INNOVATION & RESILIENCE
IN CANADA’S CULTURAL SECTOR
IN CANADA’S CULTURAL SECTOR
Afros In Tha City
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
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+
Link to website
April MacDonald Killins and the YEG Performing Arts Accessibility Ad Hoc Group
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.
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
Link to website
Vancouver Arts Colloquium Society, Keiko Honda
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
Link to website
Casa Mexico Foundation
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.
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
Link to website
ReeVay (Marc Rivest)
"The Fall of Troy" is the debut album from singer/songwriter ReeVay. This project tells the story of 2020 through the eyes of its writer; everything from the WWIII scare in January to spending Christmas in quarantine. The main goal of this album is to highlight the common factors of our pandemic experiences with a central message of unity during troubled times. The album began production in June 2021 and is expecting a late 2021 release.Special impacts:
This story is impactful due to its theme of unity during troubled times. 2020 has been an incredibly strange year and many people have felt isolated and alone. Despite everyone feeling this way, it is rarely talked about due to attached social stigmas. By writing this record, I hope to start a dialogue about these issues and remind listeners that we truly are "all in this together" even in post-pandemic times.Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+
Link to website
Discipline(s): media arts
My Goal is exhibit this collection, Alive, Upside Down, Is part of a series of experimental Digital poetry storytelling with mother nature as a protagonist. It's about the power of finding calmness in the chaos who surround us now globally.Special impacts:
This year my series obtained the RBC Space Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation, and thanks to this recognition I will be able to exhibit my photographic exhibition. Creating and persisting for our projects despite all the uncertainty that surrounds us and chaos, is in an act of resilience as an artist , mother and human being.Equity seeking: Racialized
Link to website
Perchance Theatre at Cupids
In March of 2020, the world shut down under the weight of COVID-19, taking with it the entire performing arts industry. Knowing immediately that it would be one of the last industries to reopen and just how many artists here in our province would be impacted, Perchance Theatre responded by reimagining a way of working; restructuring to make that possible. We rebuilt a season that spoke to the reality of where we, as a community of artists and audiences across the province, found ourselves.
The Power of One was born. An initiative that spoke to the heart of the mission and mandate of Perchance – the power of words and ideas explored through classical text and performed in the outdoors. We channeled our passion for our province’s history and geography and the power of technology to reach far beyond our stage in Cupids to feature 41 of our province’s artists doing one monologues from each one of Shakespeare’s plays from Nain to the Southern Shore, in barrens and bays, forests and frozen land.
While we learned new skills as a company, we were also able to employ over 50 artists from all stages of career in all walks of life across our entire province. Employment that has not just helped financially in this terrible economic time, but holistically. The arts are a calling. Artists without work are pining because their work is what nourishes them; not just financially but spiritually.Special impacts:
Overall this initiative created 61 unique employment opportunities for cultural workers, showcasing both the Province’s talent, language and its unique spaces. Each monologue was tied to a specific location in the province that echoed the message of the monologue. From The Book of Sir Thomas More asking for compassion for refugees (The Bulgarian refugee immigration of 1990 in Gander) to The Twelfth Night (Translated into Inuktitut and featured the tradition of the Nalijuk) right down to the beginning and conclusion of our journey - leaving from our theatre in sadness in 2020 (All the World's a Stage) to a joyful return(Perchance to Dream) to throw open our doors on our summer season.
Thanks to the success of the Power of One, marketing the theatre will become much easier as Perchance now has a heightened brand awareness throughout the province, nationally and internationally. Even if the borders remain closed in 2021, we have forged new connections in many areas of the province from which to draw provincial ‘staycation’ audiences.
Incredibly, this initiative was more successful that we dreamed and while the company sees about 2700 people through its doors over the course of a season, each monologue is now being viewed by on average by 25k (and for some up to 50K on facebook alone) people all over the globe. As we head into the 2021 season, we are going in with an audience primed and ready for live and virtual performance in our unique style and an audience that has grown exponentially.Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Link to website
Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence
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
Link to website
Festival of Literary Diversity
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
Link to website
Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, Soulpepper Theatre and Artists for Real Climate Action
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
SQx Dance Company (Trading), SQx Danza (Registered)
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
-10 minute opening video performance
—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
—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
Password = identity
Password = light
The Good Heart
Password = goodheart1
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
-remote & rural communities
-inner-cities (particularly those with high occurrences of gangs)
-people of diverse abilities
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
Link to website
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.
