$35 – $80

Art Place: Community Engaged Arts Symposium

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Ottawa City Hall

110 Laurier Avenue West

Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1


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To mark the end of Art Place, a three year pilot project in community engaged arts, AOE Arts Council is hosting a two day symposium on community arts engagement. The symposium will provide artists, arts groups and community leaders with the tips and hands-on learning they need to develop co-creative projects with community members. Each event day will feature a panel discussion and an afternoon of hands on learning, with Naomi Tessler on March 31 and Alisdair Macrae on April 1. See below for schedule details.

Price includes: morning and afternoon sessions, coffee and snacks, lunch and a copy of the symposium workbook with case studies and worksheets!

Keep an eye on this page as we update it with panelists, outlines and workshop details!

Friday March 31

Developing a community engaged arts project

9AM-12PM: Panel and roundtable discussion by artists and community leaders

Gerald Dragon of Sandy Hill CHC

Gerald Dragon has been a staff member at Sandy Hill Community Health Centre (SHCHC) since 2011. In that time, he has been fortunate enough to help organise several community-engaged arts projects. This arts-based community development approach has allowed him to witness transformational change in individuals and communities. He looks forward to sharing some of his insights in to how arts-based community development can be used create inclusive spaces, raise awareness and express diverse opinions.

Micheline Shoebridge of MASC

Working With Communities To Build Successful Community Engaged Arts Programs: Micheline Shoebridge developed Awesome Arts en folie as a community engaged arts program that allows participants of all ages to explore issues important to their community through the arts. To date it has offered 16 separate programs and provided 790 individual workshops to 1450 children, youth and seniors. Recently, Awesome Arts en folie merged with MASC to expand its program offerings.

1PM-4:45PM: A presentation and hands-on workshop with theatre artist Naomi Tessler, Branch Out Theatre

Where to begin?: Naomi Tessler will present how she began her community engaged arts projects and how she creates one. In an applied theatre workshop, participants will have hands on activities to reflect on the stepping stones of building a community arts project. Participants will critically reflect on the challenges in project building, management and leadership and support the group in working collaboratively to rehearse transforming potential blockages to a thriving community arts project.

Saturday April 1

Building a career in community engaged arts

9AM-12PM: Panel and roundtable discussion by artists and community leaders

Kathy Armstrong of Boabab Drum Dance Community

Engaging Communities with Your Music: An Entrepreneur’s Perspective: Kathy will highlight aspects of a career in the arts that engages with participants in a variety of settings using an entrepreneurial model. Using first-hand examples in educational, community, social service and health contexts, Kathy will share the rewards and challenges of creating a career path that reflects your passion and skill set.

Kelsey Walsh of Dandelion Dance

Mentorship, risk-taking, and collaboration have brought Kelsey Walsh to the role of director of the Dandelion Dance Performance Company. Kelsey will share the steps she took as student, artist, and now artist-educator, in shaping her career in community-engaged arts and she will also shed light on how the Dandelion approach opens a myriad of career opportunities - within sectors such as arts, education, social work, community development, childcare, not-for-profit, etc.

Adam Brown, performative and sculptural artist

Subverting Expectations: Taking your arts practice from the studio to the community can be as exciting as it is challenging. Adam Brown will discuss three recent collaborative building projects with groups of youth that highlight the ways social arts practice has shaped his understanding and approach to art and art making.

Claudia Salguero, visual artist and art-based faciliator

Making the Move to Arts Facilitation: Being an Arts-based Facilitator is a passion that comes with challenges, learning experiences and rewards. Beyond creating beautiful community artwork, it is about the process, the human interaction and the impact it has on each participant and on the community. Claudia Salguero will give participants an inside look into making the shift from a private art practice to a public one.

1PM-4:45PM: A presentation and hands-on workshop with Alisdair MacRae

Coming into a community and working with them to create an arts project doesn’t always go the way you expect it will. Each community has specific needs and perspectives which will influence the creative process. In his presentation, Alisdair will talk about his experience creating art in a local skateboard park and then lead a workshop where participants will create a mock community engaged arts project. Participants will learn how to develop a project around a socially relevant issue, consider resources, plan a budget, and develop project management skills.

Speaker Bios

Workshop Leaders

Alisdair MacRae received a BFA from the University of Victoria in 1998, an MFA from Bard College in 2002, and completed a graduate thesis in Art History at Carleton University in 2012. MacRae uses plans to examine community and exchange, experienced through a do-it-yourself approach that enables social interactions.

