Board Members


Yves Thomas, Chair
Currently living in Warkworth, Yves was Associate Professor at Trent University from 1990 to 2016. Yves wrote his PhD dissertation on luxury in 19th century French decadent literature, with research spanning urban development in Paris under Napoleon the third, the French aesthetic avant-garde in the 1920s and 50s, and urban decay in contemporary Detroit. From 2010 to 2016, Yves played an administrative role as Director of the Year Abroad Program in Nantes, France and as Chair of the Cultural Studies Department. Currently, Yves is a consultant for Smithsonian Tours as a lecturer for the Paris and Quebec tours. Yves has been Chair of the board of Ah! since February 2018.

John Belton, Treasurer
John Belton is a Civil Engineer (South Bank University, London, England) and a Business Administration Graduate (Sir Sanford Fleming College, Peterborough, Ontario). After many years as an Engineer in the UK, USA and Canada, John transitioned into a role as Systems Analyst for Trent University and a self-employed Business Consultant. Retiring from his role as the Development Officer for the not-for-profit Horizons of Friendship, Cobourg, Ontario, (where he supervised fundraising, charitable reporting, finance, future planning and acted as investment advisor), John became a volunteer with Ah! (Board Member and Treasurer, 2017). John has also volunteered with the Campbellford Memorial Multi-Care Lodge (Past Board Chair, current committee member), 7 Hills Community Pantry (Warkworth Food Bank), and Warkworth Community Service Club (Past Board Member). John brings passion for arts and culture as a tool to promote social justice, supported by a great sense of humour and the desire for happiness for his home community of Trent Hills.

Paul Portelli, Secretary
Paul Portelli, a professional sculptor, manipulates the natural beauty and versatility of terra cotta clay with colour and glazes to create his Greenman series, Venetian Carnival Figures, Regal Rabbits and his Murder of Crows. Paul’s works have been exhibited in public and private galleries and are held in private collections in Canada, the US, Europe, and Africa (Ghana: President John Agyekum Kufuor and King Safrotwe Kakradae IV). While he operated a gallery/sculpture studio in Warkworth, Ontario for 22 years, Paul has also worked with retailers including Holt Renfrew, Lindt Chocolates and Mercedes Benz as a retail design, merchandising and event specialist.

Along with authoring articles in many Canadian publications (Crafts Plus, Style and Men’s Wear Canada), Paul has made guest appearances on TV shows including Cityline, Craftscape and Savior Faire. After graduating in Fashion Arts from Seneca College, Paul studied visual arts at the Ontario College of Art and Sir Sandford Fleming College (Haliburton School of Fine Arts). Paul has been an instructor in visual arts and business departments at Ryerson University, Sir Sanford Fleming, Durham, and Seneca Colleges.

John Halley, Director
John Halley has retired to Warkworth, Ontario after a 35 year career in the marketing industry. After studying at the Ontario College of Art with a focus on communication and commercial arts, John built a career as Creative Director, working at Ogilvy and Mather, Grey Adverting, Carlson Marketing and Loyalty One. John developed award winning marketing campaigns for some of North America’s Fortune 100 companies such as American Express, Shell, Procter and Gamble, IBM, DuPont Canada, FedEx, Ford Canada, NBA and Kraft Foods. John’s creative campaigns have also supported the fundraising strategies for Heart & Stroke Foundation, World Wildlife Foundation and Save the Children. John also has many personal passions including music, woodworking, painting and travelling.

Jim Harvey, Director
Jim Harvey CPA, CA, MBA, spent his career in the financial services industry and at the time of his retirement was Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Secretary and a Director of a property and casualty insurance company. Jim is providing his experience and expertise in assisting Ah! as a financial advisor.

Erin O’Sullivan, Director
Erin O’Sullivan is a retired principal and teacher, currently working as an educational consultant. Born and raised in Campbellford, Ontario, Erin currently lives on a small farm in the Warkworth area. In addition to volunteering for Ah!, Erin is also a volunteer at Warkworth Penitentiary and St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program, and has previous experience on the boards of Northumberland Services for Women (Past Chair) and Westben (Past Chair).

Mateusz Swoboda, Director
Mateusz Swoboda began playing piano at the age of five and cello at eleven. After completing his bachelor of music in cello performance at the University of Toronto, Mateusz studied at Shenandoah University with cellist Julian Tryczynski, and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Dmitri Ferschtmann. Mateusz then participated in ensemble tours to China, South America and Europe, before becoming principal cellist with the Hyogo Performing Arts Centre Orchestra in Japan. Returning to Ontario, Mateusz spent eight years performing with the Windsor, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ontario Philharmonic orchestras as principal and section cellist. He also taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and the Hammer Band, a non-profit offering string education programs to Toronto area schools. Mateusz was also the founder and artistic director of the metamorphosis chamber music series in Peterborough, and assistant artistic director with Kawartha Concerts in Lindsay.

