Nanaimo Art Gallery is pleased to announce the appointment of Interim Executive/Artistic Director Jesse Birch. His year-long term will begin on March 1, 2014. Birch steps in for Julie Bevan, who will commence a period of parental leave at the end of February.
“Nanaimo Art Gallery is going through a significant period of growth and development. I am honoured to be able to contribute to the vitality and sustainability of Nanaimo's cultural community during this exciting time," says Birch. Board President Deborah Zorkin says, “in addition to his extensive experience as an arts professional, Jesse knows Nanaimo and our community. I understand he’s looking forward to returning to Nanaimo, where he grew up, and feels connected to our community.”
Birch has worked as a curator, artist, writer and educator. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts (Photography) from Emily Carr (2001), and a Masters of Arts degree in Art History (Critical and Curatorial Studies) from the University of British Columbia (2008). In 2007, he was a curatorial fellow at de Appel arts centre in Amsterdam, and was Co-Director/Curator of Access Gallery in Vancouver from 2008 to 2010. Birch maintains an active practice as a writer, and has published in art magazines including C Magazine and fillip. In 2013, he received the Art Writing Award from Ontario Association of Art Galleries for his essay on artist Kika Thorne for the Art Gallery of Windsor.
For the last four years, Birch has taught at Emily Carr University in the Critical and Cultural Studies faculty. Before accepting the position in Nanaimo, Birch was Exhibitions Curator at The Western Front (Vancouver). He has served on the Board of the Or Gallery (Vancouver) and is currently the Treasurer of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres. Birch is developing the 2014 exhibition project Black Diamond Dust for Nanaimo Art Gallery.
“Jesse’s appointment is a very exciting development for the Gallery and for the community,” Bevan says. “Jesse is ideally positioned to take on a leadership role to continue to move forward with the Gallery’s plans for facility development, and initiatives to strengthen our exhibition and education programs.”