149 ARTS 

149 Arts Society

Named for Woodward's department store's iconic $1.49 day, 149 Arts has presented professional arts programming that is provocative, innovative, and community based since 2010. The pillars of 149 Arts' programming are:

Zahra Shahab, Photo by Yvonne Chew

Through NEXT: New Dance in Development, these emerging creatives – All Bodies Dance Project artists romham pàdraig gallacher and Lance Lim, Shion Skye Carter, Ralph Escamillan, and Zahra Shahab – have been offered two weeks (November 29-December 13) of shared development time in the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, a state-of-the-art theatre. Residency time includes access to technicians and all technical gear on site, allowing artists to begin experimenting with theatre resources which they would not easily have access to in the studio. Following the development period, artists will gather on Wednesday, December 15 at 4:00pm PT for a 75-minute, live stream sharing of their works in progress. Everyone is invited to join the live stream as we witness new works beginning to unfold, catching a glimpse into the next generation of contemporary dance in Canada.


NEXT has been made possible with support from Canadian Heritage through their COVID-19 support measure, Canada Arts Presentation Fund Program, Support for Workers in Live Arts and Music Sector Fund. Through this unique funding stream, the three partnering organizations have generated contracts with over 30 arts workers, choreographers and collaborators from across Canada, including dancers, designers, composers, technicians, and production and administrative personnel. And for many of these creatives, NEXT will be one of the first times they are back in the studio and back in the theatre developing new work since the COVID-19 pandemic began.


The NEXT: New Dance in Development emerging artists are: 

All Bodies Dance Project

All Bodies Dance Project 

All Bodies Dance Project (ABDP) is an inclusive dance company located on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. In our work, differences are regarded as creative strengths as we explore the choreographic possibilities of diverse ways of moving and perceiving. Our work straddles between labels of community-engaged and professional practice. We aim to dismantle assumptions, biases and default notions around contemporary dance, the theatre, and the dancing body. We offer accessible and inclusive dance classes for people of all abilities, genders, and backgrounds.

romham pàdraig gallacher is an interdisciplinary artist who’s been dancing/performing/scheming/creating with the ABDP since 2014. For romham, ABDP is an ongoing process of exploring the peripheries of their ever-changing body; learning what new/awkward/beautiful creations and connections we can make with our tangled/disagreeable/inconvenient dancing bodies.

Lance Lim is a disabled interdisciplinary artist who grew up in Strathcona, and his original movement background came from studying martial arts and Wu Shu. Lance joined ABDP in 2016 and performed in TRACE. He continues to be an active member of his local community and is passionate about dance, movement for everyone, and creating community dance.

Shion Skye Carter, Photo by Lula-Belle Jedynak

Shion Skye Carter

Shion Skye Carter is a dance artist originally from Tajimi, Japan, and is based in Vancouver, Canada, on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied traditional lands of the Coast Salish peoples. Through choreography hybridized with calligraphy, video and sculptural objects, her work celebrates the intersection of her ethnographic and queer identities in connection with her heritage. As co-founder of olive theory, an interdisciplinary duo with musician Stefan Nazarevich, Shion collaborates to experiment at the intersection between embodied performance, installation art, and live sound.


Ralph Escamillan 

Ralph Escamillan is a queer, Canadian-Filipinx performance artist, choreographer, and teacher based on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations. He has trained in a breadth of dance styles such as Street, Commercial, and Contemporary – and has worked and toured with Company 605, Co. Erasga Dance, Kinesis Dance Somatheatro and Out Innerspace Theatre, apprenticed with Kidd Pivot (2014) and guest dancer for Ballet BC (2020). He is currently working with Wen Wei Dance and Mascall Dance. His second full length work, ‘whip’, premiered at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) early November 2021, and is in the process of developing a new work ‘Piña' that draws inspiration from the traditional Philippine textile it is named after and the cultural significance 

