On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Yukon Arts Centre, Chair, Deb Bartlette, would like to thank Al Cushing for more than nine successful years as Yukon Arts Centre’s CEO and wishes him well in retirement. “Al has provided the Yukon Arts Centre Board, staff and volunteers with dedicated and visionary service and we have all grown under his leadership. He helped us to think of the Yukon Arts Centre not just as a building, but a resource in service to the whole of Yukon’s vibrant cultural community. His capacity to bring out the best in people ensured good working relationships with all stakeholders and we are grateful for his time here.”
Mr. Cushing will be retiring as of March 31st, 2017.
Under Mr. Cushing’s flexible and facilitative leadership, the Yukon Arts Centre, Board and staff, wrote and adopted visionary “Ends Statements”, which guide the ongoing work of the Yukon Arts Centre. As one of the best known performing arts facilitators in North America, Jerry Yoshitomi, stated: “the Yukon Arts Centre is one of the most innovative and effective arts centres in North America.” The Yukon Arts Centre has become known as a mecca for performing and visual arts in this country, and as one of the most significant performing spaces in Canada. 
Mr. Cushing was also instrumental in expanding the Yukon Arts Centre’s performing/exhibition spaces to include the Old Fire Hall and the Wharf in downtown Whitehorse, and the Art House in Carcross. Strong partnerships with Yukon First Nations, the Whitehorse’s business community and Yukon Government, allowed the Centre to expand operations and add more versatile options for performance and exhibition space.
Mr. Cushing came to Yukon after more than thirty-five years working in virtually all areas of Canadian theatre including: scene design, stage management, sound & lighting & stage technician (Ottawa and Vancouver), technical director (National Arts Centre), production manager (Manitoba Theatre Centre), company manager (JV Theatre Productions Calgary), and just prior to moving north, VP Operations at the Epcor Centre, Calgary, Alberta.
In addition to his extensive theatre experience, his deep knowledge of the visual arts has ensured the Yukon Arts Centre Gallery continues to be acknowledged as one of the leading galleries in Canada. National level exhibitions, artists’ support and community engagement projects continue to lead the country in innovative programming.
Cushing believed in the importance of national partnerships and he encouraged his staff to serve on many national associations. Cushing himself served on the boards of the Canadian Institute of Theatre Technology (CITT), Magnetic North Theatre Festival and the Cultural Human Resource Council. He was instrumental in supporting several national conferences and gatherings in Yukon including Break Out West, Canadian Museums Association and most recently the Magnetic North Theatre Festival and the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective
Deb Bartlette, speaking on behalf of the board stated: “The Yukon Arts Centre is a richer organization as a result of his time here. His commitment to his staff, to the Yukon’s cultural community, and his mindfulness of supporting art and artists, has always been topmost in his leadership style. Many of the ambitious goals he set for the organization were surpassed during his tenure. In particular, Al’s belief that the North has many things to teach Canadians has always been present in his work and is a legacy that will continue to shape Yukon Arts Centre into the future.”
A retirement party will be planned with details forthcoming closer to the time of Al’s departure. Details forthcoming.
The Yukon Arts Centre’s Board of Directors has formed a search committee to identify the next CEO.  They will be announcing details shortly.
For further information please contact YAC Board Chair, Deb Bartlette, 668-8715 dbartlette@yukoncollege.yk.ca