Lifelong cultural worker and CEO of the Yukon Arts Centre since 2008, Al Cushing works ceaselessly to support arts and culture in the Yukon. In his words, Cushing is dedicated to making the Yukon Arts Centre a community-based entity that supports visual and performing arts in our territory.

Last month, Cushing was involved in planning and directing the Yukon Arts Presenters Summit, a major capacity building exercise, and is currently working on the Sound Bites Campaign, a $350,000 project to replace the aging sound system at the Yukon Arts Centre.

We asked our CEO a few questions about his role at the Yukon Arts Centre. Here is what he had to say:

DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO AT THE YUKON ARTS CENTRE.
Chief Executive Officer, or in less grandiose terms Executive Director, or theatrically The Lord High Everything Else

WHAT IS A CEO?
The buck stops here!

WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING/FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Those unique moments when the art we present, showcase or produce touches a heart or a soul.  The student that will go on to music school because they had the chance to play on our stage:  the child whose stands in awe before a painting: the audience member that leaves the theatre in tears, of laughter or empathy.


HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS CAREER?
I was infected with the Theatre bug in high school by a brilliant English professor, Andrew Garrod.  Mr. Garrod believed that the arts could and should be transformative and they have been.  Mr. Garrod, much later in life, went to the former Yugoslavia and directed a youth production of Romeo and Juliet in Mostar; casting Bosnians and Serbs.


WHAT LED YOU TO THE YUKON ARTS CENTRE?
YAC was a great opportunity to make a difference.  There is also a long story that ends with a fortune cookie that said, “Leaving the nest will lead to great adventure”.  But, that will cost you a beer.


WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE YUKON?
The amazingly creative community!


WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE SHOW OR EVENT AT YAC?
I was blown away by last season’s presentation of Terminus.  In the Gallery I was fascinated by the Jane Isakson/Jennifer Walden exhibition.  The problem with this question is that there have been so many amazing events at YAC in the last six years it is impossible to really choose one that stands out above all the rest.


WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE NOT THE CEO OF THE YUKON ARTS CENTRE?
Apply to be the CEO of the Yukon Arts Centre.