Link to website
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
Link to website
City of Markham's Public Art Program
Discipline(s): museums and galleries, visual arts
“Becoming Public Art: Working Models and Case Studies for Art in Public” is a nine-week virtual summit co-curated by Markham’s Public Art Curator Yan Wu and Principle of ART+PUBLIC UnLtd Rebecca Carbin. Conceived in the context of the City’s recently approved “Public Art Master Plan 2020-2024,” the summit aims to develop resources for those interested in the practice of contemporary public art, from the maker to the producer, from professionals of the field to general public. Initially planned as a three-day in-person event—including indoor presentations and discussions, outdoor guided public art tours, temporary installation, performance, and screening—in June 2020, due to the impact of COVID, the summit had to reconfigure itself swiftly and creatively into an online format with comparably dynamic content. After a few experiments of similar but smaller programs over the summer and a follow-up audience survey, the curators came up with the current model of presentation: weekly live webinars combined with bi-weekly publishing of written interviews and a constantly updated archival website.
In a series of online lectures, panel discussions, and interviews, an esteemed international group of 46 participants (artists, architects, curators, fabricators, planners, and administrators) present the broad range of perspectives that shape public art making today. Framed by current discussions happening at the intersection of contemporary art, public realm issues and urbanism, the summit features working models and case studies that address the challenges and opportunities faced by those working in this constantly evolving field. The entire program was free to the public.
Over the course of nine weeks, close to 1500 people attended the live webinars and the program has developed 800 followers who has subscribed to the summit newsletters. The audience includes artists and designers, curators and art consultants, administrators from other municipalities both local and international, government agencies, and cultural institutes, university researchers and educators, art students, and general public who is interested in the topic.Special impacts:
Unfolding over the course of nine weeks, from October 13 through December 8, 2020, the core of “Becoming Public Art” is a series of nine webinars, taking place weekly on Tuesdays from 1:30 p.m. through 3 p.m. Each session was broadcast live through Zoom webinar. All programs are free and open to the public. Registration was required. Focusing on in-depth presentations and discussions on specific case studies and working models, the webinars were developed under nine themes in response to the present state of public art production, starting from Ken Lum’s keynote lecture on public artist as a working model itself, followed by Collaborative Process, A Civic Role for Artists, Art and Urban Planning, Accessibility, Placemaking and Public Art, Site-Specificity and Public Art, Temporary Programming, and The Digital Turn in Public Art. Recordings of all the sessions are made available on the project website, with subtitles.
In parallel with the live broadcast, four online interview series—"What is a Public Art Master Plan?”, “Public Art and City Planning”, “Public Art on Campus”, and “Public Art on Transit”—were launched through five summit newsletters, delivered to the subscribers on a bi-weekly basis. The newsletters also serve as the platform for the presenters to answer the questions that were not able to be covered during live sessions.
The project website is intentionally designed as a living archive—not only to document the entire summit, but an on-going online database for anyone who is interested in the production of art in public. We were told by some colleagues that they had used the summit as learning materials for internal discussion and team building activities. At least eight universities around the world have used the summit as teaching materials in related courses and programs.Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Link to website
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
Link to website
Vancouver Mural Festival
Discipline(s): festivals, visual arts
Over 6 weeks in April-May 2020, Vancouver Mural Festival teamed up with local artists, Business Associations, Vancity Credit Union, City of Vancouver and Goodbye Graffiti to create temporary murals on storefronts boarded up (to avoid break-ins and looting) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was 60 incredible murals to inspire hope, brighten streets, celebrate resilience and connect communities. With stores reopened, most murals have been removed and re-purposed.Special impacts:
VMF and local artists transformed our downtown core from apocalyptic-feeling to inspirational with a coat of paint -- demonstrating the true power of public art and collaboration. When local businesses and local governments understand to the power of colour and creativity in public, we can move quickly and wear our shared cultures, values and pride on the outside. While importantly -- ensuring artists are well compensated for their skills and contributions.Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+
Link to website
Small World Music
Discipline(s): festivals, music
This is less the story of a project, per se, but of the way our overall work evolved over the pandemic period. We expanded our org and our impact - arguably in ways that would have taken us many years to do, if we did it at all.
SWM is dedicated to connecting and working with and for artists, audiences, organizations, and professionals from equity-deserving communities. That happens through live events (annual festival, concerts across the Toronto area), as well as through our subsidized venue/studio (SWCentre), our artist development program for newcomer/refugee/emerging artists (eMERGEnce), our international showcase/conference (Global Toronto) and related outbound efforts to international events (Going Global), and being a resource to the various communities we serve.Special impacts:
With the pandemic, we had a bleak first several weeks, like many organizations - to say nothing of the artist communities we were designed to serve. But through partnerships - with presenters such as Music Together, the National Arts Centre, Humber College, and many others - we were able to take advantage of both our growing network of artists/orgs and our Small World Centre, which continued to be enhanced with upgraded tech and gear to find performance opportunities beyond having folks set up their phone cams in their living rooms (though we also helped with that).
Until Ontario locked us out of the venue for most of the first half of 2021, we'd recorded/broadcast over 100 performances from the SW Centre for a range of artists from inside and outside the SW 'family', offering high-quality production and recording for a hugely subsidized rate.
