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Full Circle: Indigenous 360 Winter-Spring 2023 Wrap-Up

@1860 Winnipeg Arts member Tony Eetak visited Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation and the Local Services Board of Melgund this winter with support from the Manitoba Arts Council's Indigenous 360 Program. Photo: Jamie Bell.

@1860 Winnipeg Arts member Tony Eetak visited Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation and the Local Services Board of Melgund this winter with support from the Manitoba Arts Council’s Indigenous 360 Program. Photo: Jamie Bell.

Indigenous 360 Winter-Spring 2023 Wrap-Up

This year’s program saw a lot of hard work and some extra challenges, but experiences were the best yet.

As we begin to finish up our final reporting, several of us have been reflecting on these last few months of activities and there’s a lot to be proud of. We learned a lot about the Carving out Climate Testimony project. We were introduced to the basics of curating a simple art exhibition, and the logistics of producing public presentations. We were able to enhance and deliver some of the digital arts and entrepreneurship modules and training workshops we piloted last year with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Greenhouse strategic innovation fund.

In February our project presented some of its work on inclusion in northern research and recreating environments of inclusion through the arts during Arctic Science Summit Week 2023 in Vienna, Austria with support from Cardiff University, Polar Impact, the International Arctic Science Committee and the Austrian Polar Research Institute. The late nights and early morning time zone differences were tough, but our group is very grateful to have been included and able to participate in these important international dialogues. We hope these annual conversations can continue and grow.

This year our team celebrated Canada’s second-annual National Kindness Week with Global Dignity Canada by hosting a special national press conference broadcast across Canada by CPAC and the Parliamentary Press Gallery. In addition to being broadcast on TV, this year’s national event saw more than 2,000 people watching the live stream.

We also got to take part in a new iteration of the Our People Our Climate project, which delivered a photojournalism workshop organized by youth in Columbia and hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It’s been an honour to watch that program grow since it began in 2019, through the pandemic and now to a global audience.

Most are in agreement though, that the highlight of this year’s arts activities was being able to share our work in a special workshop during National Kindness Week that saw students from more than 14 schools across Canada, totalling almost 450 learners taking part.

This year our project held workshops on creating and updating our artists profiles, and held many meetings to plan out our next year of collaboration. Our whole team put its skills and newfound creative approaches into practice by spending a lot of time cleaning up our materials, web site and resumes. We also delivered some of our workshops and helped the Arts Borups Corners artists re-build some of their online and community arts capacity after their community centre was wrecked last year by flooding.

It’s been an exciting, challenging and immensely rewarding five months working on this project. In some ways, it’s sad to see it end, but at the same time, there is a sense of energy and excitement for the next adventures to come.

We grew as artists, each in our own ways. We learned a lot about the entrepreneurship and business side of working as artists, and that’s an area we hope to explore in more detail moving forward.

There are also a lot of people to thank on this project:

As with all our projects, we spent a lot of time at Qaumajuq and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The Winnipeg Free Press exhibit on headlines was a terrific place to start our project's group discussions on the use of AI and generative art. Photo by Jamie Bell.

As with all our projects, we spent a lot of time at Qaumajuq and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The Winnipeg Free Press exhibit on headlines was a terrific place to start our project’s group discussions on the use of AI and generative art.

First, a very special thank you to emerging youth artist Tony Eetak who volunteered a huge amount of extra time, dedication and hard work to this project, especially when unfortunate circumstances and timings left us short-staffed and challenged. From setting up workshop spaces, to learning how to update our web site and attending a lot of extra meetings, it’s important to recognize that hard work and commitment. Thank you, Tony for your support and exceptional leadership on this project not just as a youth emerging artist and musician, but as an active contributor to building local arts opportunities.

In addition to opportunities for professional development, this was also an opportunity for youth and emerging artists to gain valuable early career exposure and mentorship in arts entrepreneurship as a career pathway. It’s also about learning life skills and developing the basics of working as an artist. This was his second successfully funded Manitoba Arts Council collaborating with local and international artists and researchers.

Thank you to Dr. Olaf Kuhlke, PhD from the Arts Entrepreneurship department at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design; Dr. Wenqing Zhang, PhD from the Labovitz School of Business and Economics at the University of Minnesota Duluth; Dr. Samantha Buzzard, PhD from the University of Cardiff, Ethan Caners from the University of Winnipeg Collegiate and Maeva Gauthier, MSc and Dr. Jutta Gutberlet, PhD from the University of Victoria Community Based Research Lab. We’re also thankful to Members of Parliament Emmanuella Lambropoulos, Blake Desjarlais and Michael Barrett for championing this year’s event. We’re also grateful for the support of Elyssa Teslyk, Olivia Bechthold, Giovanna Mingarelli and Rev. Dr. Paul Luftenegger from Global Dignity Canada as well as Tara Baswani and Remi Lemieux from Lembas Works; Sarah Flynn and Terry Godwaldt from the Centre for Global Education – we learned a lot about organizing large arts and community events with artists and schools. A very special thank you to Lucy Eetak for translating and interpreting in Inuktitut when we needed it. Thank you to Dominic Lloyd from the Winnipeg Arts Council for meeting with us to learn more about the work they do. Thanks to Chocolatier Constance Popp and Constance Menzies, MNRM for helping us build a competitive, creative and entrepreneurial mindset. Thank you to the Local Services Board of Melgund for making our project and workshops feel so welcome in their community. Thank you to Tara Tootoo Fotheringham and Cliff Caners and the Arctic Buying Company for always supporting our @1860 Winnipeg Arts program and giving it a home.

We learned so much from all of these incredible people and organizations and we are immensely grateful for their support.

Our journey with the @1860 Winnipeg Arts project grew out of the pandemic, and we’ve always worked as a small group, with the aim of gradually building ourselves up, over time, into an urban, Indigenous-led arts and cultural entrepreneurship collective. As employment opportunities increasingly become digital-oriented, our Indigenous 360 project encouraged collaboration with Winnipeg locally, nationally and internationally, and contributed to creating healthy, engaged and skilled young people: a much needed path step to developing a strong and resilient arts community.

Congratulations to all the youth, Elders, volunteers, artists and partner organizations who came together to encourage our work and make these achievements possible. Most of all, we express our thanks and appreciation to the Manitoba Arts Council and the Indigenous 360 Program for believing in our program. Everything we learned and were able to do during this year’s Winter 2023 programming was made possible with their financial support.

We never imagined our little project would reach almost 3,000 people from here in Winnipeg, across Canada and around the world.

Join us for our Indigenous 360 Wrap Up Meeting

Join us for a team meeting on Monday, April 24, 2024 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. as we wrap up this year’s Manitoba Arts Council Indigeous 360 Program. All are welcome. We will also discuss our upcoming projects that will start planning this summer. For more information, visit our Innovating Northern Nuclear Career Pathways project page.

@1860 Winnipeg Arts

@1860 Winnipeg Arts is a small, community-driven arts entrepreneurship and cultural entrepreneurship program in Winnipeg, Manitoba.