Board of Directors
Margot Foster Chair/President
Margot has been very fortunate to have lived in several countries, all the while enjoying the deep roots her ancestors set down in the beautiful Grey Bruce area.
She possess an Honours BA from McMaster University. In the 1980’s, she worked in the drug/alcohol recovery field, then with Wendy’s Canada as a head manager in Brantford ON. In the early 1990’s, while raising a family, she studied pottery at Mohawk College. I was a member of the Brantford Potters Guild before we took international moves to Germany, France, and the USA.
She connected with all of these varied communities through volunteer activities, music and art. She has always taken an active interest in education, most recently by teaching English as a second language in Virginia from 2009 until our move home to Canada in 2013.
She began studying watercolour in Virginia with artist Julie Read and became involved with the Shenandoah Arts Council, a non-profit arts organization, in 2011. Though living away from Canada, she looked forward to taking summer courses at the Southampton Art School. She is thrilled to be living at Sauble Beach full time and taking the opportunity to pursue the arts seriously.
Michael Hills, Vice Chair/ Vice President
Michael is an independent insurance broker and President of Hills Insurance Saugeen Shores Ltd. He is an honours graduate of George Brown College, a Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) with the Insurance Institute of Canada and a Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB) with the Insurance Broker Association of Canada. Michael was recognized with a Paul Harris Fellow in 2014 for his dedication to the Southampton Art School. Hills Insurance was presented the Bruce Power Community Service Award in 2013 by the Saugeen Shores Chamber of Commerce. Michael enjoys guitar, snowboarding, cycling, cooking and nordic walking.
His fondness for the Art School began as a child growing up in the “hustle and bustle” of a vibrant lake side town in the summer time. He is a committed director with 2O years experience on the SAS board and is involved in many community projects that benefit the downtown core and focus Southampton as Ontario’s premier designation as an arts community.
Amy Weichel, Treasurer
Originally from Toronto, I have lived in Southampton for over 25 years. My family and I have always enjoyed The Art Gallery and School’s children’s art programs, appreciating that the Art School & Gallery are a significant part of the heart of Southampton. The history of the Southampton Art School is well known and appreciated by my family. I was asked to join the Board in 2007, bringing my accounting and business background as a CPA, CA. In 2008, I became Treasurer and have enjoyed the active role with both management and the Board that this position requires. This long tenure has allowed me the privilege to work with many Board members from diverse backgrounds who bring valuable experience and strengths. As the world continues to change, the organization has worked hard to evolve, grow and remain relevant. The dedication of our volunteer Board members working to support our dynamic School and Gallery Directors will ensure a centre for the Arts will continue to exist and thrive in Southampton. It is an honour to be part of this cultural & educational Registered Charity and make a difference in my local community.
Carol Brown, Secretary
Carol is originally from Oakville. In 1993, after many years in the retail sector of decorating in Southern Ontario, she moved to Southampton and opened a business with her husband in the auto related field.
Her work experience lies mostly in the retail and interior decorating field. After a few years she co-owned a decor business in Port Elgin, and has since retired. She also does colour consultation and interior decorating work for clients in their home.
Her other passion is gardening and spends many hours in the summer working outside. Her love of art and colour and being involved in the community has brought her to being involved in the Southampton Art School and Gallery. She is the chair of the events committee here and the secretary of the board of directors.
Dave represents the second generation of the Park family to serve on the Board of the Southampton Arts Society - his mother, Ellen, a dedicated water colour artist, was a co-founder of the organization.
“I’ve been interested in the visual arts since childhood, and I have fond memories of summer art classes at the Southampton Art School back in the late ‘60‘s and early ‘70‘s. By that time, Southampton had long been a place of special appeal to artists, and the Art School was the hub of an active but seasonal arts community. Today the SAS provides a nexus to a vibrant and growing year round arts community. Back in the ‘60‘s, I wouldn't have dreamed that the School would offer the variety and quality of courses it does now, or that there would be an associated gallery of such high calibre.
I see serving on the board not only as an opportunity to contribute to the continuing success of the organization, but also as a way of honouring the foresight and imagination of the many people whose efforts led to that success, something that makes an important contribution to Southampton’s unique identity.”
Valerie's black and white photography is an eclectic mix of landscapes, water, nature, stills and whatever takes her fancy. She enjoys experimenting with new mediums such as canvas, mulberry paper and other non traditional photography papers. The "Bruce's" ever changing moods constantly challenge her creativity to capture new and interesting moments in time. Often translating this "moment" in time visually can be harder than taking the picture.
Valerie's love of photography has quickly turned to her passion and obsession. Being totally self taught, she is constantly striving to gain more knowledge in her chosen field. As she has said from the beginning of her journey "how hard can it be?"
Sharon’s academic studies include Fine Arts, Philosophy, Comparative Religion, Women's Studies and Adult Education at the University of Western Ontario, University of Michigan and St. Francis Xavier University. Upon completion of these studies she taught creative arts courses at the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College in London Ontario.
Her career in the arts led to a position as a designer in professional theatre, starting with the Stratford Festival Theatre. She is the recipient of a Canada Council grant and an Ontario Arts Council Grant. Sharon has served on the Board of Gallery 96 in Stratford Ontario, The Shoreline Artists Association and is a contributing editor to many art related magazines. Currently, Sharon teaches art courses at the Southampton Art School as well as other locations around North America.
Joyce is retired from a career in Education and Social Services specializing in the sector of persons with intellectual disabilities. For the first few years of her career she worked in Special Education with several Boards of Education. The later years of her career she effectively and decisively directed support systems ensuring overall effectiveness in the areas of person centred planning, community development, networking, service planning, evaluation of outcomes and satisfaction on day to day operations working within the Ministry requirements. Joyce received several awards and recognition for her outstanding contributions in removing barriers for individuals in business.
Joyce, was raised in a household where volunteering and contributing to one’s community was a way of life. Some of her choices were Board of Directors for Adult Education and Learning, Victorian Order of Nurses. She was Instrumental on the ground floor planning and launching of Ronald Mc Donald House, London, and Geranium House (Hospice) in Chatham-Kent.
Over a course of several years Joyce managed, operated and marketed a cottage industry consisting of the design and manufacturing of children’s clothing. Joyce also taught various courses at St. Clair College as an outcome of this retail business.
Painting as an artist is a recent learning curve for Joyce and she continues to search for and determine the media of choice that works for her. Joyce has gleaned various skills from the courses she has taken at the Southampton Art School. For many years, she has been coming to Southampton and enjoys her cottage on Lake Huron. She feels honoured to be a member of the Board of Directors and is excited to be part of an organization that is vital and growing within the beautiful town of Southampton.