New Program Director hired by Gabriola Arts Council

Sounder News

Tuesday, September 5 2017

Mitch Miyagawa has been hired as the new Program Director for the Gabriola Arts Council. 

He was chosen out of 19 applicants who responded to the GAC job opportunity.

In response to being hired, Miyagawa said, “It’s an incredible honour to be chosen out of such a talented group of local applicants, who all love Gabriola, and who all want to support island artists and culture. 

“I can’t wait to begin.”

Miyagawa has been producing large-scale community and arts events for 20 years. 

Among his accomplishments in the arts sector, Miyagawa founded and produced a Fringe-style theatre festival in Whitehorse; produced a series of arts-based multiculturalism events; and is a nationally-recognized writer, playwright, and filmmaker. He has run his own film production company, and worked as a producer, sound technician, and volunteer in the performing arts. 

He was Program Director for the Longest Night Society, was playwright-in-residence at Nakai Theatre in Whitehorse, and has served on many arts-related boards, including two terms as President of the Yukon Film Society. Miyagawa has organized close to 65 conferences, workshops, and community events. 

For the past three years, Miyagawa’s focus has been to help people find meaningful and effective connection in their personal and work life through his work as a Certified Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Trainer. 

Miyagawa, who moved to Gabriola four years ago from Whitehorse with his wife Angela and sons Tomio and Sam, says, “I am aligned with, and excited about, the community-focused vision of the Arts Council. I believe the Arts Council and its festivals are an essential and vibrant part of Gabriola’s unique cultural vibe and identity. The festivals are times where I’ve experienced a meaningful coalescence of place-based spirit and creativity, that really informs the love I have for this island and its community. 

“I’m also aware of some of the unique challenges and opportunities the Arts Council faces here. I’m committed to raising my family on Gabriola, and making it a wonderful place now and for future generations.”

GAC Executive Director Michelle Benjamin said the, “19 applications were from committed and talented candidates, and we spent many hours engaged in discussion and debate over the impressive qualifications and offerings. I am looking forward to working with and learning from Miyagawa as we head into a new era at the Arts Council.”

She added Miyagawa knows what it takes to create and produce large-scale events, including staying calm when faced with challenges, and working and communicating collaboratively with many groups—from audience to artists to community organizations. 

“He is well-versed in all parts of arts production, from technical to promotional to artistic direction. He has deep leadership experience, and exceptionally strong communication skills.”

As an artist himself, Benjamin says Miyagawa will be committed to developing effective and creative ways to support the well-being and growth of artists in all disciplines.

Miyagawa starts at the Arts Council on October 1, at a Strategic Planning session. 

The Program Director position is replacing the Events Manager. Alina Cerminara, GAC’s talented and energetic Events Manager for the past four years is leaving at the end of October to find adventure and explore the world.