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Profile Highlight | Otahpiaaki (Calgary)

As ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory grows, we realize that it’s a bit overwhelming to read through all of the profiles. We’re hoping that by occasionally highlighting some profiles on our blog, you may learn about an initiative that you may not have initially seen in the directory. Also, if you know of a Canadian community-engaged arts for social change initiative that isn’t in our directory, but should be, please let us know! We love and need your input/feedback in building this resource! -Lisa, Content Coordinator at ArtBridges.

Otahpiaaki is a social innovation project based at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. Each year, Otahpiaaki hosts our Indigenous Beauty, Fashion and Design Week, featuring some of our region’s most inspiring Indigenous artists, designers, and creatives. We believe that the work of reconciliation is for neighbours and that important conversations and teachings can be shared through creative and artistic practices.”

To read more about Otahpiaaki, please see their profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

GeriActors 2nd Annual Summer School (Edmonton)

“​GeriActors 2nd Annual Summer School starts June 29

Introduction to storytelling, acting and improv

Perfect for anyone wanting to learn more about our acting company, the GeriActors & Friends, or wanting to try something brand new.

GeriActors has been turning stories into plays for the last sixteen years. Join us this summer and learn how to turn your own stories into moments of theatre to share with others.


No experience necessary and all abilities welcome.

Date & Time:
June 29 – July 27
Thursdays from 1 – 3pm

The SAGE Seniors Association
15 Sir Winston Churchill Square

Cost: $20

Register in person at SAGE or call 780-423-5510.”

Request for Proposals: Youth Empowerment & Support Services Artist in Residence (Edmonton)

Artist in Residence 2017 – Request for Proposals
Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS)

“The Edmonton Arts Council is inviting artists residing in Edmonton to submit a proposal to become the artist-in-residence hosted by the Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS).

The successful artist will commence duties in the spring of 2017, for an anticipated eight-month period (terms negotiable/flexible).

YESS is an Edmonton-based not-for-profit agency dedicated to empowering youth from difficult realities. Since 1981 they have helped to fill the gap in government services for youth ages 15-24. The youth who utilize the services at YESS come from varied cultures, economic backgrounds, races, religions, communities, sexual orientations, and gender identities. The YESS main office is located at 9310- 82 Avenue, and they provide services at other locations in the City, including the Conaught Armoury in Old Strathcona.

The artist-in-residence will develop a body of work while interacting with the staff and the youth at YESS. The artist will ideally reflect their residency experience through their work, and mentor the artistic interaction and expression of interested youth and staff members. The artist is expected to be visible in their artistic work, and will produce and present several public showings of work over the course of the project.

The available studio space is similar to an office, and other transient workspaces for the residency are potentially available. This opportunity is likely best suited for candidates who practice in a combination of visual art and other forms, such as storytelling, media art, photography or similar. Small scale sculptural work is possible.

This is a near-full-time opportunity, with the artist expected to commit to regular working hours over the course of approximately eight months. Final schedules are subject to negotiation.

A panel that includes representatives of Edmonton’s arts community, the Edmonton Arts Council and from YESS will review the proposals and select the artist-in-residence following an interview process. Emphasis will be placed on finding an individual with strong artistic work, the potential to succeed in producing a strong body of artwork in the available space/time, and solid interpersonal skills.

Additional factors may influence the choice of artist, such as experience working with youth, with marginalized communities, or with non-artists generally. The Edmonton Arts Council is committed to equity in all aspects of its work, and invites proposals from all interested artists.”

For more information about this call and how to apply, please visit:
Deadline is February 1st, so please apply ASAP!

-submitted by Edmonton Arts Council

Call to Canadian Indigenous Artists: Art Glass Transit Shelters (Edmonton Arts Council)


Call to Canadian Indigenous Artists – Valley Line, Mill Woods Stop – Art Glass Transit Shelters

The Art Glass Transit Shelters Mill Woods Stop public srt competition is open to Canadian Indigenous artists or artist teams residing in Canada, and is held in accordance with the City of Edmonton policy “Percent for Art to Provide and Encourage Art in Public Areas”(C458C).

