CAHEP is an award-winning non-profit arts education organization based in Thunder Bay.

The day-to-day operations for the Community Arts Heritage Education Project (CAHEP) are completed by a small administrative staff and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

Administrative Staff

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Christine Battle

CoDirector & Staff Artist

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Ashyln Chilson

Social Media

Christopher Merkley (Merk)

CoDirector & Staff Artist

Aleksa Shermack

Director, Speak Up Program


Mr. Robert Magnusson 

Robert Magnusson, Thunder Bay, ON, is a retired Secondary School Educator, Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute, and Practicing and Professional Visual, Fibre, and Culinary Artist. Mr. Magnusson utilizes his decades-long Board volunteer experience, high school administrative and teaching experience, and creativity to support CAHEP in its work to spread the joy of art far and wide. He is highly respected, knowledgeable, transparent, reliable, and trustworthy in his stewardship of CAHEP. 

Dr. Isabelle Lemée

Dr. Isabelle Lemée, Thunder Bay, ON, is an Associate Professor and Chair of Languages, Lakehead University, and a Practicing and Professional Francophone Visual Artist. Dr. Lemée, who was appointed in October 2018, supports CAHEP’s administrative operations (in her experience as an administrator at Lakehead University) and extends her connections to the local Francophone community to help CAHEP operationalize Francophone-centred programming. She also delivers on-the-ground programming when called upon to do so, most especially in situations that required French-language art instruction.

Lindsey Torma 

Lindsey Torma, Thunder Bay, ON, is an Associate Lawyer at Edwards Bell Law Offices (Thunder Bay), is passionate about community and capacity-building in Northwestern Ontario, and is an expert in: intercultural awareness (via her Master of Arts work at the University of Waterloo); Labour Relations and Employment Law; and, Indigenous Law. Ms. Torma is from Thunder Bay, is a trained theatre arts-educator-artist, and avidly follows art, film, and literature, especially by Canadian and Indigenous authors. She has volunteered with many organizations that promote and strengthen the arts and culture, particularly in Canada’s North and within the region of Northwestern Ontario. Lindsey is thrilled to be able to contribute her legal and theatre arts expertise, knowledge of Indigenous literary arts, training in intercultural awareness, and know-how of Labour Relations and Employment Law, Indigenous Law, and Civil Litigation to support CAHEP in its work

Anne Winkworth

Anne Winkworth, Thunder Bay, ON, is a Visual Art Teacher, Lakehead Public Schools, Professional Artist, and Graphic Designer. Ms. Winkworth brings her extensive experience in arts education and connections with the Thunder Bay Public schools to support CAHEP’s In-school Program. She also brings her decades-long experience as a professional artist to assist CAHEP in decisions wrt professional development opportunities for local artists.

Veronica McGuire

Veronica McGuire, Thunder Bay, ON, is of Ojibwe and Irish descent. Ms. McGuire has worked: on many Youth and Elders’ Forums with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization; with the Associate Director for Indigenous Natural Resources, Lakehead University’s Indigenous Initiatives Office, and Lakehead University’s Geology department to develop a geological certificate for Indigenous youth in remote areas in Ontario; and, with the Ontario Metis Aboriginal Association (OMAA) to provide information about Metis rights within Canada. She graduated from Lakehead University’s Anthropology Department in Spring 2021 and is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Archaeology and Environmental Studies. Ms. McGuire supports CAHEP’s equity commitments regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and will help CAHEP form new partnerships with different youth groups and Indigenous communities. She is most passionate about using art as a way to promote healthy outlets for youth.

Dr. Lisa Korteweg
Advisor (non-voting)

Dr. Lisa Korteweg, Education Faculty, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay ON. Dr. Korteweg has agreed to serve as an advisor for the next four years for our Speak Up Program. She brings her vast experiences and expertise working: with the three school boards in Thunder Bay; with Indigenous organizations and groups; at the university; and, on various program evaluation methods and techniques to support CAHEP in its equity commitments and administrative responsibilities.

