Kelowna city councillor Ryan Donn has been hired by the District of Lake Country as its new cultural development coordinator

Kelowna councillor hired by Lake Country to push culture

Ryan Donn will work full time in Lake Country as the district's cultural development coordinator

The District of Lake Country has announced its new cultural development coordinator.

Well known Okanagan musician Ryan Donn will be the new man in charge of all things music and culture within Lake Country.

Donn, a Kelowna city councillor, long-time Okanagan Valley musician and a former George Elliot Secondary School student, has been hired as the person responsible for the coordination of the Creekside community theatre, open air performances, public art supervision, cultural and heritage events. He will work with various community organizations.

“We received over 75 applications and heard from a number of very qualified individuals,” said Holly Flinkman, Lake Country’s human resources and safety manager. “After viewing some outstanding presentations from the final three short-listed candidates, we came to the conclusion that Ryan Donn was the best fit for the new staff role in Lake Country.”

The new position was created with the conclusion of the contract of Creekside manager Horst Jassmann as the district opted to go in a different direction, adding more duties to the role including running of the Lake Country Open Air Performance Society, formerly run by volunteers.

Donn said it’s a great time to join the staff at the District of Lake Country as the area’s arts community continues to grow.

“The District of Lake Country is about to embark on a journey of discovery where the true potential of its cultural capacity will be allowed to flourish if guided properly,” Donn said. “I consider it an honour to be a part of this exciting time of transition in such a dynamic community.”

At Kelowna council Monday. Donn told the Kelowna Capital News that the job is a perfect fit for him and his experience and added it also addresses a perceived conflict of interest in Kelowna where he was working with Festivals Kelowna.

Donn has now stepped down from Festivals Kelowna and is also stepping back from his duties with the Creative Okanagan Society, an organization that he founded to work on the arts in West Kelowna.

“The opportunity for growing culture in Lake Country is immense,” he said of the position in Lake Country.

As far as being a Kelowna councillor, he said his new position won’t allow him to have as much time to dedicate to council duties, but added he joins the list of councillors that have full-time jobs.

Donn will start in the position of cultural development coordinator for Lake Country on Nov. 17 and will spend a number of weeks with Jassmann at the Creekside Theatre to enable a smooth transition in the management of the community theatre.

Along with the Creekside Theatre, Donn will also be in charge of other cultural and musical events in Lake Country including the Open Air Performance Society, the series of free concerts in community parks as a municipal function. Donn will also be the single point of contact for arts and culture organizations throughout Lake Country.

A release from the district says Donn’s experience was too good to pass up.

“Hiring someone with experience connecting with the creative community is vital,” the release stated. “Ryan has a comprehensive understanding of the logistics and structure required to create successful cultural plans, festival initiatives and community buy-in.  He has been the creative force behind the establishment of various cultural initiatives such as Parks Alive!, Pianos in Parks and New York New Years in Kelowna as well as Music in the Park and a World Music Festival in West Kelowna and founded Creative Okanagan as a non-profit organization. Fostering and enhancing the growth of a culturally vibrant and creative municipality is a goal of council as Lake Country becomes increasingly well-known for its desirable lifestyle in the fastest growing municipality in the province.”