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Meet Hub #3!

First meeting!

Hello Ottawa!

This is Hub Group 3 with the AOE Arts Council’s Young Arts Professional Hub (wow this is a mouthful) mentorship program! We had our first meeting on June 9th and we are excited to get this project underway along with our mentor, Erin Benjamin.

To get things started, we thought it might be useful to provide some quick introductions to our team just to show how diverse our artistic backgrounds are leading into this musical mentor-y escapade.

Ariane Bell Vila:


Ariane is a 24 year old vocalist, musician, and arts administrator, who often dabbles in other art forms. She was born in Wales, UK, and moved to Canada at the age of four. Her first singing performance was a talent show in elementary school, where she sang a series of Spanish lullabies with no accompaniment, one right after the other (she was super nervous). She started learning piano at a very young age, her first piano teacher being her mother who made sure that she practiced (because let’s be honest, she wouldn’t have otherwise). At age 10 she joined the Ottawa Catholic School Board Choir, and began taking solo voice lessons at age 11.

After taking part in many Kiwanis, NATS, and ORMTA competitions, musicals, and her high school’s Rhythm & Blues Band, Ariane eventually decided to pursue an undergrad degree in Voice, also earning minors in Physics and English. She graduated in June of 2015 from Laurier University with her Bachelor of Music in Voice and then took off to New Zealand for 9 months to do an internship behind the scenes at Vector Arena in Auckland.

After returning to Ottawa in September 2016 with a more developed interest in arts admin, Ariane began working for the AOE Arts Council, as well as teaching voice and piano on the weekends. Recently, she began volunteering with Girls+ Rock Ottawa as their Social Media Coordinator, and was thrilled to be able to volunteer at their first ever Rock Camp for Women+ as a keys and voice teacher. She is hoping to work towards combining her interests: creating performance platforms for all kinds of artists, creating her own musical material, and furthering her own study of healthy vocal techniques. Ariane is incredibly excited to be a part of this program and to learn all she can from her Hub!

Erin Pickering:


Erin is a 23 year old musician and arts administrator born in raised in London (no, not that London), where she took part in all things musical. A pianist and a cellist, she also sang in the Amabile Choirs of London which took her on a 2-week tour through Europe in 2009.  After wrestling with the choice of focusing on piano or cello as her primary instrument, Erin eventually decided on cello and pursued a Bachelor of Music Performance at Western University.  She just finished a Master of Music from the University of Ottawa, and could not be happier to have finished school and be out in the real world!

Upon moving to Ottawa, Erin became interested in the field of arts administration.  She became involved with various organizations to meet new people and learn more about the line of work.  After volunteering with the Young Arts Leaders Collective of the AOE Arts Council, the Ottawa Arts Council, and Ottawa Chamberfest, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in arts admin and make a difference in the Ottawa and Canadian arts community.

Currently working for Ottawa Chamberfest (tons of amazing concerts taking place July 22-August 4…#shamelessplug) as an Artistic Liaison, Erin is loving being “behind the scenes” of a large-scale music festival.  Erin is thrilled to be taking part in this mentorship program, and has already been inspired by mentor Erin Benjamin after the first meeting! She’s looking forward to working with Erin, Ariane, and Cody to explore the world of music and arts administration.

Cody Zulinski:

Cody is a 27 year old writer, actor, musician, director, and overall mixed-bag of fun. He began his journey at the ripe age of 16 where he first picked up an acoustic guitar. Discovering a love of songwriting, he moved to Ottawa for his undergrad at the University of Ottawa where he majored in English. He continued writing songs in his spare time as a passion and launched a mildly successful Youtube account which he later re-branded as “That Old Mixtape” (#shamelessplug).

Adding a minor in Theatre, he began to tread a whole new path, becoming involved with student government, Thespis, directing, and even re-branding the University’s Musical Theatre Society, “Broadway Off-Broadway” with a focus on weekly meetings where members could get together, learn a number in an evening, and have some fun (#shamelessplugnumber2: our version of the Lion King’s “Be Prepared” is currently sitting at over 83,000 hits on Youtube).

After his undergrad, Cody went on to receive his Bachelor of Education from Queens University in Intermediate/Senior Education and for the next three years, worked on writing and publishing his debut novel, “Saints of the Paradise Valley”. The book is now available online through Amazon or Kobo and in physical form at Chapters Pinecrest and Coles Bayshore (#finalshamelessplugIpromise).

Now, through this program, Cody hopes to return to the passion that started it all and finally put together a demo of songs for the world to enjoy as That Old Mixtape. He can’t wait to see where it all goes.


AOE Arts Council–This program is made possible by support from the Ontario 150 Partnership Program and is in partnership with the Cultural Human Resources Council. To find out more about the program, click here!

Thanks for sharing / Merci d’avoir partagé!

About The Author / À propos de l’auteur



This group is composed of mentees Cody Zulinski, Erin Pickering and Ariane Bell Vila and will be guided by Erin Benjamin, music specialist and Executive Director of Music Canada Live. Ce groupe est composé des mentorés Cody Zulinski, Erin Pickering and Ariane Bell Vila et sera guidé par Erin Benjamin, spécialiste en musique et Directrice Exécutif de Music Canada Live.

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