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.

Support Travel for Indigenous Artists, Curators & Cultural Producers

The Northern Indigenous Artist Alliance (NIAA) has received funding from the Ontario Arts Council to host Dream Big 2019: The Northern Conference & Festival for Indigenous Arts. NIAA is currently raising funds to help offset the high travel costs in the North so more Indigenous artists can attend the gathering. Featuring presentations, panel discussions, art creation, and performances, Dream Big attendees will be able to network, develop hands-on skills for promoting their work, widen their audiences, and add their voice to an ongoing dialogue about contemporary Indigenous arts in Northern Ontario. Your donation will help cover travel and accommodations so artists from all across Northern Ontario can take part.



The Dream Big Conference is publishing a small but powerful program to go with our conference. This will include maps, schedules and descriptions making it the essential conference survival guide. The booklet will be 4×6 in size full colour. We have a few pages extra and can let some advertising take place. The rates are very low so those spots will go fast. Please find tha attached ad sheet for details: adsheet

Promo Video

We made a fast promo video for youtube and Facebook to be shared and used to raise awareness. Looks cool and sounds great. The schedule for presenters is coming out shortly and we have all sorts of BIG surprises on the way!

Dream Big Conference SAVE THE DATE

The White Water Gallery has initiated a large-scale project, “The Northern Conference for the Arts”, which will further its mandate of advancing the public’s appreciation of the arts in Ontario. Running May 27th – 30th, 2015 this conference will take place in North Bay, Ontario and include presentations on a wide range of organizational, cultural, and artistic topics. This project is being conducted in partnership with several cultural spaces within Northern Ontario to explore issues of regional relevance as well as those that impact both Northern Ontario and the greater arts community of Canada.

The Gallery has chosen “Dream Big” as the conference title and philosophy for the project as our way of promoting enthusiasm within the current funding climate. The subtext of “Dream Big” is both a statement of our times and a proactive call to never give up on our future. In response to the ever-changing conditions in which municipalities, not-for-profits and artists from all disciplines face we say:

Don’t be discouraged. 

Don’t give up. 

Don’t be ashamed to DREAM BIG.

The Video People

The Video People are our way of advertising on television which obviously does not exist anymore. Instead of attempting to broadcast anything via television or cable, we are making a series of webisode talk-shows leading up to and promoting the conference. Look for more posted starting in December and each month leading up to May. Are the Video People coming for you?

Creating a MODEL

This conference is more than a large-scale event where we gather knowledge or present best practices, it also becomes a model of collaboration for future use. We are documenting the steps of creating this conference and establishing ways that anyone can create an event of this type. Creating a model is simple when you are already doing the work but this conference needs to be as collaborative as possible and we are not currently collaborating…

White Water Gallery is documenting the process both for our successful achievements and for our mistakes. The documentation will be published in a constructed document at the conference and allow people to think of how they could have done things different or better. It allows for all of us to grow and for the communication initiated at the conference to continue after this project is done.

About the Designs

About the Designs:

Clayton Windatt is designing several aspects of the end publication and will be sharing the reasoning behind these designs as they are created. Currently he is working independently but over the next 8 months, he will be taking direction from the written statements from each research paper created by our exceptional partners and through the communication gathered on the ground in each region through our Cultural Town Halls.

Here is the thought process behind this design:

– Innovation
– Outside of the Box thinking
– Box = Organizational Space
– Looking beyond your space for answers.
– Don’t be boxed in.
– Your Box does not define you.
– Your physical resources are not your limitations.
– Art Sectors Collision
– Moving forward
– Next Steps

Creativity // Accessibility // Initiative // Research // Exploration // Innovation // Strategy // Collaboration // Partnership // Empowerment // Development // Grow // Functionality // Impact // Sustainability

When is “BIG” big enough?
When can “small” be good?

Dream Big and don’t be ashamed.

Aim for the top and you can hit half way.