September 24, 2008: Cap U director first ever Canadian to join leading U.S. arts organization board

      Wednesday, September 24, 2008
      Contact: Shelley Kean at 604.983.7596

      (NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Fiona Black, associate managing director and director of programming for the Capilano University Performing Arts Theatre, became the first Canadian ever on September 13 to be appointed to the board of directors of the Western Arts Alliance (WAA), a premier arts organization based in Portland, Oregon.

      WAA is a 41-year-old membership association of touring and performing arts professionals engaged in promoting and presenting performing arts throughout the western states and provinces. More than 680 artists, managers, presenters, arts service organizations, and state arts agencies utilize WAA as a trusted and vital resource.

      “I have been attending the WAA conference for the last three years and it has been invaluable to my work at Capilano University,” Black said. “The networking and presenting opportunities are incredible and the conference is considered one of the best in North America for arts professionals.

      “It is quite an honour to be asked to join this board and I look forward to representing Canada and Capilano at this international level.”

      Black currently oversees programming for the 380-seat performing arts theatre at Capilano University. In addition to being a venue for students to hone their skills and talents, the Theatre holds approximately 78 public performances a year, and welcomes about 20,000 people annually. It is also a key venue for the international jazz festival, held annually in the Lower Mainland.

      Capilano University’s creative community includes award-winning students who are enrolled in film, animation, theatre, jazz, classical music, music therapy, costuming, textile arts, studio art, illustration and design, interactive design, and arts and entertainment management programs.

      Capilano University serves the communities of the Lower Mainland, Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast through campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish and Sechelt. Enrolment totals 6,700 students in credit programs each term with an additional 7,000 people taking non-credit courses annually. Capilano offers a complete range of preparatory courses, university transfer courses, business and management studies, creative and applied arts programs, health and human services programs, plus a range of services in support of student learning and success. Credentials awarded include bachelor degrees, associate degrees, post-baccalaureate diplomas, advanced diplomas, diplomas, certificates and statements of completion.

      For more information on Capilano’s programs, please visit

      Serving members since 1967, WAA's annual booking conference and its year-round programs are essential for artists, artist managers, presenters, and other performing arts professionals in the West.

      WAA was first established as the Alliance of Western Colleges for Cultural Presentations in 1967 by presenters, located largely in California, concerned about the difficulty of scheduling artists’ tours in the western states. Twenty-six people attended the first booking conference that year in Los Angeles. In 1974, the name of the organization was changed to the Western Alliance of Arts Administrators.

      In 1991, The WAA offices moved to San Francisco, California. A two-year strategic planning process was completed and a plan approved seeking to increase WAA’s cultural diversity, improve communication and advocacy, and strengthen the professional development program. In 1998, the trade name of the association was changed to Western Arts Alliance. In 2004, the WAA offices moved to Portland.

      Today, the association has 700 members, and more than 1,000 people participate at the annual conference, with more than 200 artists, managers, and agents exhibiting.

      For more information on WAA, please visit