Jean-Louis (‘JL’) Bleau
Chilliwack Cultural Centre Hires New Executive Director.
Following a comprehensive international search process, the Board of Directors for the Chilliwack Arts & Cultural Centre Society (CA&CCS) is welcoming Jean-Louis (‘JL’) Bleau as the new Executive Director of the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, effective September 1, 2022. The Executive Director reports to the Board and has responsibility for all Centre operations.
Bleau is relocating to Chilliwack from Calgary, Alberta, where he has been providing creative and administrative leadership to the Mount Royal University Conservatory in various roles since 2015, most recently as Interim Director. The MRU Conservatory is Western Canada’s largest performing arts institution, offering a unique intersection of arts and education at the world-class Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts facility.
In addition to his administrative role, Bleau served as the artistic director of Choral Programs at Mount Royal University and was both the founding director of Mount Royal Artio and the director of the University of Calgary Chamber Choir. He also teaches courses on artistic creativity and interdisciplinary performance practice at UCalgary.
Originally from Medicine Hat, Bleau has built a career characterized by interdisciplinary productions that create positive, impactful audience experiences. His inventive approach has yielded many immersive performance experiences, some delivered in the mountains, around a lake, in a planetarium, parking garages, an industrial shop, and even a swimming pool. He has collaborated on programming with a variety of musicians, ensembles, choreographers, dancers, synchronized swimmers, aerial gymnasts, as well as First Nations elders and artists. In 2014, Bleau was recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 in Calgary.
“We are privileged to have the Chilliwack Culture Centre as a special gathering place for creative expression, discovery, imagination, and inspiration in our community,” says CA&CCS Board President Janet Carroll. “As our new Executive Director, JL will be leading a stellar team to steward The Centre forward so that it meets the evolving cultural interests of Chilliwack’s increasingly diverse population. His collaborative approach, engaging and positive nature, and creative spirit represent the ideal combination of skills and expertise that the Board has been seeking for this important leadership role.
“We are fortunate to have attracted such an outstanding arts leader to this position,” adds Carroll. “The Board is looking forward to collaborating with JL to meet our mandate of providing arts and cultural programs, events, and performances for the residents of Chilliwack.”
Bleau currently lives on a rural acreage near Cochrane, AB and is eager to embrace the Fraser Valley lifestyle. During the hiring process, he visited Chilliwack and explored the community. “The Chilliwack Cultural Centre is one of the most impressive performing arts facilities I have ever seen,” he says. “It’s clear to me that this community values a broad range of artistic and cultural expression, and I can’t wait to contribute what I can to help it grow.”
Over the past year, the Board led an extensive hiring process that involved gathering community input to inform the search, vetting nearly 100 interested candidates from around the region, the country, and beyond. The Centre has been under interim leadership since June 2021 as the search was underway.