The Steinbach Arts Council Board has announced that as of June 1st, there will be a change in leadership with David Klassen being named the new Director of the Steinbach Arts Council.

SAC board chair - Audrey Barkman HillSteinbach Arts Council (SAC) Board Chair, Audrey Barkman Hill is “deeply thankful for the creativity, dedication, energy and drive with which Cindi Rempel Patrick pursued the vision of an arts council that would enhance the quality of life for Steinbach and area residents.”

Although this announcement may come as a surprise to some, Barkman Hill says, “it's a change that we've been looking at over the past 3 - 4 years at the Arts Council. We've been working on and jointly planning this together with our directors and the board.”

Thinking back to what Rempel Patrick has meant for the arts community, Barkman-Hill says, “Cindi has been at the Arts Council for almost 30 years, so a lifetime. Her name, as you know, has become synonymous with SAC.”

“She was part of the group that met around a kitchen table (back in 1995) and had the vision to move, what the Cultural Arts Centre organization was at the time, into a new phase that involved

Students learning guitar in the SAC After School Arts Program envisioned by Rempel Patrick programming, like classes for children and adults, a whole raft of visual and performing arts opportunities and she has championed the arts for all. She's become our face or brand, really for the community and she leaves behind just a spectacular legacy.”

Continuing with more glowing words of praise for Rempel Patrick, Barkman Hill says, “Oh my goodness, she has got energy and drive and the passion with which she pursues all the projects. For sure, we are going to miss her so much. She's got a presence that fills the room when she walks in with a charismatic smile. She networks with all our sponsors and members, and yes, she has done what very few people could do for an organization such as ours.”

With that, Barkman Hill announces that "the care of the Steinbach Arts Council will be turned over to David Klassen, who has worked with SAC as an artist, educator, and administrator for over 25 years and since 2019 a co-director together with Rempel Patrick.”

SAC Board Vice-Chair Charlotte Barkman says Klassen is ready to lead the center. "Since coming on as a co-director, David has dedicated himself to making the programming thrive at the arts center. He is a natural leader. We know that the organization is in good hands under his direction moving forward."

Reflecting on one of her earliest memories, Barkman Hill says, “I remember walking into my first SAC board meeting and seeing Cindi in the room, it was like her presence filled the room. When she sits down at the table and talks about the plans going forward, her energy certainly motivates other people. I do remember that meeting very well. I believed she was the force behind the Arts Council.”

Barkman Hill continues touting Rempel Patrick's nominations and awards over the years, including receiving the Governor Generals award in 2018

Cindi Rempel Patrick with David Klassen inside the Steinbach Arts Centre

Barkman Hill gives her appreciation to Rempel Patrick - “I just want to say how deeply thankful we are for the creativity, dedication, passion for the arts, charismatic smile, and energetic drive she brought to the SAC. She will be greatly missed. It is with gratitude and profound appreciation that the Board of Directors, management, and staff of the Arts Council wish Ms. Rempel Patrick all the best in the opportunities she chooses to pursue in the future."