This week, it's HOT here with summer activity and strategic thinking about our future as artists.
Allison Yearwood, kneeling in front of grocery store shelves of crackers, and holding a small doll
Allison Yearwood - What Can't the Gallery Hold? (Blackness, Apparently...)
Digital filtered photograph of Allison Yearwood taken by Charmaine Green

Connector Weekly

In This Edition
Highlights from the Community
Accessing the Arts Listings

The first time I ever received an artist grant is vivid in my mind. 

It was twenty years ago but it feels like yesterday. Those were the days when people delivered notifications in the form of paper at your door. I remember staring down at the crisp logo of the Ontario Arts Council printed in jet black on an envelope and when I opened it, it was like what I imagine a near-death experience is like - seeing your whole life flash by in a matter of seconds. Dramatic maybe, but when it’s your first grant and you’ve been waiting three excruciating months while questioning your identity as an artist, the feeling is - should I say - intense.  

I remember running down the street to the small cafe where my friend worked to read her the good news, the letter in my hand as evidence. It’s real. I’m an artist!

It was an opening in my world, a door. 

Looking back, I think it’s fair to say it was that small emerging artist grant that propelled me on a journey to move to Toronto, find a community and redefine for myself what it means to be an artist with a disability.

What’s my point?

Fast forward twenty years, we arrive in the summer of 2021, consuming remarkably good tv and beer while experiencing collective anxiety about the state of the world and whether it’s safe to hug people. Over at the Ontario Arts Council, some big strategic decisions are being made about what their next five years will look like and how it will support artists in Ontario. 

My point is, they need to hear our voices. 

Deaf and disabled artists and their allies need to have a say in what direction the OAC takes over the next five years because our artists are the impetus that’s forging the future of an accessible arts sector.  

It’s a strong statement but I don’t think Creative Users would have existed if that letter hadn’t arrived at my door twenty years ago. OAC plays a pivotal role in opening doors - they need our help not only to ensure those doors stay open but that everyone has an opportunity to walk through.

If you live in Ontario, you can help shape this vision by filling out their public survey here. You can view a message in ASL from OAC here. The deadline to participate in the survey is September 12th, 2021.

If you’ve already received and participated in their survey through another channel, you don’t need to fill it out twice! 

Thank you for reading. We'd love to hear from you – just hit reply. If you enjoyed this email, you'd be doing us a big favor by forwarding it to someone else who might like it. If you got this from a friend and would like to subscribe yourself, please do so here!


