Marilyn Adlington | Program Coordinator
programming @ cafka.org
Marilyn Adlington (she/her) is a recent MFA graduate of Criticism & Curatorial Practice from OCAD University with a background in Art History and Museum Studies. She has a dedicated passion for curatorial work and exhibition development, with several years of experience developing contemporary art programming in local communities throughout Ontario. She has published art writing in the Journal of Curatorial Studies, Public Journal, the Senses and Society. As the Program Coordinator for CAFKA, she strives to facilitate public art experiences that engage audiences in unique and innovative ways to generate meaningful community dialogue.
Eric Almberg | Program Coordinator, Education
education @ cafka.org
Eric Almberg is an emerging artist and educator currently living and working on land traditionally cared for by the Haudenosaunee, Anishnaabe and Attawandaron Peoples, in an area colonially known as Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He/they/she graduated with a B.F.A. from the University of Lethbridge, and a Diploma in Visual Art from Grant MacEwan University. Eric's work revolves around the themes of connection between beings, internal awareness, re-skilling and learning, and environmental sustainability. Eric works with these themes through community programming, workshops, participatory and collaborative performances, storytelling, installations, and sculptures which bring new life to discarded objects as materials. Eric is currently preparing to build a timber frame traveling workshop cart with support from the Pat the Dog Theatre Creation microgrant program.
Michael Ambedian | Installation Coordinator
installation @ cafka.org
sophia bartholomew | Operations Manager
operations @ cafka.org
sophia bartholomew (they/them) is a queer person and interdisciplinary artist, descended from Norwegian immigrants on Treaty 3 territory and English and Irish settlers. Working outwards from the ruins and runes of their own cultural inheritance, their practice spans drawing, writing, sculpture- and installation-making, collaboration, and small, daily negotiations with found and salvaged materials. They have attended residencies with the Khyber Centre for the Arts in Halifax, Platform Centre in Winnipeg, and arte no es fácil in Havana, Cuba. Their writing has been published by cmagazine, Artforum, BlackFlash, Public Parking, and Peripheral Review. Recent group exhibitions include ‘grass taps’ at the plumb, ‘Loose Parts’ at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, and ‘All Flourishing Is Mutual’ with Images Festival. They received their BFA from UBC in 2012 and their MFA from the University of Guelph in 2022. Between 2012 and 2015 they co-directed Connexion artist-run centre in Fredericton, NB.
Julie Hall | Development + Outreach Coordinator
outreach @ cafka.org
Julie Hall (she/they) is an artist and writer of settler descent concerned with perception and language. Julie grew up outside of Kjipuktuk/Halifax and, before attending art school, was a research scientist; however, her fascination with objectivity ran its course. They work collaboratively with their partner, Jacob Irish (he/they), developing their nine-year co-creative practice towards sculpture, video, and audio. Julie seeks the unspoken through artmaking, ideologies and structures so engrained in their own life and settler-colonial Canadian society that they go unnoted. They thrive in uncertainty and are calm in chaos. Earning a BFA from NSCAD University in 2017 and an MFA from the University of Waterloo in 2022, Julie has exhibited work at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax, Centre Bang! in Chicoutimi-Saguenay, the Art Gallery of Guelph, Hamilton Artists Inc., and the University of Waterloo Art Gallery.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sharl G. Smith | President and Board Chair
Artist / Architect
Originally from Jamaica, Sharl Smith lived in the U.S. for 17 years before moving to Canada in 2015. She received her Bachelor of Architecture with honours from New York Institute of Technology, where she was also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of NYIT’s Campus Newspaper. She practiced at architectural firms in the U.S. for 6 years before moving to Canada in 2015. She now operates Sun Drops art studio in Waterloo where she creates beaded sculptures and jewelry.
Conan Stark | Vice-Chair
Teacher / Artist
Conan Stark is an artist and teacher working at Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute in downtown Kitchener, where he is the head of the visual arts dept. He is a graduate from the University of Waterloo obtaining a B.F.A. (2002) and later a B.E.D. (2003) from the University of Western Ontario. As an arts educator in the Waterloo region he is inspired by the diverse community of artists and practices. He is intent on extending his art classroom to enhance his students' learning by engaging in community art projects and initiatives. He was born in Northern Ontario growing up in a low tech atmosphere and moved to the region in the mid 1980s. This contrast presents itself in the themes and production of his work through his fascination with both traditional and contemporary art practices.
