Arts Council of New Westminster Staff 2021

Executive Director
Stephen O'Shea
Stephen O'Shea (he/him/his) is a professional arts administrator with extensive program coordination experience. He is a dedicated arts advocate who has devoted his life to creating culturally enriching experiences, communities, and infrastructure. Providing strategic and organizational leadership, Stephen connects the broader community with vibrant arts scenes. As an engaging and versatile community builder, he can create strong linkages between institutional and underground stakeholders. Stephen has served as the Executive Director of the Arts Council of New Westminster since March 2015.

Before his work with the Arts Council, Stephen was the program director with the Devon Clifford Music Foundation (2012-2014) and the Artistic Director with the Jam in Jubilee summer concert series in Abbotsford (2011-2014). Stephen has previously served as the Chair of the City of New Westminster's Public Art Advisory Committee, Secretary on the Board of Directors of Tourism New Westminster, and the City of New Westminster's Arts Commission. The New Westminster Chamber of Commerce recognized Stephen as 'Citizen of the Year' at the 2018 Platinum Awards.

Beyond his work as an arts administrator, Stephen is an award-winning minimal sound artist and songwriter. As a co-founding member of the new-wave band You Say Party (formerly You Say Party! We Say Die!), he has toured across three continents and played hundreds of shows in dive bars, all-ages spaces, and music festivals. He now finds himself staying closer to his home and exploring new avenues of songwriting. In 2019, Stephen released EXPANSE, an audio-visual composition created with Montreal-based artist Daniel Ross. Nominated for two categories (Electronic, Experimental) at the 2019 Fraser Valley Music Awards, EXPANSE won in the Electronic category.
Program Manager
Laura Grady
Laura Grady is passionate about building relationships between artists and the community. As a creative person who has been surrounded by arts and crafts her entire life, Laura values the role art plays in our lives. Through her work, she is committed to programming spaces and opportunities for artists that celebrate inclusion and diversity. Prior to her role as Program Manager with the Arts Council of New Westminster, Laura spent over 15 years as a freelance writer producing content for various newspapers, online publications and National magazines such as Canadian Living and Today's Parent. Laura has volunteered her time and communication skills to multiple organizations, including Union Gospel Mission, Medical Missions International, and The Vancouver International Children's Festival. When not coordinating arts events, Laura enjoys photography, reading, spending time with her family, and learning new arts and craft skills.
Indigenous Curator
S^yowah (Son/yo/wa)
Timothy Elijah


Shekoli! (Greetings in Oneida)

S^yowah (Son/yo/wa), Tim (he/him/his) is a proud member of the Onyota'aka (Oneida of the Thames First Nation) Nation located outside of London Ontario. He is from a specific Bear Clan family known for their connections to the forests and trees.

S^yowah would like to acknowledge that he is a visitor and a guest on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Nations. With much love and respect, he is grateful for this opportunity to be here.

Tim has been a traditional storyteller from the time he could speak and read. He has fallen in love with the teachings and lessons that are taught within each legend and story that has been passed down from generation to generation.

S^yowah would like to invite you along this beautiful journey that his Indigenous stories will take you. Give yourself a moment to hear, feel, and embrace the magic and beauty of his stories. Also, he would like to thank the listeners for participating in Reconciliation. S^yowah believes that in order to resolve the conflicts and issues between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians we need to listen, forgive, love and work together as one. Through his stories and legends, S^yowah believes the gifts of knowledge are there for all Humans and of the creations on this earth.

In the traditional words of S^yowah's people

Yaw^ko ne Eso:Kunolunkwah swahkwako!! ( All of you are a great medicine to me/ I have love for you and I thank you very much).
Cultural Programmer
Crystal Lan



Crystal (she/her/hers) is a Taiwanese Canadian settler working on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Nations.

Crystal is an arts administrator who organizes and promotes cultural programs that help create a sense of community amongst diverse neighbours. Crystal enjoys talking with community members, creating efficiencies, working with creatives, and writing about art. She enjoys feedback even when program changes are not yet possible.

As Cultural Programmer Crystal supports the Art Gallery in Queen’s Park, the New West Craft fair, and Summer Concert Series events and manages the administrative needs of the Expressions of Reclamation program with Indigenous Curator S^yowah (Timothy Elijah).

In her personal practice, she makes illustrations and paintings for indoor and outdoor spaces. Crystal holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Visual Arts.
Music Programmer
Casey Thomas-Burns



Casey Thomas-Burns (she/her/hers) is a trombonist, vocalist, bandleader and arts administrator based in Vancouver, Canada. Casey would like to acknowledge with much respect the lands of the Coast Salish people, on which everyone at the arts council lives and works.

She is the founder and director of the 10-woman jazz band The Leading Ladies. Casey holds her diploma in Jazz Studies from Capilano University, where she is currently pursuing her BMus in the same subject, as well as her Advanced Certificate in Arts and Entertainment Management. While at Capilano University Casey has had the opportunity to study trombone with Dennis Esson, and to play in the "A" Band under the direction of Brad Turner.

Her previous experience includes marching with The Seattle Cascades Drum and Bugle Corps (Drum Corps International), being the bass trombonist for the Brentwood Jazz All-Stars and performing with multiple in-house ensembles at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

In the spring of 2020, Casey was awarded a place in the Passing Notes Composer Mentorship Project presented by the Hard Rubber Orchestra and has recently been awarded a place in their 2021 Reading Session for Emerging Composers.

Here at the Arts Council, Casey is the Music Programmer. Her favourite part of working at the ACNW in 2020 was co-hosting the second season of the ArtsNW podcast and interviewing guests Jill Townsend and Bill Coon. In 2021, Casey is looking forward to programming an interesting, captivating and diverse set of musical performances!