Ross Creek Artist Fellows are generally those who have a strong connection to Ross Creek through teaching,exhibiting or performing, and who also have a national and international context for their work.

Ross Creek Fellows
Literature – Ami McKay
Visual Arts – Rene Pierre Allain
Dance – Maria Osende
Environment – Soren Bondrup Neilson
Ballet – Robert McCollum (Ballet Bob)
Music – Mark Adam

Some news about fellows

Novellist and playwright Ami McKay has been on tour with her second novel, The Virgin Cure,  acclaimed by critics and readers alike.

Visual Artist Réné Pierre Allain recently had two shows in New York City and is currently exploring phototograhy of art along with his own practise.

Maria Osende’s Flamenco festival in Halifax brings together some of the top Flamenco artists in the world each February.

Ballet Bob continues to teach at Ross Creek along with the National Ballet School and Toronto Dance Theatre as well as designing movement for SoulPepper Theatre in Toronto.

Mark Adam plays concerts regularly throughout the Maritimes in conjunction with his teaching and mentorship at Acadia University and beyond.

Soren Bondrup-Nielsen is writing a new book while continuing to raise sheep with his wife Pia.


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Mark Adam – Music

Drummer/percussionist Mark Adam has made a versatile career across Canada and around the world. Receiving his Bachelor of Music  in Calgary and a Master’s  from U of Toronto, Mr. Adam’s career includes the Banff Center for the Arts, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, New Works Calgary Ensemble and more, along with extensive  jazz credits. As a modern dance composer and accompanist, Mark has worked with Peggy Baker at the National Ballet and Christopher House at the Company of Toronto Dance Theater among others. Based in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Mark shares his life with his best friend and wife Trina, their son Oliver and daughter, Avi Mae. He currently teaches full time at Acadia University, is director of the Acadia Summer Jazz Workshop and continues performing and recording.

Rene Pierre Allain – Visual Arts

Rene Pierre Allain is an internationally acclaimed painter, sculptor and photographer who divides his time between New York City and Canard, Nova Scotia. He has exhibited his work in Japan, across North America and has work in private, public and corporate collections around the world. An accomplished teacher as well, he has been in the faculty of the School for Visual Arts in Manhattan for many years and has had a career as an award-winning photojournalist. He has been on the selection panel at Ross Creek for new gallery exhibits and colony artists.

Soren Bondrup Neilson – Environment

Soren is a professor in the Biology Department at Acadia University where he teaches Introductory Biology, Ecology and Conservation Biology. His research interests are broad ranging from natural history of beetles and birds in forested and agricultural landscapes to population studies focusing on movement and dispersal of animals. He is passionate about the environment and is heavily involved with Science and Management of Protected Areas Association and the Academy for the Environment at Acadia University. He frequently leads interpretive nature walks. He is the author of Winter On Diamond (2004, Res Telluris), Winter Nature (2008, Gaspereau Press) and A sound like water dripping (2009, Gaspereau Press).

Soren advises us on conservation, trails, wildlife and ecology at the centre.

Robert McCollum – Ballet Master

Robert McCollum (Ballet Bob) trained in New York City and went on to dance professionally in both the US and Canada. Mr. McCollum is the coordinator of the Adult Ballet Program of the National Ballet School and also teaches for the Professional Program at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre and George Brown Theatre School as well as company class for the Toronto Dance Theatre. He has choreographed for professional theatre and opera, most recently with Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre. Robert has been teaching for DANS Summer Dance for nearly twenty years and is active in the on-going development of that program. He has also been a guest teacher at dance studios throughout the province. As such he has influenced of generation of dancers and dance teachers in Nova Scotia.

Ami McKay – Writing

Ami McKay was born and raised in rural Indiana. After an undergraduate degree in music education and graduate studies in musicology at Indiana State University, she moved to Chicago to teach music at an inner city high school for the arts. In 2000, McKay moved to Scots Bay, Nova Scotia (for the love of a good Canadian man). She began writing and producing documentaries for CBC Radio as well as other freelance assignments. McKay’s work has since aired on CBC Radio’s Maritime Magazine, This Morning, Outfront and The Sunday Edition. Her documentary Daughter of Family G won an Excellence in Journalism Medallion at the 2003 Atlantic Journalism Awards. 
 In 2003, she completed a first draft of The Birth House, her debut novel. Published as a selection of Knopf Canada’s prestigious New Face of Fiction program, The Birth House went on to be a #1 bestseller in Canada, the winner of three CBA Libris Awards, nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and a book club favourite around the world, as well as a finalist on Canada Reads. Her second novel, The Virgin Cure, is inspired by the life of her great-great-grandmother Dr. Sarah Fonda Mackintosh, a female physician in nineteenth-century New York, and has also become a critically-acclaimed bestseller.

Maria Osende – Dance

Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, Maria started dancing with Luis Fuente at age seven and later wtih Julia Estevez. At fifteen she became one of the youngest members of the National Ballet of Spain. Two years later a Fulbright scholarship takes her to the School of American Ballet in New York City. At nineteen she moves to Berlin, Germany, to dance with the Deutsche Oper Berlin Ballet where she remained for eight years as a soloist dancing a wide ranged repertoire of classical and contemporary dance. Maria then decided to leave the Deusche Oper Berlin to focus exclusively on Flamenco, which at the same time, brought her back to her Spanish origins. A power force of technique and artistry, Maria has been conquering audiences not only in Atlantic Canada, but previously in Europe. In September 2003 Maria moved to Nova Scotia (Canada) creating her flamenco company in 2004, opening her dance school in 2005 and starting the Fall for Flamenco, Halifax’s International Flamenco Festival in 2006, which has become one of the most popular hapenings in Halifax and the first flamenco festival of its kind in Canada.Maria has received the support of the Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture and Heritage as well as the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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