Blog / Archives / January 2015

Behind-the-Scenes with YAC Staff: Hazel Venzon

Behind-the-Scenes with YAC Staff: Hazel Venzon

Meet Hazel Venzon, Programming Associate at the Yukon Arts Centre. From a background in acting and producing theatre productions, Hazel brings energy, creativity and much humor to the mix. She grew up the youngest of three in a bilingual household in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and confesses to having been the butt of many jokes amongst her siblings. Read on to see how Hazel answered six questions,  giving us a glimpse ‘behind-the-scenes’ at her dynamic role here at the Yukon Arts Centre.

Work  inside a spinning kaleidoscope.


The connective tissue between the vision of the Artistic Director, and the rest of the production, box office, accounting, and marketing staff at the Yukon Arts Centre and the Old Fire Hall.


I administrate, manage, and produce every performing artist contract that comes through the Yukon Arts Centre– for theatre, music and dance, sometimes hypnotists and magicians, too! In a day, I will interface with hotel managers, caterers, agents, assistants, assistants’ assistants, arts administrators, artists, internal YAC staff; working on Mainstage and Old Firehall shows at present, in a few weeks time and then months from now. I also help assist the marketing and promotion of each performance, as well. Whenever there’s a chance to build a relationship between a visiting artist and those outside of Whitehorse, I help organize this too. It’s a big job. Most importantly, it’s a creative job.  I also get to hang out with the visitors while they’re here, a lot can happen between the time I pick them up at the airport and drop them off at their hotel – enough time for Dr. Gabor Mate to psychoanalyze me, that’s for sure!

That I am an assistant. It gets me fired up inside because that word is nowhere to be found in my title. My role certainly feels assistive, but it’s not my sole responsibility. There are so many details that go into making each show at the Yukon Arts Centre – it’s imperative we all assist one another.

I kept on a winding path and found myself here. By winding path, I literally mean cross-country, touching north and going back down south, on and off islands, hauling totes on and off the Greyhound, bike on shoulder, chasing gigs through big cities, running out of money, etc. I began with theatre training at Studio 58 (Vancouver). I chose this school over the others because it had a prerequisite to produce, write and direct a solo-show by graduation. By mid program, I found myself an agent, and by graduation, I had been working full-time as an actress. I remained working in the theatre as opposed to film or TV because I felt most alive on stage. For a woman, and a woman of colour, traditional theatre roles remained limiting, which caused me to write and produce my own stuff, co-collaborate with independent theatre companies across Canada, always creating new work. I started producing more and more. Remembering something Norman Armour said when I produced for the PuSh Festival (Vancouver) “that a good producer is hard to find”; I knew then, that that was a role that was needed in the performing arts. So, here I am. Learning and being challenged while exercising what I know. I still carry a flame for acting, but it’s not as fulfilling as what I do today.

To date, nothing has ever topped the time when Bruce McCullough asked me to play a small part in his show ‘Young Drunk Punk’. I remember picking him up at the airport, making small talk, and then all things became a blurry wash of slow motion until I said the words “I’m your gal”. In a blink I was back in real time, thinking “oh my god, oh my god, what is happening? What? What just happened? I don’t have a red dress.. I lied.. ahhhh…holy s_it !!!!!” I was given the role of “Crazy Chick”. I had to memorize an 80’s song, enter the stage singing it badly, then turn to Bruce and get really really mad and run off stage. It was a cameo, but never in my wildest imagination would I ever have foreseen him giving me blocking and stage direction!  It was a real treat for the adrenaline junkie that I am.

I have yet to reveal this publically because I’m not quite sure yet…it’s like knowing what I want to be when I grow up - feels impossible to know when one is fully grown.

Web sales and email offline Jan. 27 to 29

Web sales and email offline Jan. 27 to 29

The Yukon Arts Centre computer network will be offline for essential maintenance from Tuesday, January 27 to Thursday, January 29, 2015. This will affect and all email communications.

Although some services will be limited, we are pleased to assist you during this time. Please read on for information about purchasing tickets and communicating with us from January 27 to 29.


Online ticket purchases at and in person sales at Arts Underground will be unavailable during this time.

During the outage, ticket purchases will be only available for Skookum Jim Folklore Show and Dan Mangan Stories and Songs. Purchases can be made in person (cash, debit, and credit) at the YAC Box Office, or by phone (credit card only) at 867-667-8574.

Yukon Arts Centre staff will not be able to send or receive emails during this period. Any messages sent to a domain address between January 27 and January 29 will be rejected by our server. We will be happy to assist you by phone.

Box Office and Gallery hours will not be affected during the outage. For administration services, please call us for details.

Please contact with any questions you may have during the outage. We can be reached in two ways:

PHONE  Consult our staff directory or call (867) 667-8574
FAX  (867) 393-6300

Regular web services will commence Friday, January 30.

Thank you for your patience as we carry out this important maintenance work. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

YAC Artistic Director Eric Epstein Nominated for Presenter of the Year Award!

