Faces in the Crowd- Finding Her Own Path

Posted on July 21, 2016 under Faces in the Crowd with no comments yet

Amberlee Boulton


“I have been treated very well by the arts community in Antigonish, which allowed me to find and build space here.”

Meet Amberlee Boulton.

The daughter of an Anglican priest, Amberlee spent her formative years in Guelph, Ontario; the oldest of three children. The home was a very busy place and her father and mother were very much a team in matters of family and church.

She learned about “community” at an early age, as the church hall was the epicentre of much activity. And it was a forward-thinking, progressive church. In addition to hosting karate classes and a pre-school, it provided a welcoming host space for an LBGT congregation, “Rainbow Church”. It also celebrated the arts. In a show of respect, Sunday collections were done discretely with a basket placed at the back of the church so as not to expose those who couldn’t afford to give.

Her mother, the proclaimed “backbone” of the family, was diagnosed with cancer when Amberlee was 10, and this shaded her outlook on everything for years to come. She died three years later, but not before an epic family trip to Disney, much of the money for it having been raised by the community.

Amberlee discovered her love of music at an early age. She studied classical guitar and performed in Kiwanis festivals.

High school is chaotic at the best of times, but when your anchor is no longer around, things can surely go awry. Girl Guides provided some much needed structure in Amberlee’s life. In grade 9 she went on a Disney cruise, spent time in Nicaragua on a mission trip and travelled to London, England as one of a select group of Pathfinders.

In grade ten things started going off the rails, but thankfully her community of friends rallied around her. In Grade eleven she learned the basics of team building as she co-chaired Student Council.  One day she saw a friend sporting the iconic “X” ring.  Amberlee loved the East coast and wanted to go to University in Antigonish but opted for Waterloo, a little closer to home.

At one point in her educational journey she thought about becoming an Anglican priest, but she was becoming disillusioned with her own church on its lack of progress around issues important to her.

Antigonish continued to beckon, so she spent a period of time shuttling between that small Nova Scotia community and Ontario. Sandwiched in amongst these trips was an incredible visit to India, where she sat with monks, went on pilgrimages and witnessed poverty up close.

She ultimately decided that she need to be near the ocean and she now calls Antigonish home. She is fully engaged in the arts community as coordinator of the Antigonight Art After Dark festival. She has been supported by many local artists and wants to give something back to the community, especially to youth. She mentors the youth group, “Unicorn Vomit”, which celebrates contemporary art in Antigonish.

“One of my goals is to build resilience in young people through the arts” says Amberlee. Her organizational skills, artistic flair and genuine empathy make her an ideal candidate for the job.



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