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Stepping Sideways – Resiliency and the Learning Heart: by DAREarts artist-educator Cathy Elliott

ArtBridges SelfieFrom Left: Seanna Connell (Project Director, ArtBridges), Cathy Elliott (Artist-Educator, DAREarts), Marilyn Field (Founder & President, DAREarts). Photo courtesy of Cathy Elliott.

Cathy Elliott is an artist-educator with DAREarts’ First Roots Aboriginal program. DAREarts received an award in ArtBridges’ First Annual Recognition Awards for remarkable work in community-engaged arts in the category of Resiliency. Here, Cathy shares her thoughts on the award and how it relates to the FNMI youth she works with in Canada’s remote, fly-in only communities… Thanks for sharing, Cathy!
- Cora, Indigenous Community Arts Coordinator

“ArtBridges is a hub of communications, support, and inspiration for community based arts groups and individuals. DAREarts just received a cherished award from ArtsBridges for DAREarts First Roots Aboriginal program, which delivers arts education in collaboration with schools, artists and First Nations all over Canada.

The “Resiliency Award” is very special to us, because it recognizes the challenges that not only we, but FNMI kids and their communities experience in remote areas, specifically First Nations fly-in only communities in the North.

We have a saying: “If you can’t go forward, step sideways,” which is something that our kids and their parents know intimately. This is an ingenious way to solve problems. Sometimes, things just don’t go the way they were planned. We improvise. As artists working in their communities, we have learned from the best: the artists we work with, the young people and the Elders.

The challenges can be deceptively simple or devastatingly complicated. I’ve seen a snowfall or drop in temperature kybosh three days of artistic development – or a plane that won’t land, or, sadly, a funeral of a loved one turn a week into days of re-planning, re-scheduling, re-thinking. My own mother’s death on Valentine’s Day put a huge amount of pressure on the two other artists who were working in Marten Falls FN. They had to press on and make the final presentation day happen without my help (I was flown home for Mom’s funeral) Funerals in the communities often make us step sideways. Out of respect, all activities stop until we can start up again. The young people are prime examples of resiliency. They work with us to make their final work of art happen. That’s the Discipline part of our values.

The artists we thank are Linda Carson, Lee Pham, John Cowling, Peter Elliott, Glenn Marais, Jeremy Proulx, Waawaate Fobister, Laura MacKinnon, Tanya Senk, D’Arcy Moses, Genevieve Anthony, Francois and Jennifer Aubrey, Zoee Maxwell, Julian Sale… They all stepped sideways when needed.

The community teachers who contributed their talents and advice and let us disrupt their schedules are heroes to us. They carried on the arts and values after we left.

Last but not least: local community artists, musicians, painters, beaders, drummers, – you are our foundation. This award is for you, too.

Stepping sideways is a way to step forward. It’s a way of going around obstacles and building resilience. It teaches us that there are many ways to teach… and learn. One step at a time. Never stopping.

Miigwetch, Wela’lin, Mahsi Cho, Quyanaini…there are not enough words for thank you.”

Posted with permission from Cathy Elliott
Read DAREarts’ profile on ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

Read Cathy’s previous posts:
03/30/15 – Paving a Future – The Ice Road to Tuk: Stories from a DAREarts Artist-Educator
12/15/14 – You’re Gonna Save the World: Stories from a DAREarts Artist-Educator
10/30/14 – Thunder Bay & Rexdale – Too Much in Common: Stories from a DAREarts Artist-Educator
07/04/14 – Excellence is Earned: Stories from a DAREarts Artist-Educator
05/23/14 – Introducing – DAREarts Atlantic: Stories from a DAREarts Artist-Educator
04/29/14 – DAREarts Out on the Land in Attawpiskat: Stories from a DAREarts Artist-Educator
03/24/14 – My Drum’s Journey: Stories from a DAREarts Artist-Educator
02/16/14 – It Starts With a Circle: Stories from a DAREarts Artist-Educator

ArtHeart is Expanding! Help spread the word! (Toronto)


ArtHeart is expanding with two new programs! Help spread the word!

