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Immigrant artists and artists of colour often face additional barriers and challenges when applying for funding - this despite all the "best efforts" of funding bodies to offer programs supporting diversity.  Please join Karen Pighin, Cultural Services Supervisor with North Vancouver Recreation & Culture and program manager for the North Vancouver Arts & Culture Grants and John Rice, independent arts consultant to discuss these barriers, to explore opportunities for funding and to advocate for a more equitable future in the world of grant support.

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Karen Pighin is the Cultural Services Supervisor for North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission (NVRC).  The North Vancouver Recreation & Culture Commission is an entity of the City and District of North Vancouver; created to fulfill the municipalities' responsibilities for arts and recreation.  NVRC operates 11 facilities and has delivered recreation and cultural services for over 50 years.  Karen’s portfolio includes overseeing Cultural planning, Arts Services, the Events office, the NVRC Grants program and she acts as NVRC’s Indigenous liaison.  
Karen joined NVRC after close to a decade as the Communications Manager at The ACT Arts Centre.  Her expertise lies in project management, marketing, communications, development, and community engagement.  She is passionate about arts and culture, cultural tourism, and travel. Karen has been involved with arts organizations and festivals for over 25 years and as an independent contractor she facilitated Olympic Legacy funded projects for the City of Vancouver and made significant contributions as the Manager for the Vancouver hosted 2009 JUNO Awards.  Karen served for three years as the Manager of the Spirit of B.C. program for 2010 Legacies Now, worked as a publicist and spent eight years in licensing with SOCAN, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada.  Karen is a graduate from Simon Fraser University (Criminology, Sociology) and BCIT (Marketing Management and Public Relations) and UBC (Cultural Planning).
Karen demonstrates a strong commitment to community and volunteerism.  She is generous with her time and sharing her professional experience.  She served as the Vice Chair of the Economic Advisory Commission in Maple Ridge for three years and for over a decade has been a juror of the Western Canadian Music Awards. She has a history of volunteer support with organizations such as the Lower Mainland Red Cross (Communications committee) and the City of Port Moody (Economic Development, Tourism and Arts committee).


John Rice is an independent cultural planner, consultant and arts project manager.  With over 20 years of experience in a wide variety of roles, he has supported tourism and economic development projects; has developed and produced community arts festivals; and has worked on countless planning initiatives, including leading the initial Lower Lonsdale Facility Study that resulted in the successful relocation of the Museum of North Vancouver and the Polygon Gallery to new homes on the City’s waterfront.  For the past decade John managed the arts and event grants programs on behalf of the City and District of North Vancouver, introducing new policy measures and outreach processes to improve access to funding for Indigenous, immigrant and other underserved communities.  In 2018 he produced a symposium on Diversity in the Arts, focused on opportunities for diverse BIPOC and LGBTQ artists to explore barriers to their participation in the creative community.

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