Meet the Board: Holly Rawlins

Photo: Chelle Wootten Photography

Holly Rawlins | SAM Board Director

Holly Rawlins (she/her) is a public relations and communications professional in Halifax, Nova Scotia with an extensive performing arts background. She is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Theatre Acting Program and was the recipient of the Tommy Sexton Memorial Triple Threat Award. As an actor and a choreographer, she has worked on many local productions including shows with Villains Theatre and Lions Den Theatre and has performed in Halifax Fringe and film productions. A professional highland dancer, Holly has performed internationally with the Wonju Tattoo in South Korea, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and with DRUM!. She is a co-founder of Change of Step Highland Dance Company and has danced in many festivals and events locally and nationally including Celtic Colours International Festival. Holly is a communicator in the education industry with a focus on social media management. She was publicist for Gaelic short film “Slighe Agnais – A Journey for Agnes” and co-produced the Gaelic Storytellers Film Festival in 2019.

How did you come to be connected with SAM?

I discovered SAM a few years ago when I was seeking grants for an upcoming performance project. I learned more about SAM through the website and found the Lyle Tilley Davidson Funding Calendar very helpful. I also enjoyed staying up to date and connected by subscribing to the SAM newsletter. I was honored to become more involved with the organization when I joined the Board of Directors in 2018. 

What has been your favourite arts/culture experience?

One of my most treasured experiences was early on in my professional performing career when I performed during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. It was an exhilarating experience to do what I love in front of an energetic audience of over 8,000 people nightly. I carry the memories of the experience closely with me and apply what I’ve learned to a lot of what I do today.

Holly Rawlins performing in DRUM! | Photo: Tina Comeau

What is your favourite SAM memory?

I enjoyed working with the SAM team to develop a new strategy and design for the SAM website. This work included improving user experience for artists and consultants looking to SAM for services and information. One of the outcomes of the project was the SAM Blog, which offers stories, information and helpful tips.  

Why do you feel the arts are important to society?

The arts are such a key method of expression and connection for artists and audiences. The human collective is so much stronger when we have shared experiences, and the arts provide us with so many beautiful opportunities to do that. The arts open our eyes and our hearts to new ideas and perspectives and ask us to reflect on our own lives. Personally, I have discovered so much about who I am and what I can achieve because of the rich experience of being involved in the arts. 

What are your hopes for SAM’s future?

I hope SAM continues to find ways to open even more doors of opportunities for artists. By creating more access pathways, SAM will help more artists reach their goals sooner. 

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