As a result of the recent Regent Park revitalization and to accommodate new senior residents that have moved into the community, ArtHeart has launched a Seniors’ Arts Program for individuals ages 55 and older. The weekly program consists of one three-hour workshop from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm with 20 – 25 participants attending each workshop. Art classes will focus on diverse creative techniques including sewing, crocheting, painting, drawing, lino-printing, bead work, and more. Seniors’ Arts will provide seniors with opportunities to feel welcome and included in their community while being creative and active.

The second program PROJECT KIDS & CAMERAS! is a unique photography workshop designed for Regent Park kids in Grades 3-8. Capture the HEART of Regent Park with digital cameras, journal entries, and photographs you print in class! Project will culminate in a community-wide photo exhibit/celebration at the Daniels Spectrum showcasing the participants’ photographs and writings.”

-submitted by ArtHeart
Read ArtHeart’s profile on ArtBridges’  Community-Engaged Arts Directory & Map

Songwriting Camp for Aboriginal Youth (aged 16-25), Sept. 25-27 (Riverport, NS)


Project Description:
The Aboriginal Song Writers Camp will be held this Fall at The Ovens Natural Park, Riverport, Nova Scotia. Starting a long weekend the evening of 25th September through to the 27th September, 2015. This stunning setting puts everyone in direct contact with nature and will take everyone out of and away from their everyday lives. Steve Chapin, himself a musician, singer and owner of The Ovens is extremely happy to welcome the Mi’kmaw. The Ovens Natural Park has had a long-standing relationship with the Mi’kmaw and makes a point to honour the historical ties that exist between them. This camp is open to 12 aboriginal songwriters ages 16 to 25 years from both on and off reserve. Participants must either be in school or want to continue their education in their given field. The Aboriginal Songwriters Camp is for those whose passion is music, who play an instrument, who sing, have already written, or, have an interest in writing songs and performing. Participants must demonstrate a willingness to open themselves up to learning and be prepared to take his or her skills to another level. They must also be prepared to learn how to distill their creative energy into performance pieces. Expand their technical and artistic horizons so they can become a more knowledgeable songwriter. Be willing to express themselves using story telling and poetry. Broaden their harmonic range – using inherent musical methods. This camp will also explore the use of traditional Aboriginal sounds and beats and participants will learn how this fits into popular music.

This camp will honour traditional storytelling and music. We will start by exploring storytelling with two well respected and traditional Mi’kmaq Elders, Jane Meader, Elder, teacher and Mi’kmaq language specialist from Membertou First Nation and Gerald Gould, Elder, artist and educator, from Millbrook First Nation. The Sons of Membertou, traditional drummers from Membertou First Nation and Juno nominees, will take us through their knowledge of traditional beats in Aboriginal music. This will lay the groundwork for an exploration into showing how important the use of ‘story’ is and how the lyrics combine with the beat of the music.

David Findlay will put perspective on traditional rhythms and popular music and how these may be combined. Other singer/songwriters will offer their expertise over the weekend during a combination of one on one; small group and everyone included experiences. From composing through to performing, this weekend will include days spent writing and evenings spent performing on site. The weekend will culminate on Sunday with a sunrise ceremony and naming of the point at The Ovens dedicated to the memory of Steve Michael the first Mi’kmaq RCMP officer in Nova Scotia. This dedication and naming will include a performance by Steve Chapin of a song especially written by him in honour of Steve Michael, a long time friend. Then, using The Ovens Restaurant as a performance space, brunch followed by participant performances will be open to the public. This weekend will be intense in terms of teaching, learning and experiencing. It will be a fusion of cultures with Aboriginal culture being dominant. All the mentors are dedicated and all are excellent teachers and willing and happy to share their knowledge.”

