The CCT Team

Woravit 'Wad' Rattanakit, Executive Director, Cultural Canvas Thailand

My dedication to volunteerism is rooted in my upbringing. My mother worked with impoverished, rural children in Northern Thailand. At the time I did not understand why she would choose to work in such dire conditions. As I have gotten older (and wiser) I realize the significance of helping others. My mother was personally rewarded by being a catalyst for change and believing that her students could rise above their socio-economic conditions. I, too, have found a passion and personal commitment to improving the lives of others through volunteerism.

In college I majored in English communication in order to be able to communicate and connect with people from other cultures. Communication is essential for being able to understand where other people are coming from and making a difference. However, it takes more than language or job skills to make a difference, you must also possess passion. I am very interested in a range of social and environmental issues, and after University I took the skills I gained and the interest I developed and went to volunteer teaching children in China.

Now, I spend my time working with many groups in Northern Thailand.  By connecting with people here, I am constantly expanding my idea of a global society. As the Executive Director of Cultural Canvas Thailand, I enjoy my unique role of introducing you the volunteer, to the people, organizations, and many facets of Thai culture. I know that you will have an unforgettable experience connecting with the people here and learning about Chiang Mai.


Emma Gabriel, Art Director, Art Relief International

Hello, my name is Emma Gabriel and I am the new Art Director for Cultural Canvas Thailand's Art Relief program. I come from Newfoundland, a small island in Eastern Canada and am happy to call Chiang Mai my new home.

Making the decision to move here has been exciting, as I love to travel and adapt to new settings, learn new cultures, and meet new people!

I have a background in languages and visual art focusing on an array of media throughout my studies, though my favourite being stained glass and pen and ink drawing. I also love experimenting with new media and have a current fascination with street art, stencils and spray paint.

The other aspect of this position that I love is the ability to help people in using art as therapy. It feels so amazing to create a sense of inclusion and community and to empower, inspire, and educate through art.

I also believe that being a member of a team creates a solid unity between everyone who is working together to achieve positive outcomes. I couldn't be happier to be part of this environment.


Shellie Palmer, Assistant Director, Cultural Canvas Thailand

As a strong lover of all things cultural, creative, and human-rights-based, I am absolutely thrilled to be the Assistant Director of Cultural Canvas Thailand. I come from the sunny state of Arizona, where I began my extensive experience in volunteer work whether that was leading youth groups and worship teams at my home church, directing choirs, or teaching music and dance to children.

I am a classically trained singer with a significant background in dance, music, and drama. In 2014 I completed a Bachelor of Global Studies with an emphasis on cultures, literatures, film, and the arts, and then jumped into a career as a human rights advocate.

Throughout my studies, world travels, and internships, I developed a longing to spend my life working toward the empowerment of refugees and ethnic minorities, and the restoration of the lives and cultures that have endured injustice. I truly value the ability of all people to live in peace and freedom, and I believe that the arts have the capability of breaking chains and bringing light into the lives of people who need it most. For this reason, I was so drawn to the work of CCT and Art Relief International. I served as CCT’s first Theatre Outreach Intern for six months in 2015 and 2016, and the experience was beyond anything I could have imagined. I was ecstatic to return and continue to serve the community in a meaningful way.

I dream of one day earning a certificate in Ethnomusicology, as well as a Master’s in Expressive Arts in Conflict Transformation and Peace building. Until that day, I am overjoyed to call Thailand my home.


Piangta (Pepo) Leepatanakun, Coordinator, Art Relief International

It has always been a dream in my life to work for a non-profit organization.

My home town is Hang-Dong city in the Chiang Mai province, Thailand.  When I was young, there were many organizations that always came to do many things for us such as built the church, library, give us some clothes and so on. At that time, I hoped that one day I would work with a non-profit organization and now my dream has come true. I am the Volunteer Coordinator for Art Relief International.

I graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from Phayao University.  Phayao is a peaceful province in the northern part of Thailand, about a 3 hour drive from Chiang Mai. After I graduated I came back to live in Chiang Mai because I want to stay near my home town to take care of my parents.

I have previously worked as a receptionist at Sri-Pat Guest House, Chiang Mai. While working there I got good news from my teacher in primary school, she told me about this job with Art Relief International.  I decided that this was a good chance to follow my dream and improve my English skills.  The most important thing is that I can learn to do things which I never could do before. I have a great chance to learn about life, meet new friends, and a lot more about the world than I would ever before.

I am very proud to work for this Non Profit Organization and work with various volunteers from all over the world.  In my opinion, it is a great experience for everyone to, one time in their life, join us at Cultural Canvas Thailand and Art Relief International in Chiang Mai, Thailand.