Our artist development program for newcomer/refugee/emerging artists benefited from the re-think of the program already underway when things shut down. The online pivot of the program proved essential to the mental/emotional health and wellbeing of the cohort of 23 musicians; we continued, too, to offer professional development activities that will help their career. We were able to host some jam sessions - an essential part of the program - in the Centre, and 6 new bands developed; they, and other bands the cohort led, were the focus of our 2020 SW Festival, giving them an opportunity we never planned but will continue to affect the future of our work. All along, we sought the program participants' guidance to ensure we were on the right path together. Our next Cohort will benefit from this work.
Our conference, Global Toronto, also benefited from the re-think. Rather than doing it as usual (fly in a couple dozen delegates, put together meetings, the occasional panel), we leaned hard into the guidance we received from the global community of contacts, colleagues, friends, and counterparts, hosting consult sessions that told us we had an opportunity with Global Toronto to make an impact not just for the showcasing artists but for the sector. Participants of the event, which went online in late July, before most other conferences on the calendar, gave us incredible feedback. From feeling safe to share hard talk and experiences - unprecedented in the conference context - to a sense of a real international community, we were dubbed an 'activist conference' with the goal of making change in the industry, building an accessible, sustainable, and equitable sector.
There is more but I'll stop there, except to say we pride ourselves on our energy and desire to serve the community of artists, organizations, and professionals from equity-deserving communities and continue to find ways of making a difference despite (because of) the challenges faced as a result of the pandemic.Equity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+, D/deaf, disabled, or live with difference
Link to website
Discipline(s): community arts, festivals
Happenings is the first and only Toronto festival made by community artists, giving centre stage to the talents and skills of immigrant, newcomer, and refugee artists. This year’s festival takes place during the entire month of May and will bring together over 80 artists and performers belonging to diverse communities.Equity seeking: Racialized
Link to website
Arts Council Wood Buffalo & St. Aidan's Society
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
Link to website
STEPS Public Art
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
Link to website
Discipline(s): visual arts
Succès à travers la pandémie réside sur deux aspects: le premier est qu'elle a varié les sources de financements et de projets (commercial, performance, exposition, résidence, production) et le second est qu'en collaboration avec le centre d'artiste avec lequel elle a travaillé, ils ont adapté l'exposition à la situation.Special impacts:
Elle a su démontrer une adaptabilité, une débrouillardise et une prise de position face à la situation. Alors que plusieurs organismes ont fermé leurs portes et abandonné la communauté d'artistes, elle s'est trouvé des projets de toutes sortes et les a adaptés.Equity seeking: Racialized
Link to website
Black History Ottawa
At first, we delayed the annual Health and Wellness Seminar that we organize with other members of the African Caribbean Canadian Coalition (ACCC). We came close to cancelling the event but like other organizations, we pivoted to online events and looked for creative ways to continue educating the public. We ended up hosting two online health seminars, one in July and one in September. We also applied ourselves at learning to better use social media to create awareness about our work.Special impacts:
We continue to connect with the public by doing more presentations to organizations across the country who more than ever are eager to deepen their knowledge of Canadian Black History and lived experiences.Equity seeking: Racialized
Source: Capital Heritage Connexion
Link to website
rice & beans theatre
Read the story
The exhibition will take patrons through the theatre to the Firehall’s courtyard, and be limited to ten patrons per showing. There will be no live performers – only objects, voice recordings, and projections. Over the twelve-day exhibition, there will be a total of fifty showings, each forty minutes in length. Between each showing, the venue will be sanitized as per COVID-19 protocols.Equity seeking: Racialized
Link to website
STEPS Public Art
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
Link to website
Islamic Centre of Yellowknife
Discipline(s): heritage, festivals
Eid is usually a time of getting together, sharing big meals, and praying. But this year, it was celebrated in Yellowknife in a physically distant way, with organizers passing out boxes of chocolates and goodie bags for the children with sweets and toys inside. They wore protective gloves, along with masks. Hand sanitizer was also available.Special impacts:
"Eid is a day of happiness so we wanted to celebrate, we wanted to meet with people, and we wanted people to get out of their homes," said Ullah.Equity seeking: Racialized
Link to website
Arts Council Wood Buffalo
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
Link to website
SpanicArts: Hispanic Association of Professional Artists Ltd.
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 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 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.
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.
Link to website
Visceral Visions Society
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 creativelyEquity seeking: Indigenous Peoples, Racialized
Link to website
Graham A. Brown
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.
Link to website
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
Link to website
Discipline(s): visual arts, media arts
Read the story
Artiste asiatique qui a utilisé son temps pour monter un projet qui recueille 135 témoignages d'artistes asiatiques et canadiens à travers le Canada pour en savoir plus sur leur expérience de la pandémie et comment ils ont adapté leur pratique artistiqueSpecial impacts:
Elle raconte l'histoire de plusieurs artistes asiatiques qui ont dû faire face à la crise et à une vague de racisme.Equity seeking: Racialized
Link to website