Interested youth should email as soon as possible with a letter outlining their interest in music and songwriting, as well as their current involvement in music.

Visit to read an article about the project.

Posted with permission from Yvonne Mosley

Call for Nominations: 2015 National Fresh Voices Artivism Award / Appel de candidature : Les prix nationaux Fresh Voices Artivisme

2015 National Fresh Voices Artivism Award / Les prix nationaux Fresh Voices Artivisme

Only a Few Days Left to Make Nominations for the New Award!

As the world is being shaken by images of thousands of refugees seeking sanctuary, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation and Vancouver Foundation have teamed up to launch the first awards to recognize excellence in using the arts to facilitate the integration of refugee, migrant and immigrant youth in Canada. Two $1,000 bursaries will be made available to two young people who have used the arts to significantly improve the quality of life for newcomers in Canada.

Deadline for nominations is 4:30 pm PST (1:30 pm EST) on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015. For more information: 2015 National Fresh Voices Artivism Award.”

“Alors que le monde est ému par les images de milliers de réfugiés en quête d’asile, la Fondation Michaëlle Jean et la Vancouver Foundation ont joint leurs efforts pour mettre sur pied le premier prix viPrixsant à récompenser l’excellence dans l’utilisation des arts pour faciliter l’intégration des jeunes réfugiés, migrants et immigrants au Canada. Deux bourses de 1 000 $ seront offertes à deux jeunes individus qui ont utilisé les arts pour améliorer de manière considérable la qualité de vie de nouveaux arrivants au Canada.

La date limite pour soumettre une candidature est le mardi 22 septembre 2015 à 16 h 30 PDT (13 h 30 HNE). Pour plus amples renseignements : Les prix nationaux Fresh Voices Artivisme

-posted with permission from Fondation Michaëlle Jean Foundation

Grants for First Nations Youth, Artists & Arts Organizations, Deadline Oct.5 (BC)

AADA poster 2015-2016_Selected

“Are you an Aboriginal artist or arts group with an interesting project idea?

If you live in BC you could be eligible to apply for a grant through the Aboriginal Arts Development Awards. Grants can be used for all artistic disciplines and projects can include mentorships, teaching traditional arts, art administration internships, and building organizational capacity.

The next deadline is October 5th, 2015.

For more details, application forms and guidelines visit the First People’s Cultural Council’s website at:

For more information, please contact:
Cathi Charles Wherry,
Kyla Schorneck,

Posted with permission from Cathi Charles Wherry & Kyla Schorneck, First Peoples’ Cultural Council
Read First People’s Cultural Council’s profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory & Map

HONOURING INDIGENOUS WOMEN: Call for art submissions from youth aged 12-30, Deadline Oct.30



CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS (any format, painting, drawing, photo, sculpture, etc.)

How do you honour Indigenous women, girls & Two Spirit people in the face of violence?


Email a photo of your artwork to INFO@KAHNAWAKEYOUTHFORUM.COM with dimensions and medium included or call (450) 638-0880 for more info. All artwork must be ready to hang.


Connect with the Kahnawake Youth Forum on Facebook

*** The Kahnawake Youth Forum welcomes submissions from youth outside the Kahnawake/Montréal area; contact them for more info!

Posted with permission from Jessica Deer

All Nations Healin’ Thru Artz: Free youth arts workshops starting Sept. 8 (Regina)


Engaged and Empowered Youth of All Nations For Healthy Communities

We provide free arts experiences that build and enhance transferable skills and self-worth to diverse youth through a resource rich partnership of professionals supported by a committed organizational structure.

We are Nurturing & Compassionate, Holistic, Inspiring, Fun-Loving and Respectful

All Nations Healin’ Thru Arts is a non-profit community arts organization that links professional artists with youth in Regina to collaboratively create and showcase artistic work and projects.

