New Moon Dialogue Series: Looking Towards the Next 50 Years

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The Indigenous Creative Spaces Project brings together a network of communities to support the development of Indigenous sovereign creative spaces across Ontario. Guided by an Indigenous Advisory Circle and supported by ArtsBuild Ontario, the project aims to build a framework of knowledge and experience from an Indigenous cultural and historic perspective, and determine the needs, recommendations and sustainability for future Indigenous infrastructural development within the arts ecology of Ontario. As part of this project, a series of online dialogues have taken place within Indigenous communities across Ontario.

Looking Towards the Next 50 Years is the next dialogue in this series. Hosted by Janis Monture, Executive Director of Woodland Cultural Centre, this dialogue will share on Woodland’s history which focuses on the Save the Evidence campaign and the re-interpretation of the former Mohawk Institute. Janis will be joined by guest speakers, Tim Johnson and Amos Key, Jr.

Janis Kahentóktha Monture is Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River. Janis returned as the Executive Director of Woodland Cultural Centre in May 2020. Previously, Janis was appointed the Director of Tourism and Cultural Initiatives for the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation from 2017 – 2020. From 2003 – early 2017 Janis was the Executive Director of the Woodland Cultural Centre, one of the largest First Nations- run cultural centres/museums in the country. In her capacity with Woodland, Janis was a steering committee member for the Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures. A committee member for the Arts & Culture Advisory Council for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Para Pan American Games. For two brief 18-month periods Janis was on secondment to Harbourfront Centre as the Guest Artistic Director of Planet IndigenUS in 2009 and 2015. Janis attended the University of Western Ontario where she attained a Bachelor of Arts in History and received a Museum Studies diploma from Algonquin College. Janis continues to volunteer in her community at Six Nations and in Brantford with various organizations such as Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Brant Community Foundation and the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation. Recently in April 2022 Janis received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by the Governor General of Canada.

Tim Johnson is a senior advisor to Lord Cultural Resources, Niagara Parks Commission, and Plenty Canada. He is the artistic director of The Great Niagara Escarpment Indigenous Cultural Map and the Greenbelt Indigenous Botanical Survey. He is an executive producer of the Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television, Sundance Film Festival, and Hot Docs award-winning documentary RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World, and is an experienced education, museum, and arts executive who recently helped lead the development of four public memorials and art commissions of national significance that honour the contributions made by underrepresented peoples to Canada’s defense and founding.

As the former Associate Director for Museum Programs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, Mr. Johnson managed the museum’s largest organizational group across its facilities in Washington and New York. A long list of critically acclaimed exhibits and programs (including LIVE EARTH D.C. with Al Gore) were produced during his tenure, creating an era that significantly advanced the institution’s museology and reputation.

Active in his home community of Six Nations of the Grand River and with several prestigious education, arts, and journalism institutions over more than 35 years, Tim received the Dreamcatcher Foundation Award for Art and Culture in 2016.

Dehaeho:węhs – Amos Key Jr. was born into the Onkwehon:weh the Divine Race of the Haudenosaunee Civilization, and is a member of Mohawk Nation, gifted into the Turtle Clan of his Mother and conferred to the Sacred Circle of Faith Keepers and knowledge keepers of the Longhouse, at Six Nations of Grand River Territory in Ohsweken, Ontario, Canada.

On his journey… Amos Key Jr. has become an educator and staunch advocate for: Indigenous Human, Civil and Linguistic Rights; Social Justice; the Decolonization of Indigenous Education and, the Emancipation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This is his life’s purpose providing a blue print of service to his people.

As a Change Agent: he prides himself in being a ‘change maker’ and ‘social advocate’ who promotes: social change, social advocacy, social justice and social enterprise through an Indigenous Lens.

As an Educator, he is change maker advocating for: the Benefits of Indigenous Bilingualism; Indigenous Language Literacy; Balancing Indigenous IQ with Indigenous EQ-I; unpacking the Truths of Indigenous and Crown Relations in Canada and advocating the reinstatement of the attributes, virtues , characteristics, intelligences and traits of Indigenous Civilizations in Ontario.

Currently Amos Key Jr. is: the Executive Director of SONICS / CKRZ 100.3 FM Wadręnota’ (radio) at Six Nations of Grand River Territory, that he founded 34 years ago. He is also currently an Education Program Developer with the First Nations Technical Institute, at the Tyendinega Mohawk First Nation Territory, at Belleville Ontario. He is leading the development for the foundations for Ontario’s first, Bachelor of Education Degree (B.Ed) in Teaching Indigenous Languages. Amos was just recently appointed Indigenous Advisor to the Danial’s School of Architecture, at the University of Toronto.

