About Us - Board of Directors

Jennifer Gilbert - President

Jennifer Gilbert is a Nationally Accredited Newborn and Family photographer based in Tottenham, Ontario. Her unique approach to documenting the memories of the people she photographs has propelled her to the forefront of the industry in the Greater Toronto Area. Jennifer focuses on capturing the spirit of a family through beautiful, story-telling photography.

Jennifer and her family moved to the New Tecumseth area in November 2013, and since then, she has been actively involved in the business and arts community. She has held various board positions with the Professional Photographers of Canada, the Tottenham & Beeton District Chamber of Commerce and the Tottenham Public School Parent Council.

Jennifer has developed wonderful partnerships with the business community and not-for-profit organizations. She believes in supporting artists’ success through education and mentoring. Jennifer understand that teamwork and communication are essential for the SSAC’s continued success and is looking forward to adding her knowledge, skills and abilities as part of the Board of Directors.

Jackie Warmelink - Vice President

Born in the United Kingdom, Jackie Warmelink has lived in the Mulmer hills for over 35 years. Originally trained as a Home Economist and Cordon Bleu Chef, Jackie started collecting pottery while working in South Africa in the late 1970's. She was drawn to the organic colours and shapes and loved how they showcased her food creations. She took her first pottery lessons in Africa, working with clays from the Masai Mara plains.

When she settled in Canada in the early 1980's Jackie continued studying pottery with several local potters as she found working with clay a relaxing escape from the stress of her job as a Food Stylist for advertising commercials in Toronto.

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Michelle Dinnick - Secretary

Board Member since May 2018
Michelle Dinnick is an award-winning author and poet who writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, The Voice of the Farmer, Focus 50 Plus, Total Sports Magazine, The Briar Crier, and Arts Talk.
Michelle is a contributing author in The Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of Canada (2017), and a quarter finalist in the 2017 ScreenCraft Short Screenplay contest, and an associate producer on two other films, Turnover (2019) and In the Death Room (2019).
She has a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto, is a Professional member of the Canadian Authors Association, as well as the SSAC Wordsmiths.
In 2018, Michelle joined the Board of Directors at the South Simcoe Arts Council, where is Board Secretary, Literary Rep, and on the Fundraising Committee. This year, though involved with Creative Works since its inception, she became the SSAC’s Creative Works Writing Contest Coordinator.
You can find her on line at www.imbd.com, www.fiftywordstories.com, www.commuterlit.com, www.feminecollective.com, www.quick-brown-fix-canada.blogspot.com, www.thewritersconference.com, www.michelledinnick.com, @MichelleDinnick as well as on Facebook and Instagram.

Debra Gibbs - Director

Board Member since May 2018.

I started on the Potters Wheel at age 16 learning with my students and went on
to graduate from Seneca College with a Visual Arts Instructor’s Diploma in 1981. After successfully completing a four-year apprenticeship with a Master Potter of FINE Porcelain, I continue to teach pottery in my studio and showroom.

My Wheel Thrown FINE Porcelain dinnerware and gifts show in many galleries and stores including The McMichael Gallery Canadian Art Collection and The Art Gallery of Ontario. While participating in Trade and Contemporary Craft shows I have won several awards of excellence for Master Quality Craftsmanship / Booth Design & Display.
FINE Porcelain is a beautiful clay to work with because of the physical purity and hardiness. FINE Porcelain has its’ own qualities from the ‘whiter than white - baby powder’ feel to incredible strength and durability when kiln fired at very high temperatures. The glazes have been created by myself through glaze chemistry over time & remain a private recipe.

FINE Porcelain is all about the natural relationship between ‘true form’ and the ‘FINE‘ touch. It draws you close and exposes its honest beauty through everyday use.
The development of my pottery has always been with the desire to improve on style. Over the years, as my technique has become increasingly refined, I feel I’ve developed a clean and elegant look to the pieces in keeping with my overall view of life’s simplicities.

Ken Burns - Past President

Board Member since Feb 2019

Ken Burns attended the University of Guelph, graduating in 1975 with a Specialized Honours Degree in Geography. He returned on a permanent basis to the summer job he had had the year before at the Canadian National Railway Co as a trainman, and later as conductor and, in 1979, as a locomotive engineer.

Ken came to South Simcoe that same year. He and wife, Trudy moved in 1990 to Alliston, where they have lived for almost 30 years, and where they raised their five children. Having an interest in the past and its influence on the present, Ken joined the Alliston Historical Society, through which he came into contact with the Arts Council in its early years.

Since retirement from the railroad in 2007, Ken has been active in several volunteer positions in the local community and beyond, including the past 11 years as a director on the board of the Stevenson Memorial Hospital Foundation. There he has held the positions of Vice-Chairperson 2009-2010, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, 2010-2012 and Secretary 2012-2019.

Other volunteer activities include Alliston Out of the Cold and the Boards of Directors of the Simcoe-Grey PC Riding Association and the Conservative Party of Canada Electoral District Association.

Isolde Ryan - Director

Isolde is both a visual artist and author. She best known for her landscapes in oil and likes to combine them with abstracts. Some work is for sale. Isolde became a member of the South Simcoe Arts Council and went on to win the People's Choice Award in 2010 for painting and was the 1st place winner in the 2015 and 2017 Battle of the Brushes. Isolde is a member of the Wordsmiths writing group and is working on her first novel. She is also a contributing author in the 2017 edition of the Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of Canada.

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Barbara Hilts - Director