Creating a Vibrant LGBT Cultural Centre in the North

In order to build strong and sustainable communities in Northern Ontario, Art and culture must play a new and prominent role. Northern Ontario communities, many of which are small, rural and remote, face unique challenges. Art and cultural initiatives bring opportunities and help support conditions necessary for economic growth and development. In its initial phase and under the direction of arts administrator and artist Roy Mitchell, a province-wide feasibility study has been initiated that will lead to the creation of an LGBT Cultural Centre in a selected Northern Ontario city. The creation of a dynamic and localized LGBT Cultural Centre supports the lauded theory of Richard Florida, University of Toronto Professor and visionary writer. Florida’s theory asserts that regions with high concentrations of technology workers, artists, musicians as well as lesbians and gay men add to a higher level of economic development in any region. Florida refers to these groups collectively as the “creative class” and posits that the creative class fosters an open, dynamic, personal and professional environment that in turn, attracts creative people, businesses and capital. Roy Mitchell, who grew up in Northern Ontario, believes in a vibrant Northern Canada and North Bay has been selected to be the first city to participate in the assessment study researching the state of queerness in the North and developing an understanding for LGBT Cultural Capacity and is honoured to participate in the Dream Big Conference.  Researchers will be on-site interviewing people of their experiences followed a presentation of the study’s preliminary findings as a brief overview of the project in a publication following the conference.

Roy Mitchell is an arts administrator whose practice includes video and performance.  He also writes and since leaving Toronto for a century-old farm north of Bancroft, Ontario has been working as a consultant for arts organizations and government agencies.

Lindsay Sarazin

Lindsay Sarazin: Is an Algonquin artist and filmmaker living and working in North Bay, Ontario. His practice pursues a higher level of understanding by exploring the world around us as he builds and improves his skill set. A student of Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Lindsay has worked within many local schools teaching dance and promoting traditional teachings. He has worked with Aanmitaagzi for several years and participated on projects such as “Dances of Resistance”, “When Will You Rage” and their “Aanmitaagzi Summer Arts Program”. Lindsay founded his own photography and film company, Wolf Eye Productions, which has conducted dozens of projects throughout the region. He is a skilled photographer, dancer, actor as well as working in visual and media arts.

Alejandro Ronceria

Alejandro Ronceria is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning director, choreographer, producer based in Canada. He has created and produced large – scale productions nationally and internationally, including the United States, Mexico, New Zealand and Colombia.
Most recently, he was the choreographer for segment of the Welcome from the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada for the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The spectacular live event was aired on ten international broadcast channels in a total of 11 languages. It was the most watched Canadian television event in history with 23 million viewers. In the USA, there were 32.6 million viewers, thus the second-most watched non-American Winter Olympics and 3.5 billion viewers worldwide.

Ronceria is the co-founder/founding artistic director of the first Aboriginal Dance Program in North America at The Banff Center for the Arts. The groundbreaking program brought together diverse Aboriginal/Inuit dancers from Canada, the USA, Mexico and Greenland. From 1996-2001, he served as the artistic director. This program was the incubator for developing a new generation of choreographers working in Canada and abroad and served as a model for various schools for indigenous dance internationally. One of the productions from the Banff program grew into Bones: The first Aboriginal Dance Opera (2001), collaboration with Sadie Buck and choreographed by Ronceria.

Ronceria was one of the pioneers of dancefilm as a unique medium in Canada. In 1996, his dancefilm “A Hunter Called Memory” was an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Clermont – Ferrand and Sheffield.

Ronceria’s other credits include: Nunavut Opening Gala (Nunavut), Spirits in the Sun: First Canadian Indigenous Arts Festival (Phoenix) The Aboriginal Achievement Awards (Calgary). In 2009, Ronceria was commissioned to choreograph a work “Convergence” by the City of Toronto for Nathan Phillips Square’s Olympic Torch Celebration. He was also commissioned to choreograph “Seven” for the Victoria Symphony’s Emily Carr project” in Victoria in 2011.He was artistic director/ producer/ choreographer for the cultural gala for the Arctic Winter Games 2012, artistic director/ choreographer for Spirit of the Drum, White Horse, Yukon Territory 2012. He was the Director/ dramaturge/ choreographer for Wezoowaad Anang by Barbara Croall whit the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Windsor Ontario and directing the opening gala and the Spirit of the Drum/Northern Scene Festival for the National Arts Centre of Canada in Ottawa 2013. He was the director, producer and choreographer for the Assembly of First Nations Gala In Whitehorse, Yukon 2013. He was the co-director / dramaturge/ choreographer of the play Wisakedjak Ontario tour 2013. He co-direct/dramaturge “Pure” by Charles Koroneho in Peterborough, New Zealand and Montreal 2013.

In 2004, he was nominated for a Dora Mayor Award for Best Choreography for “The Art Show”. He has since been awarded numerous Canada Council for the Arts awards and served on juries for dance. In 2010, Ronceria was the first recipient to graduate with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from York University in Dance Dramaturgy and the first to hold this degree from a Canadian university.

North Bay Cultural Town Hall

Thursday, May 28th a 7pm City Hall Council Chambers
The City of North Bay’s Cultural Round Table in partnership with the Coordinating Body of Arts, Culture and Heritage (CBACH) are conducting a Cultural Town Hall. We are seeking cultural workers, administrators, board members, artists of all disciplines and backgrounds as well as anyone interested in the development of North Bay’s cultural sector. Through a series of break out sessions aspects of North Bay’s Cultural Plan will be examined and all participants will have a chance to contribute towards how the plan evolves moving forward. We are looking to you to bring ideas and express your needs as a community as the future of the North Bay Cultural Sector will be determined through this event.

Amanda Burk

Amanda Burk is an artist from Ontario whose practice is centred in drawing. She received her MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and her Honours BA Fine Arts Specialization from the University of Waterloo. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her work is represented by Halde Galerie in Switzerland and Graphite Galleries in New Orleans. Currently she is based in North Bay, Ontario where she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Nipissing University. She is also the owner/curator of Line Gallery – an independent gallery dedicated to exhibiting contemporary Canadian drawing. In addition to producing exhibitions, the gallery supports artist talks, interviews and maintains online records with the goal of documenting Canadian drawing.

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