Prior to his current career stop, he was the inaugural, Vice Provost Indigenous Engagement and Associate Professor at Brock University at St. Catharines, Ontario for 15 months and prior to that a tenure track position as a Teaching Professor at the Center for Indigenous Studies, at the University of Toronto, at Toronto, Ontario, (2015-2019).

Prior to taking a role as professor and vice provost, Amos was the Director of Indigenous Languages at the Woodland Cultural Centre, in Brantford for 35 years. While there, he accomplished other firsts: he established Gawenni:yo Ontario’s first Indigenous School Board and Indigenous Language Immersion School system; Southern Ontario’s first, fully licensed community radio station, CKRZ 100.3 FM, and Ontario’s first international award winning, ‘Dream Catchers’ E learning Secondary School, way before Covid influenced the current state of e learning.

Note: This dialogue may explore culturally sensitive material. The information shared today may not be extracted for any reasons other than personal knowledge. The audience is encouraged to listen. Questions will be taken at the end.

Apply Now! Experience the Value of Mentorship

Are you looking to expand your knowledge, grow your skills and make connections focused on strengthening business and management skills? The Creative Spaces Mentoring Network might be for you! This program is an opportunity to connect with leaders in the arts sector.  The program is designed to pair cultural workers who are responsible for their spaces, focus on capital-related issues, or are seeking space, to work with a mentor and develop their creative spaces project over the course of one year.

Last year, we had 16 mentor/mentee pairs, with pairs connecting virtually over Zoom from Haliburton, Hamilton, Lindsay, London, Toronto,  Vancouver, and more! Participants described the program as:

The program is also an opportunity to create lasting relationships with your mentor/mentee. We would like to share some reflections from some mentees and mentors over the last few years. The program was described as:

“This was a wonderful experience working with Ed Finlan (Siku Hall Arts Centre) as a mentee as I learned about the project he and his committee are working on as well as how their community is working towards an inclusive arts space.  I learned just as much as I hope he did.”

-Wendy Fairbairn, General Manager of the Orillia Opera House | Mentor

“Heart Comonos is a startup non-profit community engagement organization in Cooksville-Mississauga. We create events for all ages that are fun and fulfilling – like music, art and dance, park and neighbourhood cleanups, discussion groups, and projects that support people who are hurting. In the last 18 months, about 1500 people participated in approximately 45 events. We understand the value of mentorship as questions and issues come up about staff, volunteers, governance, funding, planning, programming, and long-term sustainability; thank you ArtsBuild Ontario for the gift of encouragement, and wise counsel through the mentorship of Olinda Casimiro over this very fast-paced start-up phase.”

-Hardy Steinke, Executive Director of Heart Comonos | Mentee

“Working closely with Hardy Steinke and the team at Heart Comonos has been a gift. Heart Comonos is an organization located in Cooksville-Mississauga communities, they are an inclusive, street-level organization that uses a community model of caring to walk alongside people who are hurting, lonely and isolated.  As a new grassroots organization who initiated a ‘pop-up hub’ concept to facilitate connection, they have started the conversation and are becoming a Neighbourhood Support Network where strategies – including support for mental health and wellness and promote social engagement and emotional healing through hands-on creative activities – all contributing to personal and community wellness. Their programs are making a difference – as they help to eliminate disparities in their community. I am grateful to have been connect to Hardy and his team –  thank you ArtsBuild Ontario!”

-Olinda Casimiro, Executive Director of the Art Gallery of Northumberland | Mentor

I’m had a great experience connecting with my mentee to contribute to their growth and shared insights on the highs and challenges of establishing a viable arts destination.  The CSMN program provides a wonderful opportunity for both parties to gain perspective and furtherdefine what success means in the arts and cultural sector. I’m proud to be part of this program for a second year.

-Nadine Baker, former Facility Manager of The Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning | Mentor

We are thrilled to be part of this program and we are truly looking forward to working with Tim Jennings, CEO of the Shaw Festival. His great expertise in capital projects will be of extraordinary value to us as we move forward in all the different steps of getting ready for our infrastructure project.

-Camille Mauran, Corporate Liaison Manager & Ghislain Caron, Managing Director for Théâtre français de Toronto| Mentees

We look forward to welcoming this year’s cohort! We are now accepting applications until November 25th at 5pm. For more information, visit our website

ABO’s Strategic Plan 2022–2025

For over 20 years, ABO’s services have supported arts organizations, artists, and municipalities. We are unique in that we support arts organizations of all disciplines with their cultural infrastructure needs. Over the course of the pandemic, ABO has reflected on the current state of the arts in Ontario as the use and need for physical space has evolved.

