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August 18, 2020

ArtStarts in Schools Director of Development & Engagement Departing

After 10 years with ArtStarts in Schools, our Director of Development & Engagement, Rekha Pavanantharajah, is departing from the organization to take on an exciting new role with the Vancouver Foundation as their Director of Systems Change Granting.

Rekha’s journey with ArtStarts began in 2009 as a summer co-op student. In May 2010, she was hired as a Program Coordinator, and has worn many different hats throughout her time with us.

Some of Rekha’s fondest memories over the last 10 years surround the annual Showcase, which offered her “the chance to meet, connect and witness the incredible dedication and energy that existed among the teachers, artists, and administrators who all invest so much time and energy to prioritize arts experiences for young people,” and “the chance to see the ArtStarts mission in action.” 

As a leader, Rekha embodies and upholds the values of ArtStarts, with her biggest learning from her time with us being the importance of creativity, and the value of the creative process.

"The creative process plays a significant role in how I approach navigating through work and life," she says, and "it will continue to influence how I show up as a leader."

As she leaves the organization, Rekha’s parting words are her reflection on ArtStarts’ ongoing learning journey to work towards systemic change in tandem with offering accessible arts experiences for youth: 

"Our ongoing learning journey has us committed to understanding that simply increasing arts programming in education does not mean young people are able to harness their own creativity equally. Who is considered an artist (and what is considered art) has dimensions of gender, race, class, ability and sexuality; these dimensions also influence a young learner’s ability to meaningfully access and participate in arts programming."

We will miss Rekha’s dedication to anti-oppression, her authentic leadership, relationship-building prowess, and organizational knowledge, and we wish her all the best as she embarks on a new journey with the Vancouver Foundation. 

Please join us in congratulating Rekha and thanking her for all of her work over the years! 

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