about Justin Robin Grant.
Justin Grant was one of the most accomplished camera operators in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. For 20 years he worked on the popular CBC Television Comedy series 'This Hour has 22 Minutes.'
In March, 2014 Justin was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and had to leave his job, as he could no longer operate large cameras.
Although Justin eventually needed a wheelchair, he did not stop living life to the fullest. Justin never thought about what he could not do; he constantly moved forward, adjusting and improvising. Small cameras like GoPros opened up a new world for Justin. With support from his loving partner, filmmaker Rachel Bower, he was able to follow his passion - operating cameras and creating videos.
Justin passed away on July 12, 2015. JRG Society for the Arts is dedicated to his love of his craft and to his bravery in facing his destiny.
Thank you to CTV Atlantic and Jayson Baxter for this wonderful story. Watch here.
By donating to the JRG Society for the Arts, you can help bring beautiful works of art into the light and assist those who have a disability use their artistic pursuits to soar higher and farther.
Every amount donated goes towards grants for artists with disabilities. Donate here:
Rachel Bower, President
Rachel Bower is a documentary filmmaker who met camera operator Justin Grant in 2012 on a CBC television production shoot. Justin never let ALS ever make a dent in his love for life. Together Rachel and Justin made videos with small cameras. Justin spoke through his eye gaze, telling Rachel where to place the cameras to get the shot he desired. This way Justin was able to continue doing what he loved. Remembering the joy Justin radiated, and the desire to spread more of such unaffected joy into the universe through art forms – was the impetus for the JRG Society for the Arts.
Jennifer Powley, Vice-President
Author and activist Jen tries to live out what she believes: the most challenging part of her disability is in her head. Thankfully, Powley doesn’t experience a lot of pain and has been able to pursue her passions. Author of Just Jen: Thriving through Multiple Sclerosis, published by Roseway, Powley feels art is an excellent medium for personal expression.
Marilyn Pincock, Secretary
Marilyn Pincock lives in Halifax and is a volunteer with several organizations, including JRG. She is a retired business writer and still enjoys editing as a hobby. She also loves animals and supports a number of charities dealing with animal welfare.
Natasha MacLellan, Board Member
Natasha has been working in New Play Development in Atlantic Canada for almost 15 years. Her love of new scripts was fostered through Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre where she mentored with Jenny Munday and through years of working at Mulgrave Road Theatre in Guysborough, NS. From there she started Forerunner Playwrights Theatre, which produced new works in Halifax for a decade. As Artistic Producer of Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro, she has premiered eight new scripts, including Chasing Champions which played at Canada’s National Arts Centre in November 2018. She is honoured to have been twice named the protégé of nationally respected theatre artists: Jenny Munday, recipient of the inaugural Mallory Gilbert award and Mary Vingoe, recipient of the Portia White Prize. She also serves on the PACT Board, chairing the Network & Learning Committee and is a member of the Labour Relations Committee. In the fall of 2018,Natasha moved to Fredericton, NB to become the 13th Artistic Director of Theatre New Brunswick.
Jane Rogerson, Board Member
One of only a few “Thalidomide babies” born in the Maritimes, Jane has spent many years as a board member of TVAC, a group fighting for restitution, rights, and dignity for Canadian Thalidomiders. Not able to participate in many sports, Jane always found an outlet in the arts, whether it be dancing, painting, sketching, directing theatre, and in recent years, as a writer for stage and film. She is the artistic Director of a sketch comedy troupe, Off/Kilter Comedy and she considers her second home to be her beloved Sawmill Playhouse in Dartmouth.