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'meet me in the middle'

a Vancouver Island arts ecosystem podcast 

Meet Me in the Middle is a podcast about art, marketing and everything in between. Hosted by Illana Hester, Meet Me in the Middle is an ongoing series of stories about the artists, arts administrators and rabble-rousers who make up Vancouver Island’s arts ecosystem.

Meet Me in the Middle

episode 10: Kathy Harder

This episode features artist Kathy Harder, in conversation with Illana Hester. Kathy is a self-taught artist, based in Port McNeill. Working in pastels, watercolors, and acrylic paints, her art practice finds inspiration from her west coast landscape surroundings. In this podcast episode, Kathy and Illana discuss the need for resources in the north island, and the hurdles present in establishing yourself as an emerging artist.


Find Kathy at

episode 9: Nathalie Grice

In this episode of Meet Me in the Middle, Illana Hester talks with artist Denise Idle, about building creativity into everyday practices, embodying discomfort, and practicing vulnerability. Based in North Vancouver Island, in Port Alice, Denise has been an artist for over 30 years, creating works in mixed media. She shares her art and writing through her blog, which she has kept for 7 years.

Find Denise: @idledenise | |

episode 8: 

In episode 8 Illana Hester speaks with Nathalie Grice. Nathalie Grice is formerly an Ottawa-based artist (now in Port Hardy) whose sculptural works explore the lines between the natural and the artificial as a means to question prevalent contemporary cultural and social trends. 


Find Nathalie @NathalieGrice or 

episode 7: Moragh Eilish

In this episode Illana Hester speaks with Moragh Eilish. Moragh is a coastal multi-media artist, based on Hornby Island where she is currently practicing her tattoo work. She has a degree in printmaking with a graphic arts background. Check out Moragh at @MoraghEilish on Instagram.

episode 6: NYWN

In episode 6 Illana Hester speaks with NYWN, a multidisciplinary illustrator, muralist, and artist living on Denman Island. 

​In our next set of episodes, we speak with artists and creative professionals living and working on Hornby Island. Thank you to the Hornby Island Arts Council for connecting us to talented creators in the gulf islands. 

episode 5: Zsofin Sheehy

In episode 5 Illana Hester speaks with Zsofin Sheehy, a filmmaker and photographer from Hornby Island. 


​In our next set of episodes, we speak with artists and creative professionals living and working on Hornby Island. Thank you to the Hornby Island Arts Council for connecting us to talented creators in the gulf islands. 

episode 4: Jamin Zuroski

In episode 4 Illana Hester speaks with Jamin Zuroski, an award-winning artist, teacher and consultant. 


​Jamin talks about inspiring the next generation, building community and the balance of being a creative business owner.

episode 3: Anne Marie

In the third edition of Meet Me in the Middle, our host Illana Hester speaks with Anne Marie, a Cowichan-based weaver and fibre artist. They talk about weaving styles, mentorship, intergenerational learning and so much more. 

episode 2: Naas

This episode features Naas @Rain_Waterways of the Hesquiaht First Nation. Naas is in their second year at Emily Carr pursuing a degree in Critical + Cultural Practice. 


Illana and Naas talk about decolonization, the dilemma of the art market, Indigenous worldviews and so much more. 

episode 1: Tejas Collison

In this first edition Illana speaks with Tejas Collison a Haida carver and Victoria-based musician. Tejas has worked on countless public art projects including large-scale installations and totem poles.

Tejas brings lightness, depth, play and character to the first episode of Meet Me in the Middle. 

Anchor 2


Illana is the Executive Director of The Old School House Arts Centre (TOSH) in Qualicum Beach and co-chair of Creative Coast. 

She is very interested in the exploration of relationships within communities and the capacity to use digital tools to make processes easier and more accessible for artists, administrators and supporters of the arts. She is also striving to reduce silos, and to create holistic conversations about the arts throughout the region and beyond - she believes in a modality of co-creation and open source resource sharing, especially as a tool towards equitability in access to the arts. She is an art business coach and helps mentor artists to their professional best. Within her capacity as director of TOSH she is also a curator, an education programmer, and leads a team of four to make community programming epic.


She holds an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Queer Theory from UBC and a Masters degree from New York University in Visual Art Administration. She has been at TOSH for 2.5 years. Before TOSH she was working in the New York City contemporary art market, where she ran many different programs during her 12 years there. 

Meet Me in the Middle is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund.

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