INNOVATION & RESILIENCE
IN CANADA’S CULTURAL SECTOR

Michelle Greenwell - Artists, Cape Breton Partnership - Organization

Mabou, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia Project: The Creative Sector Education for Cape Breton-Unama’ki
Discipline(s): dance

To create arts based initiatives to provide outreach to the community of Cape Breton Island - Unama'ki. The initiative provided full time employment for artists to create and offer workshops and programs during the pandemic restrictions. For Michelle's outreach she was involved in creating dance programs for children, parents, teachers, and adults. With no facilities available for most of the year of the program she expanded her outreach in a global initiative partnering with other groups and providing online outreach. She is one of many artists brought into the program for either Arts Education or for a Legacy Project.

Special impacts:

This program was the first opportunity Michelle had in over three decades of teaching dance and offering programs that she was paid to create. The opportunity to do targeted studying for the project, engage in workshops with others to develop skills and then to build programming was something that has not been possible in a dance studio setting where the delivery of a specific program is always striving to meet the needs of the community, parents or dancers. With this program Michelle was able to focus her attention to where her passion for dance could take her and the kinds of programs she could develop without teaching being at the forefront. Michelle offered recorded videos on selected topics which could be found on Youtube - Michelle Greenwell - under the Dance Yintegration playlist titled "ExtravDansa". She also recorded the story of one ethnochoreoartist who contracted Covid and almost died. His experiences and reflections are archived for a future project. She created a podcast "Be Well with Michelle Greenwell" and began conversations in wellness and community including wellness tips and dance ideas. Further she expanded her outreach of dance and wellness curriculum through a few in-person pilot projects while it was possible to gather. This was a restricted program because of Covid restrictions. Michelle then found a voice with the Choose Love Movement which offers FREE Social and Emotional Learning for children, families, communities, sports and more. There was no dance instruction happening, and none that could combine the wellness tools through dance and Tai Chi, the skills that Michelle excels in. These programs are in development and are currently being premiered with the Choose Love Movement's Month of Fun outreach.
Throughout the year, Michelle has strived endlessly to create a voice for wellness opportunities and how to use movement to support the self-care wellbeing practice needed to thrive during the pandemic and what will be needed beyond the pandemic. She has produced countless videos and wellness sessions online and through zoom and has archived as much as possible on her Youtube channel as well as through the Canadian Association of BioEnergetic Wellness which is another platform that she works with to do community outreach - her focus is always on movement for wellness and keeps this in focus for her postings.

Source: Survey

Link to website

The Academy

Montreal, Quebec Project: C-19
Discipline(s): dance, arts education

The Academy developed online, interactive dance class options for kids, teens and adults in a program called C-19.

Source: Canadian Network for Arts and Learning

Link to website

Dancemakers

Toronto, Ontario Project: Liveness Residency: Pushing the medium of livestream
Discipline(s): dance

Residency about creating for the medium of livestreaming. Collaborators Immony Men, Heidi Strauss & Dedra McDermott

Source: Research

Link to website

City of Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge, British Columbia Project: Happenings Outdoor Performances and Movies in Parks
Discipline(s): dance, festivals, music

With the COVID-19 restrictions and the cancellation of events with over 50 people, we decided to re-imagine our great outdoor parks and recreation spaces within the BC Province’s public health guidelines and provide a safe but small scaled experience for residents, families and seniors during the summer 2020 and this year. It cannot replace the full experience of large festivals but provide some options for people over the summer as a weekly program series.

One of the main reasons we implemented this program was to provide some entertainment and enjoyment for citizens within the health guidelines as there were limited or no options available. Also, it helped to bring some vibrancy to the Town Centre and local businesses which were impacted during the pandemic. We shared our learning and the infrastructure needed to operate safely in this new environment with our community partners and helped them to create their own with support from us.

Special impacts:

We are always looking for ways to support our community partners who, under normal circumstances, would have been presenting their festivals to the community – many identified artists for our lineup. These artists had gigs to make up for events previously cancelled. For the artists, Happenings and our modified signature events were the only live performances they had for the year. In addition, it also encourages positive activities and use of our popular parks and provides in-direct support for businesses in the downtown.

