The Board of Management (BOM) for 2020 is:
Dr Helen Whitbread – President Arts Margaret River
Helen grew up in Western Australia, living in a number of country towns as her father took up different teaching posts. She worked as an art teacher while her family was young, leaving teaching to pursue further studies in 1993. Whilst studying, Helen managed Kalla Yeedip Gallery, a regional arts facility in Midland, followed by working for the then Department for the Arts, as acting State Literature Officer. She completed a Master of Design at Curtin University in 1996 followed by a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Hons) in 1999. After graduating, Helen worked as a landscape architect for the City of Fremantle for several years before taking up a position as landscape architect for the University of Western Australia. Helen spent several years working at UWA across a range of roles including Manager of Landscape and Grounds, Associate Director of Sustainable Development, Associate Director of Projects and Planning, and following completion of her Ph.D. in 2010, Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture.
Seeking a slower pace of life, Helen and husband Michael left the city for Cowaramup in 2016. In 2017, Helen joined the Shire of Augusta Margaret River as Project Officer for the Main Street Redevelopment, retiring from that position in July 2019 to spend more time with family and pursue her interests in creative writing and fine arts. Having written and illustrated two children’s books, Helen is currently undertaking a Masters in Creative Writing at UWA. She was awarded the Western Australian Premier’s Prize for Children’s Literature in 1996 for her debut children’s book, Idjhil, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects in 2014, for her contribution to the profession. Helen believes the arts play a critical role in the social cohesion and identity of a community, and strongly supports Arts Margaret River in its ongoing commitment to facilitating equitable creative opportunities in Margaret River and the broader region.
Michael Sorensen – Vice-President Arts Margaret River
Michael spent the first 30 years of his life in Perth where he did all the usual things that one does growing up there through the 60’s & 70’s.
After graduating as an architect and working for a number of years in West Perth, he left Australia & moved to Europe. What started as perhaps one year turned into 8 years, travelling extensively and working on some very interesting and diverse projects in the UK, Germany & Spain.
The stars aligned in southern Spain in late ’88 and he met Britta, prompting a move the following year from London to Hamburg, experiencing a newly re-united Germany first hand. Occasional trips back to Australia always ended up in Margaret River and so in 1995 Michael & Britta made the move. There they created & developed Half Moon Corner accommodation, which, after 18 years became a victim of the bypass road. The forced change led to a new project on the west side of town which resulted in an Institute of Architects award for sustainable architecture. The venture into tourism might have ended, but architecture has remained a constant for the last 40+ years, a passion that will never fade. The other passion is snowboarding which has also taken Michael all over the world. He sometimes laments that he could have chosen some water based sport to fall in love with, a little closer to hand.
Michael has always maintained a keen interest in culture and the arts, in particular contemporary dance & theatre. He has been a board member since 2017.
David Shelton – Treasurer Arts Margaret River
Although David grew up in central Victoria, more than half of his life has been in Perth. “That’s what happens when you marry a Perth girl” he quips.
For most of his professional life he has been a management consultant. This has had a particular emphasis on strategy and business growth, with many assignments in the arts. He has also been a business owner and a Director of several enterprises. David holds an Undergraduate Degree (B.Com) from Curtin University, and an MBA from the University of San Francisco (from the days when they were a rarity). Following years in San Francisco and Melbourne, David and his wife Nicky returned to Perth during Paul Keating’s “recession we had to have” in 1990. Most recently he was CEO and Executive Director of Community First, a mid-sized not-for-profit providing aged care, disability, mental health, and employment services.
Following an 18-month “reverse gap year” travelling through Europe, they decided to resettle in Margaret River. They become permanent residents in December 2019. But he is no stranger to the region, having been a vineyard owner and winemaker in Cowaramup over a 20-year period. David joined Arts Margaret River as he has a strong interest in the arts. This combines with community consciousness and sense of service. He felt his experience and skills could be useful. Nicky is now an artist who specialises in Australian bird paintings.
Anne Shepherdson – Board member, Past President
Anne was born in Perth, Western Australia and completed a degree in Nutrition and a post graduate degree in Dietetics at the WA Institute of Technology. Anne is Chair of the Arts Hub Committee and was President from 2008 to 2013.
She worked at Royal Perth Hospital as a Clinical Dietitian followed by the South West Community Health Service as a Community Dietitian for 30 years.
