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Member Biographies

Ana Maria Mendez

Committee Chair
Term End: Dec. 31, 2018

Since 2011, Ana Maria has been working with the Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo. She is currently the Manager of Arts & Culture, and has strategically navigated a number of cultural projects, cultural events and programs.

Ana Maria has created numerous exhibitions engaging artists, cultural non-profit organizations, businesses, industry and regional government with an outcome of building and developing the skills and capacity of local artists while increasing an appreciation for the arts in the community. She has also managed a Public Art project, the TOTAL Aboriginal Interpretive Trail that includes seven pieces by Aboriginal artists and 28 fiberglass foxes painted by local artists and youths in the community.

As a champion of opportunities for local artists, and for her contributions to the arts and culture industry in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Ana Maria was recognized by Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta in 2015 as a Woman of Inspiration. In 2016, she received the Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Award for Arts Administration, presented by the Arts Council Wood Buffalo, in the same year she was recognized by Your McMurray Magazine’s Top 50 Under 50 list.

Ana Maria has volunteered for several non-profit and municipal boards and committees, currently Ana Maria is the Chair of the municipal Council Appointed Public Art Committee. She obtained her Bachelor in Fine Arts in Lima, Peru, and continued her education in Granada, Spain, and in Canada at UBC, in Cultural Planning.

Nabil Malik

Committee Vice Chair
Term End: Dec. 31, 2019

Nabil Malik has a BA Spec. Hons. in Geography & Urban Studies and Certificate in Migration & Refugee Studies. He also holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies in the Planning Program and a Graduate Diploma in Democratic Administration. Nabil is the Vice-Chair of the municipal Council Appointed Public Art Committee and is excited to use his expertise in stakeholder engagement, public policy and community development to establish and implement the region’s inaugural Public Art Program.

An avid supporter of the diverse range of visual, auditory and performing arts, he has a strong understanding of the importance and role of public art in providing opportunities to foster a sense of identity and belonging in a region as diverse as Wood Buffalo. Nabil is inspired by how active and engaged residents have been so far with the Public Art Committee’s initiatives. He looks forward to continuing to have interactions and conversations with residents and collaboratively forming the cultural fabric of this region we are all proud to call home.

Hélène Giguère

Committee Member
Term End: Dec. 31, 2018

Since childhood, arts and crafts have been a passion of Hélène’s. This adoration developed at a young age and continues still as she explores art galleries, museums, cultural events, arts and crafts fairs, etc. It is when Hélène came to Fort McMurray in 2007 that she truly began to practice her art form.

Hélène joined the Wood Buffalo Photography Club in 2009 (yet to be formed) and improved her technique through a variety of photography courses offered through Keyano College and mentoring from Club members. She then exhibited throughout Alberta and Québec in a variety of venues (galleries, historic sites, markets, arts and crafts fairs). In 2014, Helene published a photography book showcasing the beauty of the Wood Buffalo region called A Glimpse of Northeast Alberta.

Hélène is now dedicating her time to textile arts, more specifically weaving. She has taken courses offered by several fibre arts organizations including the Edmonton Weavers’ Guild, Focus on Fibre Arts Association and Les Cercle de Fermières. Currently, she is working towards obtaining her Masters in Weaving through Olds College.

Hélène has actively been involved with the art scene in Fort McMurray and looks forward to continuing her part as a member of the municipal Public Art Committee. “I do volunteer work to advance the cause. Art is food to my soul!”-HG

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