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

Creative Community Building

Thursday May 28th, 2015 @ 2:15pm

Northern Ontario as well as most other rural areas of Canada must work hard to establish and maintain cultural resources in order to survive. This is not a want but a necessity as rural life depends greatly on the cultural sector for tourism, entertainment and raising the quality of life. Without a vibrant arts, culture and heritage scene, a community slowly dies, leading many municipalities to consistently invest in the cultural sector to keep their communities healthy. But the cultural sector must also take responsibility for their community’s prosperity by using municipal investments to achieve their goals and engage both new and established audiences. How are different cultural groups making an impact in their own communities and across Canada? What challenges do they face in attracting new audiences? How can rural communities better engage with the public through collaborations and partnerships?

Presenting Panelists: Nadia KurdStéphane GauthierKaren Bachmann Moderated by Amanda Burk

Critical concepts in Architecture, Installation Art and Social Agency

Thursday May 28th, 2015 @ 10:30am

At its lowest common denominator, architecture can be seen as the creation of forms for the purpose of function – an art gallery must have rooms to display art, a school must have classrooms in which to teach, and so on. However, thinking of architecture only in this manner fails to recognize the direct impact the built environment has on the public realm and the quality of life of its citizens, and it limits our ability to use architecture as a vehicle for social change. Working in the realm of art activism and immersive environments through site-specific art many festivals, and public events look towards artists and architects for answers on increasing engagement. Through design, architecture can (and does) affect the social context around it, by addressing the social, political, cultural, historical, and geographic contexts in which it is built. This panel will engage in the discussion of the current state of art installation practices as both art form and through the lens of contemporary architecture. How is meaning constructed in architecture? How do we utilize architecture’s social agency as a vehicle for change within the social sphere? Where is the future of art installation heading?

Presenting Panelists: Max MerrifieldKenneth J. (Jake) Chakasim,  Nathan Jensen Moderated by Cesar Forero

Planning for Future Success

Thursday May 28th, 2015 @ 10:30am

Municipal cultural planning has laid the groundwork for numerous regions of Canada to engage in and foster Arts, Culture and Heritage through both municipal policy and support for grass roots initiatives. Although the benefits of cultural planning are obvious, many plans lack an effective implementation strategy and often overlook the more literal constraints of limited financial resources, the potential for duplication of activities, and the burn-out of staff and volunteers. Considering these aspects, what work is being done on the ground within communities to build sustainable cultural infrastructure with or without ongoing funding? How can cultural representatives and municipalities work together to build a better future for their communities? What strategies can be employed to facilitate this process?

Presenting Panelists: Dee AdrianEmily TrottierTeri Souter Moderated by Councillor Mark King

Urban Outreach in the North

Friday May 29th at10:30am

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, and often a resentment towards the larger centres develops. The obvious answer is to increase the sharing of cultural resources between urban and rural centres but how can cultural animators from larger centers engage in rural communities without imposing their own regional ideologies or exacerbating regional tensions? How can effective partnerships develop based upon mutual respect and understanding while geographic and social barriers divide regions and arts representatives?

Presenting Panelists: Patrice JamesCesar ForeroMandy McNeilStephanie Draker Moderated by Clayton Windatt


The Die Active Art Collective of Thunder Bay has been publishing their own zines for over six years now! Check out their art zines at this mini zine fair, featuring over a dozen independently published books,  with over 500+ northern artists within the pages. Find an abundance of street art, short prose, illustration and contemporary works done over the past six years in TBay.  Plus special freebies, button making, patches, prints, cd compilations, and independent zines all for purchase from the DA members themselves!#dieactive  xo

Die Active Art Collective/DefSup

The Die Active Art Collective has been active and growing in Thunder Bay since 2009, providing in-depth arts education programming through Definitely Superior Art Gallery. Over the years, the focus has shifted from art zine publishing and workshops to mentorship, graffiti art, and community engagement. Members are drawn together to create public works that have a large impact on their communities, and the net effect has been increased visibility of emerging artists. Today, Die Active has a force of 590 artists that range in age from their teens to thirties.

“Being a member of Die Active extends beyond the (potentially cliché) notion of family that comes to mind instantly,” says Beth Haywood, a 20-year-old member of the collective. “It creates a space this city has never seen before for young-blooded artists, both practiced and new; a space that combines an incredibly fluid element of personal development and mentoring seamlessly.”

Die Active began as a branch of the gallery’s publishing program and quickly grew beyond art zines and workshops.  The  focus of the collective shifted to mentorship, visibility of new young artists,  and community engagement.  Past years have seen the creation of professional group exhibitions, eighty foot graffiti walls, the painting of a train engine, a graffiti car bombing, a graffiti face-lift to the Public Library, an annual Y-Art Sale, and art interventions at music, Pride, and city festivals.  In addition, 5 issues of their art zine are now in circulation across Canada!

North Bay Film Symposium

The local filmmakers of North Bay and area are gathering to collectively discuss the current state of film in this region. This event will involve sharing of experiences and ideas for how the region can better serve the industry and what needs to be done. What opportunities  are available moving forward for industry, independent film makers and for the economic prosperity for the community of North Bay?

Facilitated by William (Bill) Plumstead

Connectivity in the Arts: Increasing your Network

How can arts initiatives connect with diverse communities across vast geographical spaces? Over 6 years, ArtBridges has built a network of 300+ community arts/arts for social change initiatives in rural, northern, urban and inner-city communities across Canada.

This session will examine how this network was built and develop strategies for growing these connections. Session will include a hands-on networking activity. Participants will leave ready to connect, share and build collaborations that will strengthen their work and communities.

Presented by Seanna Connell & Cora-Rae Silk of ArtBridges