We provide positive community level, artistic programming that allows youth living in Regina, opportunities to collaborate with professional artists. We strive to empower youth to: tell their stories in their own voices, build skills, develop confidence, pride and self-esteem, achieve success and participate in their community. Our artistic programs and projects are intended to promote voice, identity, culture, healing, artistic skill development, social development, community development, awareness and understanding.

Our programs will respond to the needs expressed by the youth who participate in them. Professional artists are hired to provide workshops in the artistic disciplines youth are interested in

Youth aged 13-22 are invited to attend our programs and have the opportunity to work towards the development of an annual production.

Starting Tuesday, September 8th, FREE workshops will be held every MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, 5-7pm, at the YWCA, 1940 McIntyre St. (downstairs). Supper and transportation provided.

Every THURSDAY at Albert Scott Community Association, 1264 Athol St. (2nd floor board room), there will be FREE employment workshops (September to December) and First Nations and Métis Elder teachings (January to April).

Visit the All Nations Healin’ Thru Artz Facebook page for more info.

Posted with permission from Monica Fogel
Read All Nations Healin’ Thru Artz profile in our Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map

Gatherings – Water: Call for writing submissions from Indigenous Youth, Deadline Oct.1 (BC)


“Theytus Books is please to announce the Gatherings-Water project and a call for writing submissions from B.C. based Indigenous Youth on the theme of water. The Gatherings-Water anthology will be published in November 2015 and those writings chosen by an editorial committee will be featured in the book as well as receiving an honorarium and complementary copy.

This special book marks the return of the Gatherings anthologies that were a mainstay of Theytus Books’ publishing program for a decade. In addition to the anthology, there will be community engagement writing workshops in four B.C. Indigenous communities (locations and dates to be announced) blogs on the Gatherings-Water website and news and links to issues vital to the importance and future of Water in the B.C. region.

The Gatherings-Water project reflects the cultural rejuvenation of Indigenous Youth in B.C. It is not only a revival of a respected anthology series, but also a new level of engagement between publishing house and community, between established writers and emerging voices, and finally a testament to the connection of Indigenous Youth with the life-sustaining power of water.

Submission Guidelines:
This call for submissions is open to Indigenous Youth in the province of B.C., 30 years of age and younger. Submissions can be prose, poetry, nonfiction or based on legends or teachings. Submissions should not exceed 3,000 words.

How to Apply:
Email your submission as a .jpg, .pdf, or .docx with a short biography of yourself to Please include 2-3 lines about your submitted work and what Water means to you. Submissions deadline is October 1st, 2015.”

Posted with permission from Paul Seesequasis, Editor-in-Chief, Theytus Books

Profile Highlight: CANVAS Arts Action Programs (Toronto)

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.


CANVAS Arts Action Programs in Toronto is a “youth-led grassroots organization that offers arts-based programming on gender, sexuality, consent and body image. Through engaging in different art-forms, including theatre, spoken word poetry and photography, youth develop creative tools to combat gender-based and sexual violence, homophobia, transphobia and negative body image.”

To learn more about CANVAS Arts Action Programs, please see their profile in ArtBridges’ Community-Engaged Arts Directory and Map.

Call for Expressions of Interest: Youth Arts Ambassador Program (Culture Days)


Ontario Culture Days is now accepting expressions of interest from young and emerging, community-engaged artists working in any artistic discipline in all regions of Ontario to participate in Ontario Culture Days’ inaugural Youth Arts Ambassador Program (Pilot Project, 2016-2018).

Would you like to:

  • Present your own community arts creation as a featured 2016 Culture Days event?
  • Develop your professional practice and receive mentoring on a range of topics related to community arts?
  • Attend the 2016 Culture Days National Congress?
  • Connect with a broad network of arts leaders from your region, province and across Canada?

If so, we’d like to hear from you! Tell us how you will explore the potential of community arts to strengthen your own artistic practice and to grow audiences for your work. Get more details and the application form here.”

-from Culture Days newsletter