Sophie Edwards

Sophie Edwards is the founder of 4elements Living Arts, a non-profit community arts organization. Since 2002 4e has been creating and delivering innovative creation, education and research projects with a focus on land, art and community. Sophie has a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies and a PhD (ABD) in Cultural Geography. An artist, curator, and writer, her creative work engages questions of belonging, land, and identity within settler/indigenous ‘contact zones’.

Mark King

Mark King was born and raised in North Bay and is owner of H. Freeman & Co. since 1998. Prior to business ownership Mark enjoyed a 23 year career in rail traffic control with CN rail. A study of rail traffic system throughout Canada were the building blocks for his supervision of work programs in the Great Lakes Region and eventual responsibility for rail traffic in North Eastern and Northwestern Ontario and GTA, including GO Transit.

As a principal of Markwood Estates, Mark gained extensive municipal planning and land use experience with the successful development and construction of a 32 lot subdivision in North Bay.

As an executive of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce he served as a director as President and Past president. He chaired both the Tourism and Government Affairs Committees of the Chamber providing valuable insight into both the assets and challenges of North Bay and area.

Mark brings a wealth of relevant experience from his participation in the North Bay Planning Advisory Committee, the Blue Sky Economic Growth Corporation, North Bay Hydro Board, Laurentian Ski Hill Board, ANTA and Discovery Routes. Mark is proud of his work as President of the North Bay Taxpayers Association sharing values for accountable, transparent and financially responsible municipal government.

Mark has also served on City Council since January of 2014 after the departure of the Deputy Mayor to Western Canada. This has provided a great learning curve and he has enjoyed the experience as a committee member of Community Services. This experience will now provide the background for his new position as Chair of Community Services.

Mentorship and New Generations

Our current strengths as an art sector rely heavily on skill transference as each generation interacts with the next to fill job positions, find board members and establishing the next group of contemporary artists. Although each generation has its own set of ideas and methods of engagement, there is value in interacting with your peers cross-generationally to avoid unnecessary duplication of activity and organizational development whether through established mentorship or social networking. And as our population continues to age the need for skill transference increases. This panel will focus on the vital role mentorship plays in the transference of skills from one generation to the next and where the next generation of artists and arts administrators are heading as a result.
Panelists: Michael CywinkMarjorie (Moonfire) MeisterAlex Maeve Campbell Moderated by Nadia Kurd

The Art of Engagement

Community-engaged art forms often provide more meaningful engagement between artists and non-artists than other art forms, yet they are frequently marginalized by the larger arts community. With funding cuts and declining support for more traditional organizational models across the country, however, community arts are increasingly seen as a way to keep the public engaged and active in the arts. What changes have occurred to lend more credibility to the practice of community arts? How can the other arts sectors reflect on community arts as a method for engagement and adopt aspects of this art form to better their own industry? How can community arts groups establish partnerships with other arts groups to increase their capacity to better their community?
Panelists: Robin SutherlandMiranda BouchardSarah King-GoldJon Cada, Sophie Edwards Moderated by Penny Couchie

Making Connections through Technology

Saturday May 30th at 2:15pm

Not surprisingly, urban centers tend to hold the majority of resources both physically and creatively. With high populations critical mass is achieved and opportunities for collaboration, skill-sharing, and education are easy to find. This is almost always the opposite in rural areas where geographic sprawl is a tangible obstacle in addition to socio-economic constraints. Changing technology has helped to reduce these barriers, with social media and web-based communications allowing for greater connectivity among communities than ever before. This panel will explore how these changes have benefitted rural artists and arts organizations and how they have changed rural arts scenes, as well as different ways cultural innovators can increase their engagement through technology.

Presenting Panelists: Victoria WardSeanna ConnellCora-Rae SilkRihkee Strapp Moderated by Stephanie van Doleweerd

Bridging the Gap

Saturday May 30th at 2:15pm

Advocacy can be one of the most effective tools an arts group or groups can employ to secure recognition and financial support from all levels of government, but it requires a good deal of effort and skill to achieve real success. Cultural representatives must develop good communication and negotiation skills to deal with municipal staff and members of the government, and often have to educate government officials on the benefits of the arts before any progress can be made. By focusing on common goals, artists and arts groups can often achieve more than by acting alone, but making a good presentation and working collectively towards shared goals takes ambition, talent and collaborative determination. This panel will explore some of the dos and don’ts of arts advocacy as well as different ways communities can approach advocacy in a respectful and mutually beneficial ways.

Presenting Panelists: Maurice SwitzerKatherine Carleton, Roy Mitchell Moderated by Katie Bevan

Emerging ideas

Thursday May 28th, 2015 @ 2:15pm

Critical thinking and art discourse among emerging artists and “Youth” are constantly shifting and evolving in relation to the skills and interests of the next generation of artists. Through increases in accessibility and interactivity with technology many young artists today have been able to gain the skills they need earlier and position themselves for a successful career faster than their more experienced counterparts. Yet many emerging and youth artists face obstacles when attempting to interact with established artists and arts spaces. What lessons can other artists learn from the experiences of today’s youth? What roles can emerging artists play within the current art scene and how can established organizations better engage with the youth in their communities? How can young artists find their own niche while staying true to their hopes and dreams?

Presenting Panelists: Lora NorthwayMaggie FlynnHolly Cunningham Moderated by Linda Albright

Indigenous perspectives in “Canadian” Art

Friday May 29th at 10:30am

Art in Canada is thousands of years old, beginning with a strong tradition of Indigenous creation, which was followed by the advent of the Canadian nation-state and the subsequent waves of immigration from across Europe and around the globe. Contemporary Indigenous art reflects the state of Indigenous discourse in relation to the dominant Western settler discourses that have eclipsed the continent and imposed “Western” philosophies. The artists in this panel discuss current messages within Indigenous art in Canada, including the interplay between the differing ideologies of Western and Indigenous thought and the potential roles that Indigenous artists play as agents of change.

Presenting Panelists: Jules KoostachinChristian ChapmanRebeka Tabobondung, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Alejandro Ronceria   Moderated by Sid Bobb

Artist Advocacy – The Success of a Regional Movement (Presented by CARFAC Ontario)

Friday May 29th at 2:15pm

Internationally, the artist’s position as an essential part of economy is under scrutiny like never before. In New York, artists groups like WAGE are calling into question the ethics of an ever-expanding art market that fails to adequately financially support and recognize the individual creator. Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) is a New York-based activist group that focuses on establishing a sustainable model for best practices between cultural producers and the institutions that contract their labour. In Berlin, the discussion about artist fees has been ongoing for years. For visual artists, Berufsverband Bildender Künstler (bbk), has requested payment for artists showing in solo and group exhibitions and created guidelines for fair payment. How does this international sentiment compare to the Canadian artist-fee movement and how can Canada  continue to take a leadership role in informing the global art community?

Presenting Panelists: Kristian ClarkeFriederike LandauJudy Gouin Moderated by Leesa Bringas Sponsored by CARFAC Ontario

Rural Renaissance

Friday May 29th at 2:15pm

Although many rural regions of Canada have healthy and vibrant art scenes, working in the periphery can be challenging for many arts groups. But these challenges often inspire determination, strength, and resilience resulting in exceptional talent and projects to develop in communities that at first glance may seem below the capacity to produce them. This is perhaps best illustrated by the performing arts sector, which relies heavily upon patronage and audience attendance to thrive. By exploring the current state of regional theatre and addressing the power and importance of regional performing arts, we will discuss strategies for sustaining and growing the arts in rural and remote communities.

Panelists: Elisha Barlow, Rod Carley, Bruce Pitkin Moderated by Carri Johnson