Mateusz is now a resident of Warkworth, where he writes commercial fiction with his wife Karen, and is a proud member of the Trent Hills Fire Department and the Ah! Board.

Jackson Thurling, Director
Jackson Thurling is celebrating his 23rd successful year selling residential and commercial real estate and is currently in his 6th year with Sotheby’s International Realty. In the early 1990s, Jackson was one of the pioneers of the revitalization of Main Street in Warkworth with his purchase and restoration of the original town founder’s (Major Israel Humphries) home at 52 Main Street, built in 1850. Now affectionately known as “The Yellow Bordello” for its colourful past, it has become the most famous and photographed residence in Warkworth. Jackson also owned the award-winning Warkworth Diner from 2004-2007, renowned for its “Dinner and a Movie” nights. Jackson was invited to join the Ah! Board in 2018 to oversee the Heritage aspect of Ah!

Ashley Tinney-Fischer, Director
Ashley Tinney-Fischer is a local lawyer who has been practising law in her hometown of Campbellford since June, 2010. Ashley’s law practice focuses on real estate transactions, wills and estates, and corporate law. A graduate of Queen’s University Faculty of Law (class of 2009), where her awards included the David Sabbath Prize in Estate Planning and Taxation (2009) and the Reuben Wells Leonard Prize in Elder Law (2008), Ashley was also a member of the Queen’s Law Kawaskimhon National Aboriginal Law Moot Team. Ashley received her undergraduate degree in Political Studies and French Studies from Queen’s University Faculty of Arts and Science (class of 2005). An enthusiastic member of the local business community, Ashley is a current director of the Campbellford Memorial Hospital Foundation and a member of its Planned Giving Committee. Ashley lives locally with her husband and her two children, and enjoys all aspects of rural living in our vibrant Trent Hills community.

Curatorial Committee


Dorothy Caldwell
Dorothy Caldwell is a graduate of Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and presently maintains an active international exhibition and teaching schedule from her studio in Hastings, Ontario, Canada. She has carried out research projects in Japan and India, and has worked “on site” in the Australian outback and the Canadian Arctic. She is the recipient of Canada Council grants and other awards including the Governor Generals
Award (Saidye Bronfmean). Her work is included in private and permanent collections such as the American Museum of Art and Design, New York, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Canadian Museum of History, Hull Quebec, International Quilt Museum and Study Centre University of Nebraska, and the Canadian Department of External Affairs, Ottawa.

Sheree Rasmussen
Sheree Rasmussen is an honors graduate of OCAD working in fabric collage expressing history, memory and journeys. She lives and works in Warkworth, having had a successful Toronto Landscape Design Practice with her late husband Clive Russell (the founding visionary Director of AH!). ‘Inside and Out Garden Design’ received awards from Landscape Ontario, Annual Awards of Excellence. Sheree’s current work “Tiferet”, the Hebrew concept of beauty in place beyond language and logic, is supported by an OAC grant to Visual Artists. Her world travels have included participation in Folk Dance and Movement Events in Europe, North America and Israel, ten years as a studio weaver in Jutland, Denmark and an ongoing passion to integrate artistic genres through community participation. She is a Founding Member of AH!

Friends of Ah!


Dr. Skye Morrison: Grant Writer for Ah!
Skye Morrison is a Canadian Folklorist, designer and author with a life-long interest in traditional crafts. Her areas of specialty are women’s narrative textiles, kites, vernacular architecture and creative non-fiction writing. She is an Advisor to Ah! especially with Grants and is one of the Founders of the Textile Museum of Canada. She received her PhD in Folklore (Material Culture) from the University of Pennsylvania (1991), her MA in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University (1976) and her Diploma in Design (Textiles) from Sheridan College, Canada (1972). Skye spends several months in India each year with MELA: Mindful Encounters with Local Artisans a project to promote better communication between traditional artisans in collaboration with designers based in Jaipur, India with colleagues Ayush & Geetanjali Kasliwal (AnanTaya and AKFD Storey). In Hastings, Ontario, she runs The Doors Guest House in her Heritage home undertaking experiential tourism projects with crafts and culture.

Nicole Tellier graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1986 and was called to the Bar in 1988. She divides her time between her Family Law practice in Toronto and her home in Trent Hills. She is a founding member of the AH! Board of Directors as Secretary, expressing her passion for the arts and providing advice on governance. She has served as a Director on various legal professional organizations and engages in a variety of law reform activities through test case litigation and by testifying as an expert before federal and provincial justice committees. In 2010, she received the Ontario Bar Association Award for Excellence in Family Law.