Highlights from the Community

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First Friday Lecture by Allison Yearwood: What Can't the Gallery Hold? (Blackness, Apparently...)
With the recent “Blackout” of the international and national art scenes, new and old Black art leaders, artists, intellectuals and curators have finally been given space and influence in art spaces. But are those spaces ready to support, understand and, more importantly, produce the conversations, ideas and work that these folks are bringing? On September 3rd, join MAWA Mentoring Artists for Women's Art as they host Allison Yearwood. Live ASL interpretation will be provided.
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A Crip Dance Party
The Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability hosts an online Crip Dance Party on August 28th. Facing unending challenges, pause and celebrate your loved ones, your communities, and your bodyminds. Join and dance to honor those still here and those who became ancestors. ASL, CART, & live audio description provided.
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Sculpting with Sound: An Introductory Sound Production Workshop Facilitated by Kristel Jax
CRIP RAVE™ Collective presents Sculpting with Sound, an introductory sound production workshop on September 4th, facilitated by Kristel Jax. Join in for an opportunity to engage in a discussion of sound from a Crip perspective, explore the multi-sensory nature of sound, and co-create an understanding of what it means to Crip sound. ASL- English interpretation and automated closed captioning will be provided. Sound descriptions will appear as captions when there is music playing.
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The Rhubarb Festival 2022: Call for Expressions of Interest
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is currently seeking expressions of interest for the 2022 Rhubarb Festival. Like this past February’s Book as Festival, Festival as Book, Rhubarb is transforming once again for 2022. They've invited architect and installation artist Andrea Shin Ling to create a large-scale installation for the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Chamber space, conceived in conversation with Festival Director Clayton Lee. Participating Festival artists will create works that respond to and engage with Andrea’s prompt and installation. The deadline for expressions of interest is September 10th.
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Digital Connections Program
Attention BC artists! Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance's Digital Connections Program offers underrepresented theatre artists (specifically, Indigenous, racialized, d/Deaf and disability communities) a paid opportunity for training on effective communication and promotion of their digital or hybrid projects through online platforms and will connect them with regional, national, and international presenters. The application deadline is September 9th.
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PACTcon Online 2021: Open With Care
As theatres in Canada approach reopening, it’s time to talk about what we want to rebuild and what we need to redesign – or leave behind. The pandemic has taken a tremendous toll and exacerbated the inequalities in our industry and in the world around us. If we rush to open our doors without acknowledging this impact, we risk trading one crisis for another. The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres welcomes managers, administrators, artists, technicians, board members, and anyone else who wants to join the conversation, from August 31st to September 2nd. ASL interpretation will be available for plenary sessions and can be arranged by request for concurrent sessions.
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Call for Applications: Slingshot Writing Workshop
Slingshot Writing Workshop is a new organization that seeks to offer free writing workshops for people of colour led by instructors of colour, and to provide tools to further hone writing skills and build community at the same time. These workshops are intended for participants who identify as professional, early-career or late bloomer IBPOC writers and those who also identify as LGBTQ2IA+, d/Deaf, disabled, MAD, neurodiverse/neurodivergent communities are welcome to apply. The deadline for applications to participate is  September 3rd.
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Surrealist Suggestions Curatorial Talk and Tour with Lindsay Inglis
On September 15th, the University of Manitoba School of Art Gallery presents Surrealist Suggestions Curatorial Talk and Tour. Curator and art historian Lindsay Inglis will discuss her research on former School of Art professor and surrealist painter Robert Nelson, address Nelson’s long-lasting influence on Winnipeg artists, including School of Art alumni like Ivan Eyre, Esther Warkov, and Marcel Dzama. ASL interpretation and live captioning will be available.
Winchester Prize Triple Bill (Digital Sharing)
SummerWorks is hosting a triple bill of dance films by choreographers Charlotte Cain, Michael Rayson and Kurumi Yoshimoto will be screened on Saturday, August 20th, 2-3:30pm EST. Awarded this year’s Winchester Prize from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre,  these recent graduates adapt their creations to a digital platform and explore their relationships to distance. This presentation is the culmination of the 2021 Festival, and is generously supported by Lindy Green and Sam Chaiton. The dance films will be captioned and the Q&A will have live ASL interpretation. More information about tickets here.
A New Black Poet (ASL Public Sharing: Sunday, August 29th at 3:00pm EST)
Throughout this Pop-Up Experience, Jordan Laffrenier will be working in collaboration with Co-Conspirator and Multidisciplinary Composer and Musician Beau Dixon, Co-Director Aaron Jan and choreographer Shakeil Rollock, to explore setting some of the poems of Langston Hughes to music, and the immersive potential of modelling this piece off of a series of academic lectures. This is an indoor event with a small capacity of distanced audience members who must remain masked at all times. There will be up to 20 people distanced in the space at any time. Unfortunately, there is no on-site audience washroom. The space is wheelchair accessible.