The program was popular and fully subscribed as it allowed people to get out safely and experience something live but small scale and controlled. Attendees were very appreciative and it contributed to more positive mental health and raised community spirit. A number of municipalities across Metro Vancouver and Canada have indicated that Maple Ridge is one of the few to offer some live outdoor performances and opportunities in 2020 and into 2021. These learning helped us to produce some of the larger (maximum) outdoor festivals in the fall/winter. There was no playbook on how to do this. We were all, truly in this together. We learned and adapted on the fly and grateful that BC's situation was better than other provinces and our corporate management team and Council supported us to continue our work to deliver programs safely in person mainly and some online.

This experience helped us to look at programming and plans for fall, winter and 2021. We transitioned to larger outdoor drive thrus that allowed families, grandparents and pets in the same bubble to attend in their vehicles. Some of these experiments/pilots will continue as audiences really liked the new formats. Although there are large blow up screens for movies pre-Covid, we repurposed the wall of the Curling Club as a screen, 34'x18'! The Curling Club will also use this screen in future to project their big games.

Source: Survey

Link to website

On Stage Dance Studio

Stratford, Ontario Project: Virtual Dance Recital
Discipline(s): dance, arts education

On Stage created a virtual dance recital, with dancers learning routines at home and sending in videos.

Source: Canadian Network for Arts and Learning

Link to website

Fredericton Playhouse

Fredericton, New Brunswick Project: InterMISSION Residency Program: Respond first, finetune later
Discipline(s): dance, media arts, music, theatre, multidisciplinary

During COVID, we took the extended closure of the Fredericton Playhouse as an opportunity to collaborate with artists to develop and celebrate our local arts community. We adapted to the restrictions in mass gatherings by designing and executing InterMISSION (https://www.theplayhouse.ca/intermission/), a highly successful program of artistic residencies that allowed local performing artists to work and hone their craft, without audiences, in the Playhouse. Sixty-five artists, mentors, and videographers were paid to use our stage, equipment, and expertise in a series of twelve theatre, music, dance, and other creative residencies between September 2020 and March 2021.

Thanks to funding from the City of Fredericton, the Province of New Brunswick, the Fredericton Community Foundation, the government of Canada, and more than 75 private donors, InterMISSION provided much-needed financial assistance and a creative outlet for local performing artists and experts while their careers were on hold.

Special impacts:

InterMISSION was a resounding success. Our resident artists have been incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with our superbly experienced sound and lighting technical team, in our professional facility, with expert training from mentors with whom many of them have long sought to work. By supporting the artistic community in Fredericton and across New Brunswick during a time when most artists were out of work, this program created a positive social impact in our community by improving the mental health and quality of human life for not only the program participants but also the people who will share in the magic of their inspirational performances in the months and years to come. We aim to continue this program in future years and expand the engagement the Playhouse has with the artistic community in our region.

Source: Survey

Link to website

Nicole Bauberger

Whitehorse, Yukon Project: Dalton Trail Trail Gallery
Discipline(s): dance, museums and galleries, music, reading, writing, publishing, theatre, visual arts, multidisciplinary

From March 2020 on, Whitehorse (Yukon Territory) based multi-disciplinary artist Nicole Bauberger created the Dalton Trail Trail Gallery using disregarded brush along the path just off her backyard as gallery spaces. Motivated by the constraints imposed by the pandemic, the Dalton Trail Trail Gallery opened the day after art galleries and the city’s other cultural spaces closed due to COVID-19. Since then, the ‘gallery’ has provided safe and accessible opportunities for diverse audiences, including casual unsuspecting folks just walking by (e.g., cyclists and moms with strollers) and intentional show goers (e.g., the city’s arts and culture audience hungry to attend a live show).

