Deer Crossing The Art Farm was founded by Chad Hershler, and Sandy Buck. They are supported by our board, a team of staff members and regular contractors. Our work includes many community members and volunteers who participate in our projects.
Founder, Community-Engaged Arts Coordinator
Sandy Buck is a Metis artist who has lived on the Sunshine Coast since 2007 helping start the non-profit arts organization, Deer Crossing the Art Farm. Sandy left Vancouver at the height of her career as a Costume Designer in the Film/TV/Theatre industry in 2007 to live in nature and pursue her passion for creative community building in the rural setting of Gibsons, BC. She and her community thrive to promote a balance of community growth and indigenous knowledge of the land we live on. She brings a wealth of skills developed from a 25 + year career working for arts organizations as a volunteer coordinator, youth programmer, event organizer, teacher and artist. She is also a performer, puppeteer, and one of the creative collaborators for the Rainforest Circus, a site-specific production on the Sunshine Coast that has toured to other rural locations.
Founder, Executive + Artistic Director
As one of the co-founders of The Art Farm, Chad brings 30+ years of experience as a theater artist and writer and 15+ years now as a community engaged artist. He loves the telling of the story as much as the story itself – the tensions that form between people and the releases that follow, the puzzles that need to be solved and the catharsis of shared discoveries. Chad believes that how we treat and work with each other on these small, beautiful projects guide us in how to treat and work with each other, with the world and with the cosmos in general. He’s experienced the power of this practice too many times to ignore it.
If Chad could be a song, he would be David Bowie’s “Starman”. In fact, he would be the entire Ziggy Stardust album. He knows this dates him. But you try and listen to that album only once. Go on, I dare you!
Property Upgrade + Maintenance Coordinator
Joanna has been a part of the Art Farm’s journey since 2013, the same year she made the Sunshine Coast her home. Similar to the Art Farm, she sometimes finds it a little difficult to articulate exactly what she does! A little bit of everything is probably the most accurate. Her happy place is to take care of people and things. Sometimes it is cooking delicious meals to feed circus folks. Other times it involves taking care of the land, including the building, and repairing of structures on the farm. Then from time to time, she gets to work and play as an artist on various projects within the community. She is happy to have found kindred spirits through her community at the Art Farm and is blessed to have done so on this beautiful land.
Design + Information Technology Coordinator
As Design and I.T. Coordinator at Deer Crossing the Art Farm, Aaron continues to explore a path in two areas he’s especially passionate about. Having spent most of his life as a ‘techie’, troubleshooting stubborn tech is almost second nature. In combining these skills with his newfound love of everything Graphic Design, Aaron has stumbled upon a cozy little nook amongst friends at the Art Farm.
Aaron is an artist at heart, his first loves in life being drawing and writing. A nerd of various sorts, Aaron uses his photographic memory to awe friends and cohorts with a seemingly bottomless pit of knowledge, in topics ranging from music to comic books, sci-fi novels to pop art, and more!
Media Arts Coordinator
Joah Lui is a media arts maker, filmmaker, and community-engaged arts facilitator activating audiences through video, sound, interactive installations and maker culture. DIGI MAJOU is her playful and healing alter ego, combining media & technology with the compassionate ethos of Ma Jou, a Chinese Sea Goddess. DIGI MAJOU beckons, catalyzes, and illuminates the stories of many human journeys. Together we tap into ancestral knowledge and culture, bringing forth into the present day a powerful call to communicate, and make meaningful play.
Joah is happiest hacking and building imaginative, new, old, and decolonizing technologies with her two kids in her home-based tiny studio in xwesam/Roberts Creek. Joah is grateful and awed to live with her family on the regenerative and storied lands and waters of the shíshálh and Sḵwxwú7mesh peoples.
Jillian arrived on the Sunshine Coast in March of 2022, seeking solace from a demanding career in Emergency Medicine in Ontario. After leaving her nursing position and transitioning into the non-profit world, she realized that “healthcare” could also include meaningful relationships, creative engagement, art, gardening. She enjoys empowering others to shift their idea of “health” by challenging systems and creating space for knowledge sharing. Since arriving to the Coast, she has leaned into her passions and started her journey towards a healthier, more intentional, and sustainable life.
