Message from the Board of Directors: Announcing our new Executive Director – Laura Grady

March 9, 2022 – New Westminster
From the Board of Directors, Arts Council of New Westminster

It is with a mix of sadness and gratitude, we announce that Stephen O’Shea has chosen to leave his role of Executive Director for the  Arts Council of New Westminster, effective June 30, 2022.

Since 2015, Stephen has played a critical role in the development and success of the organization. We will miss him and his inspiring leadership. Having just completed his Masters Degree in Professional Communication at Royal Roads University, he is ready to move on to the next step in his career. We want to thank him for the seven years of dedicated service, which involved many significant accomplishments, including:

  • Partnering with local organizations for festivals and events such as Music by the River and Fridays on Front.
  • Streamlining ACNW program delivery into the STRIVE arts education, DRIVE arts outreach, and THRIVE arts enhancement initiatives.
  • Increasing ACNW staff from one to two full-time and two seasonal staff.
  • Upgrading of The Gallery at Queen’s Park as a community art gallery
  • Growing membership to over 300 members

We are pleased to announce that upon Stephen’s departure at the end of June, Laura Grady will be promoted from her role as Program Manager to the Executive Director. Laura knows the local arts community well and has taken on increasing responsibility over her six years at the Arts Council. Thanks to Stephen’s succession planning, she is well-prepared to take on the role of Executive Director. One of her immediate tasks will be to hire an Operations Manager. The details of this part-time position will soon be posted on the ACNW website.

Again, we thank Stephen for the dedication, passion, and enthusiasm he has given our arts community over the past seven years. He will be greatly missed by the staff, Board, members and partners alike. We look forward to following the success of his career and are excited for the next chapter of the Arts Council of New Westminster as we continue to bring community together through the arts.

If you have any concerns or suggestions for the Art Council going forward, please do not hesitate to contact Bob Crockett directly at president@acnw.ca

Sincerely,

Bob Crockett, Dawn Dutriza-Larose, Stephanie Hughes, Alie Mayr, Tim Varro, David Vivian
Board of Directors
Arts Council of New Westminster

From Laura Grady, incoming Executive Director, Arts Council of New Westminster 

With the full support of the Arts Council of New Westminster Board and current Executive Director, Stephen O’Shea, I am pleased to announce that I will be stepping into the Executive Director role on July 1, 2022.

Over the last six years, I have worked for the ACNW as Program Manager, and it has been an honour to serve the community through my role in supporting artists and art initiatives in New Westminster. I am passionate about connecting my community to the artists and makers who enrich our city and invite us to be inspired, challenged, and engaged. I am looking forward to this new opportunity and leading this organization in a direction that continues to meet the needs of artists and the community.

Stephen is leaving behind a solid and stable organization for me to step into. I am grateful for his leadership, guidance and support in preparing me for this role. I am eager to continue my work with the ACNW and build on the vital relationships with our partners, volunteers and members. Together with the ACNW Board, I plan to carry on our vision of creating an active and engaged arts council within our creative and diverse city.

Sincerely,

Laura Grady
Program Manager
Arts Council of New Westminster 

From Stephen O’Shea, Executive Director, Arts Council of New Westminster 

Dear ACNW Members and New Westminster Community,

I have decided to resign as the Executive Director at the Arts Council of New Westminster, effective June 30, 2022. My first official day with the ACNW was on March 9, 2015, and after seven years with ACNW, I have made this choice to make room for a new leader. Those of you who know me well know that I am passionate about serving artists and the positive impact that work has on our community. I am a true believer that every leader should reflect on their capacity to serve and acknowledge when they know their time has come to an end. For organizations like ours to succeed through life cycles of growth and renewal, knowing when to get out of the way can be just as important as knowing when and where to lead.

I am grateful for the valuable experience and the opportunities I received while working at the ACNW. It’s been great to work with such talented and helpful colleagues. I could not have asked for a more supportive Board of Directors, and I treasure the friendships I have cultivated with each one of you. During my time at the ACNW, I grew both personally and professionally, which I know will benefit me with my future endeavours. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Executive Director these last seven years.

While I have a mix of emotions as I move into this next chapter of my career, I will continue in the work that has become so important to me: community building and serving artists. The decision for my transition is one I have been actively planning for years. Good succession planning and leadership transition are incredibly important for non-profit organizations. I have worked hard over the past two years to ensure this process is as smooth as possible. By giving the Board of Directors my intention to resign years in advance, they have had an opportunity to develop a robust succession plan. Additionally, we have worked in upskilling staff, like ACNW Program Manager Laura Grady, to take on bigger roles. And I am pleased to share that we have secured a three-year funding commitment from the City of New Westminster that stretches to December 2024. I now depart with the strongest organizational foundation the ACNW has had in a very long time.

I want to give my deepest gratitude to all who have been so supportive of the organization and me personally over the years: excellent and dedicated staff, passionate and strategically minded Board Members, and most vitally, of course, our artists, partners, volunteers, and ACNW members. Without you, the organization would not be as strong and vibrant as it is. I am so honoured to have been the leader of this incredible organization and will watch with much excitement and anticipation as it makes strides in supporting artists in New Westminster in the coming years. We have a brilliant and strategic Board of Directors who have my full confidence that they and Laura are going to push this organization to new heights.

My immediate plan is to become a Corporate Member of the ACNW and a regular monthly donor. I ask you to consider giving Laura the strongest possible footing for success by becoming a monthly donor as well. Consistent funding is the bedrock that allows confident planning to see the STRIVE, DRIVE, and THRIVE programs continue for artists in New Westminster. 

It has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life to serve in this role. To so fully immerse myself into New Westminster’s arts community has been a huge reward. We have accomplished many great things together in the past seven years and I look forward to what will be accomplished with new leadership in the future. Between now and June 30 we have important work to see this transition through, so now I need to get back to work!

Sincerely,

Stephen O’Shea
Executive Director
Arts Council of New Westminster