Students heading into second year of Boreal Creates programming at PFFNHS
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Sioux Lookout is one of just three northern Ontario communities that have been hosting a three-year project called Boreal Creates, which has allowed Pelican Falls First Nations High School (PFFNHS) students to explore different arts programming.
“Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Boreal Creates is a three-year project offering VIBE Arts programs in three Northern Ontario communities including Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie. Since beginning in 2019, Boreal Creates has already offered 11 programs at five community locations,” said Meredith Stapon, VIBE Arts Communications
“Boreal Creates programs are tailored for Indigenous youth and program curriculums are developed in collaboration with Indigenous creatives, in an effort to maintain, share and increase access to traditional practices and teachings… Through Boreal Creates, VIBE Arts employs local Indigenous artists and arts educators to develop and facilitate programs based on the interests and needs of the community,” she added.
The Boreal Creates program at PFFNHS started in Feb. last year. Local artist Chelsey Greig led the first painting program, which featured watercolour and acrylic painting. Since then, students have had the opportunity to learn different forms of traditional art.
“Last April, VIBE offered an introduction to traditional beading. This winter, we are offering a second beading program. Both workshops were led by local artist Keira Handorgan. In fall 2019, PFFNHS students took part in a Woodland Painting program led by local artist Jim Oskineegish,”
Stapon said VIBE Arts is looking to provide students with opportunities to display and showcase their work this year.
“We have just entered the second year of our three year commitment. We plan to exhibit artwork from all three northern Ontario locations of the Boreal Creates program (Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout, Sault Ste. Marie) next October 2020 at the Baggage Building Arts Centre, located in Thunder Bay. In addition, we are aiming to hold a local art exhibit in each location and will tentatively offer one in Sioux Lookout. We are still in the planning stages for these events,” she said.
VIBE Arts said all three northern Ontario communities have enjoyed hosting the Boreal Creates program.
“Our feedback from community partners in Sioux Lookout, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay have been positive. They are pleased to have an enriching arts program to offer local children and youth,” said Stapon.
Currently, Boreal Creates is taking place primarily at PFFNHS, where VIBE Arts said they will continue to offer several programs each year over three years. They said they would be happy to connect with local community organizations and artists who would be interested in working with VIBE Arts.
According to their website, “Established in 1995, VIBE Arts is an award-winning charitable organization committed to providing children and youth in under-resourced communities with high quality community and school based arts education. With a 20 year trajectory, VIBE Arts has become one of the most celebrated community arts organizations in Toronto.”
For more information, go to vibearts.ca or call 416-929-9314.