October 18, 2006
by Canadian Architect
The Canada Council for the Arts is stepping up its efforts to bring together professional artists and the broader community and give the arts a stronger presence in everyday life. They announced that its Artists and Community Collaboration Fund (ACCF) which started as a temporary initiative in 2002, will soon become a permanent Canada Council program.
Canada Council support for artist-in-community projects began with a limited pilot program in 1997. In April 2002, the Council launched the ACCF on a temporary basis.
Artists and community collaboration allows professional artists and the non-arts community including youth to work together in the creation, production or presentation of artistic work. The fund offers opportunities for communities in all regions of the country to express themselves through creative collaborations with leading professional artists and to offer financial support to projects that connect professional artists and communities.
In July 2005, the Canada Council commissioned Laurie McGauley, a Sudbury, Ontario-based consultant with an extensive background in community arts, to review the ACCF. The goal of this external review was to provide a detailed analysis of the impact of the ACCF and to make recommendations about the future of the ACCF.
McGauley noted in her 73-page report that the ACCF “is meeting its objective of supporting diverse artistic activities that bring together professional artists and the broader community.” She concluded that the ACCF “Communities are actively engaging with artists and with each other, creating public art and performance, infusing their neighbourhoods and their lives with meaning and beauty and integrating art into everyday life.”
Since 2002, the Council funded over 400 ACCF projects, including:
*A training program in Toronto’s Regent Park community that allowed disadvantaged youth to learn video, film and new media skills from professional artists in these fields.
*An artist-in-residence program at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine that gave medical students experience in creating art and making the link between the arts and health.
*The production of history storybooks, prepared in collaboration with Aboriginal elders, that depict the oral history of the Wikwemikong reserve on Ontario’s Manitoulin Island.
*Seven months of multidisciplinary artistic and organizational workshops which led to a harvest fair, parade and festival coinciding with Vancouver’s Asian Mid-Autumn Festival. More than 2,000 people participated in the festival and more than 500 in the workshops.
*A collaboration between the Karen Jamieson Dance Company and the Haida community of Skidegate, BC which culminated in a dance performance involving 50 performers and 200 spectators.
*Teesri Duniya Theatre’s The Untold Story Project, a collaboration to achieve greater communication and inter-communication within culturally diverse communities in Montreal.
As of April 1, 2007, the ACCF will be renamed the Artist and Community Collaboration Program (ACCP) and permanently integrated into the Canada Council’s regular funding programs in all artistic disciplines.
The McGauley report and detailed information about the ACCP can be found on the Canada Council’s web site at www.canadacouncil.ca.