Anne moved to Margaret River in the late seventies to be with her husband, Lloyd. They travelled to many different places in Australia and around the world but always returned to Margaret River as home. Together they have been an integral part of the local community, having established several thriving local businesses in town.
Anne first became involved in Arts Margaret River in the early eighties, when it was called the Augusta Margaret River Arts Council, the umbrella group for all arts in the Shire. Anne was the representative for a community craft group, Moondyne Arts and Craft.
Through Anne’s long standing association with Arts Margaret River, she has held various positions including Treasurer for about 20 years, Fundraising Coordinator, Matinee Cinema Team Leader, Committee of Management Member and President. Anne has worked relentlessly to promote Arts Margaret River to the community and she has also been a Shire representative on a number of arts related committees. In 2012 Rotary acknowledged this contribution by awarding her a Paul Harris Fellowship for service to the community through the arts. In 2013 Arts Margaret River honoured Anne for more than thirty years of service by presenting her with a painting.
“I believe Arts Margaret River’s very important role is to be the champion for the arts. In so doing, it allows the arts to remain affordable, accessible and continues to add cultural enrichment to all members of the community. The social benefits of the arts in a community are vital for everyone’s good health.”
Jeanette Sangmeister – Arts Margaret River Secretary
Jeanette was born in South Africa. She completed a Bachelor of Arts, Higher Education Diploma and a Diploma in Library and Information Science at the University of Cape Town.
Jeanette moved to Australia in 1998 and lived in Busselton for over 13 years. Following waitressing and shop assistant work while travelling and studying, she worked as a High School Teacher and a School Librarian.
Jeanette and her family moved to Margaret River in 2011 as they needed a change and felt that Margaret River had an appealing environment and community.
She attended an Arts Margaret River Welcome Day morning tea in 2012 where she met and befriended a group of fellow newcomers. She then volunteered her services and was promptly enlisted to assist with the 2013 Readers and Writers Festival.
At the 2013 Arts Margaret River AGM Jeanette joined the Board of Management as Secretary.
Christopher Young – Board Member
Christopher was born in small-town New Zealand in the mid-seventies. After finishing his studies he moved to Germany in 1996 before settling in Western Australia in 2002. Together with Elisa Markes-Young, they moved full-time to Margaret River in 2017.
Christopher is an experienced visual artist/photographer with a demonstrated history of working in the arts and museum industries. He has been on the board of the Perth Centre for Photography since 2015 and has been instrumental in their transition from a small, member-based organisation to being a significant player on Perth’s visual art landscape. He has been heavily involved in their program development and the mentoring of emerging artists. Further to this, he has managed his own graphic design business for over 20 years to support his creative practice. He looks forward to engaging closely with the local community and applying his skill-set to this transition period for Arts Margaret River.
Katrina Lombardo – Board Member
Elizabeth Hogarth – Board Member
Elizabeth hales from the West Coast of Scotland but has called Margaret River home for the last 15 years. Her first career was in nursing, in the UK, Wellington and also in Margaret River. Once her three children were off to school she achieved a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Business law from Curtin University. Currently Elizabeth works at a large healthcare local NFP as the acting CEO.
In her spare time for a number of years she has been an active volunteer at Arts Margaret River, from the breakfast bar to projecting the movies. Aside from work she enjoys living in the region and traveling as much as life allows with her husband and children. Ensuring accessibility to the arts across ages and social groups is one of her passions and reason to join the Board to assist in taking Arts Margaret River in a new direction.
Fred Affleck was made a Life Member in 2019 to acknowledge his leadership of Arts Margaret River. Fred was elected President in 2013 and has put in hundreds of volunteer hours in this role. He was instrumental in upgrading Arts Margaret River from a ‘Committee of Management’ to a ‘Board of Management’ and resigned from the board in 2020.
Fred has been involved in several voluntary organisations over the years, including as President of the Patrons and Friends of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (2009- 2011). Fred and his wife Margaret lived in Adelaide for 17 years and in Sydney for 11, where he was a management consultant and corporate executive in the national railway industry. In 2003 he returned to Perth to be Professor of Transport Studies at Murdoch and Curtin Universities. Until his retirement in 2016, Fred was very busy in ‘board’ roles as Chair of the WA Freight and Logistics Council, Deputy Chair of the Fremantle Port Authority, Chair of the Midland Redevelopment Authority and a Commissioner of the National Transport Commission. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2017 for his contributions to policy development in the transport and logistics industry and to the Arts.
