Staff and Volunteers

The success of AX hinges on hard work and support from our local community

– we can offer great programming because we have great staff and volunteers. Our volunteers help in countless ways, but here are a few examples: 

  • Serve on committees
  • Help coordinate events
  • Greet gallery visitors
  • Promote arts and culture programming

Alison Murphy

Executive and Artistic Director

Alison Murphy has a deep and vested interest in the cultural sector as well as a strong sense of business and contemporary design. She graduated from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in 2004 with a diploma in fine craft, specializing in textiles, and for many years pursued a career as a professional crafts person. Alison then returned to school and completed a Management Degree at the University of New Brunswick while, at the same time, maintaining her studio practice. From 2014 to 2023 Alison was the Executive Director of Craft NB (The New Brunswick Crafts Council). In recent years Alison has presented at National conferences, led educational missions to SOFA Chicago and Collect UK, attended the American Crafts Council conference, and delivered lectures on sustainability in the craft sector. Alison is excited to now be the Executive and Artistic Director at AX, creating a lively and inclusive hub for culture in rural New Brunswick.  She continues to balance her role as an arts administrator with her ever evolving studio practice, which is currently focused on printmaking. You can find Alison’s work @joyfulcoyote

Melanie Mitton

fund development officer

Melanie grew up in Sussex, and after spending half of her life outside of New Brunswick, got tired of missing it and moved back a few years ago. A writer and photographer, she is very excited to be involved with AX and the arts scene back in her hometown.

Joelle Martin

Gallery Docent and boutique manager

Joëlle Martin is a visual artist living in New Brunswick, at the edge of Fundy National Park. Her studio is located in her lakeside lodge, nestled amongst ancestral orchards in the Acadian Forest, where she peacefully brings her artworks to life under the brand “Mon Pré” (My Meadow).  After working as a makeup artist for 15 years, she embarked on a new journey of expression and transitioned to the visual arts field. She currently uses watercolour as her main medium, combining antique paints with modern paints to depict flora, fauna and found objects, thus infusing history into her work. Curious and observant by default, she loves exploring nature’s rhythm and life cycle as the seasons change, searching for new subjects to discover and portray. Heavily inspired by ancient botany and bygone naturalists, her work brings about an intricately detailed, layered and vibrant aesthetic combined with a playful twist on realism. Joëlle is thrilled to join the AX team and step into her role as the new Docent and Boutique Manager. She is dedicated to enhancing the visitor experience, while also assuming the role of ambassador for the arts and culture within our region. She carries on working on her developing art practice and looks forward to embracing the inspiration that this position promises to bring.

Ashley Henwood

programing coordinator

Ashley Henwood is a local emerging artist whose inspiration comes from her rural NB homescape. The Programming Coordinator role aligns with both her artistic and professional interests by contributing to the enrichment of the rural arts communities of New Brunswick. Ashley is delighted to be a part of the AX, arts and culture centre of Sussex team. She looks forward to being immersed in the arts community and helping other artists shine, all while continuing to work on her own practice.

Emily Rioux

marketing, fundraising and special events coordinator

Emily Rioux is a marketing specialist, spin coach and jewellery artist hailing originally from Rothesay, New Brunswick. She has recently relocated from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Sussex, where she has taken on a permanent position as AX’s Marketing, Fundraising and Special Events Coordinator. Emily’s personal practice as a jeweller leans more to the conceptual side of wearable jewellery, creating pieces that bend beyond traditional jewellery, and explore the human figure. Emily has been running all of AX’s marketing since early 2023 and is happy to get to be physically present moving forward, and connect more with the local community.

Charles Barkely

Pawject Coordinator

Charles Barkely takes his role as Pawject Manager quite seriously. He is all business when it comes to his duties. His responsibilities include enforcing (petting) breaks in compliance with employment standards of NB, increasing workplace morale and setting a high standard for quality of work. He is satisfied with his compensation in the form of treats, cuddles and praises.

Our volunteer Board of Directors

Donna Floyd-Hanson


Donna graduated from UNB Saint John in 1999 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and obtained her CGA designation in 2002. Donna has worked in the accounting industry for more than 20 years, in both industry and public accounting, and in 2009, she opened an accounting firm of her own. Donna is actively involved in her community, currently serving on the Board of the Sussex Regional Library as well as past Chair and Treasurer of the Sussex Area Community Foundation Inc. When she’s not in the office, Donna loves baking and spending time with her husband Derrick as well as family and friends.