Special impacts:

The story is impactful and innovative in part because of the manner in which Nicole pivoted almost immediately following the closure of typical exhibit and performance space. She saw a way to provide a space where folks could go to safely experience art and performance, and enjoy the company of other audience members, all the while maintaining a 2 metre distance – together/apart. Exhibits and performances on the trail have been diverse and are ongoing, and include Civil Twilight performances (poetry readings which were also broadcast live via Facebook), a dance performance with a canoe at -35 degrees Celsius (ooooh to witness the steam rise off the dancer lying in the canoe in the snow!), and Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival opening event, RavenMonsterDress, where over 100 audience members gathered on a frozen pond at the end of the Gallery and listened to music performed on small islands speckled across the pond, while viewing the festival’s opening exhibit. The discussion around what is exhibit space, and how to diversify the audience our work attracts, as well as how to engage community are now part of a community discussion here and will have long-lasting impacts on how to present art and engage (new) audiences – including those who are not intentional audiences ‘going to a show’ but because an audience member just by being where they are, and at the show circumstantially.

Source: Survey

Link to website

Toronto Adventures

Toronto, Ontario Project: Paddle Concerts
Discipline(s): theatre, dance, music

Concerts, comedy and more from a dock for paddlers.

Source: Research

Link to website

SQx Dance Company (Trading), SQx Danza (Registered)

South Slocan (Regional District of Central Kootenay, RDCK, Area I). Castlegar is our postal address., British Columbia Project: Active Inclusion Program and creative techniques for online performances
Discipline(s): dance

1. AIP--A new socially conscious dance program--created to disrupt discrimination, intolerance, hate, & racism as a method for increasing awareness about:
-Canada's cultural diversity
-Issues affecting underrepresented populations in fully participating in society

DIGITAL ARCHITECTURE
-10 minute opening video performance
—Warm-Up
—Group Physical Engagement with e-book about the LANGUAGE OF CHOREOLOGY (see below) to raise awareness about how FUNCTIONAL HUMAN MOVEMENT can disrupt or promote negative BEHAVIOURS, ROUTINES, & BELIEFS
—SQx PHRASES & CREATIVE CLASS where participants devise & embodying short phrases
—Discussions
—Final Day: 10 minute closing STOP-ACTION VIDEO PERFORMANCE

Year 3 will culminate in a FINAL PUBLIC POLICY PAPER, which we'll use to lobby for Arts Education curricular augmentation. This will CREATE RESEARCH & EVIDENCE TO BUILD UNDERSTANDING OF THE DISPARITIES & CHALLENGES FACED BY RACIALIZED & RELIGIOUS MINORITY COMMUNITIES, & INDIGENOUS PEOPLES.

[We are currently in the midst of Year 2. This project was intended to be delivered in-person, but COVID derailed all of our plans. It has only ever been delivered virtually).

INSTRUCTIONAL HOURS/PARTICIPANT: 3-5 days x 75 minutes/day

SEE ATTACHED FOR VISION IMPACT SNAPSHOTS OF AIP & STAFF.

2. 3 Online Performances (below are excerpts): we're waiting for Canada Council funds to finish the works...funding pending. Each work will be about 45 min.

Canadian Identity Dance
https://vimeo.com/542825999
Password = identity

Light Dance
https://vimeo.com/542916401
Password = light

The Good Heart
https://vimeo.com/534673758
Password = goodheart1

https://vimeo.com/534683592
Password = goodheart2

-Productions of contemporary dance works that was originally intended to be a live-performances.
-Dissemination of the works will be entirely by virtual means ensuring the art is finished in a timely and safe manner, and we can provide work for artists in this especially precarious time.

We’re TAKING THE GENRE IN A NEW DIRECTION by working as we would in the studio in the development of choreography, but we're doing it safely at home. LEARNING TO ADAPT OUR ARTISTIC PRACTICE FOR REMOTE CREATION BECAUSE OF COVID ensures we can SUSTAINABLY create new work for as long as there are health restrictions.

STRATEGIC DISSEMINATION PLAN is a KEY UNDERLYING OBJECTIVE because how we intend to share the works is influenced by how we're making it—because of COVID. We intend to continue to meet our target audiences in NEW DIGITAL WAYS:
-PAY-PER-VIEW: With existing VIMEOPro on our website (ecommerce is already integrated for others uses on site).
-STREAMED from presenters (when theatres open). We're working with our local presenters to reach audiences safely.

