About Us

Board of Directors

The Arts Whistler Board of Directors is elected annually at the Annual General Meeting held in late May/early June for a two-year term to a maximum of three terms (six years). Arts Whistler has up to fifteen Directors including up to four appointed positions from stakeholder groups.

Meet the Arts Whistler Board of Directors:


Michelle Ratcliffe, Chair

Michelle is a Whistler-based communications and marketing mind and freelance writer. Born and raised on the BC coast and mountains, Michelle cultivates her creativity with outdoor adventures and seeks inspiration from the natural environment. With community as a core value, she works as Marketing and Communications Manager for the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, a member organization driven to elevate Whistler’s business. Michelle pens a bi-weekly business column for the Whistler Question called THE BIG IDEA, showcasing Whistler businesses who are innovating in their sector. Before returning to her hometown of Whistler, she enjoyed over ten years in sales, marketing, events and media relations for some of the finest boutique and luxury hotels in the world including OPUS Hotels, The Dorchester Hotel in London, England and Pinnacle International. She serves on the marketing committee for the Community Foundation of Whistler and enjoys volunteering for local events and festivals. When not writing and championing local small business, Michelle can be found frolicking amongst the mountain bike trails and ski hills on her doorstep, playing hockey on a frozen lake or voraciously reading by a fire, preferably with a warm cup of tea in hand.


Brianna Beacom, Vice Chair

Brianna, originally from Ingersoll, Ontario, relocated to Whistler in 2007. Her position as Director of Operations for the Audain Art Museum utilizes her strong leadership and organizational skills. Brianna has worked with Arts Whistler as General Manager, which served to immerse her in the daily life of the community and honed her passion for board work and governance. She has a BA in Fine Arts (Image Arts – Photography Studies) from Ryerson University and has been working in the Not-For-Profit Arts and Culture sector since 2011. Brianna’s passion for the creative arts and her love of the mountain lifestyle perfectly marries the art of living in Whistler.



Jeff Murl – Treasurer

Jeff and his parents moved to Vancouver in 1997 from Scarborough, ON.  After graduating with a BComm from UBC, he worked in Finance for a few years before heading to France for a ski season to “get it out of his system”.  Upon his return in 2005, he started working part-time at Whistler as a ski instructor.  He designed, built and operated 3 restaurants in North Vancouver until selling and completing his transition to living in Whistler full time in 2017.  He now operates his own accounting practice, Murl & Company from his home in Whistler, and serves clients throughout the Sea to Sky region.  When not with his new son, Forest and wife, Zoe, he’s teaching skiing, riding the trails, gardening, or volunteering on several boards.


Joan Richoz

Joan moved to Whistler in 1974 with her husband Marcel and raised their two children here. Her strong belief in the importance of fine arts in the education of her children led her to become involved in the first Whistler Children’s Art Festival in 1983. She has served on the Board as Secretary, Treasurer, President and is currently Honorary Past Chair. After having started the Whistler Public Library in 1986, she retired after 20 years of service. Over the years Joan has served on the boards of MY Millennium Place, the Association of BC Public Library Directors, ArtsBC, Mature Action Community Society, the Sea to Sky Radio Society and currently coordinates the Sea to Sky Arts Councils Alliance.



Kimberley Stanger

Kimberley is the Manager of Operations at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and has enjoyed working in a dynamic cultural museum environment overseeing all aspects of daily business since 2008.   As a graduate of the Ontario Collage of Art & Design in 1994, Kim’s lifelong passion for arts and cultural has allowed her the opportunity of working in several art sectors including graphic design, theatrical production, fashion, and both public and private art galleries.  Beginning as a designer and creator, then later transitioning into the business side of the arts, her career offers a deep understanding of the many aspects of arts and cultural industries particularly related to tourist based attractions.

Hailing from Toronto, Kim and has been a community member since 2000, raising her two children in Whistler.



Cathy Jewett

Cathy came to Whistler from Toronto in 1976 for a season and stayed for a lifetime. She has worked on the mountain for more than forty years as a liftee, dispatcher, patroller and now supervises the Mountain Safety program on Whistler and Blackcomb. Cathy has also been involved with many community organizations including WORCA, AWARE, VANOC, CFOW, the Audain Museum and currently chairs Communities That Care Whistler. While her two children Max and Bryn were growing up, Cathy chaired the local Myrtle Philip Parent Advisory Council and the Sea to Sky District Parent Advisory Council and served on the Board of Directors of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. In 2016, Cathy was recognized as Whistler’s Citizen of the Year.



