RELEASE: ArtsNL announces new Chair and Co-Vice Chair

Dec 8, 2023


December 8, 2023 (St. John’s, NL) – ArtsNL is pleased to announce that David Brown has been elected as its new Chair, with Ray Penton, Jr. entering the role of Co-Vice Chair, joining Co-Vice Chair, Ann Connors.

David Brown holds bachelor’s degrees in music and education and a Master of Education degree in Information Communications Technology and Learning from the University of Aberdeen. As an accomplished pianist and performer, David has conducted numerous musical productions across the province. He is the former Director of Music for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Band and played a significant role within the Canadian Armed Forces and the band’s performances in the United States, France, and Belgium. Recently retired, David had a fulfilling career as a music and adult educator, a Government of Newfoundland and Labrador executive, and Director of Music for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. In addition to his civilian role as Director of Protocol for the Province, David has served as Private Secretary to two Lieutenant Governors of Newfoundland and Labrador.

David was first appointed to ArtsNL in July 2022 as a music representative and has served as Co-Vice Chair since May 2023. He succeeds Don Dunphy, who stepped down after serving nearly three years as Chair.

“I’m honoured to assume the role of Chair,” says David Brown. “We have a great team in place at ArtsNL and I am excited and energized to be working with them and my fellow Council Members as we contribute to the vibrant and creative arts communities across Newfoundland and Labrador we’re here to serve.”

Ray Penton, Jr. was born in Gander and has spent 40 years working in media and the cultural industries in Newfoundland and Labrador. Ray has produced over 250 television programs, served time as a journalist on CBC Radio, ran a weekly newspaper on the Burin Peninsula, was co-editor of the Newfoundland Herald, and was a host at the launch of OZFM. Ray was also Chair of both the NL Film Producers Association and St. Michael’s Printshop and was a charter member of the Writers Guild of Canada. He has also written and performed numerous radio comedy shows and is a multiple-award winner at the Provincial Drama Festival.

Ray was appointed to ArtsNL in July 2022 as a film representative and assumes the role of Co-Vice Chair, previously held by David Brown, alongside existing Co-Vice Chair and theatre representative, Ann Connors. “As the newly appointed Co-Vice Chair of ArtsNL, representing the film community, I’m eager to champion the power of storytelling through film and television and work collaboratively with the ArtsNL team to enrich our artistic landscape.”

Ann Connors has many years of experience in the arts sector as an administrator, curator, consultant, producer, and presenter in the performing arts. Her work in the arts sector is local, national, and international in scope. She is a passionate advocate for fair and equitable work/life conditions and practices for artists.

Ann was the Managing Producer of Terra Bruce Productions, a newly formed performance production company based in St. John’s. She is a member of Arts Consultants Canada, an Associate of the nationally based consulting company, The Arts Firm, a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Woman Entrepreneurs, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Association for Professional Theatres Newfoundland and Labrador. She happily lives in downtown St. John’s.

Ann was appointed to ArtsNL in May 2021 as a theatre representative and became Co-Vice Chair in May 2023. “I extend heartfelt congratulations to our newly appointed Chair and Co-Vice Chair. I look forward to a collaborative journey with this new executive team, who together with the incredible staff of ArtsNL share a dedication and commitment to the artists and organizations who make Newfoundland and Labrador the creative envy of the country.”

ArtsNL is a non-profit provincial crown agency. It fosters and promotes the creation and enjoyment of the arts for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. It does this through a variety of funding programs that award grants through a peer assessment process. ArtsNL also manages a number of awards programs and works with the government and community to encourage public awareness and participation in the arts.

The Council is governed by a volunteer board of 13. Council consists of 10 professional artists from across the province representing the various artistic disciplines, one community representative (with an interest in the arts); one business representative (with an interest in the arts); and one representative of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation (non-voting).

If you are interested in serving on the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, please apply online through the Independent Appointments Commission.

Click here for more information about members of Council.

Media enquiries:
Charlene Jackson
Communications Officer
(709) 726-2212 ext. 3 

The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (ArtsNL) is a non-profit Crown agency created in 1980 by The Arts Council Act. Its mission is to foster and promote the creation and enjoyment of the arts for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. The Council is governed by a volunteer board of 13 appointed by government, reflecting regional representation of the province. This includes 10 professional artists who provide sectoral representation of the arts community; two community representatives (with an interest in the arts); and one representative of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation (non-voting). ArtsNL receives an annual allocation of $5.2 million from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to support a variety of granting programs, program delivery, office administration, and communications. It also seeks support from the public and private sector. It supports the following artistic disciplines: dance, film, multidiscipline, music, theatre, visual art, and writing.


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