Meet the President of the KAC’s Board, Karl Kozuira!
With his many years of experience in leadership, Karl Kozuira was instantly intrigued by the opportunity to join the Kamloops Arts Council Board of Directors. Like many others, Karl felt disconnected from the community at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, so when he was encouraged to attend a monthly meeting, Karl agreed, feeling that his love for art and his abilities as a leader could be a great asset to the Arts Council. “I have a strong value that those who are able to lead in the community should lend their abilities to help [create] a stronger future for our community members,” Karl explains when asked what motivated him to join the Board. However his penchant for leadership and commitment to community were not the only motivating factors; Karl is also a lover of the arts, proudly proclaiming, “I appreciate art on so many levels. … I have a lot of art from around the world and am very much a large supporter of the arts in Kamloops.” This winning combination of dedication to both the community and to the arts helped Karl secure his position as President of the Board of Directors. First joining in 2021, he quickly transitioned into the position of Vice President before ultimately being voted in as President at the most recent AGM. When asked what strengths he brings to the Board, Karl replied simply “listening”, going on to elaborate that “…when people have a safe and open space to present ideas, they will flourish and expand their mind and abilities.”
Karl puts those listening skills to work most particularly at the monthly board meetings where board members are able to share their visions for the future of KAC as well as voice the needs they have heard from the community. Karl and the other board members work collaboratively to address these needs and help bring the visions to life. A point of pride for Karl is that the Board is currently full, a feat often difficult to maintain for non-profits. Karl also notes the diversity of the Board, citing that they have “individuals from all walks of life, art production and board experiences.”
Unsurprisingly, Karl also adores the exhibits the KAC hosts at the Old Courthouse. “This is such a great opportunity for community members to feature their hard work,” Karl says, noting that he was particularly impressed by the annual Art Exposed gallery. “I was absolutely blown away by the abstract art that was presented and how thought-provoking the pieces were; I appreciate [these works] so much as art is meant to invoke emotions and thought through connection of these art pieces.” While he is not an artist himself, Karl’s passion for the arts is evident; he has even gone so far as to design his own home around specific pieces he has collected over the years. Having travelled across Europe and experienced art through the eras, Karl understands the importance of art and how it can not only be an outlet for emotions and expression but can also be an account of history and events. Above all, though, Karl is interested in the emotional reaction art can elicit, saying, “… when I travel to foreign art sites or local artists, I want to feel what the artist may want a viewer to feel.”
His adoration for art makes it difficult to narrow his favourite artist down to just one. He cites Ontario-born Robbie Craig’s Northern Projects as an artist he is actively following. Craig’s impressionist work is inspired by the stunning landscapes and wildlife of the Northwest Territories, where he lives and works. “His use of soft lines and bright colours is amazing,” Karl exalts. “I would love for us to feature his work at KAC one day.”
When looking to the future, Karl hopes that the KAC can become a beacon for art within the Kamloops and TNRD region, where it is seen as the go-to for all art projects. He further hopes that the KAC will be able to extend its reach even further to the surrounding communities, noting that they have already begun this collaboration process with artists in Ashcroft, where the KAC has brought in Ashcroft artists’ work as well as transplanted some Kamloopsians’ work to Ashcroft. As the Kamloops Arts Council grows, Karl would like to see this effort extended to all communities. Under Karl’s guidance, it seems very possible that these wishes can become reality.
Check out the KAC Board Members here!