Meet the Team
Robin Sutherland, Founder
Robin was raised in the remote community of Chub Lake in the beautiful Mississaugi River Valley. After graduating with a degree in Theatre and Arts Management at the University of Toronto, she worked in administrative roles in Toronto’s arts and non profit sector for five years, specializing in marketing, communications, community outreach and project and event management. In 2012 she managed the country’s first ever National Youth Arts Week in 2012 as the General Manager of ANCY (Arts Network for Children and Youth). In 2013 she apprenticed with Ruth Howard of Jumblies Theatre in community-engaged art practice while incubating Thinking Rock through the Youth Agent of Change program at the Centre for Social Innovation. She returned to Algoma to start Thinking Rock Community Arts in August 2013. Robin holds an MSc in Health, Community and Development program at the London School of Economics and a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation from the University of Waterloo. She is passionate about creating spaces for cross-cultural collaboration and youth-led community change to happen through the arts. In addition to running Thinking Rock, Robin also co-owns and manages Northern Skies Enterprises, an agri-innovation and eco-tourism startup.
Miranda Bouchard, Artistic Director
Miranda Bouchard (she/her) brings 12+ years of work and volunteer experience in the non-profit arts, culture and heritage sector to her role with Thinking Rock Community Arts. Her roots and residence in the rural Algoma District, Northern Ontario inform her practice and research. As a community artist, independent curator and artistic director, Miranda aims to create and hold spaces for dialogue, sharing and learning; increase access and engagement in the arts, while engaging artists and publics; and act simultaneously as a project lead, contributor and interpreter. Miranda has studied studio art and art history at the White Mountain Academy of the Arts (Elliot Lake, ON), the University of Guelph (Guelph, ON) and the Institute of Fine Arts, Lahti University of Applied Sciences (Lahti, Finland). She is a member of the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Arts & Culture Action Team; an active volunteer with experimental art space 180 Projects (Sault Ste. Marie, ON); and an external thesis advisor in the Department of Fine Arts at Algoma University (Sault Ste. Marie, ON). Her multi-faceted work and contributions to the community were recognized with the 2019 Algoma Visionary Award in Art & Culture.
Lisa Meschino, Project Coordinator
The Story of our Stories Community-Engaged Research Project
Lisa is a community-engaged artist and researcher living in Sault Ste. Marie whose work is guided by her three passions – the arts, social wellness, and education. Born and raised in Toronto, she honed her creative skills over 30 years, studying at York University (BFA candidate), Toronto School of Art, and learning through mentorship with local artists. She completed her B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy at York University and University of Toronto respectively. In 2007, she left a 10-year career in educational publishing to pursue a PhD in cognitive neuroscience (University of Waterloo). She quickly became involved in multiple research projects related to arts, health, and leisure with University of Waterloo, The Royal Conservatory, University Health Network, and the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
Since moving to the Sault in 2016, she has worked as Manager of Operations and Communications at NORDIK Institute; as co-facilitator of the Art Speaks ArtHives; and served as a Board member at 180 Projects and Thinking Rock Community Arts. She contributed to Thinking Rock’s inaugural community-play project, The Rivers Speak, as a maker and performer. She has loved learning about and sharing in the special spirit of community in Northern Ontario with local residents and artists.
Board of Directors
Crystal Bossio, Chair
Crystal is an independent built and cultural resource consultant based along the North Shore. She is the former Executive Director of Willowbank, which is also her alma mater, though she also attended Carleton University for Humanities and Huron University College for Theological Studies. Crystal started her career in heritage conservation in Ottawa on the adaptive reuse of the Horticulture Building. In addition to her work with the Board of Thinking Rock, Crystal sits on the Advisory Council of Willowbank.
Jessica Bolduc, Vice Chair
As the Executive Director of the 4Rs Youth Movement, Jess has travelled across Turtle Island and internationally, in order to learn about the conditions that might be necessary for communities to shift and transform complex systems through dialogue and strategic action. The work of 4Rs is about centering the needs and role Indigenous young people play in moving forward reconciliation between Indigenous & non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Jess is Anishinaabe-French and a member of the Batchewana First Nation, and has lived in Northern Ontario her whole life. She has a BA in Economics from Carleton University, in 2014 completed an Innovation Leadership certificate program with the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Extended Learning & Professional development as well as at the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education – Leadership, Organizing and Action, and participated in the Getting to Maybe: A Social Innovation Residency in 2016 at the Banff Centre’s Lougheed Leadership program. Through these experiences, she has built up a community of mentors throughout inclusion, social innovation and Art of Hosting networks. As a volunteer, she is a Board member of Turtle Island Institute, Thinking Rock Community Arts, and is part of the stewardship committee for the establishment of a Community Foundation in the Algoma region. When she is home in Baawating (Sault Ste. Marie, ON), she can most often be found stacking wood, cooking food, harvesting meat, and boiling sap (among other things) as a volunteer over at Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, the local Anishinaabe culture-based University.
