The Prince Rupert Community Arts Council is pleased to honour two Outstanding Artists - Joan Mostad and Rudy Kelly, and Treena Decker as the second winner of the Peter Witherly Memorial Arts Booster Award.
Actor, author, director Rudy Kelly
Rudy Kelly is a Tsimshian writer in Prince Rupert, BC. The first indigenous graduate of the Mount Royal College Journalism Program in 1988. A writer at an early age, Kelly wrote a weekly classroom magazine for his Grade 4 class, which included super-hero stories incorporating his classmates.
Rudy has been writing and performing in the arts for over 30 years, since he first started acting in Harbour Theatre productions. He has written 10 full-length plays that have been produced locally as well as elsewhere (Twi-Lite was performed by Kitimat Secondary School, and Jesus 2000 was performed in the Vancouver Fringe Festival by Terrace Little Theatre). Rudy co-wrote and performed in the Dream Lives On musical on the history of Prince Rupert, for the 100th Anniversary of Prince Rupert in 2010.
He has acted in many plays, including Jesus Christ Superstar, The Baby Dance, and Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll, to name a few. He has also directed many productions, including Fiddler on the Roof, Tape, and Zenbridge.
He has performed as his character, The Legendary Chad Estrada, countless times over the past 25 years, including hosting and writing the annual Christmas show, The Legendary Chad Estrada's Christmas Special Spectacular! In the Christmas show, he regularly writes a skit for the high school drama club that is adapted from the musical that was produced just weeks before.
Recently, Kelly fulfilled a life-long dream to write a novel. In January, 2020, his first novel, titled All Native, was published by Muskeg Press and is currently about to go to a second printing. “I had seen other publications on the All Native [indigenous basketball tournament] and they were all kind of dry,” Kelly explained. “Just saying who won, who the best players were and that sort of stuff…I thought it would be more interesting to tell it through a narrative instead, through the eyes of a child and then a teenager.” Rudy recently worked as a scout/assistant for a movie company that used Prince Rupert as its location. He is taking advantage of the experience to learn the film process (he has already taken a week-long film school intensive on Vancouver Island) and aspires to write a screenplay and direct a movie.
Outstanding Artist! Joan Mostad
Joan Mostad’s primary focus as an artist is striving to establish a distinctive artistic voice through experimentation, practice, work and study. She will tell you that discovering how to create "art" is an elusive journey. Being complacent is not an option.
Joan has sold over 200 original paintings and numerous prints. She continues to enter juried exhibitions with the sole intention of improving with each painting submitted. She is an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists since 2004. She rents a commercial space for her studio (20+ years to the present) where she teaches, mentors, works and studies.
She studied Fine Arts at UBC and Emily Carr University and participated in the Tony Onley Mentorship Program. Continuing her art education, she has attended numerous workshops and retreats, including one month study at Art Students League of New York
Joan is an upstanding community member who continues to share freely her passion and inspire a new generation of artists. She is a great role model in terms of teaching us to reach out to others and to share our talents with those around us in order to make a positive change in our community. Joan taught an after-school art program for 2 years in the elementary schools here in Prince Rupert. She has also worked extensively with the high school students on numerous specific in-class instruction and on special projects such as: the Rwanda Mosaic Mural, exhibited at the Ice House Gallery; a sculpture in the entrance to the Lester Arts Centre; the Banner Project for Downtown and Cow Bay (for several years). She also taught several workshops for the Museum of Northern BC and the Easel Weasel Art Club.
Over the years she has volunteered for several community art projects with the Special Events Society, the Oldfield Hatchery and the Prince Rupert Community Arts Council. Joan was sponsored by the Prince Rupert Community Arts Council to direct and create the Journey of the Salmon Installation in Mariners Park 2008. This was an exciting community project consisting of over 100 individual pieces which she designed and instructed painters in the community to create. These artists ranged in age from 3 years old to 70. Over the years she has donated several original works to local clubs and charities for their fund raising. She continues to mentor students online and freely offers advice to "walk-ins" at her studio. She also loans her studio display window to the Prince Rupert Community Arts Council.
Arts Booster Extraordinaire! Treena Decker
When all the eyes in the audience and the stage lights are pointed upon her, Prince Rupert’s Treena Decker hopes to captivate the minds of people and provoke new thoughts. “I love being onstage. I love the opportunity of moving audiences, whether it’s in anger, sadness, or happiness. Just being able to take an audience on a journey that they wouldn’t otherwise experience,” said Treena, who was born in Kamloops and raised in Prince George by her adoptive parents Garth and Erdine Decker.
