The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie is honoured to share the addition of three key new staff as it continues on a path of enriching our community through art. Each of their detailed biographies follows.
Executive Director, Jeff Erbach, elaborates on the importance of these positions, sharing “these are leadership positions in our organization, and so also for culture in our region. The gallery has ambitious plans and we’re confident we can make these real with the addition of these talented women.”
The new Curator, Exhibitions and Collections is Manar Abo Touk. Manar has worked with a wide range of artists and disciplines in a variety of settings all over the world. “My curatorial practice looks at ideas, stories, and artists that encourage diversity, artistic experimentation, and new interpretations of art in society. My role as a curator is to make a connection between art and the public and I’m very excited to continue my work at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie and be part of this amazing team and community!”
The new Travelling Exhibition Manager/Curator is Robin Lynch. Robin, a former pre-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is eager to join the Gallery. “I am unbelievably excited to join the already vibrant team at the gallery. I look forward to continuing the travelling exhibitions program, which provides an amazing opportunity to share stories and have conversations with a wide variety of communities and institutions.”
Lastly, the Gallery’s new Manager, Development and Administration is Brittany Kelsey. Brittany held an important role with the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, and is eager to continue to contribute to local culture. “I’m excited to build and develop the Gallery’s relationships in our community and ensure its sustainability through a diversified approach to fund development. Being part of an organization that is inclusive, supportive, and adheres to a community standard is extremely important to me. As we navigate these difficult times, I’m honoured to be a part of the future of the Gallery.”
Manar Abo Touk is a Syrian Canadian curator specialized in international contemporary art with a focus on Canadian and Middle Eastern Art. She has an MA in Museum and Gallery Studies from Kingston University London, UK and a BA in History and Theory of Arts and Arts Administration from the University of Ottawa. Manar’s career includes work at the Canadian War Museum and Studio Sixty-Six Gallery in Ottawa, aluCine Latin Film+Media Arts Festival in Toronto and more recently as the Arts Manager and Curator at Al Riwaq Art Space in Bahrain. She is Fluent in English and Arabic.
Robin Lynch is an art historian, educator, curator, a Ph.D. Candidate in Art History at McGill University, and a former pre-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Since 2015, she has co-directed a curatorial research group based out of Singapore that brings together international scholars and artists to examine the relationships between art, economics, and infrastructure. She has an MA in Curatorial Studies from Bard College, NY, and has been involved nationally and internationally in the cultural sector for over 8 years with institutions such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Rennie Museum, Vancouver; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway; and the Hessel Museum of Art, NY; amongst others.
Living most of my adult life in Grande Prairie and making it my family’s home, I’ve grown to care about our community and our cultural sector. I’ve been an active, lead volunteer on a range of events, which has included the KMSC Law charity golf tournament, the 2018 Alberta Summer Games and the 2019 Men’s and Master Men’s Canadian National Fast Pitch Championships. Prior to joining the Gallery, I served in a wide range of duties at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, which included leading and coordinating community outreach, communications and events.