INNOVATION & RESILIENCE
IN CANADA’S CULTURAL SECTOR

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

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

The Writer's Union of Canada

Toronto, Ontario Project: Tracking writers’ economic losses (and more)
Discipline(s): reading, writing, publishing

tracking economic loss, Canadian Writer's Emergency Relief Fund, Mentorship Microgrants, TWUC Webinars, Regional Meetings (Zoom), Genre and Discipline Meetings (Zoom), TWUC Write Now Meetings (virtual), BIPOC Writers Connect, #ConnectWithABook #IReadCanadian, Adovcacy for Writers and CERB, AGM (Zoom), Readings Programs, subsidized and waived membership dues

Special impacts:

Member retention went up. More members in the Union that ever!

Source: Research

Link to website

April MacDonald Killins and the YEG Performing Arts Accessibility Ad Hoc Group

Edmonton (Treaty 6 territory - amiskwaciy-wâskahikan), Alberta Project: Stories to Action: Co-Creating Inclusive Pathways to Professional Theatre
Discipline(s): reading, writing, publishing, theatre

This was an equity-in-theatre themed research project completed between February 2020 and February 2021. It was designed by April M. Killins and done in partnership with 36 high profile performing arts organizations in Edmonton that make up the YEG Performing Arts Accessibility Ad Hoc Group. The goals of the project were to examine access and equity in the pathways artists take to gain credibility in a professional theatre practice. It was originally planned to use theatre-based research methods but had to adjust to virtual mediums due to the pandemic. In the end, recommendations were provided and adopted by organizations to help them come out of the pandemic with more inclusive practices to stimulate diversity onstage and backstage, and to improve access for artists from all backgrounds,
abilities, and/or other forms of social difference that are poorly represented in the industry.

Special impacts:

This project was innovative because it was community-based in its approach and completion. It pulled together the voices of 135 artists, 36 arts organizations and 17 theatre-training pathways to facilitate safe and productive lines of communication. It offered some financial supports to artists in a pandemic-paused field in the form of reimbursement for their participation, and its findings were presented as a visual report and public (virtual) presentation. Presentations of findings from this research have been programmed into local festivals such as Chinook 2021 and Found Festival 2021 as well as by the Citadel Theatre at their series of exchange panels, marking an innovative approach: programming arts content that focuses on the building and renovating of community networks.

This project impacted many organizations that set the context for theatre practice in Edmonton, Alberta. It resulted in tangible commitments from theatres and institutions such as the Citadel Theatre, Theatre Alberta, Catalyst Theatre, MacEwan University's Drama Department, The University of Alberta's BFA program, and others.

The short-term impacts have been the creation of new mentorship programs for racialized and otherwise marginalised artists, and the adoption of a more collaborative approach to community building and inclusion. Expected medium-term impacts include a higher level of accountability from institutions to establish positive working conditions for the artists they train and/or employ. Expected long-term impacts include an increase in diversity onstage and on creative teams, and policy changes that support artist wellbeing embedded in local theatre practice across the community.

The collaborative, community-based approach of this project and its framework could be adopted in other centres and other artistic disciplines to foster a more inclusive return to post-pandemic art-making, as we all address the racial reckoning that expanded in 2020 with the BLM movement and apply those learnings to our field and sector.

This project also adapted from planned arts-based, in-person research methodologies and was forced to replace those methods with virtual data collection and dissemination. The result is still creative, effective and accessible to the community it meant to communicate with. It also took advantage of the downtime experienced by creatives to engage them in these conversations and financially compensate them for their time while they were unemployed. Reframing the project within the limits of pandemic-ready engagement strategies also allowed the researcher to successfully leverage circumstances that initially appeared to be a barrier.

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

Link to website

L'Eugélionne

Montréal, Quebec Project: Boutique en ligne
Discipline(s): reading, writing, publishing

La librairie a développé sa boutique en ligne. Librairie féministe, elle est une coopérative de solidarité à but non-lucratif. La librairie se spécialise dans la littérature des femmes* (roman, poésie, bande-dessinée, essai, jeunesse) et les ouvrages féministes, queer, lesbiens, gais, bisexuels, trans, intersexe, asexuel et agenre, two-spirited, anti-racistes, anti-coloniaux, etc.

Special impacts:

C'est une toute petite librairie, avec peu de moyens, qui a survécu à la crise et aux nombreuses fermetures et limitations liées aux mesures sanitaires. Elle a su trouver les subventions nécessaires, développer sa librairie en ligne et suciter assez d'engouement pour garder sa clientèle active.

