In Conversation about Northern Ontario Artists

Having newly joined the team that is organizing this hub of talent and engagement, I wanted to learn more about the artists, curators and leaders that have been involved in building this thus far and why they believe in Northern Arts Connection. The work and the people are incredibly impressive. Here’s what I’ve learned so far: 

It all started with a vision Dave MacDonald (Chair of the board, Living Temagami) had: to unite to showcase the incredible talent across the vast region of Northern Ontario. “There is a wealth of talent here, and the North has often been overlooked. If we join forces and share skills and resources, we can learn from each other and let the rest of the province and country know about the magnificent work.”

Terre Chartrand (Theatre and textile artist, project coordinator of Nipissing Region Curatorial Collective (NRCC) and newest member of the Northern Arts Connection (NAC) steering committee) says, “NAC is crucial for connecting northern artists and establishing a sense of a northern arts ecology. We are not the same, across the north. We have unique needs but the ability to come together in a supportive force is incredible.”

Especially post-2020, we’ve really seen a need for reaching out across communities and virtual is key – especially in rural and remote communities where travel can be prohibitive. NAC allows us to mobilize across distances; though geographically apart we are connected, and in partnership we are all strengthened, “ says Melissa Laporte, Executive director and curator of the Temiskaming Art Gallery and NAC committee lead.

Gerry Gooderham, northern Ontario photographer and exhibited artist at LTAC, Board member of LTAC and NAC committee lead, echoes this sentiment. “NAC gels communities together and creates a conversation between organizations. With features like the regional calendar on the site, we can be working in concert when we plan events, we can plan tours (live or livestream) and gain greater exposure working as a network.”

Working collaboratively and collectively is a key part of the vision of NAC. “Consultation happens in a way where the platform can have its own personality, reflective of the people involved”, says Terre.

Reflective of the people involved, and the rich artistic talent, across forms, NAC promises to be an active, engaged hub serving artists, arts organizations, audiences and tourists across not only Northern Ontario, but across the entire province, and maybe even the country. 

To find out more and to get involved:

-  Erica May-Wood is a theatre artist, teacher and producer, currently 
proudly working as Project Manager for Northern Arts Connection