Northern Arts Events Bridge the Gap

By Jason Manitowabi, Northern Outreach Coordinator

This spring, arts events held in Sudbury and North Bay helped to showcase Northern talent across many disciplines, ultimately working to bridge the gap between the higher populated urban areas of the province such as Toronto and Thunder Bay.

The 2019 Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards, produced in association with Music and Film in Motion, offered a 3 day schedule of film, music and nightly showcases in Sudbury, Ontario. Sessions included a Safer Bars & Spaces training program, and workshops on screenwriting, radio and streaming, navigating film funding, and film technologies. There were also short film showcases and a screening of the “Goalie” biopic of goaltender Terry Sawchuck. Nightly music performances by Melody McKiver and Darius Gray, Mclean, Rose-Erin Stokes, Kalle Mattson, Nick Sherman and Rico Littledeer,  Frank Deresti and the Lake Effect, Greyson Gritt, Jennifer Holub, The Honest Heart Collective, MC Silvertongue and TESSA complimented the daytime programming.

Sudbury has a long history of showcasing Northern talent and, at the same time, makes a great stop for high-profile acts that tour through Ontario, including John Fogerty and Snoop Dogg recently. Sitting in the heart of the province, Sudbury offers a convenient link from North to South and is a diverse city of representation and exploration.

North Bay hosted the Cold Waters Media Arts Symposium & Festival on June 12-15. Sessions and workshops took place at Nipissing University and showcases were held in local venues including the Capital Centre and White Water Gallery. Presentations included MANO (Media Arts Network of Ontario) Mornings that featured expert talks on relevant industry topics, such as: Policy, Advocacy, and Strategy in the Arts, Making and Thinking Alongside the North, and Preserving Indigenous Knowledge within the Digital Domain. The Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council had regional representatives lead workshops and offer insight on granting programs. Evening Programming featured Nearly Far Away // Far From Near (by Rihkee Strapp with Tejhler Leadbeater and Jeremy Saya in collaboration with Amanda Lindenbac) and Ways of Listening (with Darren Copeland, Anyse Ducharme, Zoe Gordon & ElizaBeth Hill), which were wonderful compliments to the knowledge-packed daytime presentations.


North Bay is conveniently located within 4 hours of Toronto, Ottawa, Sudbury and Manitoulin and has a rich Indigenous history of the Anishnabek whom call the area home. Its rich medicine producing grounds have long provided for the people of the land. It was refreshing to see the digital era of art showcased with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous representation, with showings and sharings of medicines, culture and professional artistry.

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