SEE ATTACHED STAFF IMPACT SNAPSHOT.

TARGET POPULATIONS OF ALL OF OUR WORKS
-minoritized language groups (we deliver in French & English)
-minoritized ethnic groups & religions
-Indigenous communities
-remote & rural communities
-inner-cities (particularly those with high occurrences of gangs)
-newcomers
-LGBTQIA2S+
-people of diverse abilities
-multi-barriered populations

Special impacts:

REMOTE PRODUCTION STRATEGY: Some of the artists have met in person in previous work, because of COVID, we've never all met as a group. For the past year, we have worked completely remotely and created some of the best work the organization has ever created.
-COVID restrictions were an opportunity to deepen the aesthetics of our work.
-We used the distance between us as inspiration to showcase the diversity in Canadian communities & landscapes.

CAPACITY: We more than doubled the artists that work for the organization. We've also doubled our organization budget. Whilst other organizations are making cuts, we are increasing spending, and increasing renumeration to artists. We're creating more work, and better serving vulnerable populations.

BLENDED VALUE: How we balance the social and cultural value of our work in performances, programming, and policy initiatives. OUR MISSION: Use contemporary dance to promote kinship, collaboration, teamwork.OUR MANDATE
-Further the development of dance & public engagement through performance & outreach programming.
-Provide flexible touring series for arts venues, schools, conservatories to bring performances & interactive programming to both large & small communities.
-Use dance to make the world a better place.

REACHING OUR AUDIENCE IN NEW WAYS: Our dissemination plans will allow us to meet our audience in NEW DIGITAL WAYS by using multiple strategies (pay-per-view, streaming, & interactive programming).

GREEN MOBILITY: We’re using travel restrictions as a method to explore new sustainable benefits for touring that rely less on mileage on more on greener practices. Pre-COVID multiple vehicles would travel more than 50,000 KM / year to distribute our work. We're fundamentally adjusting what and how we are making art, so WHEN THE PANDEMIC IS OVER, WE ARE NOT MEERLY UNFREEZING, WE'VE DEVELOPED A NEW PLAN TO CREATE & DISSEMINATE OUR ART THAT WILL BALANCE IN-PERSON INTERACTION WITH ONLINE. WE WILL NOT BE RETURNING TO IN-PERSON PROGRAMMING UNTIL 2023 AT THE EARLIEST AS WE HAVE HAD SO MUCH SUCCESS VIRTUALLY, AND WE CONTINUE TO GROW THESE STRATEGIES. WE WILL NOT RETURN IN-PERSON UNTIL IT IS PERFECTLY SAFE TO DO SO.

Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference, Members of official language minority groups
Source: Survey

Link to website

SpanicArts: Hispanic Association of Professional Artists Ltd.

Calgary, Alberta Project: DesayunArte & DramatizArte
Discipline(s): dance, libraries, media arts, museums and galleries, music, reading, writing, publishing, theatre, visual arts, multidisciplinary

