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New executive director hired at Dufferin Arts Council

August 31, 2023   ·   0 Comments

Written By Paula Brown

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Dufferin Arts Council (DAC) has welcomed a new executive director – Shirley Boxem. 

“What I love about the organization is they are really supporting arts education and [the arts] is super important for community well-being. I’m feeling really optimistic and looking forward to keeping the programs that people know and enjoy, but also taking a fresh perspective to look for more opportunities,” said Boxem. 

Boxem has previously held the position of executive director at Headwaters Communities in Action, a community organization that hosts Volunteer Dufferin, Headwaters Food and Farming Alliance, and DC Moves. During her time there, she led the transition of the Dufferin County Community Grants assessment to a citizen-led and non-partisan committee.

She currently serves on a volunteer basis with the Dufferin Community Foundation as their Grants Committee Chair and has an extensive background in the granting process. 

Unbeknownst to many, Boxem has also worked part-time as a clay art teaching assistant in the Artist-in-the-School program, operating in the Peel Board of Education with her sister Marion Bartlett, an artist at Studio 124 in Singhampton. 

“I have seen first-hand the impact of art programs on children and adults,” said Boxem. “The arts are fundamental to community well-being as they inspire various communication, express, and creative thinking. They are a foundational part of thriving communities with bright futures.” 

The Dufferin Arts Council was formed by a group of local residents who came together to support artists and the arts in Dufferin County. Each year, DAC looks to raise money to fund projects that promote the development of artists and the arts in the community and in 2022, they celebrated 30 years. 

The Dufferin Arts Council operates an Artists in the School program, the Linda Jenetti Travel Award, and offers various bursar, scholarship and grant opportunities. 

As a previously all-volunteer organization, the Dufferin Arts Council is moving forward in growing the not-for-profit by introducing committed full-time resources.

“It’s been rewarding to be at the helm of this organization,” said Warren Maycock, chair and president of the Dufferin Arts Council. “There is hard work ahead and DAC has need that have pushed us beyond volunteer capacity.” 

 Boxem will assume overall management of DAC, initially taking over the current program and functions before facilitating a new strategic action plan. 

“This is really early days for me, but the intention is to continue with current programs. I think there’s opportunity to increase the profile off the arts council and to increase its involvement,” she said. 

The Dufferin Arts Council will be hosting its annual member meeting at the Centre Fellowship Church in Orangeville on Sept. 25. Those interested in attending can join by emailing 



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