Lauren Weinberg | Secretary
Founder, Open Sesame
Lauren Weinberg is the founder of Open Sesame, an online shop that was also a Downtown Kitchener art gallery and performance space from 2015 to 2019. Lauren is a former art critic and Art and Design Editor for Time Out Chicago. She lives in Waterloo.
Tara Cooper | Director
Artist / Educator
Tara Cooper is a printmaker, photographer, animator, installation and book artist and an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, Department of Fine Arts. Recently she has participated in residencies at Anderson Ranch Art Center (Snowmass, Colorado), The Wassaic Project (Wassiac, New York) and Landfall Trust (Brigus, Newfoundland). Tara is co-editor of Printopolis (along with Jenn Law), a volume examining contemporary print in Canada published by Toronto’s Open Studio and co-director of the documentary Follow the Bones (along with Terry O'Neill), a film that tells the story of Northern Alberta’s Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum. Tara is a resident of Kitchener.
Žana Kozomora | Director
Artist / Curator / Arts Administrator
Žana Kozomora is an emerging interdisciplinary artist, curator and arts administrator based in Kitchener and originally from Sarajevo, BiH. She is a graduate of the Honours B.A. Fine Arts Studio Program at the University of Waterloo with a Professional Practice Specialization (2015). She curated a solo exhibition of the artist collective XVK at Cambridge Galleries | Idea Exchange (2018), acted as assistant to Co-curators Jane Tingley and Nina Czegledy for the 2020 exhibition Agents for Change | Facing the Anthropocene, and is currently the Curatorial Assistant at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. Her involvement with CAFKA began as a volunteer in 2014 and she has served on the Programming Committee since 2018. She is excited to continue working with CAFKA as a board member supporting the transformative role of contemporary art in public spaces.
Brubey (Wanzhi) Hu | Director
Fine Artist / Graphic Designer
Brubey (Wanzhi) Hu is a recent MFA graduate from the University of Waterloo. She holds Bachelor of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) with major in General Fine Arts and concentrations in Graphic Design and Book Arts. Brubey works mostly with but not limited to painting and artists’ book, with interests in architecture, dualism, translation, memory, and colour theory. Originally born in Xiamen China, Brubey moved to Vancouver Canada in 2011 for high school, and then to the United States for undergrad. Brubey’s work has been exhibited in Canada, the US, and China. In 2018, Brubey participated in BAiR Emerging Visual and Digital Arts Residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
Ginger Whitney | Director
Real Estate Broker
Ginger Whitney is a Real Estate Broker, Vice President and Managing Partner at WHITNEY & Company Realty in the Region of Waterloo. With 11 years of experience, 2 international designations and being a 5th generation WHITNEY realtor Ginger has established herself as a real estate entrepreneur. Ginger is focused on helping local companies grow their businesses and getting more involved with the community. Joining CAFKA’s Board provides an opportunity for Ginger to contribute her knowledge and expertise towards the ongoing development of the thriving local arts culture. Ginger has a keen interest in architecture, design, photography, contemporary art, music, dance, commerce and fitness. In her spare time Ginger enjoys outside activities that include - photography, walking her dogs, cross country skiing and downhill skiing.
Rita M. Palacios | Director
Scholar / Educator
Rita M. Palacios is a professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Conestoga College. She holds a doctorate in Spanish (Latin American Literature and Culture) from the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on contemporary Maya cultural production (literature, visual, performance, and installation art) and privileges Indigenous perspectives above all. She has written about Indigenous literature and art and, alongside Dr. Paul M. Worley, co-authored Unwriting Maya Literature: Ts’íib as Recorded Knowledge (University of Arizona Press 2019).
Roshan James | Director
Artist / Poet / Musician
Roshan James (she/her) is a Tibetan-Indian multidisciplinary artist, poet, and musician, living as a settler in southwestern Ontario. As part of the South Asian diaspora, with a spiritual connection to nature, humanity, and realms of consciousness, Roshan researches, experiments, plays, and creates to connect the everyday with timelessness: consciousness, mindfulness, non-attachment, unconditional love, hope, purpose and healing. Entrenched in her work is anti-oppression advocacy and representation of marginalized, melanated voices to help dismantle colonial, capitalistic systems. Roshan studied at Queen's University and the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, and she holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from York University, summa cum laude. You'll find her on social media, most active on Instagram at @roshan_james.