary settings, bringing mentorship and enrichment into our cultural ecosystem while highlighting the strengths and beauty that already exist. She serves on numerous panels, juries, boards and consultation, engagements both provincially and nationally. Her studio practice has produced several public ceramic murals and gallery exhibits, most recently in group exhibitions Uber Gurlz: Denizen Femme at the Art Gallery of Regina in 2018, Kingdom at the Dunlop Art Gallery in 2016, Relative– Connections at the Mann Art Gallery in 2014, and Offline at the Charles H. Scott Gallery in 2013. Judy has been with Common Weal since 2002.
COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
Nena is a theatre artist, writer, and social media master. She has a wealth of experience working within the local theatre community and facilitating youth outreach and events for organizations across Saskatchewan and Manitoba. She has also managed the online presence of a number of local organizations and small businesses. Nena is a committed volunteer with organizations such as Regina Folk Festival, ShoulderBirds Productions, Regina Highland Dancing Association, and Prairie Sky School. She currently sits on the board of Regina Little Theatre. Born and raised in Regina, Nena has lived and performed in several cities across Canada, and travelled abroad, most especially through Central America. Her time there allowed her to recognize the importance of culture and tradition within the arts, and the role it has when it comes to our sense of identity. Nena has been with Common Weal since 2018.
Common Weal also employs part-time administrative, project, and communications support when funding is available. In addition to our artistic and administrative staff, projects rely on the support of contracted professional artists. Professional artists are at the core of our model, which connects them with the people of Saskatchewan through participatory arts experiences. The artists we work with typically have a strong community practice and understand the mutual benefit of workshop and residency activity. They are able to contemplate differing perspectives and explore new areas of interest, while expanding their bodies of work and developing their capacity to connect with the public. In return, they are able to share their knowledge, skills, and creativity with the community. In this way, artists are also developing a broader audience for their work, while breaking down barriers for the public to access the arts. We believe strongly in the capacity of artists to build authentic relationships with project participants, the impacts of which tend to have a ripple effect for years to come.