A limited number of tickets are reserved for audience members who use ASL. If you require ASL interpretation please email to reserve one of these tickets.
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Book Launch of Forever on Fire by Angela Taylor
Join Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba and Inspire Community on September 3rd to celebrate the book launch of Forever on Fire, an autobiography by Angela Taylor. What does it mean to be wired differently? To be what experts describe as “neurodiverse”? Forever on Fire: A Love Letter to Never Fitting In explores these complex and sometimes confounding questions. This event takes place in-person, in an outdoor, wheelchair accessible space in Winnipeg.
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Grant Writing for the Toronto Arts Council’s New Black Arts Grant Program
Are you a Black artist, collective, or member of an organization that's Black-led, Black-focused, and Black-serving? Want to apply to the Toronto Arts Council's new Black Arts Grant Program but are unsure of the process? Facilitated on September 8th by Toronto Arts Council's Outreach & Access Program Manager, Timaj Garad, this virtual workshop will explore the basics of preparing a grant application specifically for TAC’s Black Arts Grant Program. ASL interpretation and closed captioning will be available.
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Call for Submissions: Reelout Queer Film Festival
The Reelout Queer Film Festival is an annual 10-day event held in Kingston. The festival exhibits independent, international films by and/or about LGBTQ+ lives with a strong focus on the intersections within communities. Films focusing on race, health, ability, class, and age are equally as important as films about sexual orientation and gender. The deadline for submissions is September 17th.
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Training Jam with Jeanette Kotowich
New(to)Town Collective presents an in-person Training Jam with Jeanette Kotowich on August 29th at Pandora Park in Vancouver. Gather in time and space to connect with embodied practices and inhabit land, landscape, & site as individuals and a collective. Bring your courageous hearts to intentionally explore specific values to nourish your practice. ASL interpretation will be provided.
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Towards Rebirth
For Shakespeare in the Ruff's 10th anniversary season, they're diving into what they do best: radical adaptation. This summer they invited nine past and present Ruffians to create, and divided them into trios. Each trio has created one act of Towards Rebirth, and dug into the themes of Rupture, Resilience, or Rebirth. They’re using Shakespearean text, original text, and new music to tell their story. Relaxed & open captioned performances will be held on August 28th and September 4th in Toronto.
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Personal Essay on being a Disabled Artist
Read John Loeppky's op-ed for the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, as he shares his personal story and experience with being a disabled artist in Saskatchewan. Content warning: suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression. Available as a PDF.
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Panel Dicussions: Where is Home?
We all desire to find a place we feel at home; a place where we belong. But what if ‘home’ is far away, intangible, a memory from childhood, or no longer exists? On September 16th, Eden Mills Writers’ Festival hosts Silmy Abdullah, Kazim Ali, and Kamal Al-Solaylee, who will join Bee Quammie for a discussion about the idea of home, and their new books. Closed captioning will be provided.
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Call for Applications: 21/22 Nightwood Innovators Program
Build community and collaborate with the next generation of leaders in Canada’s theatre industry. The Nightwood Innovators Program (formally the Young Innovators) is now open to emerging and/or new generation artists aged 18+, and delivers digital and in-person meet-ups to equip participants with the building blocks involved in running a theatre company and creating work on their own terms. Applications will be accepted from theatre practitioners (directors, actors, designers, technicians, stage managers, arts managers, dramaturges, production managers, etc.) who are 18+ and self-identify as emerging. The deadline to apply is September 1st.
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Call for Submissions: Write-on-Q
Each year, Infinithéâtre organizes Write-on-Q, a playwriting competition open to Québec playwrights and Indigenous writers from across North America. The winning script, as well as two or three additional plays, comprise the line-up of their annual reading series, The Pipeline, which is an animated weekend of free public play readings. After each Pipeline reading, Infinithéâtre takes its cue from the audience at talk-backs involving the actors and the playwright. The deadline to apply is September 7th.
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Job Opportunity: Program Coordinator
North York Arts is looking for a Program Coordinator for their Accessible Futures Program.
The position is open to Deaf, Mad, and Disabled arts administrators. Emerging arts administrators from these communities are welcome and encouraged to apply. Support and mentorship will be available throughout this position. Check out their website for more information. The deadline to apply is August 29th.
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Call for Submissions: INCLUSION Art Show
As BC's largest disability art show, posAbilities' INCLUSION Art Show & Sale has celebrated the work of artists with diverse abilities since 2005. This year’s online show will be open throughout October and online sales will be from October 21st to October 28th. Registration to submit your artwork for this year's online show closes August 31st.
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Book Launch: The All-Consuming World
On September 7th, Argo Bookshop presents the launch of The All-Consuming World, Cassandra Khaw's first full-length novel. The author will do a reading and then be joined in conversation by Kameron Hurley, and there will be time for an audience Q&A. Captioning will be provided.
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Queer Frontiers: Gislina Patterson and Dasha Plett
London Ontario Media Arts Association (LOMAA) and Video Pool Media Arts Centre present Queer Frontiers: Gislina Patterson and Dasha Plett - the fourth event in the Queer Frontiers series. Patterson and Plett will be presenting a new virtual performance, with one more opportunity to view the work on August 28th, and an online artist talk with a Q&A to follow. ASL interpretation will be available for the artist talk, and ASL interpretation and closed captioning will be available after the live performance on LOMAA’s Vimeo page starting September 4th.

Accessing the Arts Listings

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Connector is a newsletter highlighting accessible arts in Canada. In each edition, we connect artists and audiences with different organizations in regions across the country to get the word out about programming that has been curated with different bodies in mind. Our goal is to foreground Canada’s accessible arts culture by getting information out!

Please feel free to share this newsletter with a friend.

If you have an event you'd like to include on our events listing or in a future newsletter, please visit our online submission form!

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We acknowledge that inclusion in the arts relies upon listening, communication, and being responsive. We also acknowledge that lived experiences of exclusion, discrimination and oppression are real and unique to each individual. For these reasons, and because we do not organize the events we list, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of information provided, nor can we guarantee the quality of accessibility at events. Our goal is to make accessibility in the arts easy to find, and to provide you with as much information as possible, so that you, the user, can make informed choices based on your needs. Our hope is that, in doing this, we can put inclusion at the forefront of Canada’s arts sector.
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