Shelagh Thiessen

Growing up in the mountain resort community of Invermere, BC Shelagh was immersed in a multitude of recreational activities and exposed to a diverse range of local arts and cultural. She moved to Whistler in 2002 to pursue a career in resort planning and design upon graduating with distinction from the University of Guelph in Landscape Architecture. While living in Guelph, Shelagh took up figurative drawing and hasn’t looked back. She is one of the lead volunteers and facilitators of Whistler’s Figure Drawing Group and participates regularly with community arts and drawing events. Returning from a year abroad in Austria, Shelagh worked with Arts Whistler as the Community Programmer and Art Workshops on the Lake Programmer, collaborating with Sea-to-Sky artists and instructors as well as local groups to round out arts and culture offerings in the community. She is a valuable team member at Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners where Shelagh utilizes her strong communication skills, excellent multi-tasking abilities and ensures top-quality results with a creative flare.



Jessie Morden

Jessie is a Whistler born and raised local. She moved away for a brief 3 years to Fort St. John but one day had a epiphany that Whistler is where her heart and soul lives. She quit her job and moved back home within a week. She has been home for 5 years now.

Upon returning to Whistler she jumped right in to the community of Whistler as she knew that this is where she was going to be for the rest of her life. She currently volunteers with WAG, Big Brothers Big Sister, Arts Whistler, Whistler Community Services and Zero Ceilings. She also works as a paralegal with Race & Company.

Jessie enjoys all things Whistler; hiking, biking, swimming, skiing. Her and partner have 4 dogs and you will regularly see them out with their brood on the local trails or secret swimming holes.


John Rae

John has thirty-five years’ experience leading the strategic planning and management for a wide range of initiatives; initially in Toronto in senior corporate roles and, since 2003, as a manager with the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW).

During the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Whistler, John was the Executive Producer of Whistler Live! responsible for leading the team that delivered 450 concerts and performances across multiple genres at six integrated sites in Whistler during the 27 days and nights of the 2010 Winter Games.

John’s current role with the RMOW is Manager Cultural Planning & Development with responsibility for working with stakeholders to build capacity in the arts, nature, and heritage sector, and by providing opportunities for residents and visitors to experience the uniqueness of Whistler in its entirety – landscape, lifestyle, arts, heritage, built environment, narratives and stories.

John also leads the strategic planning for Whistler’s Festivals, Events & Animation (FE&A) program, as well as the RMOW’s Learning & Education initiatives.

John loves to travel; his profile picture was in Ronda, Spain where he is proudly wearing his Whistler Presents t-shirt.


Claire Ruddy

Claire (like many) moved to Whistler from the UK for ‘one winter’ in 2006. Claire’s passion for nature has led her to a growing reflection on the links between art and nature – as threads that often weave through all aspects of community. Whistler’s vibrant arts and culture scene creates the space for us to share our stories and the way we feel about our community – celebrating the things we love, reflecting sources of our inspiration and encapsulating the things that challenge us. The Arts give us the power to change the way we feel, to bring people together to connect, to heighten our sense of belonging and to bring joy.

Claire followed a Masters in Environment and Business by working with businesses to reduce environmental impacts through improved processes, training and creating behavioural shifts. Upon moving to Canada, she joined Whistler’s environmental charity, AWARE and broadened her focus to include the natural environment and habitat protection. In 2013, she became AWARE’s Executive Director and is well networked in the Sea to Sky Region and non-profit sector.

Claire is most often found outside: adventuring with her WAG rescue dog Sula (which translates to ‘Little Bear By The Water’ in Hawaiian); paddle boarding; trail running; or cruising on her motorbike.


Liz Peacock

Originally from the UK, Liz graduated from Northumbria University with a BA Honours Degree in History of Modern Art, Design and Film Studies. She began her career with Sotheby’s London in the Contemporary Art department; subsequently continuing her career with Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, working on exhibitions by artists such as Yoko Ono, Damien Hirst and Jenny Holzer.

Liz decided to relocate to Canada in 2010; and Whistler, with its vibrant culture and expanding art scene, was a natural choice.

With over a decade of experience working in the arts, primarily as Co-director at Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont, one of Western Canada’s largest commercial art galleries with locations in Whistler, Banff Jasper and Stratford; Liz passionately upholds the mission of the gallery to support and promote Canadian artists.

Liz’s role involves overseeing the three galleries, working closely with artists to foster communication and relationship with the gallery and Executive Director. Curating the collection and art consultation.

Locally, Liz is a member of the Alliance for Cultural Tourism Committee and active within Whistler’s Arts Community. She sits on the board for the Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium and Whistler’s Association of Retailers and Merchants.

Personal life includes raising a 3 year old ‘Whistler kid’, and enjoying mountain activities such as trail running, Paddle Boarding, climbing, snowboarding and swimming.


Interested in becoming a Director? Contact us at info@artswhistler.com, or via phone at 604.935.8410.