Regina, Treaty 4: John
I don’t remember the exact moment i met John Loeppky, but Ill always be extremely glad I did. John is someone who I will always admire because of his incredible work ethic. He is one of the hardest working people I know. He and I once worked on a show called Neither Heroes Nor Ordinary People where I stage managed and he was one of the performers, writers, producers, and probably other roles. When he wasn’t in rehearsal, he was tiredly working away on admin work for the show. He is one of those people who will work and work until the job is done... and get it done very well. I would work with him again any day, in a heart beat.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
I am the artistic associate director of Listen to Dis’ Community Arts Organization Inc. We are a disability-led disability arts organization that equips and enables people with disabilities to participate in art to better their life, their health, their career, and their community through inclusive art. I am also the editor-in-chief of the carillon, the University of Regina’s student newspaper. I also do freelance writing and am dabbling in graphic design and illustration. I have my fingers in a lot of pies, as the saying goes
KC: What is your day job? What do you like about it? What's challenging?
As an associate artistic director, I love being able to better our community through art. It means a lot to be able to see such fulfilling projects from beginning to end. There are inherent challenges in the non-profit sector, but I think being able to collaborate with amazing artists inside and out of the organization fulfills me in a way that no other job ever has. All credit goes to our artistic director, Traci Foster, for not only hiring me, but steering this amazing organization from its beginnings to where it is now.
KC: What is important to you?
Waking up every day in a world that is brimming with creative promise. Also, starting the day with coffee, a chat with my fiance, a walk with my two dogs, the simple things. I have come to value my health over the last year or so in a much deeper way and so, for me, it’s being able to do what I want to do, rather than having my body dictate what I can do.
KC: What do you like most, and least, about Regina?
I love the sense of community in this town. Some of the most kind-hearted, creative, selfless individuals I’ve ever met call Regina home. The bad? The system racism that hovers over this place like the darkest of clouds, the close-mindedness to others’ life experiences that can be some people’s first
impulse. But, that’s why I make art: to challenge what is expected and what is shown of varied lived experiences and perspectives. To create change through art is the most beautiful privilege and, in part, I owe this little city and its people for that.
KC: What is your impression of Saskatoon?
Well, I went to high school a proverbial stone’s throw away in Martensville. Saskatoon, at least in my memory, is boisterous, active, creative, industrial, and loves its beauty.
KC: If the best of all possible worlds was reality....
Discrimination wouldn’t exist because we would all value each other as people of the world as opposed to a set of labels to be sorted correctly.
KC: How has your identity helped you and/or hindered you?
As a disabled person, I would not be the person I am today without my specific brain damage -- I have cerebral palsy and have had since birth. If I would have been born “normal” -- which, by the way, is only a setting on a dryer -- I would not have gotten to travel the world to play sports, I would not have gotten to play wheelchair basketball and rugby for Canada, I would not have a trophy case full of sports medals, I wouldn’t be writing, reading, or creating as I am right now. Sure, I’ve missed out on some things, but I think walking like everyone else is overrated anyway. I’m aware of my ability to stand up, to walk, to be perceived as capable, but I’m not ever here to throw a pity party just because I wheel rather than run.
KC: How would you like to die?
With an entertaining obituary to read.