Mary Lea Stafford

past President

Mary Lea Stafford obtained a BA from Mount Allison University in 1975 with a major in history and a music minor, in 1976 a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, and in 1994 a Master of Education from UNB in Fredericton. Mary Lea retired from teaching in 2006 as the Principal of Sussex Elementary, having taught at elementary schools in Rothesay, Sussex Corner, Apohaqui and Sussex for 30 years. She is currently on the Board of the Sussex Public Library and is a former board member of the Sussex Area Community Foundation. Mary Lea is the choir director of St Paul’s United Church and chair of their Worship Committee, and is an active member of the Sussex Golf and Curling Club and Class Act.

Mark Webster

vice President and treasurer

Mark Webster graduated from Acadia University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. After successful careers in Sales (Midland Transport/Cavendish Farms, and the Paper Industry (Rolland Inc/Graphic Papers), Mark entered the investment business in 1991 where he spent the next 30 years working with clientele in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He sold his practice and retired from Scotia McLeod in 2021. Mark enjoys being active playing hockey and golf, and other general fitness activities and has enjoyed a growing interest in both music and visual arts. A strong proponent of “giving back” and “paying it forward”, Mark has sat on a number of different boards/committees, including Sussex Area Community Foundation, St. Paul’s United Church and Sussex Golf and Curling Club.

Erin McKenna


Erin McKenna was fortunate to grow up in a small town that promoted the arts, St. Andrews, NB. In her formative years, Erin’s summers were filled with courses at Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre. This allowed her to try her hand at pottery, batik, weaving, and studies in pond life and along the seashore. Skip ahead a few decades and she was living in Winnipeg, volunteering with the Manitoba Crafts Council. It was here that she got “hooked” on rug hooking through one of the Guild workshops, and so for the past 30 years, she has been rug hooking, more or less consistently, as she raised her family and worked on the family farm.

Erin is a Board Member of the Hooked Rug Museum of North America and Curator of the New Brunswick Gallery. She is a member of the Nova Scotia Rug Hooking Guild, The National Guild of Pearl McGown Rug Hookrafters (U.S.A.), The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers and several other rug hooking organizations. Locally, she is a member of the Sussex Tearoom Rug Hookers and the Carnegie Rug Hookers in Saint John.

Peter Powning


Peter has been active in arts and culture organizations for more than forty years. His work has been exhibited on six continents and he has an active studio practice producing public art commissions and gallery exhibitions. Peter is a founding director of AX, was on the founding board and vice president of ArtsLink (Arts Association of New Brunswick) from 2008 – 2012, on the Advisory Council of the NB College of Craft and Design from 2011 – 2015, as well as the New Brunswick Arts Board as vice-chair 1990 – 1991 and the Premier’s Advisory Committee for the Arts, 1987 – 88.

Peter is the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for High Achievement in the Arts, in 2017, the 2006 Bronfman Governor General’s Award, and an honorary doctorate from UNB in 2014.

Sloane Ryan


Before joining the AX staff in late 2017 as an Administrative Assistant and Gallery Docent, Sloane attended StFX University where she served as the president of X Pride, a student-led LGBTQ+ advocacy society. Now in Sussex full-time, Sloane works as a brewer at the local microbrewery Sussex Ale Works continues to participate as a member of the AX Creative Writing Group and serves as a board member for the Sussex Downtown Business Association.

Heather McCaig


Heather McCaig is a flameworked glass artist from Ontario, who now lives near Sussex, New Brunswick. In 2019 she transitioned from her production glass line to creating one of a kind fine craft. Heather has received a scholarship to the Pittsburgh Glass Center in the United States and generous support from the New Brunswick Arts Board. In August of 2021, Heather displayed her gallery series titled Shadows, a statement about Canada’s threatened ecosystems and the climate crisis at AX: The Arts and Culture Centre of Sussex. This exhibition was selected by Canadian Heritage and the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture to represent New Brunswick at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany. Heather’s upcoming solo exhibition Together we Bloom will be on display at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in November, 2022.

Emily O'Donnell


Emily O’Donnell has recently completed her post-secondary studies, graduating this year with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education from Université de Moncton. During her time at university, Emily was involved in many groups and associations on campus, as well as with organizations such as French for the Future and Canadian Parents for French. Having previously been a summer student and part-time employee at AX, she is excited to continue being involved in the arts community while beginning her career in education