The Edmonton Arts Council Public Art Program, on behalf of the City of Edmonton, seeks a Canadian Indigenous artist / artist team to integrate site-specific public art in the glass for the Mill Woods Stop shelters. The location is a significant and highly visible public art installation opportunity for artists who can translate their art forms into permanent treatments on the glass that is specified for the shelters.

The Mill Woods area has a complex cultural history. This area was part of the Papaschase (translated as ‘Big Woodpecker’ in Cree) Indian Reserve #136. On August 21, 1877, Cree Chief Papaschase signed adhesion to Treaty No. 6 at Fort Edmonton. The reserve covered 65 square kilometers comprising of 42 sections of land, now defined by the major thoroughfares bounding Mill Woods. Following the Riel Rebellion of 1885, many of the inhabitants accepted scrip and were forced off the land; by 1888, the reserve was surrendered and surveyed for agricultural use.

Over the next century, the area evolved from farmland to urban community. The latter part of the 20th century, saw rapid growth and change as immigrants fleeing conflicts worldwide made the community their new home.

Described as an “arrival city,” Mill Woods is unique for its diversity of cultures and Indigenous roots.

In a manner that is culturally appropriate to the peoples of this region, artwork concepts should consider the significant cultural heritage and legacy of this area, the rich histories, stories and customs that tell of this place, and Indigenous perspectives of Papaschase.

$97,000.00 CAD (maximum, all inclusive)

Deadline for Submissions:
4:30 pm on Thursday, January 12, 2017

Spring 2018

A mandatory workshop will be held for shortlisted artists.

For more information, email Chelsea Boida, Public Art Officer, or call (780) 424–2787 ext. 229 and visit for the full Call details”

-from Edmonton Arts Council newsletter

SPARK Disability Art Festival (Nov 28 – Dec 2, Calgary)


In-Definite Arts & Studio C are proud to present the 2016 SPARK Disability Art Festival, running November 28 to December 2 in different venues across Calgary. SPARK this year will include five juried exhibitions across Calgary, two satellite shows at the University of Calgary and a jam-packed closing reception with three guest speakers.

SPARK is excited to present a series of visual art exhibits that will ignite the mind & spark the imagination. This year’s Festival features over 140 pieces of art in all media from Canadian artists pan-disability. Exhibits will be hosted at ACAD, Arts Commons, In-Definite Arts, Loft 112 and Studio C Nov.28 – Dec.2.

In addition to SPARK’s juried exhibitions, In-Definite Arts and Studio C are pleased to partner with the University of Calgary to present new SPARK art exploring ability, disability and mental health. U of C students will be exhibiting sculptures on the theme of Adapt Ability Disability, as well as collaborative drawings created through partnered expression, where U of C students pair with disabled artists from the In-Definite Arts Society to create jointly rendered drawings.

Both series of artworks will be featured together at the U of C Art Building under the shared title “Creative Growth”. The exhibits will be on display November 28 through December 2, and the reception will occur November 30 from 4 to 6pm. All are welcome.

Attend the Closing Reception at In-Definite Arts December 2 from 6 to 8pm and enjoy keynote presentations from three Calgary artists with a disability. This year SPARK is proud to partner with Tony Goodison, Mary Salvani and Shawn Belanger for a series of thoughtful discussions on subjects relating to art, diversity, and disability.

For more information, please visit:

-submitted by In-Definite Arts
Read In-Definite Arts’ profile in ArtBridges Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map


The Marda Loop Justice Film Festival (Nov.15-20, Calgary)


The Marda Loop Justice Film Festival has been sharing human rights, environmental, and socially significant documentary films since 2006. The 2016 Festival will run Nov. 15-20, 2016.”

“At the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival, we present some of the world’s best documentaries on the issues that are important to us as individuals, Canadians, global citizens, and humans. We’ve brought these influential documentaries from international filmmakers to more than 30,000 people in the Calgary area and across Canada, and thanks to our sponsors, we’ve done it free of charge.

Since our start in 2006, we’ve grown 100%, from a three-day festival with two venues to a six-day festival in four venues. In addition to the annual festival, we also present justREEL, a year-round film series.

In 2016, the documentaries we presented were chosen from a submission pool of more than 1000 filmmakers from over 100 countries. Every screening, whether it’s a festival presentation or part of justREEL, includes a discussion with the filmmaker or experts on the film’s topic; these conversations are lively, inclusive and enlightening, occasionally charged or even contentious, but always thought-provoking.