Growing up, Prince Rupert captured Treena’s heart during the numerous visits her family made to the city to stay with her grandparents, but also when she spent a year in Prince Rupert while in Grade 10. It was then that Treena had her first experience in theatre, auditioning for the high school’s production of Cabaret. Even though Treena didn’t land a role in the performance, she was an understudy and helped with make-up backstage.
While she may have not made it on stage, the experience ignited Treena’s passion for theatre. When she returned to Prince George the following year, Treena became involved with her school’s drama department and was even part of a theatre group outside of school.
After graduating, Treena took an intermission from acting. She met a man with whom she moved to Whitehorse and had her first child, Elisha. The new family came to Prince Rupert for a “one month” visit that ended up becoming a permanent stay. After moving back to the community, the couple welcomed their second child, Evan.
Then in the mid-’90s Treena picked up where she had left off, becoming involved with Harbour Theatre. A short time later Treena was not only acting but directing plays, such as the late-’90s production Homeward Bound, which was selected as the Skeena Zone Drama Festival winner and won the best supportive actress award for B.C. Although she has directed many plays over the years, Treena said some of her favourites have been the ones that were thought-provoking, not only for the audience but cast members as well. This was the case with the 2005 production of The Laramie Project, a play about Matthew Shepard’s death, a university student killed in a hate crime because he was gay.
“One of the things [the cast] talked about was the difference being involved in the play made for them,” Treena explained, referring to some of the language cast members commonly heard at school. “They would come to rehearsal and talk about how it’s changed the way they viewed that language, and that they would address it as it was being said. Here you had this young cast that were being social activists in a lot of ways because of their involvement in that show.”
Treena is also proud to have directed the community musical in 2008, Jesus Christ Superstar. “It was nice to sit in the audience for that, because usually when I direct things I’m also stage managing or doing other tech stuff … I remember having goosebumps because of the cast coming together, and the magic of their performance and the set and the costuming all coming together,” she said.
But her proudest achievements will always be her children; both her daughter and son, and the kids she’s guided on stage over the years. For more than 10 years she has worked with budding actors for the annual Udderfest Kids Camp. “I always say I have lots of kids, they’re just not mine,” Treena laughed.
Treena said theatre is great for self-esteem, and she has enjoyed watching growth and change in the young actors she’s worked with. Helping to shape youth and provide them with positive experiences is another one of Treena’s passions.
2019-2020 PRCAC Award winners
In 2019, the PRCAC embarked on an Award program. The inaugural Awards Gala was held on February 22, 2020. The event was held at Javadotcup where guests were treated to presentations of the arts of many genres throughout the evening, wonderful food and drink, and culminating in the presentation of three awards.
Outstanding Artist - Robin Knox Robin spent countless hours promoting the arts in Prince Rupert for many years and has been instrumental in providing over 40 artist workshops since 1999. She was an active member at the Ice House Gallery, recruited artists willing to teach workshops and then assisted with organizing and hosting the workshops within our community. Robin is a skilled painter who continues to learn new skills either by working with others or by taking workshops. She is encouraging and willing to offer help to other artists and is always seeking opportunities to join other artists in a day of painting. Robin continues to be a wonderful resource and great supporter for the art community in Prince Rupert. Robin has relocated to Ontario to be nearer to family, but we know her heart is still in Prince Rupert!
Emerging Artist - Judith Grover Judith was born in Vancouver, BC and spent her childhood in Surrey, BC, where she has many fond memories of playing in the forest, picking wild flowers, fishing the creek and biking for hours. Her love of nature and beauty of all God’s creations has a big influence on her art. She moved to Prince Rupert 55 years ago where she married, raised her two children and was always actively employed. She started painting just over five years ago by taking a weekend watercolour workshop through the Easel Weasel Art Group. She has continued to enjoy workshops in different mediums with encouragement and mentoring particularly from artist, Robin Knox.
Peter Witherly Memorial Arts Booster Award - Douglas Moore Doug Moore is the exemplary model of an arts booster. Not an artist himself, in any genre, he is always there to support any local production, and professional performances presented at the Lester Centre. He makes numerous trips to Vancouver and other locations to attend concerts, even maintaining a VSO subscription membership, (Pre-COVID-19 of course). Doug, for many years, headed up the Prince Rupert Concert Society, which brought in exceptional performers for the dedicated music aficionados. He spent time on the Board of the Lester Centre and has an enormous personal collection of CDs and original art. Always humble, he was totally surprised to receive this award at the inaugural PRCAC Awards Gala. Knowing how much he like to be where the arts are happening, it was easy to convince him to purchase the first ticket to the first gala, which insured he would be present to receive his award.