Kimberly Pelletier, Secretary
Kimberly is an Anishinaabekwe from Thessalon First Nation but currently lives in Sault Ste. Marie. She is the Career Development & Outreach Officer for Algoma University and is an alternative care parent for Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and a BA in Modern Languages (French) from Algoma University. She is currently working towards her MSW through Wilfrid Laurier. She is actively involved with the local 2SLGBTQ community as well as Sault Pride. She currently volunteers to facilitate Building Allies and Nopawagun Meedunan (Rainbow Road) to provide the community with information and resources for and about the 2SLGBTQ community. Kimberly was also a presenter for Indigenous Cultural Competency developed by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC). She also hosts Super WOW (Work on Whatever) Sundays where community members work on traditional handcrafts with the opportunity to learn from each other and build a thriving community. Kimberly is enthusiastic about doing work that builds a growing and thriving community.
Jon Cada, Board Member
Jon Cada is from Mississauga First Nation and works as a Community Economic Development Officer in his home community. Jon has previous experience working with Thinking Rock Community Arts as a project coordinator, volunteer and supporter for several of the organization’s project endeavours. Jon’s professional background allows him to develop and support relationships between organizations and communities across the North Shore. His passions include developing innovative solutions that offer collaborative opportunities and learning experiences for all communities in the northern regions of Ontario. In his spare time, Jon enjoys following sports and tracking the latest news in pop culture media, particularly through memes.
Katie Huckson, Board Member
Katie Huckson is an interdisciplinary artist and arts educator with a broad range of experience in the arts & culture sector. She currently teaches Visual Art & Art History at Algoma University. Her past professional experience includes such positions as Program Lead at Digital Creator North program in Sault Ste Marie, Programs Assistant at the Arts Council of Windsor & Region, Instructor at the Art Gallery of Algoma, Research Assistant at the Incubator BioArt Lab (University of Windsor), Festival Developer at the Arts Council of Algoma, and journalist at the Sault Star. Katie is also a practicing artist, exhibiting visual work, media art, films and performances around Canada and abroad. She received her BFA from Algoma University in 2013 and her MFA from the University of Windsor in 2017.
Jae Mahmutova, Youth Board Member
Jae is the Youth Board Member for Thinking Rock Community Arts. Prior to this Jae worked with Thinking Rock as Programming and Outreach Assistant during the summer of 2018. He grew up in Kitchener where the arts became and continued to be a prominent part of his life, be it through music, dance, or visual arts. He took part in choir throughout elementary school and during his first years of highschool, Jae became part of two choirs, a jazz singing group, and Jr. band. Moving to Wharncliffe in June 2017 brought many new opportunities, the most notable being taking part of the Rivers Speak production, where he was first introduced to Thinking Rock. Jae currently attends Central Algoma Secondary School.
Laura Mayer, Board Member
Laura Mayer is a member of Mississauga First Nation, and is the current Chi-Naakinagewin Manager and an elected Councillor. She completed a Bachelor of Arts from Nipissing University in 2011 and a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2015. During law school, she was concerned with the principles of Anishinaabe law and enrolled in courses that examined the practice of Indigenous legal traditions. Since starting as the Chi-Naakinagewin Manager in 2015 her work has continued on from the classroom to the community. In 2017 she completed a project between the Mississauga Nations concerning Anishinaabe practices of governance and dispute resolution. Her current project entails folding those teachings into a dispute resolution circle for her community. She enjoys crafting, sewing, beading in her spare time along with watching movies and playing video game with her boys. Laura lives in the traditional territory of Mississauga FN with her husband Bryan and their two young sons Leland and Theodore.
Krista McCracken, Board Member
Krista McCracken (they/them) is a public historian and archivist. They hold an MA in public history from Western University and currently work as an Archives Supervisor at Algoma University’s Arthur A. Wishart Library and Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, in Baawating (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario). Krista’s work is focused on shared authority, community archives, and building historical narratives with community. Krista is an editor of the popular Canadian history website Activehistory.ca and writes frequently about their work in both public and academic venues. Krista is an avid embroider, lover of all things textile, and an enthusiastic tea drinker.