INNOVATION & RESILIENCE
IN CANADA’S CULTURAL SECTOR

Business and Arts NL

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Project: Design Thinking: Collaboration for Innovation
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary, design

Business and Arts NL is working on a design thinking project with 15 collaborators from across the technology, public and creative sectors to look at how we might situate creativity as core to the vision of a new innovation centre for the tech industry. This work has been extremely illuminating, showing some of the biases and attitudes towards the arts in the private sector, and some of the self-imposed limitations in the arts sector.

Source: Research

Link to website

Luminato

Toronto, Ontario Project: Golden Hour
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

Artist-curated livestream series involving dance, music storytelling, etc. Program designed to introduce artists-in-residence to the community. Meant to challenge arts community over a discussion about the mythology of Canadian culture, ideally contributing to a regional discussion surrounding issues related to this topic.

Source: Research

Link to website

RAIQ

Montréal, Quebec Project: Restructuration organisationnelle
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

Rassemble et représente les compagnies, les diffuseurs et les artistes œuvrant en arts interdisciplinaires au Québec. Lors de la pandémie, le RAIQ a entâmé une restructuration organisationnelle.

Source: Research

Link to website

STEPS Public Art

Toronto, Ontario Project: CreateSpace BIPOC Public Art Residency
Discipline(s): libraries, media arts, museums and galleries, reading, writing, publishing, visual arts, multidisciplinary

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed inequalities that leave out marginalized peoples and voices, particularly within public spaces. While STEPS has been dedicated to providing opportunities for these voices in regular programming, we saw an opportunity to further these efforts. Over the last 10 years in the field and through our participation on many public art selection committees, we have witnessed the disproportionate disadvantage that Black, Indigenous and other artists of colour have had in accessing large-scale public art opportunities. These opportunities begin with access to small to midsize portfolio building commissions. Our CreateSpace BIPOC Public Art Residency offers its participants real world opportunities and experiences in creating public art works from conception through to realization. Through this unique program, STEPS celebrates creativity, diversity and inclusion through public art. CreateSpace builds the capacity of emerging BIPOC artists through a combination of technical skills training, targeted mentorships and networking.

Special impacts:

In 2020 STEPS launched CreateSpace, a national public art residency program providing emerging Black, Indigenous and racialized artists with the skills, relationships and practical experience needed to foster and develop skills in lasting public art practices. CreateSpace was open to early to mid-career Canadian-based visual and media artists working in public space. In total, ten artists were chosen from across Canada by a review panel composed of BIPOC members of the Canadian arts community. This first of kind program offered participants skill building, relationship fostering and networking opportunities, practical public art making experiences, introductions to new audiences and financial support.

As this is the pilot year of a multi-year program, the 2022 CreateSpace BIPOC Public Art Residency will build off the successes of its first year. The program strives to not only support individual artists, but to foster connections and cultivate conversation around social equity in city-building and design. It will foster solidarity amongst artists working in diverse contexts; between artists and their own communities, while also inspiring broader dialogue on representation in city-building processes.

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

Link to website

INCIRQUE (Kyle Sipkens)

Toronto, Ontario Project: Juggling Mental Health
Discipline(s): festivals, theatre, multidisciplinary, circus

Juggling Mental Health offers free online juggling tutorials that also support mental health.

Special impacts:

Through COVID lockdowns, 4 out of 5 people experienced a decline in their mental health - including anxiety and depression. Before COVID, that number was 1 in 5 people.

Kyle Sipkens is a professional street performer who realized each time he was juggling, it was helping his anxiety and depression. Juggling is more than an artistic skill, it increases brain matter and is a great anxiety coping strategy!

When the province put out a call for ideas to support mental health support, Kyle decided to create a video series of juggling lessons that also teach coping skills for anxiety or low mood.

