Staff & Board of Directors

Manny Travers, Executive Director

Manny Travers (he/him/il) is a queer multidisciplinary artist of Acadian and Lebanese descent from Wolastoq (Fredericton) living in Menaquesk (Saint John), New Brunswick. He currently holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University and a minor in Visual Communications & Culture, alongside a Certificate in Contemporary Management of Arts & Culture from the University of New Brunswick. His artistic practice includes drawing, sculpture, and woodblock printmaking themed around purposeful incompleteness.


Lindsay Jacquard, President

Lindsay Jacquard is an arts educator and administrator from Nova Scotia, now living in Saint John, New Brunswick. She holds a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NSCAD University. She is passionate about encouraging and enabling creative pursuits, working with organizations such as the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, Halifax Regional Municipality, and Imperial Theatre. Lindsay’s own artistic practice involves painting, portraiture, strangeness, and play.


Lindsay Hazen, Vice President

Lindsay Hazen (they/them/iel) is a cultural worker and singer who performs music as Stellaleona, and also works in the Box Office at the Imperial Theatre. They are a co-founder of Moondrip Collective, a queer run record label and community organization. They are passionate about inclusive and equitable spaces and the role of the artist in decolonization and social justice. Stellaleona has been featured in First Listen Zine; on CBC Radio and Pagan Place podcast; and won the Party Sauce Award 2022 for Best Experimental Artist as well as Local 107.3 Best of Saint John Award 2021 for FEMCORE Artist of the Year. They recently expanded their artistic practice to performance art and are a recent graduate of ArtsLink NB’s CATAPULT program. Their work can be found on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

Kate Beresford, Secretary

Kate Beresford is an arts administrator, and lifelong lover and supporter of the arts. Born and raised in Elmira, ON, she lived in Ottawa for 20 years and moved to Saint John in the Fall of 2020. A graduate of Carleton University’s Art & Culture program, she is passionate about providing support for artists of all kinds, and has worked at various cultural institutions including the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Currently she is working at the Canadian Dance Assembly, a non-profit organization that provides support to professional dancers across Canada. She herself is an enthusiastic but amateur dancer, who also loves hiking, riding her bike, and is always up for exploring new places.

Jesse McRae, Treasurer

Jesse Elliot McRae is a trans queer visual artist from Saint John, New Brunswick. Jesse fell in love with the theatre at his first dance recital at the age of four. In high school he received awards for his dedication on the tech team and a creative writing piece he performed about his transition journey at the NB Drama Festival. After graduation he spent some time living in Vancouver, gaining experience in film. Recently returning home, he now works at the Imperial Theatre while pursuing his other found love of painting and photography. Painting became an outlet to express his vision of the world while photography allows him to capture the memories of artists in his community.

Tess Allen, Communications Officer

Tess Allen (she/her) is a teacher, writer, and former journalist living in Saint John, New Brunswick. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from St. Thomas University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of New Brunswick. When she isn’t teaching English as an additional language at St. Malachy’s Memorial High School, she can be found ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the inspiring efforts of local creatives. Or re-watching Gilmore Girls.

Ben Peterson, Member at Large

Ben Peterson (he/him/his) is a queer settler and an architectural historian raised in Saint John. Ben holds a BA in Architectural History and Theory and Law from Carleton University and an MA in Art History from Concordia University. Ben works in development planning and built heritage. He is fond of speaking publicly and his writing has appeared in publications including Visual Arts News and RENDER: Graduate Journal of Art and Culture

Simmi Obscura, Member at Large

Simmi Obscura is an abstract, mixed media artist exploring her soul through play, colour and whimsy. She has been practicing her craft over the past 10 years after graduating with a certificate in graphic design. Her work consists of pieces that spread from canvas to walls. With bold colours and big energy her work inspires play and curiosity. Her process of expression comes from her curiosity of wisdom, emotions, and the human experience. Currently living here in uptown Saint John she intends to spread her light to its residents. Let her dazzle you with creativity and fun that will leave you feeling like a kid full of wonder. 

Caitlin Lapeña, Member at Large

Caitlin Lapeña is a visual artist living and working in Rowley, New Brunswick. Her work has been shown across Canada and the United States, including exhibitions at Peanuts Gallery (Vancouver, BC), Paradice Palase (Brooklyn, NY), Weird Things (Toronto, ON), Hamilton Artists’ Inc. (Hamilton, ON), and has been published in Peripheral Review and Bed Zine. She is also co-director of Peter Estey Fine Art & Auctions, a socially minded auction house and fine art specialist focusing on folk and idiosyncratic Canadian art. She holds a BFA from Queen’s University and a postgraduate certificate in Arts Administration & Cultural Management from Humber College. She has held various arts administration jobs, including at CARFAC Ontario and the Ontario Museum Association. 

Dan Smeby, Member at Large

Dan Smeby holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University and has worked extensively with the creative arts therapy foundation Les Impatients, in Montreal. He has held international residencies in Kuwait City, Kuwait; Kampala, Uganda; and Detroit, Michigan. Most recently he has completed the Boîte Blanche Residency at Galerie Sans Noms in Moncton and the Cross-Cultural Creation Residency at the Saint John Arts Center, both in his home province of New Brunswick. His most recent film “A Mains Nues” is being distributed by and has been officially selected at numerous Canadian festivals including FIN, FIFA, and FICFA.