YAC Artistic Director Eric Epstein Nominated for Presenter of the Year Award!

Andrew Connors, Katherine McCallum, Eric Epstein and David Skelton in an arts presenter’s panel discussion for an Art Talk in September 2013

Eric Epstein, Artistic Director of the Yukon Arts Centre has been nominated for Presenter of the Year 2013-2014 Award by the Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA). Award winners will be selected this weekend at the CAPACOA conference happening in Halifax, Nova Scotia from January 21 to 24, 2015.


Other nominees include Brian McCurdy (The Burlington Performing Arts Centre), Shahin Sahadi (Prismatic Festival and Onelight Theatre), Tina Rasmussen (Harbourfront Centre) and Lindy Sisson (The ACT Maple Ridge Arts Centre and Theatre).


Epstein has over 40 years of experience working in the theatre world, and many years of experience in Whitehorse, working as Artistic Director of the Guild Hall for 9 years. He studied theatre in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia and started the Vancouver Shakespeare Festival there in 1984.


In 2013-2014, Eric brought many cutting-edge productions from across Canada to the Yukon Arts Centre, including ‘You Should have Stayed Home: A G20 Romp’, ‘The God that Comes’, ‘Danse Lhasa Danse’ and ‘Terminus’.


Currently, Eric is engaged with co-curating and presenting the Pivot Theatre Festival in Whitehorse with Nakai Theatre’s Artistic Director David Skelton. Listen to their talk with Dave White on CBC Radio here:


Congratulations Eric, you’re fabulous!!

Artwork Wednesday: Remembering Ted Harrison

Artwork Wednesday: Remembering Ted Harrison

From The Cremation of Sam McGee, acrylic on board, 1986
Yukon Arts Centre Permanent Collection

Ted Harrison, Lone Woman with Ravens, 1991
Yukon Arts Centre Permanent Collection

During my career as a teacher, author and artist, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting students from different parts of the world. Through the years they have influenced my simple artistic style and helped bring my stories and paintings to life. If I have inspired them to find their way as artists, I am truly grateful.
I urge you to keep on reading, writing and painting. Develop your own style and keep it honest and true to who you are. Find inspiration in the world around you, and you will make the world a happier and more creative place.

-Ted Harrison, a Brush Full of Colour: the World of Ted Harrison, 2014

On January 16, 2015, Canada lost a cultural icon, an inspirational educator, and a master painter. We remember Ted Harrison, who passed away at the age of 88, through his artistic legacy, which inspired many friends, students and admirers. Over the next weeks the Yukon Arts Centre looks back on Harrison’s oeuvre and artistic impact in the Yukon.  

Harrison was born Edward Hardy Harrison on August 28, 1926, in Wingate, County Durham, England. He travelled to many parts of the world, beginning with service in North Africa as part of the Intelligence Unit of the British Army, and then began a 28 year teaching career in New Zealand, Malaysia, and Canada.

In 1968, Harrison took a teaching position in Carcross, Yukon, and moved there with his wife Nicky and son Charles. Harrison’s distinctive style emerged following his move to Carcross, a notable shift in his career from educator to professional artist. It is evident that the Yukon landscape was influential in the development of his signature colourful palette, playful designs and cartoonish figures.

This adorable video clip from 'The Land of the Chartreuse Moose' produced by HIFI features a child explaining Ted Harrison's artwork.  

He held his first Canadian exhibition at the Whitehorse Public Library in 1969. In 1993, he moved to Victoria, B.C.where he lived the rest of his life painting, writing, and continuing to create a prolific body of work.

Harrison received numerous distinctions and awards, including the Order of British Columbia, a membership in the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian culture, four honourary doctorate degrees and an induction into the Royal Conservatory of the Arts in 2005. He was also the first Canadian to exhibit at the International Children’s Book Exhibition in Bologna, Italy. 

From The Shooting of Dan McGrew, 1988, acrylic on board
Yukon Arts Centre Permanent Collection

Harrison’s works hang in numerous public and private collections around the world, including the collections of Stephen Harper, Pierre Trudeau and Ronald Regan.

Ted Harrison’s artistic inspiration for local artists cannot be overstated. Sandra Grace Storey, a Tagish-based ceramics artist and former student of Harrison told us in a recent blog interview that “He got to know each of his students, where your strengths were and what you liked to do…when you weren’t in a space to produce art work, he would sit beside you and draw and tell stories and all of a sudden something would click and you would say ‘I got it, I know!’ He would encourage everyone to be an individual creative voice, and he made a big difference in my getting into Emily Carr.”

Mary Bradshaw, Gallery Director at the Yukon Arts Centre stated her appreciation for Harrison in a recent CBC radio interview: “I was actually introduced to the Yukon through Ted Harrison myself. I remember as a kid being in the library and reading The Shooting of Dan McGrew and being absolutely mesmerized by the colours and the landscape…could the skies actually be neon green and the snow be pink?!”

