Board Members

Lynn Fisher
Board Chair
Former executive director of Couchiching Jubilee House, Lynn is busy tying to write the great Canadian novel and/or creating quilts. Lynn was previously (2007-2008) the Executive Director of the Orillia & District Arts Council. A very diverse background in Indigenous issues, agricultural and rural living, women’s groups, community groups, curriculum writing, program development and art enable Lynn to share skills she has attained in creating and managing events, grant writing, marketing, management of volunteers and much more. Lynn is actively involved with the Mariposa Folk Foundation and coordinates the Interactive Stages (1 & 2); is Secretary of the Oro Agricultural Society (Oro World’s Fair) and Vice-President of the Women’s Institute.
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Christine Hager
Secretary-Treasurer
Originally from Sudbury, Hager moved to central Ontario in 2002. Her corporate career has included positions with the Canada Revenue Agency as a Taxpayer Services quality reviewer, Inside Sales Representative in the mining industry and Pharmacy Technician. In Orillia, she was drawn into volunteering with Couchiching Jubilee House (Board President), St. James’ Anglican church (Churchwarden, Communications Committee Chair), Information Orillia, and ODAC. She retired as Executive Director of The Sharing Place Food Bank in 2012. Christine hopes her love of art and 35 years of extensive experience will benefit ODAC.
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Mary Jo Pollak
Director
MJ began her post-secondary studies at Ontario College of Art (Now OCADU). While doing General Studies in fine art there, she became interested in theatrical design and enrolled in the Theatre Crafts and Design program at the Banff School of Fine Arts. This led to an internship in the Design Department at the Juilliard School in New York, after which MJ returned to Banff as Faculty in the Theatre Department. Next stop after that was a position as resident Costume Designer at Le Cercle Moliere theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Four years later MJ decided to return to Ontario where she was a free-lance set and costume designer for many years until she started a family. Looking for a more stable career at that point MJ studied interior design at the International Academy of Marketing and Design. After that MJ specialized in office management for design companies. Moving to Orillia has enabled Mary Jo to get back to pursuing fine arts, and she is currently focusing on tuning her skills in acrylic painting. MJ has been exhibiting at Hibernation Arts. MJ also dabbles in photography to some degree of success, and has published a novel, Summer Burns, with Insomniac Press.
Peter Stranks
Director
Peter Stranks has been a Toronto based photographer for over thirty years. A Ryerson University graduate, his assignments have taken him throughout North America and as far away as Morocco. Stranks has worked on national advertising campaigns, magazine covers, and editorial features, working most recently on advertising for the film industry with celebrities like Steve Martin, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Eugene Levy, Harvey Keitel, David Thewlis, Marcia Gay Hardin, and Gina Rodriguez. In 2008, he completed a highly successful one man show at OMAH, where one of his pieces was acquired for the permanent collection. He revisited the gallery in 2017, and again in 2019, when one of his pieces was selected for inclusion in the prestigious annual Franklin Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition. In 2009, Stranks accepted a full time position as professor at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario where he brought innovative and creative techniques in lighting and self-expression to a whole new generation of shooters. The excitement and joy of being a photographer has brought Stranks back to his true love, and in 2018 he left teaching to devote his energies to shooting full time, shooting for various new productions for Netflix, Crave, National Geographic, and CBS.
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Dennis Rizzo
Director
Dennis is a transplanted American from New Jersey. He spent decades working in the field of disabilities developing and monitoring new programs and funding streams for services. He moved to Orillia in 2010 with his wife and twin daughters. He sees local culture as something beyond the litany of famous people we usually read about. Dennis has had five books published by History Press, including one history of Orillia. He has had two novels published independently and several peer-reviewed journal articles on economics and disability. He plays in a few local bands when the opportunity arises and feels that music is seriously undervalued in this area. The potential for Orillia to become an artistic and cultural mecca remains to be realized.
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Jacqueline Soczka
Member at Large
Jacqueline is a graduate of Dalhousie University’s Masters of Arts Program and has been employed with the City of Orillia since 2013. As the Manager of Culture, she is dedicated to working with the community to strengthen and advance the city’s cultural sector through projects like Artrepreneur, the Art in Public Places Committee, artsVest, the designation of Peter Street South as the “Arts District”, and summer cultural programming throughout the city's park system. Jacqueline is an active member of Creative Cities Network and oversees staff at the Orillia Opera House and Stephen Leacock Museum National Historic Site. Her focus on collaboration has driven her to organize events like Culture Days, Doors Open and the City's sesquicentennial commemorations in 2017. Her latest collaborative project was as Chair of the 2020 OWG Special Events Team, which involved the coordination of the Opening Ceremonies and Village Activations.
Kathryn Kaiser
Director
Kathryn attended University of Lethbridge for one year where she majored in Fine Arts.  She was awarded scholarships to The Alberta College of Art and The Banff School of Fine Arts. She attended Ryerson University in where she received a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Interior Design. Kathryn worked with a number of prestigious design firms in Toronto and was awarded three ARIDO (Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario) design awards. She continues to work in the Interior Design field, where her strengths are concept development, space planning and furniture and cabinet design. Kathryn is also a figurative painter. Using light and colour in an impressionistic manner she paints pieces that are sensitive, intuitive and thought provoking. Her prime focus is expressing story.
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