Good Films. Do Good.

For more information about the Film Festival, please visit

-from the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival’s website

GeriActors Artists Training Program – community-based theatre (Edmonton)


“Join us this October for our NEW Training Program and learn the intergenerational and community-based theatre techniques used by the GeriActors. This program is perfect for actors, educators, healthcare providers, recreation professionals, and more!

Training Program
October 21 – 23, 2016
Friday, October 21 from 6-9PM
Saturday, October 22 from 10AM-5PM
Sunday, October 23 from 1-5PM

Registration Fee – $100*
Student/Senior – $75*
*This fee will be offset by the payment participants will receive for leading a workshop.

Performance Storytelling Residency
At the end of the Training Program those interested will have the opportunity to lead, in pairs, a workshop in Performance Storytelling, for which they will be paid. This 3-week Residency is a great opportunity to put into practice what you learned in the training program.

Program Coordinator, Matthew “Gus” Gusul
Gus obtained his PhD from the University of Victoria. His research focused upon the creation of an Intergenerational Theatre performance in rural Tamil Nadu, India. As a theatre artist, he has mainly focused on helping marginalized communities create theatre based upon the community’s stories. He has worked with seniors, inmates in prisons, various groups of Canada’s Indigenous populations, young people, GLBT communities, and religious groups. In Victoria, he was the Director/Playwright for the Living History – Reminiscence Theatre Company, and from 2005-2010 he was the Assistant Director of the GeriActors.

Contact GeriActors to Register: 780-248-1556 /”

-submitted by GeriActors Theatre
Read GeriActors’ profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

Footprints – An Art Project: Remembering the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls of Canada


By Kaiya Leonard, “La Couvee”

“Footprints – An Art Project: Remembering the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls of Canada

The Project 

Two Indigenous teenage sisters – inspired in part by the recent murder of their birth mother, as well as learning that the number of reported Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) across Canada is now estimated at 1,200 sisters – are collecting 1,200 pairs of shoes as part of an art-and-awareness project that will be displayed at the Awo Taan Healing Lodge’s Sisters in Spirit event on October 4, 2016 at Olympic Plaza.

Project Goals

  • Collect 1,200 pairs of good conditioned girls (including baby/toddler) and women’s shoes, each pair to represent a missing and murdered Indigenous woman or girl in Canada
  • Create awareness about the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada
  • Generate discussions among non-native Canadians about this important issue
  • Create commemorative public art to be displayed during the Awo Taan Healing Lodge annual Sisters in Spirit march on October 4, 2016
  • Support domestic shelters and other non-profit organizations by donating all the shoes collected after the Sisters in Spirit event
  • Engage Indigenous youth, elders and local agencies

Where can you donate shoes?

You can donate shoes by contacting the organizers (who will arrange to pick them up) or drop them off at the University of Calgary’s Native Center. You can also request a donation box and relevant information for your place of work to encourage your co-workers to donate to this important project.

For more information, or to support the project by donating or volunteering, please contact: 

Jenlen Leonard
Social Workers for Indigenous Social Justice (SWISJ)
T: 403 998 3950
Facebook page | Website

-from SWISJ news release

Profile Highlight: Chrysalis: An Alberta Society for Citizens with Disabilities

As ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory grows, we realize that it’s a bit overwhelming to read through all of the profiles. We’re hoping that by occasionally highlighting some profiles on our blog, you may learn about an initiative that you may not have initially seen in the directory. Also, if you know of a Canadian community-engaged arts for social change initiative that isn’t in our directory, but should be, please let us know! We love and need your input/feedback in building this resource! -Lisa, Content Coordinator at Artbridges.


Chrysalis “endeavours to have people with disabilities accepted by and included in society for their abilities to contribute, and have the same rights and privileges as all citizens. Through the creative arts programming, individuals have not only developed their artistic talents, but have been able to reach into the community through annual art shows, online auctions, distribution of the yearly Chrysalis art calendar and numerous art displays housed at high traffic public places like the Edmonton International Airport and Community Natural Foods in Calgary. Thanks in large part to this exposure; many of the talented artists are being sought-after to create commission artwork for their supporters.”

To read more about Chrysalis, please see their profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map.