Arts Umbrella

Arts Umbrella is a non-profit centre for arts education, where young artists ages 2–22 years old cultivate their creativity in Dance, Theatre, and Art and Design. Started in 1979 by 5 artists with 45 students, Arts Umbrella believes that when kids connect with the arts, they gain self-confidence, develop self-discipline, and discover creative expression—qualities they carry with them for life. With four locations in Vancouver and donor-funded programs at schools and community centres, Arts Umbrella reaches 24,000 students every year, with nearly 81% participating at little to no cost.

Photo By Renata Sinclair

John Singleton

In 1982, John Singleton founded SR with a vision to create a firm that shines for its expertise in construction and infrastructure law. John has acted as counsel in many precedent-setting cases and is consistently recognized as a leader in the construction legal field. An arts lover and collector, John has been involved with Arts Umbrella for over 35 years, first as a donor, then as a Board member and advisor, and now as a special advisor on the Building Committee as legal advisor of the construction of Arts Umbrella’s new home at 1400 Johnston Street, in the iconic South Building of the former Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Alongside his wife, Brenda Mendieta, John is an avid participant in Splash, Arts Umbrella’s annual art auction and gala, as well as the Nicola Wealth Invitational, one of Vancouver’s premier charity golf tournaments, with all proceeds supporting equitable access to arts education for young people.

“It is so important to have individuals such as John involved in Arts Umbrella. His integrity, incredible advice and support, and of course his delightful sense of humour, continues to help set the course for the continued success of the organization. He is indeed an inspiration and a true friend.”

— Carol Henriquez, O.C., Co-Founder and Honorary Chair

Photo By Connor McCracken

Inspiring Volunteer Award

Arts Umbrella launched the Inspiring Creativity for Good Awards in 2018 to recognize and celebrate an extraordinary community of supporters. Most recently, John was presented with the Inspiring Volunteer Award. Arts Umbrella recognized John as a long-serving volunteer, a champion of the organization, and, more recently as a member of the Building Committee for the capital campaign, the New Limitless.

Sandcastle Theatrics

When Arts Umbrella was asked for a memory of John’s contribution to organization, they recalled an early encounter with John in 1991. Arts Umbrella was hosting their inaugural Sandcastle Competition, a fundraising initiative with more than 30 teams competing. Arts Umbrella’s Board of Directors asked John to judge the competition. The entire Arts Umbrella team (and everyone at the event) was delighted when John and his business partner turned up in full formal courtroom attire complete with long white wigs and flowing majestic robes! He proceeded — to everyone’s pleasure — to regale the crowd. Everyone at Arts Umbrella was smitten by this brilliant, wise, generous, and fun-filled man. And so, they asked him to join the Board of Directors.

Arts Appreciation

Arts Umbrella believes John to be a wise and thoughtful voice and a legal champion of the organization, regularly dedicating his own time and expertise to the benefit of this leading arts education facility. And, an appreciation of the arts must run in John’s DNA, as he was also President and served on the Board of Directors of the Edmonton Symphony for a number of years.