2004 – Present
Kicking Horse Culture/Golden District Arts Council, Golden, B.C.
As volunteer Chair and now Executive & Artistic Director, worked strategically with the Board, local government, and community partners to transform and develop the organizational capacity, programming, and reputation of this 53 year old community arts council.
2002 – Present - Golden, BC
02/2000 - 10/2002 - Toronto, ON
Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Culture & Recreation (MCzCR)
Served as Ministry consultant to 9 southern Ontario communities, developing and implementing community initiatives celebrating International Year of the Volunteer
Toronto Arts Council, Toronto
Proposed, designed and implemented a business strategy for the development of a branded cultural tourism, arts advocacy campaign for the City of Toronto. Funded by MCzCR and the Toronto Arts Council Foundation.
Centre in the Square (Kitchener Waterloo), River Run Centre (Guelph)
Devised the business model, created the name and brand for a multi-partnered student ticket discount program entitled eyeGO To The Arts. Instrumental in start-up resourcing of private and public sector revenue streams. The brand is now utilized by dozens of theatres across Canada. www.eyeGO.org
CCI Ontario Presenters Network
Consulted to strategically plan and write a transformational strategy for this provincial arts service organization.
02/1997 – 01/2000
Ontario Arts Council, Toronto - Market Developer Officer
Inaugurated this entrepreneurial position with the mandate to expand the dissemination of the work of Ontario artists and cultural industries, both at home and around the world. Pro-actively developed connections with public and private sector colleagues to identify gaps/needs and developed appropriate resources, strategies and opportunities to fill these needs. Duties also included tactically revamping and producing OAC’s Ontario Contact annual performing arts conference. Granting and professional development officer for Ontario's performing arts community presenters. Seconded as an arts consultant to the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership (Ministry of Tourism) to help develop and support a variety of cultural tourism initiatives.
1981 – 2002
Bam Boom Productions, Toronto Founder, Managing Partner
Production company for personal creative projects and freelance contracts in record production, film & television, and theatre.
1981 – 1990
The Best For Kids Inc., Toronto Founder, CEO
Established and guided the company to becoming the leading independent children’s recording and artist management company in North America. Founded as a Limited Partnership with 4 records, the company grew to a staff of 12 that produced and distributed a catalogue of 44 masters and booked and toured some of North America’s leading young audience artists. The assets were sold in 1990 to the multi-national Golden Books. Spearheaded all matters of business development and day-to-day management including artistic direction, new ventures, branding, contract negotiations, HR, promotional writing, distribution, and sales. Kids’ Entertainment was the first agency of its kind to represent and book touring artists for young audiences and will soon celebrate its 30th anniversary.
1980 – 1983
Troupers Entertainment Inc., Toronto Co-Founder, Artistic Director
Conceived the family television variety show called Troupers. Formed a partnership with Oscar-winning Atlantis Films (Alliance Atlantis) to co-produce, write and direct 26 half-hour TV episodes of performances by Canadian touring artists.
1977 – 1980
Elephant Records Inc., Toronto Co-Founder, Managing Partner
Formed a Limited Partnership with Sharon, Lois & Bram to finance and produce the record One Elephant Deux Eléfants. Over the next four years, developed a company and artistic product that has become the foundation of a 40-year career for the trio. Worked collectively on all matters of day-to-day business including strategic planning, artistic direction, touring, contracts, promotional writing, marketing, licensing and distribution, staff administration. Arranger, performer, and producer of the first four SL&B albums.
CBC Radio, Canada, USA, UK Freelance Producer, Radio Host
Created, researched, produced and hosted more than 60 radio documentaries, ranging in length from 15 minutes to 2 hours for a variety of CBC shows including Peter Gzowski on FM, The Entertainers, Sylvia Tyson’s Touch the Earth, On Tour with Bruce Cockburn and the public affairs program Concern.
Mariposa Folk Festival, Toronto Performer, Producer, Editor
Volunteer activities evolved into contracts to create two compilation record albums (1975; 1976) and the book For What Time I Am In This World published by Peter Martin & Associates (1977)
1965 - Present
Freelance Musician, Actor and Record Producer -- Toronto/Golden
Bill Usher is a senior artist and cultural worker who moved from Toronto to Golden, BC in 2002. Throughout a 50+ year career as a musician, writer, performer and producer, Bill has received numerous awards including Gold & Platinum Records and three Juno Awards.
As a cultural worker, Bill has produced dozens of record albums, CBC Radio documentaries, and television shows. He's the co-author of two books and the writer / producer / performer of three plays. As a musician, he has performed and recorded with a who’s who of Canadian and American artists including Bruce Cockburn, Ronnie Hawkins, Stan Rogers, Willie P. Bennett, Sharon, Lois & Bram and Big Bird & Oscar the Grouch!
Bill has remained entrepreneurially active in the cultural industries working in both the private sector as the co-founder and managing owner of two record companies, the television series Troupers, and in the public sector as a strategic development officer at the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Ministry of Culture (Ontario). Bill has served on the boards of the HR Council of Canada (Ottawa), ArtStarts in Schools (Vancouver), the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance (Nelson) and the BC Arts Council (Victoria).
Since 2004, Bill has worked as the change agent for Golden District Arts Council aka Kicking Horse Culture to grow the Society from 35 Members and $50K in revenues to 700 Members and $530K and, in so doing, achieve two long-held community dreams: the creation of the Art Gallery of Golden and the $3.3m restoration of the Golden Civic Centre as Golden’s dedicated performing arts centre. Currently, as Executive & Artistic Director of KHC, Bill, his staff, and volunteers produce about four dozen community arts events annually.
In recognition for the role he has played in transforming Golden’s cultural life, Bill was awarded the Community Development Champion award by the Town of Golden in 2012. Bill was also awarded the distinction of Presenter of the Year by the BC Touring Council in 2014. ArtsBC named Bill Artistic Director for Creative Thinking in 2016.
In 2023, Bill announced his intention to retire from KHC and go back out on the road performing again. Link here. Bill Usher & The SpaceHeaters will be on tour to theatres in January and October 2024.
Link to Bill’s résumé here.
Copyright © 2018 Bill Usher - All Rights Reserved.