While the project didn't receive any grant support, the need for mental health support was urgently needed. So Kyle and his partner Jake produced a free-to-use video series on youtube, facebook, and instagram to use Circus Arts to both entertain and support health of anyone (particularly in remote areas) with internet access to connect through juggling, and add a "tool" to their "tool box" for personal resilience.

Equity seeking: 2SLGBTQIA+, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Source: Survey

Link to website

Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society, Keiko Honda

Vancouver, British Columbia Project: Project Terakoya
Discipline(s): media arts, reading, writing, publishing, multidisciplinary, community arts

The project Terakoya is an intergenerational learning and collaboration that is a unique approach to bridging the generational gap. Students (high school to university) and older adults to get a chance to form connections through shared experiences and projects. Older adults will play a vital role by sharing their wisdom and life stories, while students will learn valuable practical and emotional skills from working with older adults, such as group co-leadership, self-confidence, and emotional maturity. The older adults may also learn social networking skills and etiquette from the students.

Special impacts:

After harvesting the goodness and challenges of 2020 and this year, I would like to keep coming back to Goethe’s participatory method that allows us to see a thing that is perhaps hiding in plain sight all along. And go out to nature more. Our true legacy for further generations is to leave nature accessible to the next generations so that they can actively participate to come into being. And in that, I see what is art for.

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

Link to website

Hartmanns Community Centre

King Lake, Ontario Project: The Matter of Houghton Township
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

It was a Y2K restart of a mid 18th century ballad archiving project with a original intent to preserve the culture and social artistic fabric of the people and land of Houghton Twp,Norfolk County.Its morphed over two decades to provide a accessible technology artform for viually impaired Canadian seniors living in long term care homes.

Special impacts:

After much revisions and experimentation the Matter of Houghton Township surfaced as a tactile graphics metaphorical Holocaust fairytale for 200 residents of Milton's Allendale Long Term Care.The life enrichment video technology is called Excaliber/Caliburn 5959 and is art for long term care residents to experience.The first of its kind with a aging blind woman in Allendale acting as Producer.In simple stark terms,it keeps old people alive.

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

Link to website

Arts Umbrella

Vancouver, British Columbia Project: Process innovation during COVID-19
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary, arts education

New building. Some in-person arts education classes.

Source: Research

Link to website

National accessArts Centre

National (Calgary base), Alberta Project: Disability arts kits
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

Process innovation; continuing to reach people with disabilities through the pandemic.

Equity seeking: D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Source: Research

Link to website

Tangled Arts & Disability

Toronto, Ontario Project: Crip Times Podcast Series
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

Disabled people have long been experts at staying at home, and getting creative with new ways to stay in community with one another. At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, many of us were wondering how we could maintain the sense of intimacy and connection that we get from gathering in crip arts spaces. Out of this desire, Crip Times was born: a new interview podcast series produced and hosted by Yousef Kadoura, Kayla Besse, and Kristina McMullin. Crip Times is a project of Bodies in Translation and Tangled Art + Disability and hosted on Drew Gurza’s Wheels on the Ground podcast network. (Citation from website)

Equity seeking: D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Source: Research

Link to website

Pacific Legal Education + Outreach

Vancouver, British Columbia Project: LSALTS
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

Creating a digital tool for artists and non-profits to do legal self assessments and gain free or affordable support through the legal clinic for artists and arts non-profits. Launching September 2021.

Source: Research

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

Graham A. Brown

Vancouver, British Columbia Project: COVID19 ART CHALLENGE
Discipline(s): media arts, reading, writing, publishing, visual arts, multidisciplinary

The goal from the very outset was to keep the art group at Barclay Manor connected during the lock-down.

Special impacts:

The COVID19 ART CHALLENGE, may not be that innovated but it is important for the small group of senior artist to keep in touch even if they do not submit a work of art for that weeks newsletter as of now July 13, I am getting the Week 40 underway, yes that is 40 weeks we have been sending this art challenge to our members. But that is not totally true we have attracted some poets and haiku writers to participate. Over the last 40 weeks I have seen a different side of the artist, and poets submissions. For some they have become more expressive allowing their inner ideas to come to the surface, and come out of their comfort circle and for a few this also means going across their cultural boarders. Having the distance helps. And for many seniors the acknowledgement that they have something to contribute.
For other artist they could learn what is most important the why they create, and do they have the courage to expose themselves.
At times you only hear me screaming yes when I see what a member has done, that brakes their comfort level. Let the bells ring out, for they have made this all worthwhile.