These two programs were developed by SpanicArts as an effort to innovate and adapt during the pandemic. The two events were adapted to be streamed online and keep the community engaged and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DESAYUNARTE:
DesayunArte begun in November 2019 with the purpose of bringing people closer to the visual arts. Each month, we invite members of the community to listen to an artist talk about a specific theme. The artists giving the talk are artists whose practices are related to the theme of each month. In the beginning, these artist talks were in person meetings, where people were able to meet each other, enjoy a cup of coffee and a quick breakfast while learning about art and engaging in meaningful conversations. The topics for the first three in- person sessions were:
Death through the Hispanic and LatinAmerican Vision. October 2019.
Music as a social expression in the Hispanic Culture. November 2019.
LainAmercian Women & Art March 2020.
With the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, SpanicArts had to find a way to keep the programming going and engage with the public. We decided to stream the programs online using Facebook Live. This meant of course that we could no longer meet in person and enjoy sharing a warm cup of coffee and croissants and thet we were unable to host the events in spaces dedicated to cultural activities. Nonetheless, bringing the programs to an online platform allowed us to reach a much wider audience, beyond the Calgary Community. We were able to expand our audience not only in Canada, but also internationally. We were able to invite artists from other places around the world to connect and participate with our local artists. We decided to host our events with one artist from our community and one artist from a different place, to create more opportunities for networking and discussion. By doing so, we realized that a new door had opened before our eyes: that of a fruitful exchange of realities from different communities all over the world. We now have SpanicArts members residing in many different parts of Canada.
DesyunArte has grown its audience and the possibilities have expanded since the beginning of the pandemic. As an organization, this challenge has also helped us to expand and grow our vision.
The themes for all the DesayunArte events we have held until now are:
1. Hispanic Theatre. April 25th, 2020
2. Art in the time of Covid. May 30th, 2020
3. Interculturality and Solidarity among communities. June 25th, 2020
4.Confined performance. July 27th, 2020
5. Artist Nature September 19th, 2020
6. Music in support of non violence. October 3rd, 2020
7. LatinAmercian Religious Art. November 2020
8. The gift of Art December 12th, 2020
9. Blue Monday Theatre. January 30th, 2021
10. Loving Art. February 20th, 2021
11. Feminist Art. March 20th, 2021
12. A world without art. April 17th, 2021
13. Behind the scene of creativity. May 29th, 2021
14. LGTBQ Art. June 26th 2021
15. Art in the field July 24th 2021

DRAMATIZARTE:
DramatizArte was scheduled to launch in March 2020. The project’s objective was to promote the reading of Theatre plays written by Hispanic authors, through dramatized readings in English or in Spanish to engage and nurture Hispanic reading amongst the new generations, to share the work and the plays of Hispanic theatre writers; and to promote and encourage the work of our local theatre performers and artists. This proposal was also developed as a way to minimize the cost of scene montage and rehearsals. Initially, the project was meant to be carried out in public libraries, where the public could join, with an entrance by donation, to help support the cast.
Once again, since the pandemic did not allow for those initial plans to take place, the event was moved to our online platforms, to be streamed via Facebook Live. To promote and support our members, half of the cast of each reading must be SpanicArts members. The event is held every two months and at the end of each reading there is a short interview to get to know the artists and ask them what they learned and experienced through the process of preparing for the event.
For the first event, we presented one scene from the play “Rosa de dos aromas” by Mexican writer Emilio Carballido.
In the March edition of DramatizArte we presented the short story “Unete Pueblo”, again from Mexican writer and playwright Emilio Carballido.
Performed by the theatre company “Latin Scenario”, the first organization to join SpanicArts as members. LatinScenario operates and is located primarily in Vancouver, BC.
The last edition of Desyunarte presented the play “Hamlet Mats”, performed by a theatre company based in Querétaro México. Thanks to the use of technology and online platforms, we were able to invite them to share their work, as well as helped them promote their work to the Canadian public.
So far, all the plays have been performed in Spanish, but we are considering the opportunity to present plays in English as well. We will continue to present plays from Hispanic writers and a cast with a minimum of 50% SpanicArts members.
We intend to be able to make these events in person as soon as possible to do so in a safe manner, hopefully by the Fall of 2021. We will also continue to stream the plays online to reach more public in the future.

Special impacts:

The future goals for DesayunArte is to continue attracting new public from different parts of the world and to obtain funding to be able to pay our artists a fee for their participation.
DramatizArte is an event that does not require as big a time commitment from the participants (actors and director) as an in-person theatrical performance (rehearsing, several functions). The budget is also smaller given that the play is presented online and the scenography can be digital as well.
DramatizArte is a project that allows us to create a platform for our theatre artists, many of whom do not speak English, giving them an opportunity to learn and engage with a new audience.
The future goals for DramatizArte are to present the plays in person once it is safe to do so, and to pay the cast of performing artists participating with the donations received during the functions.
This event opens the opportunity to collaborate with other theatre groups from other communities across Canada and other countries, like we did with the theatre company Los Focos, from Queretaro, Mexico.
Lastly, DramatizArte is an attractive opportunity to Hispanic playwrights to submit their work for consideration and possibly become featured in our event. SpanicArts wants to help these artists by promoting and making their work known to a wider audience worldwide.

