The Alberta Restriction Exemption Program (REP) is now in effect for the heritage home (gallery, museum, gallery shop) and workshops.


Board of Directors

The Board of Directors’ role is to achieve and uphold the Leighton Art Centre’s values, vision and mission.

Download the 2020 Annual Report

2021-22 Board of Directors

Melissa Cole – Board Chair 
As a university student, Melissa found herself working in the basement of the Leighton Art Centre, which turned into a further five years of projects. During those early years, Melissa joked with colleagues that once involved with the LAC you could never leave. She did leave, however, to earn an MA in Art History and work at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. Upon finishing her education Melissa immersed herself in the Calgary arts community. She has worked with the Okotoks Art Gallery, Heffel Fine Art Auction House and is now with the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation and Loch Gallery. As predicted by her younger self, Melissa soon returned to LAC—first as a visitor, then as a volunteer, and finally, as a board member.


Annette Resler – Secretary 
Annette has been an artist member at Leighton Art Centre for more than a decade, but her connection to LAC extends back to when her boys, now adults, participated in day programs at the little red schoolhouse. Annette brings her love of art, nature, history, and culture to her commitment to the legacy of the Leighton Art Centre. Annette is currently working towards a Certificate of Reconciliation Studies through First Nations University of Canada. She hopes to share awareness gained through the Indigenous Studies programs towards efforts and actions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for strengthening relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada, while also broadening understanding of her Métis heritage. Annette has been on the Board since 2017.

Darryl Hass – Treasurer 
Darryl has been a neighbor of the Leighton Centre for nearly 20 years. He has always admired the confluence of arts, education and the environment the Centre provides and was happy that all three of his children got to experience it both via school and attending summer camp.  Landscaping is his form of art and this former oil and gas executive can often be seen having a blast grooming the grounds on his tractor. 

Michele Chiasson-Suart – Past Chair 
Michele was honoured to be asked to join the Centre’s board in 2014. Inspired by the creativity and the vastness of the prairie view, Michele brings over 25 years experience in fund development and community volunteerism, and is the Senior Development Officer at Trellis, formerly Aspen/Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary. She is motivated by building a sense of belonging, the importance of place and people, and is honoured to be a representative on the Board, serving the Staff, Members and Community of the Centre.

Kirsten Christopherson
Kirsten has been fully immersed in the arts community ever since discovering her passion in university, where she completed her MA in Art History. She has held various roles ranging from archives and collections care to event planning, and currently works for the concert promoter Live Nation. In her spare time, she loves hiking in the mountains and traveling — she has just about finished her goal to see every painting in the world by her favourite artist, Johannes Vermeer. Kirsten’s love of art and nature come together perfectly at the Leighton and she is proud to serve on their board and as a volunteer.

Jim Conway, Q.C. (retired) 
Jim practiced law in Calgary for 40 years and was a sessional instructor at University of Calgary for 25 years.  He has served on the Board of Directors for Calgary Legal Guidance, the Alberta Science Centre Society, as well as the Rideau-Roxboro Community Association.  He is currently a facilitator and presenter for the Calgary Association of Life Long Learners and a founding member of the “Dabblers” art group.

Jim Critchley 
Jim Critchley retired as a junior high/elementary school principal in 2006.  Since then he has started a financial services brokerage, which he still operates.  His experience as a teacher, administrator, business owner, and biologist serves the Leighton community as a board member, volunteer, nature educator/ workshop leader, and bird ecologist/researcher.  He has offered workshops on animal tracks, insects, birding, nest box building and the night sky.  Jim serves on the Facilities committee (chair) and the ad hoc personnel hiring team.

Lynne Cunningham 
Lynne holds a Masters Degree in Education, has over forty year of experience as an educator with Foothills School Division teaching students from K-9, and has been a Sessional Instructor at the University of Calgary, a Researcher and a Consultant with the Centre for Gifted Education. In the past nine years some of her favourite memories involve adventures in nature: cycling in France, climbing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, scuba diving in the Caribbean, and hiking the West Coast Trail. She enjoys spending time with her husband, family, her new granddaughter and close friends. As a member of the Board of Directors she is very excited to share her love of learning, nature and the arts with her own community.

Sarah Johnson 
Sarah is a high school art teacher at Holy Trinity Academy and lives in Okotoks with her husband and two children. She grew to love the Leighton Art Centre when traveling to and from with her students’ artwork for the annual Youth Works Show. Sarah is excited about connecting young people with opportunities and experiences in Art, and hopes to be able to help out in this capacity at LAC.

Holly Wennerstrom 
Holly is the Senior Executive Assistant to the President & CEO, Canadian Utilities Limited, Office of the Chair, ATCO Ltd., and is the Curator of the ATCO Art and Archives Collection. She sits on the Development Committee of the Glenbow Museum and is a Community Outreach Ambassador for the Museum. Her past roles included Senior Executive support to the Chair, George Weston Limited; President, GE Canada Ltd.; President & CEO, Nexen Inc.; President & CEO, Gulf Canada Resources Limited. Past volunteer roles included Member of the Volunteer Committee of the Board & Volunteer Docent, McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario. Holly has two grown sons and holds a design engineering certificate in mechanical drafting as well as human resources management from U of C.