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

Link to website

INCIRQUE (Kyle Sipkens)

Toronto base, operating throughout Southern Ontario., Ontario Project: Physical Distancing Officers
Discipline(s): festivals, theatre, multidisciplinary, circus

"Physical Distancing Officers" adapted INCIRQUE's roaming Stilt walking characters to support Business Improvement Area's, Malls, Farmers Markets, and open air events.

Special impacts:

For BIA's, Malls, and communities where small businesses were severely impacted by closures during COVID, these "Physical Distancing Officers" used Clowning to promote distancing, alleviate anxiety for visitors returning to public space, educate visitors on protocols, and encourage safe ways to connect.

These Stilt characters were highly visible, supported crowd management, and used principles similar to therapeutic clowning to help rebuild communities and support small business.

This service won a 2021 Service Excellence Award from Festivals & Events Ontario!

Equity seeking: 2SLGBTQIA+, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Source: Survey

Link to website

Aurora Cultural Centre

Aurora, Ontario Project: Centre-Pieces
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

"Throughout this year, you’ll discover a seasonal collection of carefully curated packages that inspires your family to create and play. Tote bags are transformed into treasure chests of culturally-inspired projects and child-friendly art practice, giving space for open-ended play, storytelling and object making. In addition to supplies and printed instruction for 4 activities, each tote includes make-along virtual demonstrations with special guests."

Source: Research

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

Visceral Visions Society

Vancouver, British Columbia Project: CultureBrew.Art
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

Database for Indigenous, Black, and racialized artists to connect and be considered for opportunties with a strong focus on digital connection and promoting artists during COVID.

Special impacts:

Focus on IBPOC Communities and supporting them through the COVID lull of work in the arts and how to ask artists to expand and think creatively

Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized
Source: Research

Link to website

Aanmitaagzi

North Bay, Ontario Project: Ice Follies, Gathering our Medicines Workshops
Discipline(s): community arts, multidisciplinary

"Slowly the creatures emerged from the pressure cracks jutting out of frozen Lake Nipissing. They danced about as Nipissing First Nation’s Penny Couchie recited Pressure Cracks. Blue light shone on the creatures as they moved to the amplified composition by Jacob Dayfox. Hundreds walked the ice path lit up with whimsical light installations to witness the performance of Mkomiiwi.

Aanmitaagzi produced the performance Mkomiiwi showcased at Ice Follies 2020 on Lake Nipissing at Marathon Beach in North Bay."

Special impacts:

Online culture-specific workshops, which might be relevant to many other organizations and communities.

Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples
Source: Research

Link to website

Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence

Toronto, Ontario Project: Creative Practice: Yoga for the Imagination
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

Creative Morning Practice began as a 6-week virtual guided arts program to support health and wellness, and mitigate the effects of stress, loneliness and physical isolation during the pandemic. Open to the general public, the virtual studio was particularly attuned to multilingual new immigrants ('ESL speakers') and professionals (from non-artistic backgrounds). The positive feedback on that initial offering inspired us to research tools to measurably track and understand the impact of what this simple hour of creative practice was doing for participants. Since March 2020, over several editions of the program, in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association and universities in Canada and the USA, we have developed a wellness scale to measure the impact of creative practice on individual health and wellness. The results have been very positive.

