Meet the Faces Behind NFOTA: John Unruh

“My grandfather emigrated from Ukraine to Manitoba when he was just a young man, escaping the worst of the communist revolution. He was a bit of a story-teller himself. Maybe that’s where I got the bug.”

John Unruh

Writer and business editor John Unruh works diligently on NFOTA’s Website and Ticketing System.

John Unruh

Who you are?

I call myself a writer, and consider myself lucky to have found work for many years as a communications and documentation specialist in the field of civil engineering. But fiction is written in my heart, and I’m now taking some time to develop myself as a creative writer to see where that goes.

Why do you believe in the Northumberland Festival of the Arts?

I think it’s a basic truth that our ability to appreciate each other rests in the artful ways we communicate. Art drives empathy, respect and acceptance, often in ways that might not exist otherwise. NFOTA works hard to generate this conversation by providing opportunities for people from every walk of life to come together and share the things that make us human. It’s a great community, and I’m glad to be a part of it.

Any passions and talents you want to share?

My passion and my talent lie squarely in my love of language. In practical terms, this passion turned me into an experienced proposal and technical writer, and a decent business editor. People also tell me I’m easy to work with and I like to think this is a talent too. In a past life, I ran a small residential painting company for many years. I still enjoy this kind of work and am thinking of taking it up again. Painting a wall is a Zen-like experience for me—the creation of a clean slate for someone else to fill up and mark with life. People often find that surprising to hear.

What are your roots or groups – connections in the community?

I moved here over twenty years ago with my wife and our young son. We came to look after my wife’s dad, when he needed care, and ended up staying. We developed our careers in Cobourg, raised our son, found friendships and a very rewarding life. I still miss family and old friends back in Winnipeg and travel to see them when I can. I grew up in a tight community there—Mennonite. Some people find this interesting, because it’s not the usual Northumberland fare. My grandfather emigrated from Ukraine to Manitoba when he was just a young man, escaping the worst of the communist revolution. He was a bit of a story-teller himself. Maybe that’s where I got the bug.

What does “art” mean to you?

 To me, art is quite simply the substance of personal expression. And it is meant to be shared. This is where art finds its voice—in the sharing—and where it does all the magical things it is meant to do.

John Unruh

Northumberland Festival of the Arts will take place across Northumberland County from September 16 – October 2, 2022.

Northumberland Festival of the Arts is a volunteer-run not-for-profit arts organization.

To volunteer for NFOTA, please contact info@festivalofthearts.ca

To help support our events, please send your donation by Interac to fundraising@festivalofthearts.ca

2 Comments Add yours

  1. dmwauthor says:

    Thank you, John, for your tireless work.

  2. What an interesting, warm and personal post. Thanks for it! John, I love your perspective on art and the way it connects us as human beings. It’s our privilege to have you on the NFOTA team. Thank you.

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