Equity seeking: 2SLGBTQIA+
Source: Research

Link to website

Ivan Coyote

Whitehorse (also London, ON), Yukon Project: Pandemic pivots
Discipline(s): reading, writing, publishing

Process innovation, different kind of pivot. Storyteller (largely in schools) took letters, emails, etc. that they received and created a book of stories. They also created a studio for high-quality filmed productions.

Equity seeking: 2SLGBTQIA+
Source: Research

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

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

ALAVIVA

Québec, Quebec Project: Maelström créatif: joindre l’utile à l’agréable
Discipline(s): museums and galleries, music, reading, writing, publishing, theatre, visual arts

Stimuler et briser l'isolement des aînés en les connectant à des acteurs culturels grâce à des robots de téléprésence et à une plateforme d'intermédiation sociale et culturelle.

Special impacts:

Connecter les aînés aux artistes et professionnels de la culture permettra d'améliorer la qualité de vie des premiers tout en ouvrant de nouvelles possibilités de travail pour les second. Les bienfaits de la culture sur la santé sont maintenant reconnus. Rencontres sympathiques, médiation culturelle, création artistique, art-thérapie... La solution permet le rapprochement des gens malgré la grandeur du territoire.

Source: Survey

Link to website

Festival of Literary Diversity

Brampton, Ontario Project: Nimble and expansive thinking in implementing a digital festival
Discipline(s): festivals, reading, writing, publishing

Held annually in Brampton, Ontario since 2016, the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) is Canada�s first festival devoted to celebrating underrepresented authors and storytellers. The FOLD provides one-of-a-kind events for kids and adults that engage readers, inspire writers, and empower educators by highlighting important voices in literature. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the FOLD quickly transitioned to a virtual festival in May.

Special impacts:

For both its 2020 and 2021 editions, the Festival carefully researched and adopted the latest software, used creativity in its program design, and centred audiences in its decisions, which has made the FOLD a leader to emulate in the literary industry.

Equity seeking: Racialized
Source: Research

Link to website

Romeo Honorio

Calgary, Alberta Project: Covid-19 Fundemic
Discipline(s): libraries, reading, writing, publishing, visual arts

A manuscript/book (poems, illustrations, sayings, wit, humor, musings, reflections and contemplations) dedicated to all frontline and healthcare workers.

Special impacts:

The book advocated for the declaration (as Covid-19 Pandemic Heroes) recognition and appreciation of frontline and healthcare workers (held on Dec 20, 2020 in Calgary)

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

NorthWords

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Project: NorthWords Writer’s Festival
Discipline(s): reading, writing, publishing, festivals

unsure - article was from pre-festival

Source: Research

Link to website

Arts Council Wood Buffalo & St. Aidan's Society

Fort McMurray, Alberta Project: Art of Conversation
Discipline(s): media arts, music, reading, writing, publishing, visual arts

From May to December 2020, artists engaged in conversations over the phone with seniors or Elders. The artists created new pieces of art using that conversation as their muse. Arts Council Wood Buffalo then purchased those art pieces from the artists and gifted them to the seniors or Elders with whom they were made. Arts Council also offered seniors and Elders with an art supply kit for those who wanted to create art in addition to conversing with a local artist.

Special impacts:

The goal of Art of Conversation was to connect isolated seniors and Elders with local artists to have conversations, and then create art based on those conversations. Planned months before the pandemic became a reality, Art of Conversation was meant to be a face-to-face workshop between artists, seniors and Elders. COVID-19 prevented those in-person meetings from happening, but the pandemic has made the program more important than ever.

Arts are critical to connecting people and filling them with mental, emotional and physical well-being. Art of Conversation is intended to support good health, while also providing paid opportunities for artists to create their work. This project also served a a reminder of the important role of seniors and Elders in the community.

The program’s inaugural run created 29 art pieces that included songs, paintings, poems and even a balloon sculpture. Some of the stories told through the artistic pieces were new even to volunteers at St. Aidan’s Society, many of whom had known the seniors for years.

To celebrate this project, Arts Council created an online virtual gallery which features the artwork created through the Art of Conversation. The project was so successful that we secured funding from Suncor Energy and the federal government’s New Horizons program to run Art of Conversation again in 2021.