Special impacts:

We are building credible evidence that describes and broadens what people understand to be the 'benefits' of the arts. When the pandemic lockdown began, it was clear that mental health would be an intersecting issue. Given the constraints and exigencies of the mounting situation, we pivoted our work from using artistic methods to change how we approach immigration, to combining artistic and scientific thinking to measuring health and learning how creative practice impacts wellness. Currently we are seeking additional research partners to work with us to implement the wellness scale for their programs, so that we may continue to expand and refine this tool for the arts. Each Wellness report features a mix of qualitative and quantitative data. We are working with health humanities and implementation science researchers at U of T to look at next steps for the scale's development. As recently as 15 to 20 years ago, yoga was a weird thing that only a niche group did. Today, yoga is mainstream (albeit noticeably whitewashed and diluted from its origins). We know that creative practice improves moods, and helps people attain wellness. A wellness scale is not 'proof' in our minds (as artists) as much as it is a way of translating 'artistic' knowing into 'scientific' knowing so that those who understand the language of science better might be encouraged to begin to learn the language of art.

Equity seeking: Racialized
Source: Survey

Link to website

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

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

ILDIKO NOVA

Winnipeg, Manitoba Project: Searching for Doya
Discipline(s): visual arts, multidisciplinary, design

This project is inspired by the folk tale called Doya, the Romani Fairy. This story is about historical disconnection, relocation and searching for belonging. This is a tribute for all people who are challenged by removal from home or have to relocate due to catastrophes, war or any other reasons. Also, many movements are rising, such as environmental and human rights issues. Studies are more widely published, and through stories of individuals there is a newly found awareness. Also, there is more representation to minorities, women and non-mainstream communities. One way is spreading true, reliable information and challenging current policies, especially when they disregard or hurt certain populations or areas. It takes courage and strength. Matriarchal elements of governing would offer solutions to a lot of social problems.

Special impacts:

The intended impact of this story is the encouragement itself. Life is full of unexpected changes, and models that worked before become useless. Relationships are shifting, some people move farther, others develop closer bonds. Therefore, if ties are getting loose or one faces isolation, there is still a meaning of not giving up practices, in this case, creating art. "Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt." - says Mark Twain.
My images represent the question of how to honour traditions in a modern, cosmopolitan setting. The world is fast, and requires fast reaction from all of us in order to maintain survival. However, there is another side of our existence where we are closer to ourselves, such as creative work. Art can and can create a more peaceful dialog and through constructive depiction, awareness of human rights issues of many ethnic group might be better achieved. Women in a general sense need recognition, respect and equal opportunities.

Equity seeking: Racialized
Source: Survey

Link to website

Taiwanfest Vancouver

Vancouver, British Columbia Project: Reflect Festival
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

The rapid development and globalization of humanity has left pieces of our history forgotten. The purpose of the REFLECT Festival is to present us with a chance to pause and garner a new perspective of the evolving relationship between nature and humanity through the form of a multi-disciplinary arts festival. The Indigenous histories of Vancouver and Taiwan are the background contexts for the REFLECT Festival to eventually lead these conversations beyond the boundaries of any specific country or society to speak about humanity as a whole. The setting of a cultural arts event allows for the exploration of a multitude of topics via music, exhibitions, forums, and more, with its location rotating annually between Vancouver and Taiwan as the anchors of North America and Asia.

Equity seeking: Racialized
Source: Research

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

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

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

BEING Studio

Ottawa, Ontario Project: Artist Connect (Symposium): Ways of deepening conversations about disability arts in a virtual space
Discipline(s): visual arts, multidisciplinary, design

A series of online meetings that connected artist studios from across Canada that support artists with developmental disabilities.

