Jung-Suk (JS) Ryu was appointed the founding President and CEO of the National accessArts Centre (NaAC) in November 2020, after serving as CEO of the organization formerly known as the Indefinite Arts Centre since 2017. Under his leadership, the NaAC has grown to become Canada’s largest disability arts organization, more than doubling in size and proactively showcasing Canadian artists with disabilities on the global stage.
In February 2021, he unveiled plans to construct North America’s first multidisciplinary accessible arts hub, beginning with the revitalization of the old Scouts Hall in central Calgary that will house the NaAC’s visual arts studios – made possible by a multimillion dollar investment form the City of Calgary. In 2023, the NaAC will begin plans to develop the Won Lee Community Arts Hub in Toronto, activating a $2.5 million gallery space that once belonged to the late Canadian sculptor Won Lee.
Prior to this appointment, JS held senior roles across a broad range of sectors including: Director, External Relations at The Banff Centre; Director, Public Affairs with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind; Senior Consultant with the Alberta Medical Association; and Principal Speechwriter to His Excellency Kaoru Ishikawa, Ambassador of Japan. His career began in federal politics, where he was a senior-level campaign director and political aide to one of Canada’s most prominent politicians.
In 2017, JS was named one of five fellows from Canada – one in 50 globally – to participate in the Salzburg Global Seminar’s Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. He was named one of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Magazine in 2019. In 2022, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. The same year, he was an invited delegate to the Banff Forum.
JS serves or has served on the following boards: US-based National Arts Strategies, the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, Family and Community Support Services – Rocky View County, the Banff Heritage Corporation, Creative Calgary, the Alberta Health Coalition, and the Canadian Mountain Arts Foundation.