October 1st, 2015
Dear ArtStarts presenters,
I am pleased to write a letter of support for Isabelle Kirouac and Nayana Fielkow for the upcoming ArtStarts Showcase.
Artistic director and founder of Still Moon Arts Society, I have been active in Vancouver for 30 years, as an interdisciplinary artist and singer with a BA (Art History) from UBC and an Interdisciplinary diploma from ECIAD. In the 1980’s I was a member of the experimental new music Cassation Group. I founded Mortal Coil Performance Society (1990) to create interdisciplinary work combining art, voice, and dance. The company has toured internationally and become known for stilt dance theatre seen by thousands each year. Since 1999 I have also been doing art with community. In 2004 I founded Still Moon Arts Society: inspiring vibrant and connected communities by creating artistic experiences and nurturing a passion for nature. Through it I organize the annual Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival (audiences of 3-5,000), the Spirit Fish celebration and other art projects with local partners. These events bring contemporary art to people who might not normally seek it out in traditional venues.
I met Isabelle in 2009 and I was immediately inspired by her artistic work and her ability to communicate her creativity and artistic integrity in a workshop setting. Over the last six years, I had the pleasure to hire her as an acrobatic stilts instructor and choreographer for the Performing Arts Intensive Camp, a training and performance opportunity for youth. Isabelle Kirouac taught advanced stilt acrobatics, theater, and choreography skills. She proved herself to be an intelligent and sensitive mentor/teacher equally comfortable in developing solid technique in order to be able to use stilts in dance and in exploring unusual choreographic pathways and challenging her students to also work outside the box in their compositions. Isabelle worked well with the other artist-instructors and they were able to collaborate effectively with costume and dramatic, and skill toys input into the choreography. They also created works specifically for the music composed for the Moon Fest finale and performed live by the students and mentor instructors of the band camp.
I met Nayana in 2013 and was very inspired by her incredible talent as a theater and clowning performer and instructor, costume designer and visual artist. I instantly hired her to co-lead the direction of the Moon Festival finale in collaboration with Isabelle. Over the last two years, I also hired both of them to create a performing arts training for a group of kids hired to perform at the reputable Kids Festival in Vancouver. Then, I hired them to create a performance together inspired by some characters of the Collingwood neighborhood, which was showcasedat Carleton Elementary School through Collingwood Days, one of the community event organized by Still Moon Arts Society. The artistic work that Isabelle and Nayana create is thoughtful, skillful and extremely appreciated by the local community. They have been significantly impacting the creative development and education of youths in our neighborhood and I highly recommend them as candidates for the ArtsStarts Showcase.