From The Cremation of Sam McGee, 1986, acrylic on board
Yukon Arts Centre Permanent Collection

The Yukon Arts Centre is honoured to house a rich collection of Ted Harrison’s paintings. This collection includes the twenty seven acrylic paintings which form the original illustrations from the two children’s books published by Kids Can Press Ltd., The Cremation of Sam McGee and The Shooting of Dan McGrew. These poems, written by Robert Service in 1907, are internationally-acclaimed stories from the Yukon Gold Rush Era.

Pierre Berton, notable Canadian writer and historian, wrote passionately in his 1986 Introduction to The Cremation of Sam McGee on the semblances between Harrison and Service, two Canadian cultural icons. "They have so much in common: a sense of discovery, a brashness, and a feeling of joie de vivre that is to be heard in the driving force of the Service narratives and seen in the dazzling vibrations of the Harrison art."

In September of 2014, we returned to the first painting acquired in the Yukon Arts Centre Permanent Collection to begin a community art project. Lone Woman with Ravens (1991) is a landmark piece in our collection, and a stunning example of iconic Canadian Art. This piece, donated by the artist to form the beginnings of a Permanent Collection at the Arts Centre, was the perfect inspiration for a fun and creative community art project.

The Lone Woman with Ravens push-pin reproduction, 2014, Yukon Arts Centre

In 2009, the extensive biography of the artist, Ted Harrison: Painting Paradise was written by Canadian author Katherine Gibson. Harrison dedicated this book to both his family and to the Yukon, sweetly writing, "... to the people of the Yukon. You are the Muse."

A memorial service for Ted Harrison is planned and news will be released shortly on his website,

A book of remembrance to Ted is available in the lobby of the Yukon Arts Centre, and all are invited to visit and contribute a sentiment or a thought. Selections of the original paintings from The Cremation of Sam McGee and The Shooting of Dan McGrew are now on display in the entrance to the Yukon Arts Centre Public Gallery, and at the Whitehorse Public Library for a limited time. Lone Woman with Ravens is on display in the Box Office of the Yukon Arts Centre.

To learn more about Ted Harrison: Painting Paradise, click here.

Listen to the full interview with CBC Radio’s Dave White and YAC Gallery Director Mary Bradshaw here.

Ted’s legacy to Canadian artists includes the Ted Harrison Artist Retreat in Crag Lake, Yukon, where artists can participate in a residency program. Find our more here.

Artwork Wednesday: Karen Power’s Arctic Soundscape

Artwork Wednesday: Karen Power’s Arctic Soundscape

Karen Power performing in the Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery


Wednesday, January 7th, 2015, four sound artists gathered at the Old Fire Hall for an improvisational jam session, exploring the soundscape of the Arctic Circle.  A soundscape, the territory of Irish composer Karen Power, is the definition of a new sound-world created using the re-used materials from everyday sounds.

Power, who collaborated with artist Joyce Majiski to create the mixed-media installation ‘Inside the Glacier’ (2014), travelled from Ireland with funding provided by Culture Ireland to perform in improvisational music sessions with local sound artists, host an Art Talk on the current gallery exhibition ‘North of Myth’ and gather sound samples of the Yukon for future compositions.

Listen to Power chatting about her experimental music with CBC radio host Dave White by clicking below:

Power created a distinct soundscape for the Arctic Circle while participating in the Arctic Circle Residency Program with fellow artist Joyce Majiski. Her soundscape, based on her recordings from Svalbard, Norway, is used in the multimedia piece ‘Inside the Glacier’ (2014), currently exhibited as part of the North of Myth exhibition in the Public Gallery.

The installation ‘Inside the Glacier’ took many days and multiple assistants to install in the Public Art Gallery. Check out this time-lapsed video of the install, a stunning transformation of space and materials into an ethereal art installation. 



‘Inside the Glacier’ is an entry for the gallery visitor into the landscape and soundscape of the Arctic Circle. Majiski and Morvitz communicate their memories of the Arctic Circle through artistic means, and re-create the mythic land of the far north through drawing, photography and sound.
Power has performed solo and with other improvisers, using sound samples to create new ‘sound-worlds’. This video, captured in the studio of Jordy Walker and produced by artist Joyce Majiski, is a recording of one of Power’s latest improvisational sessions.

Karen Power, John Godfrey, Jordy Walker, Daniel Janke - first meeting from Jordy Walker on Vimeo.


You can listen to three recordings from Power’s latest improvisation, performed during the jam session hosted by YAC and co-presented by Jazz Yukon featuring John Godfrey, Daniel Janke and Jordy Walker by clicking the link below.

In 2014, Power released a CD by Farpoint Recordings entitled ‘it is raining while you listen’ based on her recordings of Arctic soundscapes. To check out more of Power’s work and her recordings, visit her artist website at

North of Myth, featuring the artwork of Joyce Majiski and soundscape of Karen Power, is exhibited in the Public Gallery of the Yukon Arts Centre until February 21, 2015.