Equity seeking: Racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+
Source: Survey

Link to website

STEPS Public Art

Toronto, Ontario Project: INsiders
Discipline(s): dance, media arts, museums and galleries, theatre, visual arts, multidisciplinary

In the beginning of April, STEPS Public Art facilitated a national call for artists to create temporary public artworks in public-facing parts of their homes, gardens, balconies or courtyards. STEPS believed that during the pandemic, while we may be physically distanced, our desire to create, share and learn will always connect us together.

Artists were asked to consider the idea of public space and their sudden lack of access to it, exploring their public-facing private spaces and how the surrounding community could engage from a distance with their creative projects. We received an overwhelming response of 120 submissions in only two weeks.

STEPS supported ten artists from across Canada to bring eight projects to life. INsiders projects are diverse, ranging in materials and approaches from a front yard concert series with immersive set and costume design to an infinity room located in an empty storefront window that invites the public to both respond to and engage with an oversized COVID-19 disco ball. Selected artists represent both established and emerging practitioners and include Olivia and Hilary Wheeler (Victoria, BC), Michel Dumont (Thunder Bay, ON), Whyishnave Suthagar (Toronto, ON), Anna Camilleri (Toronto, ON) Somewherelse Collective (Toronto, ON), Taylor Boileau Davidson (Ottawa, ON), Tara Arnst (Lunenburg, NS), and Suzi Oram and Jordan Strong (Sydney, NS).

Special impacts:

INsiders was STEPS’ response to the Covd-19 pandemic, with a sole focus directed towards supporting artists, connecting communities and exploring public space during this uncertain time. The arts and culture communities are some of the hardest hit during the pandemic, with many artists, arts workers and producers suddenly out of work. Through INsiders, STEPS seeks to amplify the creative work taking place in public space across Canada. We continue to support artists to reimagine their communities over the pandemic recovery period.

Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference, Members of official language minority groups
Source: Survey

Link to website

actOUT! Kitchener Waterloo Children's Drama Workshop

Waterloo, Ontario Project: actOUT!’s 25th Season
Discipline(s): dance, music, theatre, arts education

Our 25th Season of theatre by & for the Children of the Waterloo Region of Ontario was interrupted by the pandemic. When actOUT! shut down operations on March 13, 2020 we had just finished our run of 'She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition' at the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre. Disney's 101 Dalmatians KIDS was set to load in the the same space (will young performers ages 6-10 having been in rehearsal since September 2019) and High School Musical JR. was in rehearsal along with our collective creation based on the theme of 'Empathy' known as "The Empathy Project"

As with most of theatre around the world we shut down.

We resurrected our theatre company with a pivot in the fall of 202 to continue our 25th season. High School Musical became a Zoom production, The Empathy Project became BOX: The Empathy Project a production created and performed in Zoom. Other virtual productions including an 'Advanced Actors' (older members of the company) production of an hour long radio play: Sherlock Holmes.

Special impacts:

Pivoting younger performers to the online world presents its own unique challenges. Consider the difficulties of actors becoming their own grips, gaffers, and cinematographers and then consider the age of the performer as pre-teen.

Source: Survey

Link to website

National Arts Centre

NAC (Ottawa), DanceHouse (Vancouver), Danse Danse (Montreal), and Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), Ontario Project: Digidance
Discipline(s): dance

Digidance is a collaboration between the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), DanceHouse (Vancouver), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), and Danse Danse (Montreal) to respond to the challenges dance and performing arts venues are facing in continuing to deliver programming to their audiences since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than that, they wanted to deliver quality programming to audiences all over the country.

Special impacts:

Beyond the collaboration between 4 presenters across the country, this series is particularly interesting in that they tried out a new pricing strategy. They invited buyers to choose between a “solo” ticket (a single link giving access to streaming for 1 person) or a “family” ticket (a single link giving access to streaming for 2 people or more on the same device).