Naomi Tessler, M.A. is the Artistic Director/Founder of Branch Out Theatre. She has been working with communities globally for 12 years, using theatre to inspire positive change! She is a graduate of the Masters of Arts program in Educational Theatre for Colleges and Communities, New York University and currently facilitates and develops Branch Out Theatre workshops, projects and productions with organizations and groups in Toronto and Ottawa. She is passionate about using theatre as a tool for encouraging self-empowerment, self-confidence, environmental awareness, social justice and well-being. As a facilitator, Naomihas an extensive background in Theatre of the Oppressed,Playback Theatre, acting, physical theatre, storytelling, directing and playwriting and strives to share these tools with those she works and collaborates with. She is currently touring her one-woman show: (off) Balance that addresses the stigma associated with mental health. She believes in uniting communities through theatre to build bridges and break through barriers.

Panel Presenters

Kathy Armstrong combines her training in classical percussion and music education with her twenty-five years of studies in Ghanaian music and dance to offer an integrated and community based approach in her work. She received her BMus. and MMus. from the University of Toronto, focusing on education and world music. Kathy travelled to Ghana in 1990 to begin studies with Kwasi Dunyo, and two years later facilitated his first trip to North America. She is the founding director of Baobab Drum Dance Community and teaches at Carleton University. Kathy recently completed an MA in Music and Culture at Carleton, where she received a Senate Medal for her work researching the links between drumming and health and wellbeing.

Adam Brown is an Ottawa-area artist and tinkerer, trying to imagine more creative and humane ways of using public space. Celebrating process, labour and the spirit of do-it-yourself culture, in his practice he seeks to create sites of activation: spaces for artistic production, learning and thinking; meeting places for discussion and for friendship.

Christine Mockett is an Ottawa area sculptor and fibre artist. She completed a BSc at the University of Waterloo and its emphasis on research remains an influence on how she approaches her artwork. In Australia, Christine studied clothing design and operated a business in Sydney designing business wear and costumes. Garments now appear in her artwork as a second form of architecture. She developed her professional interest in art, completing her fibres major BFA at Concordia in 2006. Her artwork has since appeared in the Preston Catalogue, Fiberarts, Embroidery Canada and Fibre Quarterly, and has been exhibited and collected in Canada, the USA, Italy, Mexico and Australia. Her current body of work addresses issues of place, and the interrelationship between architecture, environment and human presence. Sculptures emerge from recycled, salvaged and repurposed materials. Christine has a passion for developing community related projects that bring together community partners, help isolated populations access art programming and co-create legacy art installations.

Claudia Salguero is an Art-Based Facilitator in Ottawa, developing art and recycling-art projects involving, kids, youth, adults and communities in risk through institutions like Ottawa Community Housing, OCISO, Operation Come Home, Ottawa Public Library, Carling Arts Initiative and various Community Resource and Health centres. In 2013 she was featured by Ottawa Life Magazine as one of the 2013 Top 25 people in the Capital. In 2005, as visual artist and after years working as designer and professional photographer, she decided to complement her natural palette with the digital brushes of Corel’s Painter Digital Art Studio, blending photography, digital and traditional art in a magical mix. Her mastery in Corel Painter earned her a place in Corel’s international group Elite Painter Masters. Claudia has presented various solo exhibitions and group exhibitions in Canada and abroad, and has been featured in international publications. Claudia is a Corel Painter Photo-Fine-Art Certified Instructor and teaches digital art workshops on line in Spanish and English and also in her studio in Ottawa. As recognized Latin Jazz singer in Ottawa and through her annual sold-out concerts at the Ottawa’s National Arts Centre accompanied by her 10-piece band, she has been raising funds for kids foundations in her home country Colombia since 2011. Claudia believes in art and music as a tool for a better society.

Micheline Shoebridge is the Community Engagement Program Director at MASC. Micheline manages the MASC Awesome Arts en folie, a bilingual community engaged arts program offered in a number of communities across Ottawa. Micheline is also the Seniors Program Director at MASC offering arts programming to Ottawa-Gatineau’s seniors community. Micheline has a passion for community arts projects. Her entire career has been in the cultural industries, starting in the film and television sector and moving to community arts 7 years ago. Micheline believes strongly in the power of art as a catalyst to bring people together and improve the world.

Kelsey Walsh is Director of Dandelion Dance’s performance company and Head of Youth programming. An artist working primarily with community-engaged arts practices, she uses dance, voice, visual arts, and text to engage with and challenge the world that surrounds her. Kelsey trained in modern dance before completing her BFA in Theatre and Development. Her questioning of traditional art forms led Kelsey to purposely seek inclusive spaces for creative expression. As arts-educator, her goal is connection. She welcomes her students into the exciting language of the arts and focuses on building a caring community within which to create.

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Ottawa City Hall

110 Laurier Avenue West

Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1


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