Anne Shepherdson – Life Member
Anne Shepherdson was made a Life Member in 2015 to acknowledge her dedication to Arts Margaret River over more than 30 years. Anne is still an active Board Member and in her own words “not planning to retire from Arts Margaret River any time soon”.
Jack Knudson – Life Member
Jack was born in California and graduated with a BA degree in Field Biology. He taught biology and science for four years before travelling around the world and eventually arrived in Fremantle in early 1974. Jack and his wife loved WA and decided to make it their home, living and working in Geraldton and briefly in Newman. In 1993 Jack became an Australian Citizen and in 1994 he transferred to Margaret River to teach at the high school when it became a Senior High.
After Jack retired in 2003, he began volunteer work at the St Vincent de Paul Charity Shop, and a few years later took on a volunteer role at Arts Margaret River. He was recruited by Carolyn Forte to take on the weekly job of counting the volunteer cinema takings and preparing the floats and in 2007 he joined the Committee of Management and was the Volunteer Coordinator, Vice-President and occasional Event Coordinator. Jack retired from the Committee of Management at the end of 2013 and as the Volunteer Coordinator in 2014 and was made a Life Member of Arts Margaret River at the end of 2014. He and his wife still attend many of the cultural events organized by Arts Margaret River and try not to miss any classical concerts.
Heather was born in Southern Cross and brought up on an eastern wheatbelt farm. She graduated as an Enrolled Nurse and worked at many different hospitals in Southern Cross, Wyndham, Melbourne and Cooma. Heather moved to Perth in 1969 where she raised her children before moving to Cowaramup in 1987.
She joined the Augusta Margaret River Arts Council in 1988 where she held positions of secretary and president. In 2001 Heather took up a 2-year paid position with Arts Margaret River as Manager. During this time she set up the volunteer run cinema which commenced in January 2001, she coordinated the French Connection Festival in 2001 which ran for 6 months, and she was the matinee Team Leader for 11 years. Heather was a board member of Country Arts WA for 2 years and a founding delegate to CircuitWest which is involved in touring the performing arts throughout WA.
During Heather’s long association with Arts Margaret River, she volunteered an average 20 hours per week, mentored new staff and committee members and ran induction and training sessions for new volunteers. She started the free Sunday Sundowner concerts in Cowaramup in the mid-nineties. She then initiated and coordinated the From a Glass of Milk to a Glass of Wine project which saw the construction of the public art work ‘stage’ at Pioneer Park, Cowaramup.
Heather initiated the annual Readers and Writers Festival in 2009 and was an assistant for the children’s sessions Behind the Label.
Heather has received many community, state and national honours, including the Augusta Margaret River Shire’s Community Achievement Award in the Arts & Culture division (in 1992), the Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Fellowship (2004), nomination for WA Citizen of the Year (2010), a Life Member of Arts Margaret River (2011), nomination as the Colin Duggan Citizen of the Year by the Cowaramup Lions Club (2011). In 2011 she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to the arts.
Joan Barber and David Barber – Life Members
Joan and David were born in England and migrated to Perth, Australia in 1967. Joan trained in secretarial work and worked in hospital administration in the UK. After David retired in 1983, they moved to Margaret River and joined Arts Margaret River a couple of years later. David was involved with the local theatre group and did all their lighting work on a voluntary basis for a number of years and Joan became a Silver Chain volunteer which she has done for many years.
After nearly twenty years association with Arts Margaret River, and on their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 2004, Joan and David were presented with Life Membership.
David died in 2007 and Joan continues to be an active Committee of Management Member, is a Cinema Team Leader and helps out at various events whenever she can.
Dorothy Shepherdson and Edith Bailey – Life Members
Arts Margaret River would like to acknowledge the life members that are no longer with us but who have contributed to our wonderful organisation in the past. Their contributions and long term association with Arts Margaret River will not be forgotten.
Dorothy and Edith often travelled to Perth with their thermos and sandwiches, changed their clothes in the theatre car park, watched the show, ate the sandwiches in the car and drove home again, often in the wind and rain getting home in the middle of the night!