Dr. Elizabeth Birmingham
Advisor (non-voting)

Dr. Elizabeth Birmingham, Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON. Dr. Birmingham has agreed to serve as a non-voting advisor for CAHEP and to deliver social justice, gender-based workshops for artists interested in participating in our Speak Up Program. She brings her experience working with girls and female youth and her administrative, legal, and human resources knowledge (and connections to experts in these fields via Lakehead University) to CAHEP. She is also a poet.


CAHEP contracts local artists as freelance or independent agents* to deliver inclusive arts programming for children, youth, families, and seniors in Thunder Bay.  We work in partnership with schools and community groups to offer low-cost and/or free in-person and online programming to folks across the City of Thunder Bay.


Aleksa Shermack

Aleksa is a multi-disciplinary, performance artist who was born and raised in Thunder Bay. Through her work as an artist and arts educator, Director of the Eleanor Dury Children’s Theater, Aleksa provides opportunities for youth, and supports community members to engage in meaningful opportunities to express themselves creatively.

Christopher Merkley (Merk)

Merk is a Thunder Bay artist primarily focussing on illustration and graphic novels, but also delved into photography, painting, mixed media, music, and even a little podcasting. He’s worked with CAHEP for 4+ years sharing his artistic love of comics, drawing, and photography, and reveling in the spark he sees in young artists as they discover new creative paths.

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Christine Battle

Christine is a creative movement artist and CAHEP's external evaluator. She has carried out numerous creative evaluation projects and loves to bring out the creative energy of Thunder Bayites.

Nathan Cross (Nate)

Nathan completed his bachelor of fine arts degree in 2022 with a primary focus on sculpture, ceramics, and drawing. He is a visual artist whose artwork is drawn from his life experiences and influenced heavily by the world around him. His most recent artworks reflect on mental illness and the feelings and affects that addiction encompasses .

Meet the Artists

Artists involved with CAHEP play an essential role in the success of our organization. They contribute their skills, passion and creativity when collaborating with children, youth and community members participating in programming.

Theatre, Dance, and Music

  • Aleksa Shermack (Movement, Dance, Theatre, Vocal, and New Media Arts)
  • Amy Sellors (Theatre and Music Arts)
  • Cassandra Colistro (Dance and Movement Arts)
  • Chantal Hughes (Theatre Arts)
  • Christine Battle (Creative Expressive Movement, Yoga drawing and painting)
  • Claudia Otto (Movement Arts)
  • Eleanor Albanese (Theatre and Fibre Arts)
  • Elizabeth Hill (Multidisciplinary and Music Arts)
  • Jasmine Maki (Theatre and Dance)
  • Jessica Krasnichuk (Theatre and Music Arts)
  • Julie MacCoy (Theatre Arts)
  • Julie Tribe (Expressive Arts)
  • Laura Wilson (Movement and Dance Arts)
  • Lisa Macchione (Dance Arts)
  • Marta Jobbitt (Movement Arts)
  • Nick Michieli (Music Arts)
  • Rita Zavagnin (Theatre Arts)
  • Sheena Campbell (Creative Movement Arts)
  • Susan Lewis (Visual and Dance Arts)
  • Tiina Flank (Singing and Musical Arts)
  • Vik Wilen (Creative-Expressive Movement, Painting)