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

Link to website

Salt Spring Arts

Salt Spring Island, British Columbia Project: COVID Musical Chronicles
Discipline(s): music, reading, writing, publishing, visual arts

COVID Chronicles was digital exhibit and showcase aimed at engaging and promoting our local community artists. Presented in June 2020, Chronicles presented writing and photography of Salt Spring Island artists and citizens, sharing their experience and observations of social distancing. Later, we presented an extension of Chronicles - COVID Musical Chronicles as a way of bringing attention to local musicians. Through accessible digital presentation, the project allowed us to bring attention to creatives within our community, focus audiences on home-grown talent, and encourage connection through explicit discussion of the impacts of isolation and the power of art.

Special impacts:

Pre-pandemic, our organization and our mode of presentation were very traditional. The restrictions imposed by COVID-19 meant that we had to find an entirely new way to engage our community and to present and support an artistic dialogue

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

St John's Storytelling Festival

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Project: Festival goes Digital
Discipline(s): festivals, reading, writing, publishing

Going digital turned this festival from local/regional to international, creating new opportunities for the festival.

Source: Research

Link to website

Bibliothèques de Montréal - Arrondissement Rosemont

Montréal, Quebec Project: Bibliothèque numérique accessible
Discipline(s): reading, writing, publishing

Dès mars 2020, la bibliothèque Rosemont a mis à la disponibilité des montréalais gratuitement 37 129 livres numériques, afin d'accéder à la littérature pendant le confinement

Special impacts:

Rendre accessible la culture au plus grand nombre: maintient de la mission des bibliothèque malgré les mesures sanitaires

Source: Research

Link to website

Afros In Tha City

Calgary, Alberta Project: Afros In Tha City Media Collective: Centering Black voices and experiences in Calgary and beyond
Discipline(s): reading, writing, publishing

The goal of this project is to amplify Black voices in Calgary, AB. The Afros In Tha City collective a collective of 5 writers (primarily). We aim to highlight local stories, events, and platform the expressions of Black Calgarians. Our website has had visits from Japan, Switzerland and Ireland. We are being heard locally and around the world.

We strive to create a sustainable network of Black artists, writers, activists and other professionals locally, as well as, across Canada. Here are some of the organizations that have reached out to us within less than a year of our formation:
- The organizers of the Montreal Black Film Festival to participate in the inaugural Calgary Black Film Festival.
- The organizers behind the proposed Canadian Institute for People of African Descent to announce the findings of their study
- Sasha Holtz publicity to request an interview for a client (although we were not able to fufill this request due to time contraints)

Some on-going community partnerships/collaborations include:
- The Sprawl for journalism mentorship and events
- The Canadian Association of Black Journalists (CABJ) for editorial training and as a resource for employment opportunities
- Shayna Jones at We Are Story Folk to promote the Black and Rural Project (which is to unite Black Canadians who live in rural areas, promoting solidarity through storytelling)
- Avenue Magazine, who offers internship and writing opportunities for the Afros In Tha City crew

Special impacts:

While the plan for Afros In Tha City, inc. was to develop an artist run center (we currently have a space in partnership with Superblend in Ramsay, Calgary), the COVID-19 pandemic meant that AITC operations had to be mostly online.

Of the challenges we have faced, some are due to the isolation of being quarantined and resulting mental health effects. During this time, we have strived for consistency (we are a monthly publication with accompanying online events, such as panel discussions), balancing a structured and forgiving environment with flexible deadlines. This has contributed to our sustainability.

Some challenges are due to the uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer and the racism that it uncovered (while we have also seen tremendous support). As a collective with a common goal, we provide eachother support and encouragement to persevere.

Afros In Tha City is the first Black media collective of its kind in Calgary, AB. While we are not currently able to fufil our mission of a physical space, our media collective has been a conduit of connection among Black communities across Canada and allies. Our digital publication as well as overall mission of care, justice, and community building will outlive this pandemic.

We have learned to accept and pivot to a primarily digital space. We have also learned that facilitating online events increases accessibility and offers all community members (with internet access) the possibility to jump on a call and participate in an event. This has removed the space barrier and has helped us connect with artists from outside of Calgary.

Members of this collective have grown in their respective writing careers. For example, our Editor-in-Chief, Tomi Ajele has been published by the CBC and HuffPost Canada within 6 months of our formation.

This time last year we were (mostly) strangers, and while some of us haven't had the chance to meet in person, we have built a solid team with the potential to establish a lasting Black led, media organization, here in Calgary.

Equity seeking: Racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+
Source: Survey

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