CEO The Arts Connection Group of Companies
The vision of a one stop performing arts centre began in 1990 when Linda opened “The Arts Connection” in Steveston. The idea grew from her home-based music studio where she and her colleagues taught almost 100 students a week for sixteen years. Linda’s dream of becoming a highly respected centre for the arts that offers young and old alike the opportunity develop their creativity through music, art, drama and dance has grow to now encompass two large campuses in the Stevestonarea of Richmond. Plans are currently underway to expand this special programming throughout the lower mainland.
In addition to being a passionate teacher of the piano, Linda also has an extensive background in dance and for several years early in her career worked as an Administrative Assistant for the Vancouver School Board. She has become a respected entrepreneur who takes a personal interest in the overall development of the school’s students. Her piano students continually achieve high standings in examinations and consistently rank in competitive festivals. Linda currently serves as President of the Kelly Kirby Music Society, a group of lower mainland teachers who specialize in teaching “The Kelly Kirby Piano Method”, a program specifically designed for children ages 4-8 and which has been taught in Canada and around the world for over sixty years. Linda is soon to receive ownership of the Kelly Kirby copyright and management of the program and its distribution from the existing owners who have chosen her to continue the legacy.
Linda has also enjoyed a long standing appointment by Richmond City Council as Chair of the Childcare Development Advisory Committee and is recognized as a leader in the community in the areas of arts education and early learning.
In 2007, Linda won her third Ethel Tibbits “Woman of Distinction Award” (in the ‘Business’ category). This makes her the first woman to have won the award for a third time. Her previous awards were for ‘Business’ (1999) and ‘Arts’ (2002). In 2003, Linda was honored to be awarded the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and City of Richmond ‘Award of Excellence’ as ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ for her contributions towards quality childcare and arts programming for children.
Linda has also been a nominee for numerous other awards, including the 2003 award for ‘Community Service, the 2004 Volunteer Richmond Awards, and the 2009 and 2010 Richmond Arts Awards, and the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur awards.
Her extensive involvement in the community has also included seving as a volunteer in numerous capacities: Vice-President of the Community Arts Council of Richmond (CACR), Chair of Centre Stage Youth Performance Society, a member of the City of Richmond’s Parks, Recreational and Cultural Services Task Force (2003), and the Richmond Arts Strategy Task Force (2002/03). Linda currently continues her work with the CACR and The Arts Connection serves as a corporate sponsor to assist this 40 year old arts organization to continue its valuable work in the community. In addition, she is an executive committee member for the ‘Nite of Hope’, Richmond’s annual fundraising event for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Co-Founder of Renaissance Kids
Linda’s husband, Michael, has always been a strong supporter of her vision and dreams and for many years shared his skills in the area of visual arts with students of all ages at The Arts Connection. Previous to joining Linda in the business, Michael had thirty years of hands-on experience in visual merchandising, display and administration from national retail chain stores and he holds numerous awards from national corporations for his display work. Michael has a passion for painting and has studied with Joyce Kamikura, Brent Heighton and Toni Onley. He serves on the Board of Directors for The Community Arts Council of Richmond and was previously the Manager of their Artisans’ Galleria in Richmond.