We are excited to share with you today our new Strategic Plan for 2022-2025. The plan will guide ABO for the next three years with a re-energized Mandate, Mission and Vision:

Mandate: ArtsBuild Ontario provides the leadership and expertise needed to operate small to medium-sized arts and creative spaces in Ontario.

Mission: ArtsBuild Ontario supports small-medium-sized organizations across Ontario to build, finance, and manage their arts and creative spaces.

Vision: ArtsBuild Ontario strives for a thriving cultural sector with vibrant arts and creative spaces that are accessible to everyone.

The plan is guided by the following strategic directions:

  1. Increase ABO’s relevance and impact by strengthening its connections to arts communities

  2. Leverage existing successes and explore new approaches for creative spaces

  3. Reflect the sector’s diversity to foster organizational growth

  4. Demonstrate a healthy and robust financial position

Over the next three years, we will build on existing successes and develop our services around new models including digital infrastructure. We will strive to listen, reflect and deepen our connection with Ontario’s diverse communities to improve our services and cultivate partnerships alongside underrepresented groups. To support these goals, we will establish a healthy financial position to sustain ABO’s growth in the years to come.

We invite you to read and share ABO Strategic Plan 2022-2025.

We hope you will stay connected with ABO and be a part of the journey forward.

A Day in the Life: Featuring 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace

A Day in the Life is a blog series spotlights arts managers and their unique day to day experiences operating creative space. 

Author: Tatiana Doucette, Program Manager at ArtsBuild Ontario

Image Credit: John Spaulding Photography

As a non-profit arts organiztion, ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO) wears many hats. We’re an arts service organization that delivers programs, takes onprojects and advocates for the sector – but we also operate 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace, in partnership with the City of Kitchener. Each day brings a range of wins and challenges, , and while many spaces move through a third year of the pandemic,we thought we would share our  “day in the life” with our network of creative space managers!

I arrive at Gaukel at 8:30 each morning. After turning on all the lights, I head upstairs to brew a fresh pot of coffee andI do my morning walk through of the building. I check that our shared spaces like the Community Space and Rehearsal Space are returned back to normal from the previous nights rentals, make sure garbages are emptied, check the vending machine is stocked and make sure the building is tidy and ready for our renters and tenants.

Image Credit: John Spaulding Photography

With coffee in hand, I head back down and continue with our weekly to do list. Charging security cameras, checking custodial supply stock, and printing off weekly booking sheets are all part of maintaining smooth operations. Sometimes the building needs some extra love and we will put in a facilities request to the City of Kitchener if something needs a repair.

After that, time to answer emails. I respond to both ABO and 44 Gaukel emails and make sure that any tenant needs are taken care of. On average, we recieve approximately 30 emails per day from tenants, renters and the community. Ding dong! We get a ring at our doorbell. We accept mail and package delieveries for r tenants. I hand out whatever mail gets delivered and usually run into a tenant or two to chat with. I love getting to know tenants and listening to what they are working on. 

As the pandemic restrictions have eased, we have been very busy with tours and onboarding new tenants. This week alone, I had five tours of our space! If I have a tour, I am usually running around the building showing all of the different spaces, murals, and amenities 44 Gaukel has to offer. After a lunch break and (sometimes) a walk around Victoria Park, there is usually a meeting or two somewhere throughout the day. ABO has some new projects in the works and we are working on the next phase of the Indigenous Creative Spaces Project and preparing for round nine of the Creative Space Mentoring Network Program set to launch this Fall. 

Other adminstrative work includes making communications plans, social media posts, and e-news content. Around 3pm I like to stretch my legs and do another stroll around the building. We have tenants, like Artshine, who package their subscription boxes in the common area. Other tenants, like Good Company Productions, sublease other spaces in the building for video and photo shoots. Some days we have artists creating new music or teaching lessons. Other days, it might be quiet with no tenants around. We also often have street markets or other community events happening on Gaukel street. This summer, the City of Kitchener has been hosting events almost every weekend. No day or week is ever the same. 

By 4:30pm I wrap up.I leave the building and wonder what the next day will bring…


OTF Capital Grant Overview with DoGood Fundraising

ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO) is committed to connecting our network with opportunities to access resources that increase capacity for the development of cultural infrastructure. 

On July 15th, 2022, ABO, along with our partners at DoGood Fundraising presented a webinar with an overview of the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Capital Grant. Rohit Mehta, DoGood Fundraising’s Founder and President, discussed how arts organizations can leverage this capital grant with best practices for project proposals and preparing applications. 

This session was offered independently and in addition to OTF’s application supports, which include webinars and coaching calls.