Production + Site Manager
Firmly into his 6th decade on this rock Rolf has spent a life creating theatre, sculpture, scenic art, construction, clowning and exploring healing modalities from around the world. All these skills are being brought to the forefront here at the Art Farm. It’s as though he has been training for this job his whole life. What makes it so much more enjoyable is the nurturing, playful, and present way that everyone here at the Art Farm engages with each other and our community.
Rolf can be found almost anywhere on the property fixing this or building that – dancing that fine line of creative mess/beautiful chaos. When building he leans towards accuracy and permanence and when facilitating art, he’s much more willing to get messy and let the moment dictate what gets created.
Rolf couldn’t be prouder working for this organization and what it stands for.
Communications + Marketing Coordinator
Chloe Langmaid is a mother, a photographer, a poet, and forest-frolicker. She has spent the last 10-years developing her skills in photography, graphic design, and digital marketing, while working for value aligned non-profits, individuals, and businesses. She is endlessly grateful to have found an avenue of expressing herself creatively, that simultaneously provides for her family.
At deer crossing the art farm, she has been honoured to document and represent the beauty and the chaos of imperfect humans engaging in collaborative endeavors. This process continues to offer opportunities for personal and professional growth, while contributing to and being in community.
If she had one superpower it would be to be in multiple places at once and never have to miss out on anything. Until then she’ll continue to improve the work – life – parenthood balance and occasionally run away with the (rainforest) circus.
Joanne Norris, President
An adaptable leader with over 20 years experience working across cultures, disciplines and industries developing and leading innovative collaborations among business, Indigenous, government and civil society organizations. Joanne has a track record of creating viable economic development and entrepreneurship initiatives for underrepresented groups and thrives in leading the charge of engaging people and organizations to create investment models, impact businesses and service frameworks that benefit society and economies.
Heather Dawson, Board Director
I am grateful to live as a guest on the traditional ancestral and unceded territory of the Tsleil Wauth, Squamish and Musqueam people in a place commonly known as Vancouver.
My interests and formal training include the arts and psychology , which led me to the study and practice of the expressive arts. Working with the arts in community and healing practices has created a natural shift to include social contexts and respect for the intersection of perspectives.
I believe that the arts, has the potential to connect us with what is possible, to imagine and create opportunities that both inspire and challenge what we already know. The Art Farm is one such version of the possible and I am honoured to serve, support and interact with this ongoing creative adventure.
Darren Franko, Treasurer
Darren is a CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) and has spent the majority of his career working in the business systems side of organizations, which include the tourism, forestry, and utility sectors. Outside of work, Darren is passionate about most endurance sports and any manner of non-powered transportation methods. He may be of the few people with an Ironman tattoo who also owns an electric bicycle. On a sunny day, Darren likes to put his two favourite passions together: biking and visiting the breweries in the NV Shipyards district. He also serves as the treasurer for the high school PAC.
Jeremy Valeriote – Secretary
Jeremy is a professional engineer and project manager who has built a career in environmental impact assessment and environmental remediation, focused on water resources. He has a passion for nature and the outdoors and its capacity to inspire imagination and happiness. Jeremy is convinced that great communication, science, art and education are the keys to finding a balance between human development and environmental integrity. Jeremy moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2008, and is excited to be involved in creative, innovative community-building and broadening of perspectives in this spectacular part of the world.
Terence van der Woude – Board Director
Terence van der Woude is passionate about giving individuals what they need to succeed and ultimately help better civilization through contribution of information and opportunities. His core values are respect for all living things; the earth belongs to no one; it is better to give than receive; speak from the heart; there IS a solution and, lastly, with love & patience, anything is possible. He spent his previous career of 18 years working in the performing arts, though not on stage. Now, he is in his 9th year as a Financial Planner with a focus on sustainable investing & supporting via knowledge, to those that are interested, the financial balance we all want. Terence is a sustainability enthusiast, a suburban farmer and a very proud papa!
Natalie Gerum – Board Director
Natalie Gerum has engaged with classrooms and communities across Canada, and brings diverse experiences in curriculum development, facilitation, and creative community building to Deer Crossing the Art Farm. With a passion for outdoor education, Natalie holds an MEd in place-conscious learning from Lakehead University, and currently works as the Manager of Student Engagement at UBC, where she stewards initiatives in leadership and social justice across faculties. She and her partner, along with their young daughter are proud community members of the Sunshine Coast where Natalie loves to grow gardens, dance in her gumboots, and watch for whales in the Salish Sea.