Equity seeking: D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Source: Research

Link to website

Casa Mexico Foundation

Calgary, Alberta Project: Virtual Latin American Art Festival 2020
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary

We are very glad to report that The virtual Latin American Festival 2020 it was a great success and completely exceed our expectations. The Festival included a virtual art exhibition and a series of cultural activities that surrounded the exhibition. This virtual experience provided us with the opportunity of bringing some joy to people in isolation, projecting the talent of diverse artists and gaining experience with the use of technologies and management of online programming. All of these goals were accomplished. The festival was planned from May 15 to June 15, 2020, but it was extended until the end of June.
The virtual exhibition had the participation of 22 visual artists from Canada, Mexico and Ecuador. Additionally, we presented a symbolic presential exhibition at the main level of cSpace King Edward with some artwork pieces of our participant visual artists. All the artistic profiles and their artwork was presented in a digital booklet that was posted in Casa Mexico website and in our social media channels. We hosted personal interviews via Casa Mexico Facebook Livestream with most of the visual talents.
The cultural program of the Festival was delivered in an online platform using Zoom and Facebook Livestream as our main media. We are proud of having showcased the talent of individual artists and cultural groups who presented their artistic work in diverse disciplines including dance, film making, literature, music and theatre.
The virtual Latin American Art Festival hosted a total of 40 online activities which include interviews to visual artists, poetry evenings, theatrical nights, cultural country presentations, musical conversations, virtual concerts, children storytelling, and educational seminars. We reached more people than expected and according to our Facebook views, the program was seen by thousands of viewers.

Special impacts:

When we invite to one of theatrical groups to present a project using the zoom platform, the director of the group was very hesitant to be involved, since she considered that theatre was only possible in front of a physical audience. Finally they decided to participate with the creation of a theatrical solo performance they did with a cell phone and an application to combines images. The result was a great performance, but most importantly that the director is now very motivated to start experimenting more using digital platforms.
One of our activities included the participation of a film video art producer and a writer who presented some short stories written in isolation. Both artists did not know each other. They met at one of our activities. We propose to them to work together in a future project where they can create film based on these short stories. They are working now in this project.
As part of the Latin American Art Festival, we start to project storytelling for kids every Sunday. The project is so inspiring that we decided to continue to broadcast live every morning on Sunday.

We consider that the new digital economy, that has been accelerated due to COVID-19 pandemic, represents a great area of opportunity for all of us to create meaningful work to have an impact in our society. We are very glad on our decision of moving forward with the festival in a virtual format. We are sure that we provide happiness to some people in the community and we are inspiring more people to move forward and be ready for the future.

Equity seeking: Racialized
Source: Survey

Link to website

Eastern Front Theatre

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Project: Micro-Digital Program: Micro digitals, macro impact
Discipline(s): media arts, theatre, multidisciplinary

Hired 20 groups/artists to create theatre and theatre adjacent programming in 1 minute videos for social media.

Special impacts:

Each video was accessible (captioned), some were funny, some were sad, some were informative.

Source: Survey

Link to website

Creative Users Projects

Toronto / National, Ontario Project: Accesing The Arts / Difference-Centered Design
Discipline(s): multidisciplinary, design

The development of difference-centered design (the practice of human-centered design with a critical access lens) went through a close collaboration with ReVision Centre for Art and Social Justice at Guelph. A really innovative collaboration between an arts-based action research institution, community-based partnership, that is informing Creative Users Projects business model going forward.

Special impacts:

The business implications have grown stronger as of late, after an initial lack of certainty.

Equity seeking: D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Source: Research

Link to website

Ottawa Fringe Festival

Ottawa, Ontario Project: Undercurrents
Discipline(s): festivals, media arts, theatre, multidisciplinary

The goal of the project was to make original, contemporary performances with local artists. Undercurrents budgeted conservatively, but were blown away by the amount of support. They received just shy of 15, 000$ in revenue, and an additional 850$ in donations.

Special impacts:

Undercurrents presented 6 shows which were a mix of live-streamed and pre-recorded performances, as well as an audio drama and a performance that took place entirely through an app. Undercurrents used a pay what you can format for ticketing where patrons could choose tickets at 5$, 20$, 50$, 75$ and 100$. They expected ticket sale numbers to be mostly 5$ tickets, however, 5$ tickets only made up 36% of the sales (compared to 50% in 2020). This pay structure allowed Undercurrents to be much more accessible to the public.

Source: Survey

Link to website