Growing Ontario’s Craft Community in the North (2011)

The Ontario Crafts Council partnered with NORDIK to deliver professional development across Northern Ontario providing artists with a variety of spaces and places to learn and share business skills, further develop sustainable livelihoods in the cultural sector, and raise awareness of the sector’s quality and vitality in Northern Ontario. Project Coordinator Jude Ortiz; Research Assistant Sarah Marusyk. Read more

The OCC’s Growing Ontario’s Craft Community in the North involved a series of Meet & Greets and CraftSmarts Workshops, an arts symposium, and a juried touring exhibition of contemporary craft.  The one-year project ran Feb 2011-2012 providing artists with a variety of spaces and places to learn and share business skills, further develop sustainable livelihoods in the cultural sector, and raise awareness of the sector’s quality and vitality in Northern Ontario.

CraftSmarts Workshops were held in Kenora, Manitoulin Island, Wawa, Fort Frances and Hearst and focused on exhibition preparation, photographing your work, marketing, forming an arts collective or cooperative, business development and stained glass making.  During the Fort Frances workshops, participants identified the need to work more closely in supporting each other, forming The Rainy River Arts Collective.  Wawa area artists expressed interest in continuing investigating developing a regional artist cooperative, and Manitoulin participants planned to meet again to discuss creating a map identifying where Island craft is sold.

The arts symposium Reflecting the North: Regional Realities in Art, Craft and Culture, offered artists, funders, economic development officers and Ministry representatives the opportunity to come together to connect, share and generate ideas around ways to make the arts in Northern Ontario a more sustainable livelihood.  The discussion focused on cultural identity, marketing, education and sustainability.

For a comprehensive summary of the discussion and other symposium presentations and resources, visit the blog:  http://reflectingthenorth.wordpress.com/

To view the Artists across the North video click here.

To view the final report click here.

 

Kenora Workshop

Exhibition Preparation

Local photographer Tom Newell taught participants to photograph their work and NORDIK’s Jude Ortiz and Sarah Marusyk taught digital image formatting and artist statement and biography preparation

Manitoulin Island Workshop

Exploring Ways of Working Together

4 Elements Living Arts hosted the workshop that focused on ways artists could work together to market their work.  Guest speakers (via teleconference) were Irene McCuaig and Laurie Dufresne, Co-Chairs of Kenora’s Lake of the Woods Arts Collective (Kenora) and John Ferris from the Aboriginal Artworks Group of Northern Ontario (Thunder Bay).

The two Community Futures Development Corporations located on Manitoulin Island also presented.  Jason Peltier, Business Development Officer of Waubutek, spoke of opportunities for Aboriginal development and Mary Nelder from LAMBEC talked about non-Aboriginal opportunities.

 Wawa Workshop

Marketing Workshop for Local Artists: Individually and Collectively.

The workshop was designed to promote the arts as a business opportunity either through individual efforts or through the creation of a regional or local cooperative. The benefits of both approaches were promoted. Presenters included Jude Ortiz and David Thompson of NORDIK Institute, Johanna Rowe from the Town of Wawa’s Cultural Mapping Project, Jim Sanders, co-owner of the local Gitchee Goomee Gallery and Arlene Bear from Ohpahow Wawesecikiwak Arts Marketing Co-op in northern Saskatchewan who joined via teleconference. Dan Friyia, Executive Director of the Superior East Community Futures Development Corp and Maury O’Neil, Economic Development Officer, Wawa Economic Development Corporation assisted with questions around development and funding possibilities.

Fort Frances Workshop

Networking and Supporting Working Together

Visual artist Lindsay Hamilton of Fort Frances facilitated the event that brought together area artists to discuss ways of supporting each other. Guest speakers were Irene McCuaig and Laurie Dufresne, Co-Chairs of Kenora’s Lake of the Woods Arts Collective (Kenora) who spoke about the origins of their organization and the benefits and challenges they face.

The workshop ended with the group deciding to form a collective and at the next meeting the Rainy River Arts Collective (RRAC) was founded.

Hearst Workshop

Stained Glass Workshop

This bilingual workshop was taught by Solange Vaillancourt a local stained glass artist who has been practicing since 1978. The participants created a 12” x 18” work that they took home with them at the end of the day.

 

CraftCurrents, the juried travelling craft exhibition toured to Fort Frances, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Huntsville, Elliot Lake and Hearst. The show features 43 pieces created by 34 artists from across Northern Ontario. It included a variety of media including bone, brass, ceramics, copper, driftwood, fabric, feathers, fleece, glass, gourds, leather, stainless steel, sterling, sweetgrass, wasp paper and wood finely crafted into a wide range of objects. The jurors were John Ferris (Thunder Bay), Linda Finn ( Elliot Lake) and Laurent Vaillancourt (Hearst)
View the catalogue on-line at http://craft.on.ca/Projects/Northern_Update
For a print catalogue ($10 including HST) please contact the OCC directly: jhiemstra@craft.on.ca.