Visual Arts

  • Amber Bail (Visual Arts: Drawing, Painting, Computer Art)
  • Angela Gollat (Visual Arts)
  • Angie Jensen (Visual Arts and Arts Administrator)
  • Ashlyn Chilson (New Media and Animation Arts)
  • Barbara Benwell (Visual Arts)
  • Brayden Cassidy (Visual Arts, Painting and Collage)
  • Carly Irrgang (Visual Arts)
  • Carol Kajorinne (Visual Arts)
  • Caroline Cote (Visual Arts and Indigenous Crafts and Teachings)
  • Céline Mundinger (Visual Arts)
  • Chloe Maria (Visual Arts: New Media, Drawing, E-Drawing)
  • Chris Merkley (Visual Arts, Comic Book Arts, Photography, Mixed-Media)
  • Christian Chapman (Visual and Media Arts)
  • Colin Rackham (Visual Arts, Drawing)
  • Derek Khani (Visual Arts)
  • Eugene Mireku (Visual Arts: Painting, Community Murals)
  • Jason Felix (Visual Arts: Drawing, Painting)
  • Judy Mayor (Visual Arts, Painting, Printmaking, Collage)
  • Julie Cosgrove (Visual Arts, Painting)
  • Kristen Wall (Visual Arts)
  • Kyle Lees (Visual Arts)
  • Lorraine Cull (Visual Arts: Painting, Drawing)
  • Mallory Gresch (Visual Arts: Painting, Printmaking)
  • Nieve McCormack (Visual Arts, Drawing, Collage)
  • Pam Cain (Visual Arts)
  • Richard Keegan (Photography and Film Arts)
  • Robin Faye (Visual Arts)
  • Scott Chasty (New Media)
  • Selena Baxter-Cheesequay (Visual Arts)
  • Shawna Liikala (Illustration and Polymer Clay Arts)
  • Susan Mattinson (Visual Arts, Drawing)
  • Tara Hansen (Visual Arts)
  • Tashya Orasi (Painting, Mixed-Media)
  • Tine Schrijvers (Visual Arts)
  • Thomas Collins (Engineering and Visual Arts)
  • Vikki Schembri (Collage)
  • Zoe Gordon (Visual and New Media Arts)

Fibre Arts

  • Judy Barton (Fibre Arts)
  • Shannon Bateman (Fibre Arts)

Culinary Arts

  • John Murray (Culinary Arts)
  • Maria Deflaviis (Culinary Arts)

Sculpture and Ceramics

  • Erika Niva (Sculpture)
  • Nathan Doge (Ceramic Arts)
  • Laura Gosse (Prehistoric Clay Arts)
  • Tanis Webster (Sculpture)


  • Abhi Rao (Metal, Fibre Arts, Painting, Sculpture)
  • Arun Asir (Multidisciplinary)
  • Ashley Moreau (Indigenous Arts, Dancing/Movement and Visual Arts)
  • Aya Wadi (Visual and Culinary Arts, Painting, Drawing)
  • Betty Carpick (Multidisciplinary, Community-Engaged Arts, Indigenous Arts)
  • Bodicca Mitchell (Multidisciplinary)
  • Carol Cooper (New Media Arts)
  • Cat Lalonde (Multidisciplinary)
  • Crystal Nielsen (Multidisciplinary Arts)
  • Cynthia Nault (Visual Arts, Painting, Indigenous Arts)
  • Evalina Sacchetti (Visual Arts, Drawing, Painting, Sculpture)
  • Holly Retgum (New Media Arts)
  • Ira Johnson (Visual Arts: Painting, Music, Indigenous Arts)
  • Jayal Chung (Multidisciplinary)
  • Jean Marshall (Visual and Indigenous Fibre and Beading Arts)
  • Kat Ripa (Multidisciplinary)
  • Katy Poirier (Visual Arts, Sculpture)
  • Kerri Whitehurst (Mixed Media Arts)
  • Kris Whitehurst (Multidisciplinary)
  • Leanna Marshall (Visual and Indigenous Fibre and Beading Arts)
  • Marija Harp (Sculpture and Culinary Arts)
  • Michelle Jenelle Thacker (Multidisciplinary)
  • Michelle Richmond Saravia (Arts Educator)
  • Natalie Hotson (Visual and Music Arts)
  • Nevada Panteluk (Multidisciplinary)
  • Samidha Kalia (Multidisciplinary)
  • Sean Jesseau (Music Arts, Drumming)
  • Sharla Wallace (Multidisciplinary)
  • Shayne Ehman (Media Arts)
  • Shelby Gagnon (Visual and Fibre Arts, Painting, Indigenous Arts)
  • Sierra Nowegejick (Visual and Fibre Arts)
  • Susan Ledger (Fibre Arts and Indigenous Crafts and Teachings)
  • Vivian Wood-Alexander (Multidisciplinary)


CAHEP relies on the ongoing support of amazing and creative community members, teachers, educational assistants, Principals, Vice-Principals, parents, and caregivers who enrich and enhance our programming!

A huge THANK YOU to the many volunteers and friends of CAHEP who help us deliver our programming and all of the anonymous donors who help us fund our projects.



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