INNOVATION & RESILIENCE
IN CANADA’S CULTURAL SECTOR

Théâtre Cercle Molière

Winnipeg, Manitoba Project: Le Festival théâtre jeunesse virtuel
Discipline(s): theatre, festivals

Cette année, pour célébrer le 51e Festival théâtre jeunesse du Théâtre Cercle Molière, nous avons lancé notre tout premier et FTJ virtuel.

Entre janvier et avril, près de 450 élèves ont participé à 75 ateliers à distance offerts par le Théâtre Cercle Molière en collaboration avec Le festival Freeze Frame. Et la semaine du 17 au 21 mai, presque 400 élèves ont pu se connecter et connecter entre eux à travers du Forum, des activités et en naviguant notre tout nouveau site Web du FTJ. 17 troupes et 13 écoles différentes ont vécu une expérience théâtrale en temps de pleine pandémie. C’est du jamais vu et c’est quelque chose à célébrer!

Notre après-midi Gala au thème “Zoom Glam” du vendredi, 21 mai, avec notre animateur, Eugène Baffoe, a célébré les projets de tous et les jeunes ont pu célébrer et être célébrés.

Ce grand événement rassembleur fut une réelle réussite, malgré la distanciation sociale grâce à la contribution de nombreux individus, commanditaires et partenaires que l'on remercie sincèrement.

Special impacts:

Cette année nous avons pû accueillir des écoles en région et hors province sans que personne n'ait besoin de se déplacer. Le contexte nous a fait réaliser à quel point l'accessibilité au festival est important pour nous.

Le site Web et son Forum interactif furent appréciés par tous et offraient une nouvelle façon pour les jeunes de se rencontrer, de présenter leurs projets et partager leurs succès et défis.

Les ateliers en ligne et sessions de formation seront sûrement à répéter puisque la demande était haute et et les commentaires d'enseignant.e.s très positifs.

Et, cette année, pour la première fois, nous avons créé un groupe consultatif d'élèves représentant.e.s de chaque groupe participant. Sonder ces jeunes, communiquer avec eux et les rencontrer nous a aidé à ajuster et améliorer au fur et à mesure que nous planifions.

Tous les ajustements, apprentissages et succès que nous a offert cette dernière année nous guideront dans un FTJ encore plus interactif, branché et dynamique en 2022.

Equity seeking: Members of official language minority groups
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

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

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

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

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

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

The Canadian Design Resource

Toronto, Ontario Project: The Canadian Design Resource
Discipline(s): museums and galleries, design

We managed to completely rebrand and run a series of focus groups and user zoom calls - something we struggled w before the pandemic. The time out allowed us to regroup and really dig into our audience.

Special impacts:

We are the main hub for the creative community in Canada - we needed to get out front and listen to our fans. This process will continue after the pandemic. The lessons to share are many...but the main ones were to use this time to shift and get forward leaning, build tools to listen to your community, and to connect with makers who can help create new products and experiences.

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

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

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

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

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