Ralph Escamillan for Lululemon, Photo by Matt Korinek.
Zahra Shahab, Soft Teeth Still 2019

Zahra Shahab

Zahra Shahab is an independent dance artist and choreographer living on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Coast Salish territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. She is a graduate of the University of Calgary School of Creative and Performing Arts as well as the Modus Operandi Contemporary Dance Training Program. She has presented choreographic work and experimental films in Calgary at the Fluid Festival, Calgary Underground Film Festival, University of Calgary, and Alberta Dance Festival; in Vancouver at Dance in Vancouver, The Dance Centre’s 12 minute max, Shooting Gallery Performance, Festival of Recorded Movement, PushOFF, and New Works Performance; Toronto at the Toronto Dance Theatre’s Emerging Voices Program; and Mexico City’s Movimiento en Movimiento.



SFU's mission is to be Canada's leading engaged university, defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting edge research, and far-reaching community engagement. 149 Arts has translated this cultural mission into arts programming with financial and staff support from SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs.

Launch 2014! 149 Arts Society, Ash Tanasiychuk

Key Programming

The 149 Arts Society is a non-profit organization which creates programs by co-presenting works and producing festivals to support the growth of Vancouver’s professional cultural community.

The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi, Théâtre PÀP, co-presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and Théâtre La Seizieme, 2014


Public discourse events faciliate conversation between artists and the community.


  • Co-presentations are works developed by cultural partners, and presented with support from 149 Arts.
  • The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi, Théâtre PÀP, co-presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and Théâtre La Seizieme, 2014
  • Usually Beauty Fails, Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup, co-presented with PuSH International Performing Arts Festival, 2014
  • A Crack in Everything, Zoe & Juniper, co-presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, 2013"
A Crack in Everything, Zoe & Juniper, co-presented with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, 2013. Juniper Shuey
LAUNCH 2014! , Mahaila Patterson-O'Brien's same same but different,149 Arts Society, June 2014. Ash Tanasiychuk


Festival LAUNCH! offers performance opportunities for professional emerging artists from many disciplines.

  • Festival LAUNCH! 2018 workshops, facilitated by Vanessa Goodman and Richard Layzell
  • Festival LAUNCH! 2016, hosted by Sarah Jickling
  • Festival LAUNCH! 2015, hosted by Warren Dean Flandez
  • Festival LAUNCH! 2014, hosted by Warren Dean Flandez 
  • Festival LAUNCH! 2013, hosted by Veda Hille

Board of Directors


Director, 149 Arts Society


Michael has played a pivotal role in the development of SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs & Partnerships from its inception in 2010. Under his guidance, SFU WCP remains a dynamic presenter of experimental creations with an emphasis on leading edge practices with technology and storytelling. 

Michael’s producing expertise is exemplified in the successful presentations of the 2010 Inaugural Program, the creation of Bah Humbug!, Hidden Past/Digital Futures, Launch Festival for Emerging Artists, Transmissions and Wells Hills.

His background includes: Director of the World Stage Festival, Toronto International Children’s Festival, Creative Head/Program Manager - Knowledge Network; and independent stage and film work spanning 70 projects including Bailey’s Law.


Chair/President, 149 Arts Society

Susan Mendelson is a Vancouver entrepreneur and cookbook author who has written or cowritten ten best selling cookbooks. She is cofounder of The Lazy Gourmet, a catering company established in 1979. Over the years Susan has
participated in numerous radio and television shows where she
takes great pleasure in sharing her enthusiasm for creating food with others.

Susan takes great pride and pleasure in the volunteer work that she has done on boards such as Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland, Vancouver Playhouse, Children’s Festival, Arts149 as well as many others. Susan has won numerous awards for her work and volunteer work including The 40 under 40 Award for Business in
Vancouver, the top 100 women in business in Canada, Business and the Arts Award as well as the prestigious Women of Influence Award. In 2019 Susan was inducted in the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame. Susan continues to be involved with The Lazy Gourmet as well as nonprofit organizations.


