Staff & Board



Jessica Vellenga [Executive Director]

Jessica Vellenga is an artist, curator and cultural worker, with over 17 years of experience in commercial galleries, territorial galleries, and artist-run centers. A diverse
record in arts administration, financial management, art installation, curation, community engagement creation, family and public art classes and tours, event and rental management, as well as collection and archives management. She has her BFA from McMaster University. She is responsible for the successful leadership, development and management of the Hamilton Artists Inc. according to the strategic direction set in partnership with the Board of Directors.  Her artistic practice is grounded in community collaboration, which combines art, craft, and activism through textile arts. Performing and facilitating community collaborative textile arts, mending, embroidery, knitting, crochet, yarn bombing, and other interactive textile workshops. She has exhibited her artwork and clothing design in Canada (Calgary, Dawson, Hamilton, Inuvik, Pointe Claire, Montreal,Ottawa, Toronto, Whitehorse), the United States (Brockton, MA) and the United Kingdom (Leeds).

Caitlin Sutherland

Caitlin Sutherland [Programming Director]

Caitlin Sutherland is an independent curator and art critic based in Hamilton, ON. Currently, she is Programming Director at Hamilton Artists Inc. Her academic background is in criticism, curatorial practice, and museum studies and management from the Ontario College of Art and Design and the University of Toronto. One of her more recent curatorial projects for the Inc., Into the Wild, featured the work of Sonny Assu, Jason Brown, Leisure, Duane Linklater, Alex McLeod, Darren Rigo, Elinor Whidden and Young and Giroux as well as select works from the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Hamilton and Workers Arts and Heritage Centre. Sutherland has worked independently as well as with a number of contemporary arts organizations within the greater Toronto-Hamilton area for well over a decade, including, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, the University of Toronto Art Centre, Xpace Cultural Centre and the Art Gallery of Burlington. She is a member of the Hamilton Arts Council’s Visual Arts Committee, a board director with Artist Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO) and sits on the advisory committee of ArtsBuild Ontario. In addition to numerous exhibition texts, she has written for Canadian Art, Beautiful/Decay, Hamilton Arts and Letters, Critical Superbeast and was the Ontario correspondent for the online contemporary art publication, Daily Serving from 2011-2013.

Kristina Durka [Programming Assistant]

[Photo and bio to come]




Taien Ng-Chan [Chair]

Taien Ng-Chan is a writer, scholar and media artist, whose work investigates everyday urban life through experimental and locative cinema, cartography, poetry, and documentary. She has published five books and anthologies, produced multimedia CDs and websites, and written for stage, screen, and radio. Her video and media works have been shown across Canada, in the US, Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK. She is a founding member of the Hamilton Perambulatory Unit (HPU). Visit

Heather Kanabe [Treasurer]
Heather Kanabe is an arts manager with over 15 years of experience working with cultural and corporate partners. Heather is the new General Manager for Hamilton Fringe Festival and serves as treasurer on the Hamilton Artists Inc. Board of Director. She was the Festival Director of The Word On The Street Toronto, Canada’s largest book and magazine festival, for over four years. She was a Project Manager with SALT & PEPPER Events in Dubai, producing large-scale marketing activations for clients including Lexus, Ford, and Nokia. Prior to her MBA, she was the Programming and Business Affairs Manager at Women in Film and Television – Toronto (WIFT-T) where she developed an annual program schedule of over 600 hours of professional development training. Heather is a graduate of the University of Toronto Honours BA, Specialist Designation in Arts Management, Major in Art History and an MBA from the HULT International Business School in Dubai.


Kelly Drennan [Director]

Kelly Drennan is a graphic designer, curator, and multidisciplinary artist living in Hamilton, Ontario. She received her BA (Hons) in Studio Art from the University of Toronto Scarborough, and a Diploma in Graphic Design from George Brown College. Kelly’s work explores how our personal histories can effect the way we love, display our sexual power, and experience loss and fear. Visit

Karen Schulman Dupuis [Director]
[Photo to come]

Karen Schulman Dupuis is a Business Designer with a specialty in digital and social media. She is a shift disturber, an intrapreneur, and an award-winning communicator who has worked in technology since the early 1990s, and with startups and entrepreneurs for almost 20 years. Karen is currently the Director, Strategy & Business Design at Wise & Hammer, one of Hamilton’s leading digital agencies. She is also the principal consultant at Social Design, Ltd., President of Hive Waterloo Region (part of the Mozilla Foundation’s Hive Learning Networks), an instructor at George Brown College, and she often acts as an advisor to startups in the ICT fields. She is a writer, speaker and a passionate advocate for changing the ratio of diversity and inclusion for technology companies and startups in Canada, and is studying towards a Masters in Leadership

Mary Porter [Director]

Mary Porter is an artist and arts educator preoccupied with looking at the built environment and landscape as a way to glean some sense of the culture that created it. Her work is rooted in painting and drawing, but in recent years has expanded to include more digital animation. Her projects have been exhibited and screened across Canada and the United States, and have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council. She holds a BFA from NSCAD, an MFA from York University, and a BEd from the University of Toronto. Having a strong interest in contemporary arts education, she has worked as an instructor at OCAD University, Sheridan College, and McMaster University, as well as in a variety of community arts settings.

Alex Hartstone [Director]
[Photo to come]

Alex Hartstone is an emerging cultural administrator, curator, and community engagement coordinator at the Art Gallery of Guelph. Her academic background is in studio art and museum studies, where she received her BA at the University of Guelph and her post-graduate diploma at Georgian College. Alex has worked in various galleries and museums including The Powerplant Contemporary Art Gallery and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Currently, Alex is pursuing her MA at the University of Guelph in art history and visual culture with a focus on social practice and the politics of Latin American artists. Her recent curatorial project as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, Ateliers Studios: Creative Spaces, was presented at the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in Toronto. When not busy with work or school, Alex spends her time translating short fictional stories from Spanish to English for an emerging novelist.

Mark Prier [Director]
[Photo and Bio to come]

Kaylyn Roloson [Director]
[Photo and Bio to come]


We welcome interest in getting involved with the Inc.  You can download the application in PDF HERE and email it back to us.

We are always interested in hearing from you and encourage our members to join the Board.  For more information email

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