Source: Survey

Link to website

Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, Soulpepper Theatre and Artists for Real Climate Action

Toronto, Ontario Project: Green Sessions
Discipline(s): dance, music, theatre, multidisciplinary

We are reaching out digitally to our community across Canada to learn, educate and take action on shifting public opinion towards meaningful action on climate change issues. As stated above it is a cross Canada event so the designations below are not strictly accurate.

Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Source: Survey

Arts Council Wood Buffalo

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, Alberta Project: Buffys 2020: Arts Awards
Discipline(s): dance, media arts, museums and galleries, music, reading, writing, publishing, theatre, visual arts, multidisciplinary, arts education

The Buffys, also known as the Wood Buffalo Excellence in Arts Awards, is an annual program that recognizes and celebrates excellence in various areas of the arts and builds awareness of the incredible contribution artists make to Wood Buffalo. The Buffys invest in the future of our growing arts community by supporting our most exceptional artists through appreciation and employment opportunities, and by connecting artists to the wider community.

Special impacts:

Typically, the Buffys are a live, in-person event featuring live performances and presentations; however, with restrictions due to COVID-19, Arts Council Wood Buffalo adjusted the format of the awards showcase and turned it into an online cinematic experience that was pre-recorded and then broadcast for free on multiple platforms. Historically, the in-person showcase has reached an audience of about 400 people, but by offering it in an online format, the awards showcase reached an audience of over 14,000 households during the event premiere.

This story is special and impactful because the local arts community was featured to a much wider audience, which gave local artists a much wider reach to build their reputations despite restrictions due to the pandemic. After the event, local artists (award nominees, recipients and performers) were able to access the video as a legacy piece for their portfolios and continued promotion of their art forms. The Buffys provides artists with paid opportunities to showcase their work, and by moving the awards showcase to an online format, even more opportunities became available for artists to be paid for their work - this was especially important during a time when paid opportunities for artists had decreased significantly.

This was also the first time that the Buffys reached as far as Hollywood. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented virtually to Tantoo Cardinal, who is an Indigenous Canadian Actress from Anzac (a hamlet just south of Fort McMurray). Cardinal has been in feature films such as "Dances With Wolves," "Unforgiven," and "Legends of the Fall."

Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference, Members of official language minority groups
Source: Survey

Link to website

Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance

Toronto (base); national scope, Ontario Project: Tech Bundles: Enhancing cultural sovereignty through technical infrastructure
Discipline(s): theatre, dance, music

Created a technical infrastructure to encourage cultural sovereignty, create training and mentorship opportunities, and develop wider engagement in the arts sector for emerging and mid-career Indigenous artists. Also produced a very successful digital festival that livestreamed artists on YouTube. They had a thoughtful approach in term of their process; they had a dedicated tech person coaching each of the artists ahead of the livestream.

Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples
Source: Research

Link to website

Charles Cardin-Bourbeau

Montréal/Gatineau/Ottawa, Quebec Project: danseur/chorégraphe issu de la communauté LGBTQ+
Discipline(s): dance

Lors de la pandémie, Charles a décidé de ne pas mettre tous ses oeufs dans le même panier Zoom, pour ne pas dénaturer son art. Il a diversifié ses créations: danse, toiles, développement d'un projet de court-métrage. Son projet le plus révélateur pendant la pandémie fut la transformation d'un bar (qui était un lieu fermé par les mesures sanitaires) en un lieu de création, pour y développer une mini résidence artistique. Il en a fait un court métrage.

Special impacts:

Diversité des pratiques, mise en commun d'espace complètement fermé par la pandémie pour en faire émerger des créations.

Equity seeking: 2SLGBTQIA+
Source: Research

Link to website

Burlington Student Theatre

Burlington, Ontario Project: The Virtual Millie Project
Discipline(s): dance, music, theatre

This project enabled students of Burlington Student Theatre to present their production of Thoroughly Modern Millie despite public health measures. In a normal year, several dozen high school aged students are given the opportunity to stage a full-scale musical at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. With live theatre cancelled in the first wave of the pandemic, staff at Student Theatre had to find a way to make the show go on. The Virtual Millie Project was born. Students rehearsed at home, and performed at home. The performances were edited together into a full-scale Zoom-only musical, which was later shown on the big screen as part of a Student Theatre Film Festival at the Centre, when restrictions were partially lifted in fall 2020. Students recorded a podcast to document the Project. Despite the pandemic, the show did indeed go on, giving students, staff, families, and the community a bright light in the midst of the early months of the pandemic.

