Dream Big 2019: The Northern Conference for Indigenous Arts

This Fall, (September 28-29) the Dream Big conference returns to the North as Indigenous artists from Northern Ontario gather in Batchewana First Nation and Baawating (Sault Ste. Marie) for two days of collaboration and exchange as we seek to answer the question – what do Indigenous artists need to thrive in the North?

Dream Big 2019 will feature:
➡ Panels, presentations & discussion
➡ Tips & tools for professional development
➡ Arts showcase featuring music, comedy & film
➡ Arts, craft & food vendors
➡ Interactive art-making

Dream Big 2019 is presented by the Northern Indigenous Artist Alliance (NIAA) and is designed for Indigenous artists, curators, and cultural producers to share their work and develop strategies for strengthening Indigenous arts in Northern Ontario. If you’re interested in attending Dream Big 2019, sign up to become a NIAA member to receive updates.

Dream Big 2019 is made possible thanks to the support of the Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Arts Projects program.

Dream Big 2019: Baawating Arts Festival

September 27-29, 2019, the Northern Indigenous Artist Alliance (NIAA) hosts the Baawating Arts Festival in Baawating (Sault Ste. Marie), part of Dream Big 2019. Over three days, venues across the city will host performances, film screenings, and art exhibitions featuring Northern Ontario’s top Indigenous talent, including Batchewana’s Two Spirit darling Teddy Syrette, comedian Jonas Shawanda, and film-maker and poet Ardelle Sagutcheway, with more names to be announced soon.

Day two of the festival will include an Indigenous Arts Market showcasing arts, crafts, and food vendors. Vendor applications are available online here.

The Baawating Arts Festival is open to the public and all events are offered on a no cost/pay-what-you-can basis, thanks to the support of the Ontario Arts Council Multi and Inter-Arts Projects program.


May 27th @ 7pm at the Capitol Centre Theatre

Derek Miller – Vancouver to Winnipeg
Guitarist and singer/ songwriter Derek Miller is a journeyman musician with eclectic taste and a knack for roots inflected rock. Born on the Six Nations of the Grand River, Mohawk Territory, in Canada, Miller became interested in music in his early teens, and by the late ’90s had not only toured with iconic Canadian vocalist Buffy Sainte-Marie but was also garnered a Juno for both his debut album, and sophomore album in 2008. Derek’s latest album takes us to the heart of Native Americana romanticism. It uses vintage tones and aesthetics of 50’s rock and roll with a modern twist, telling the story of a mythical man who has a blind moment of insanity and the events that got him to that point. The development in his newest recordings describe in a metaphoric way, the trials and tribulations of the artist.

Kristi Lane Sinclair (Vancouver to Montreal)
Fierce and feisty, Haida/Cree singer-songwriter Kristi Lane Sinclair is emblematic of a new wave of Canadian indigenous artists who are turning perceptions upside down. Raised in British Columbia’s backwaters, and drawing more from a DIY/indie aesthetic than traditional or mainstream music, Sinclair’s musical roots create a darkly intoxicating mix of grunge, folk and classical. Her smoky folk is rich and orchestral, underpinned with alternately snarling guitars and warm strings. Her new album Dark Matter (produced by Derek Miller) will be released at the Vancouver opening date of the tour. The six-part documentary series Face the Music follows Kristi’s journey as she releases and plays the Red Ride Tour.

Cris Derksen – Winnipeg to Montreal
Performing from Norway to Australia, Cree cellist and composer Cris Derksen is known for building layers of sound into captivating performances. Her music braids the traditional and contemporary in multiple dimensions, weaving her traditional classical training and her aboriginal ancestry with new school electronics, creating genre-defying music. Derksen’s critically acclaimed debut solo album, The Cusp won the 2011 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for instrumental album of the year. Her third album will feature what Cris is calling orchestral powwow and will be released later in 2015. Cris has toured nationally and internationally as a solo artist and performing her own compositions with Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq.

Binaeshee-Quae Couchie-Nabigon (Aurora, ON)
Binaeshee-Quae is a singer songwriter from Pic River First Nation. Her musical style is a jazzy-alterna-folk mix that has been described as haunting and unconventional. Her first album Ooof will be released this winter with the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council. This onomatopoeically crafted album is inspired by life events of trauma and joy that have left a mark. Ooof is the sound of that impact. Although often a solo act, it is not uncommon for Binaeshee-Quae and her mother, Bonnie Couchie, to share the stage. Bonnie’s deep, rich sound with Binaeshee-Quae’s bright vocals makes for a captivating combo.

