Common Weal Community Arts
 

Engaging community is essential in a time when genuine connection can be so rare.

— Risa Payant —

 

 
 
photo credit: Risa Payant

photo credit: Risa Payant

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
RISA PAYANT

Risa has been committed to community engagement in the arts for over 15 years. 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. She has an urge to contribute and is committed to roles as an arts volunteer, audience member, and patron. She became involved in the cultural community as an Art History and Interdisciplinary Studio Art BFA 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. She has created programming for diverse global communities, in addition to collaborating with companies such as Crayola and Nickelodeon. Risa does important work championing the arts across sectors and connecting artists to broader community-building efforts in meaningful and mutually beneficial ways. She has been with Common  Weal since 2015.

 

 
 
Photo credit: Judy McNaughton

Photo credit: Judy McNaughton

NORTHERN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
JUDY McNAUGHTON

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 Applied 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. She serves on numerous panels, juries, boards and consultation engagements. Her studio practice has produced several public ceramic murals and gallery exhibits,  most recently in group exhibitions 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 2004.

 

 
 
Photo credit: Gerry Ruecker

Photo credit: Gerry Ruecker

SOUTHERN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
GERRY RUECKER

Gerry has been a practicing artist and arts educator for over 30 years. He works primarily in mixed media sculpture, sculptured furniture, and photography. He is self-taught and has exhibited extensively in Canada and internationally. Gerry was an entrepreneur in the graphic arts industry for many years and was President of the Regina Folk Festival in 2005 and 2006. In 2008, Gerry returned from a two-year volunteer position with CUSO in Kingston, Jamaica where he taught art and photography in an inner city ghetto community, as well as developing his personal practice. Gerry exhibited his sculpture in numerous exhibitions and galleries while in Jamaica, including the 2008 Jamaica Bienniale, held at the National Gallery of Jamaica. Gerry has been with Common Weal since 2009. He maintains an art practice and teaches photography and sculpture in Regina and surrounding area.

 

 
 

 

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.