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About

Artists for Life Foundation

The James Tolin Memorial Fund (JTMF) was created by four friends in New Jersey in 2003 to honour the memory of their friend James, who had died of AIDS the same year. Each year, JTMF produces an event that raises funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS and its caregivers. After moving to Edmonton in 2007 and being embraced and inspired by the generous spirit of Edmonton’s arts community, one of the founding members of JTMF, Joyce LaBriola, endeavoured to share James’ story and to maintain awareness of HIV/AIDS. Though James had never been to Edmonton, his legacy is familiar to all that have lost loved ones to HIV/AIDS. In 2009 Joyce founded JTMF West – Artists For Life organization. The mission of JTMF West is to bring local artists together to raise funds and awareness with the hope of one day eliminating the stigma and discrimination of HIV/AIDS, as well as to providing people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS with support and love, and creating an environment for our youth that is free from ignorance and bullying. In 2016, JTMF was rebranded as the Artists for Life Foundation.

Since its inception, Artists for Life has raised $200,000 for beneficiaries such as HIV Edmonton, Camp fYrefly, YESS, Kindred House and Theatre Network. In 2017, we proudly supported Little Warriors.

Our Cause, Our Mission

To fight for social justice and eradication of stigma and discrimination towards those affected by HIV/AIDS, those who identify as LGBTQ youth, and marginalized, vulnerable and at-risk populations while celebrating the philanthropic spirit of the arts.

The Team

Jeff Keller
Chair

Jeff’s favorite artist is Wassily Kandisky. Partly because he used to be a lawyer but decided to be an artist instead. He admires those who push the envelope and use their art to advance a cause and make the viewer or listener or reader have to step out of their comfort zone and see the world through a different lense.

Mike Connolly/Myra Maines
Treasurer

You'll probably recognize one of AFL's newest board members as the 8ft Drag Queen snapping photos and greeting guests at AFL events. This is Mike’s first year of being involved on the board for Artist For Life, expanding his involvement in Edmonton's not for profit community as a title holder, board member, and Empress 40 of the ISCWR.

Rob Browatzke
Director

Rob’s professional and volunteer resume reads like a what’s what of LGBT Edmonton, including 19 Years with the ISCWR, and as part of Team Evolution. He is a lover of the artistry of words, be they in a book, a song, or on stage. Particular passions include mental health awareness and addiction/recovery.

Brian Forlin
Vice Chair

Brian has been an active participant in Alberta's LGBTQ+ community for several years, both in a professional and volunteer aspects.Brian has a firm belief in the arts and their capacity to insight change. His favourite visual artists include Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Faith 47, Keith Haring, Dali, Jackson Pollack, and Mark Ryden.

Debra Jakubec
Secretary

Debra has 17 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector. She has been executive director of HIV Edmonton, WildNorth and the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues.  Currently, she is working as the Abundant Community Edmonton Team Lead for the City.  In addition to being on the Artists for Life Board, Debra is on the board of the Edmonton Community Development Company and a member of WAVE.

Joyce LaBriola
Artistic Director & Founder

Joyce LaBriola has nearly two decades of arts and sports marketing experience. As volunteer Artistic Director of Artists for Life Foundation, she has been instrumental in raising over $250,000 for local non-profits. Joyce is also a member of the Women’s Advocacy Voice of Edmonton which reports to Edmonton City Council on gender equity issues.

Claire Pearen
Silent Auction Coordinator

‍Claire is passionate about making a difference in the community, and in the world. She has volunteered with various organizations over her 10 years in Edmonton. Claire has always had an appreciation for the arts in many forms.

Dilys Kulchitsky
Art Walk Coordinator

Born and raised in Edmonton, Dilys spent most of her life expressing her creativity with music, photography and painting. Between shifts as a RN, Dilys can be found on the Jubilee Auditorium Stage singing with Edmonton Opera, spending time with her husband and 2 children and in her studio creating encaustic art. 

Patricia Eckley CSEP
Back of House Operator

Patricia is a Senior Client Manager with Currie Communications.  She received her designation as a Certified Special Events Professional in 2015.  She is the former Vice President of Communications and Vice President of Education with the International Live Events Association - Edmonton Chapter.  She has a passion for events and giving back to her community.