Free information session for Northern Ontario artists and arts organizations

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Capitol Centre
150 Main Street East,
North Bay, Ontario

(This session will be in English – we are happy to address questions in French.)
The presentation is presented in collaboration with the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • learn about grant programs
  • understand how applications are assessed.

For information
Christian Mondor
1-800-263-5588 (toll free) ext. 4681
TTY: 1-866-585-5559

Wheelchair accessible
Municipal parking at rear entrance
Transit terminal at Oak Street

Please contact us to request access-related supports by May 12. The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to equity and inclusion, and welcomes applications from diverse Aboriginal, cultural, linguistic and regional communities, and from people who are Deaf and/or have disabilities.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) New Investment Strategy

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) has a new investment strategy and new investment streams! An information session targeted specifically to eligible OTF applicants (incorporated not for profit and registered charitable organizations, municipalities with populations 20,000 and under, as well as First Nation, Metis, Inuit and Other Aboriginal communities), who have an arts, culture or heritage based initiative to carry out in Ontario, will be delivered in conjunction with The White Water Gallery’s Dream Big Northern Ontario Arts Sector Conference. 

When: Wed May 27th 1-3:30 p.m. 

Where: The Capitol Centre, 150 Main Street East North Bay ON 

Seating is limited; registration is required. To reserve your seat at this free information session, PRIOR TO MAY 22nd, register at: 



– You need not be registered to attend the Dream Big Conference to attend the free OTF information session 

-A separate registration IS required to attend one or both events. 

Information about, and registration information for the Dream Big Arts Conference can be located at https://dreambignorth.com/about-the-conference/ 

Mission Building healthy and vibrant communities throughout Ontario by strengthening the capacity of the voluntary sector, through investments in community-based initiatives. www.otf.ca 

If you are not able to attend the session, please visit our website regularly for up-to-date information about OTF’s new investment strategy and investment streams at www.otf.ca The website will soon also include information about other OTF information sessions (English and French) planned across the Province. http://www.otf.ca/events-calendar 

Research Project: Connectivity

What comes to mind when you think of the North Bay arts community? Perhaps you think of the gallery hops that happen bi-monthly throughout the downtown area. Maybe you think of work by local artists displayed in store windows. Or it could be that you didn’t even know North Bay had an arts community. Whatever your impression of the local art world, there is always knowledge to be gained and opportunities for growth. This is why we need your help. You can play a role in the arts community helping it to thrive in our city, increasing its impact upon the public.

The White Water Gallery is hosting the Dream Big Conference, May 27-30th, 2015. We want to connect with our own arts community as well as other Ontario communities in order to assess the state and effectiveness of our cultural sector. This is where you can get involved. The White Water Gallery is conducting research leading up to and during the conference. This project will take a critical look at the current state of our arts community and allow people to reflect upon their personal ability to improve it. Representatives of WWG will be administering a brief survey during the conference to gather information to be published in the follow-up publication after the conference is completed.

Art is __________________.

The “Art is _________” video booth will be on-site at the Dream Big Conference with Lindsay Sarazin collecting videos in support of local arts advocacy.

Art is essential. Art is freedom. Art is passion. Art is expansive. Art is…you fill in the blank. Ultimately art is important. It is a part of life that cannot be ignored, and it plays a vital role in our communities. Arts and culture helps to sustain and enrich the economy bringing many jobs, leisure activities and experiences to people in any community.

The city of North Bay has acknowledged its rich cultural heritage and the importance of the arts. They have implemented plans such as the Cultural Plan in 2011. They have had roundtable discussions, speaking about the next steps the city could take to improve the community through the arts. However, the greater community is still very much unaware of the things happening in our city with regards to arts and culture. There are up to 15 spaces in our town that display art regularly. However, many individuals who are uninvolved in the arts are completely unaware that local art galleries and public art spaces even exist. This needs to change.

Artists should be having an impact on the community at large, not just a selected few individuals who share similar interests. My vision for North Bay’s art community is that arts organizations would band together more often. When we visit local restaurants or hotels there would be paintings on the walls by local artists, promoting the diverse and unique talent that only our city has to offer. I have a dream that art galleries would be full of visitors hungry to experience a great show of talent and intellect. Lets bring art onto the streets; lets have young artists avidly creating to make the city look beautiful. Lets get the word out about the opportunities and experiences that are currently available to the public!

People of North Bay, my challenge to you is to address the issue of this underground arts scene in North Bay. What is your vision? What would you like to see? How can we make a difference that results in a real positive change in our community? Don’t be afraid to dream big. Let your voice be heard!

Statement by White Water Gallery Coordinator, Lesley Lane

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.

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