Director, 149 Arts Society

Laurie Anderson is the Executive Director of SFU's Vancouver campus, and an Adjunct Professor in SFU's Faculty of Education. Previously, Laurie served as interim superintendent and associate superintendent at the Vancouver School Board for 12 years. Laurie is also an associate for SFU's Centre for Dialogue and on the steering committee of SFU's Centre for Imagination in Research, Culture and Education (CIRCE). Laurie obtained his BEd, MA and PhD at SFU.


Director, 149 Arts Society

Born and brought up in Vancouver. Education includes and BA and MA from Simon Fraser University. A career federal public servant with progressively senior positions in Ottawa, Whitehorse and Vancouver. Involved both professionally and personally with social and cultural development and the development and governance of the organizations which work in these fields. Taught at the post secondary level, regularly mentored young professionals and led strategic planning and consultation processes both within government and community. Active as a consultant and a Board member with several voluntary organizations since leaving the public service.


Chris Arnet spent her illustrious 35 year career at Simon Fraser University in event management, project coordination, and major gift fundraising. An alumna of SFU, Chris was personally responsible for raising over $30 million for the university’s School for the Contemporary Arts at Woodward’s capital campaign, as well as leading the major gifts fundraising teams who successfully raised $275 million for the university’s 50th anniversary fundraising campaign. Surrounded by a family of musicians and visual artists, Chris has always appreciated the wonder and importance of the Arts. For many years, she sat on the SFU Galleries Board ofDirectors, and later joined the 149 Arts Board.

Jim Smith

Dedicated and passionate about the value of the arts,  Jim co-founded Eponymous in 1998. Eponymous has developed a group of Canadian artists and arts organizations - many of whom have earned international reputations, including DanceHouse, Dancers of Damelahamid, The Holy Body Tattoo,  Kidd Pivot, and Wen Wei Dance - to name only a few. Jim’s career as a producer includes award-winning international co-productions such as Betroffenheit, Our Brief Eternity, and Revisor, all of which have toured the world. As an artist agent and manager, Smith has helped guide the careers of Noam Gagnon, Dana Gingras, Veda Hille, Crystal Pite and Wen Wei Wang – among others. As a presenter, he has helped connect Vancouver, and by extension Western Canada, to the international world of the performing arts. Jim is currently on the board of directors of the Vancouver Recitial Society and the Canadian Association for The Performing Arts (CAPAOCA), where he chairs the Internaitonal Market Development Committee.

Elspeth Pratt

Elspeth Pratt is the Director of the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University and an Associate Professor of Visual Art.  She is a visual artist who produces sculptural work that negotiates the line between abstraction and representation to explore the built environment and public space.  She has received several public art commissions and has exhibited her work in Canada, USA, Japan, Australia, Taiwan and Italy. Her work has been recognized by the VIVA Foundation Award and the 2014 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Visual Art. 


Director, 149 Arts Society Daune (and her alter ego Duane) joined the Axis Theatre team in 2011 and these 10 years later is now the Managing Producer of the company. She continues to pursue an administrative and performance career, attending contact events internationally, mentoring administrators in the arts and studying voice at the Banff Centre. Daune was formerly the Managing Co-Artistic Director of shameless hussy productions for ten seasons and is currently back as a performer, touring in the acclaimed production of Love Bomb. She is a fan of entertaining people far and wide with stories that directly affect their lives and has been honoured to tour into urban and rural locations all across Canada. A graduate of Studio 58, Daune has performed in many venues across Canada and the USA with Green Thumb Theatre and shameless hussy productions. She has also worked on peer assessment juries for the BC Arts Council, Granville Island, the BC Touring Council and ArtStarts in Schools. She recently hired the creative team and produced Axis Theatre’s first film venture and is eager to expand her experience in the digital realm.




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LAUNCH 2014! ,149 Arts Society, Ash Tanasiychuk