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Whistler BizBeat: Elyse Feaver of the Audain Art Museum

Pique’s new series profiling local businesses and their employees who go above and beyond
The Audain Art Museum's engagement and volunteer manager, Elyse Feaver.

Welcome to BizBeat, Pique’s newest web series profiling Whistler businesses and their employees who go above and beyond.

Each week, we will profile another resort employer and one of their staff, who have each agreed to answer the same questionnaire that has been sent to businesses and employees across the community.

After yesterday's BizBeat entry profiling the Audain Art Museum, we talk with star employee, Elyse Feaver. 

The following interview has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.

Pique: Tell us about yourself and how you landed in Whistler.

I am a teacher, author, and outdoor enthusiast. My husband and I were attracted to Whistler for the mountains and world-class facilities, but only considered living here full-time because of a real estate opportunity. 

Describe your current job and what you do at the company.

My role at the Audain Art Museum is engagement and volunteer manager. This is a multi-faceted position, as I work with students in an educational setting while designing programs and workshops featuring artists from our collection or special exhibitions. While activating public engagement initiatives and events, another important part of my job is to coordinate and train our dynamic volunteer group of docents, insuring that they have the necessary knowledge and information to be the voice of the permanent collection and special exhibitions.  

What do you like best about the job?

The thing I like most about my job is working in a collaborative environment where we are able to bring world-class exhibitions to the people and visitors of Whistler. Being able to celebrate the arts with students is a highlight for me because I get to see the look on their faces as they walk up the bridge into this spectacular building and have conversations about the history and context of the collection.

What is your housing situation? How did you find it?

My husband and I live in a house that we built, after flying out from Toronto to see a piece of land that my friend had mentioned was for sale. Shortly afterwards, we set to work building our house.

How do you try to strike a healthy work-life balance in Whistler?

I like to get outside as much as I can. Sometimes that can look like a lunch-time lap up the mountain or a hike after work. Being outside on a nice day is the most luxurious thing I can think of, so I make a priority of planning excursions.

If you were mayor for a day, what single policy would you implement in Whistler to best support local workers?

If I were the mayor for the day, I would approve the zoning and development of additional staff housing up around Blackcomb Base II, with a parkade structure. Having staff housing within walking distance of the workplace would alleviate the stress of housing shortages, and allow employees affordable and accessible living solutions.

What’s a memorable moment or customer from your time on the job?

A memorable moment at the museum was when Dempsey Bob’s exhibition had just opened, and carvers from around the world came to Whistler to see his life’s work. The Maori sang and chanted as they walked up the bridge to the museum and Xwalacktun greeted the group with a welcome song. A black bear observed from a safe distance away, and the combination of the songs and international artists coming together in celebration made for a surreal day. 

Any advice for young people trying to make it in Whistler?

I’ve found that the support in this community is quite strong. If you are struggling, there are resources and support systems in place to ask for help. And also, don’t forget why you moved to Whistler. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world: find your niche within it.

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Got a business or employee you'd like us to profile? Email reporter Brandon Barrett at [email protected]