Special impacts:

Staff and students - including staff who accepted honoraria in lieu of payment - shifted gears from live to video theatre on a dime. Students’ human rights to education, to expression and to play were safeguarded through the efforts of the Student Theatre team. The Virtual Millie Project was a testament to resilience, tenacity, and love in a local child-focused theatre program.

Source: Survey

Link to website

Seven Oaks School Division

Winnipeg, Manitoba Project: Virtual Support
Discipline(s): dance, arts education

The Seven Oaks School Division community has provided support in dance, music and visual art throughout the pandemic.

Source: Canadian Network for Arts and Learning

Link to website

Bailiwick Booking and Management

Georgina, Ontario Project: Change in practice
Discipline(s): dance, music, theatre, multidisciplinary

As a young company, Bailiwick does not have operational funding funding from the Canada Council which has made working through the pandemic extremely hard. However, Bailiwick's founder Tara Bailey has remained positive. Throughout the pandemic she was able to connect more with her artists and moving forward hopes to continue this working environment.

Special impacts:

What's special about this story is how the pandemic changed her outlook on working relationships. During the pandemic, she became close with her artists as they needed emotional support in a time of upheaval and uncertainty. Moving forward, she will try and keep the number of artists she represents lower to build more meaningful artist relationships. It also means that she gets to choose the artists that she works with, contributing to an overall more fulfilling experience.

Source: Survey

Link to website

Centre des arts d'Edmundston

Edmundston, New Brunswick Project: Plan de relance du secteur culturel
Discipline(s): dance, festivals, libraries, media arts, museums and galleries, music, reading, writing, publishing, theatre, visual arts

À peine trois mois après le début de la pandémie, le Centre des arts à initié une consultation publique de la communauté artistique pour assurer la relance du secteur culturel (arts, patrimoine, événements).

Special impacts:

Suite aux consultations publiques, une feuille de route a été développée, permettant ainsi d'identifier des axes stratégiques et des initiatives prioritaires pour la communauté culturelle. Le plan a aussi permit de rassembler de nombreux partenaires non-culturels pour appuyer la relance. Sans cette approche de concertation, il aurait été impossible de mettre en oeuvre tant de nouvelles initiatives. Notre secteur culturel est maintenant plus vivant que jamais.

Equity seeking: Members of official language minority groups
Source: Survey

Link to website

Stage Page / Performing Arts Assembly

Toronto, Ontario Project: “Artemis” Recommender System for performing arts event
Discipline(s): theatre, dance, music

Formed "Performing Arts Assembly" to bring artists and creates of genre-defying performing arts with Dr. Daniela Rosu (computer scientist) to begin creating data models ("information representation standards") that can offer an alternative to the "engineer worldview" in the world of technology creation. Tech innovation with a developing business model.

Source: Research

Link to website

Capitol Theatre Restoration Society

Nelson, British Columbia Project: HOMEGROWN
Discipline(s): dance, music, theatre

Goal: to continue to engage patrons and the public by providing music, theatre and other online events to the local community, region and beyond. To showcase diverse local/regional emerging and professional artists who usually would not be on the Capitol Theatre stage.

Special impacts:

The pandemic opened up the opportunity to explore online dissemination of theatre, dance and music.We will most likely continue with HOMEGROWN and hybrid presentations to reach audiences that cannot attend the theatre and thus increase access to events on stage.

Source: Survey

Link to website

Digital Cutters

National (AB base), Alberta Project: Digital Cutting Research Project
Discipline(s): design, theatre, dance, music

Innovation in costume production: designers would not have to be in the same space to fit people for costumes for theatre, dance etc.

Special impacts:

Benefits beyond the pandemic could inlcude lower costs, less waste of materials/resources, and more. While the concept came to life during and because of COVID, it is a lasting solution.

Source: Research

Link to website