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March 19, 2021
Portrait of Natasha Bacchus and Gaitrie Persaud
SOUND OFF Festival (March 31 – April 4)
Natasha Bacchus and Gaitrie Persaud in The Two Natashas: Visiting Aunt Natasha

Connector Weekly

In This Edition
Highlights from the Community
Accessing the Arts Listings

Why do you make art?

Maybe, like me, you make art in your dreams, or in the arrangement of banana bits on your cereal but actually, you haven’t made art in a while, distracted instead by the dangling carrot that is your phone, so really, please just go away and stop asking me questions!

People spend their entire careers answering this question. Documentaries are made and books are written about why we make art - from cavemen tagging themselves into rock and immortality, to the Aztecs sculpting objects to worship the Sun God, the Romans carving out empires with stone, to arts and crafts of the Renaissance accelerating the enlightenment, to (no explanation needed) our Queen Bey.

Right before the pandemic hit, I was sitting at a bar with a friend and I asked her this question. Her response was: “So that people will love me”.

When I’m making art, it feels like I’m having a really good conversation with an old friend, like I’m connecting with something or someone inside of me that doesn’t get seen or heard very often. It feels like being loved.

This morning, while doom-scrolling, I stumbled on the work of #rughooking artist @AnyaPaintsil and it made me gasp out loud. This happens once in a while, in the barrage of digital imagery and clips, something will jump out, my thumb freezes mid-air and I just stop. I feel envy because I wish it had been me who made it, and then a rush of inspiration takes over and that little tap-tap-tap of my old friend. “I’m still here”, she whispers.

You don’t have to take art history to know that art is in our blood. It’s a part of our makeup, and it's how we connect with ourselves and the world around us. With the additional omnipresence of digital tools, we’re living through a cultural metamorphosis of epic proportions.

I see it unfolding daily in my feed, manifested in the form of feather boa-clad Italian greyhounds, knives slicing into mounds of brightly coloured play-doh interspersed with ads trying to sell me eco-friendly matching sweatsuits. After scrolling on IG, I start to feel like that girl in the scene from the Exorcist where her head turns 360 degrees. Is this what art has become? At the mercy of algorithms and corporate persuasion?

I can’t shake this feeling that the time is urgent for us, as artists, to ask ourselves what impact we want to have in this new era. How can we be strategic and thoughtful about the ways we use these tools so that in the timeline of art history, our legacy was not that we got a lot of likes, but rather, we invoked love and helped make the world a better place to live.  

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this email, please share it with your friends. If you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues and subscribe here.

Warmest,
Lindsay

Highlights from the Community

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Featured event: SOUND OFF Festival
March 31st – April 4th

Don't miss SOUND OFF, Canada’s national festival dedicated to the Deaf performing arts, presented in collaboration with Fringe Theatre Adventures and Edmonton’s Chinook Series. Attend panel discussions with Deaf artists, Deaf-led workshops and staged readings by Deaf playwrights, along with a final wrap up event, Deaf Party! All performances and SOUND OFF events are accessible for both Deaf and hearing audiences. Most shows are presented in ASL, with ASL interpretation or ASL to English interpretation where necessary.
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Remote Access: A Crip Nightlife Gathering
Remote Access is a crip nightlife event curated and designed by the Critical Design Lab. This project considers parties and crip nightlife events as designed spaces, with opportunities for playful and participatory ways of producing access as a collective cultural practice. Disabled people have long used remote access as a method for organizing pleasure and kinship. Join in on March 22nd for an afternoon and evening of pleasure activism through crip nightlife praxis and #CripRitual.
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Call for Musicians
All Bodies Dance Project is looking to expand their community of collaborators and are seeking recommendations for professional, improvising musicians who identify as a person with a disability and are interested in working with dancers. If this is you, or you know someone local or otherwise, please get in touch at info@allbodiesdance.ca.
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Disability Informed Creation in Dance
Taking place in April, Disability Informed Creation in Dance is a five-day online workshop bringing together disabled (Deaf, Crip, mad, sick) and nondisabled dancers, choreographers, movers and makers. Presented by Young Lungs Dance Exchange and Sick + Twisted Theatre and hosted by Debbie Patterson and Christopher House, this workshop will explore choreographic practice as a way of questioning, examining and expressing the body’s truth and its capacity for radical specificity in relation to time and space. Applications to participate are due today!
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Communicating Without Words: Interview with Peter Owusu-Ansah
Glodeane Brown from Culture Fancier interviews Deaf visual artist Peter Owusu-Ansah. Learn more about Peter's inspiration, his process, challenges and highlights of his artistic career, and his advocacy for Deaf and disabled communities.
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Anti-Oppression Training for Theatre Arts Workers
Hosted by Shakespeare in the Ruff and led by Makram Ayache, this online training on March 27th and April 3rd is designed for theatre artists, educators, and leaders interested in deepening their understanding of Anti-Racism and 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion. The training will be a blend of knowledge sharing, soft skill reflections, and applications relevant to the world of theatre. ASL Interpretation will be provided. The deadline to register is tomorrow.
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Call for Submissions: Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts Festival & Conference
Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) is seeking artistic submissions for their Gathering Divergence Multi-Arts Festival & Conference, being held this spring. This annual convening of arts practitioners is geared towards sharing strategies in the engagement of indigenous, racialized, d/Deaf, disabled and mad, women and other historically marginalized artists and communities. This year's conference will will explore frameworks for understanding the potential of working with digital technologies in IBPOC arts practices. The deadline for submissions is March 31st.
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Last Tuesdays: What Walaa Wants
On March 30th, JAYU presents a screening of What Walaa Wants, followed by a Q&A with director Christy Garland. Raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank while her mother was in an Israeli prison, Walaa is determined to become one of the few women in the Palestinian Security Forces—not easy for a girl who breaks all the rules. What Walaa Wants tells the story of a defiant young girl who navigates formidable obstacles, disproving the negative predictions from the world around her. The film screens with open captions and the Q&A includes ASL interpretation. An Online Held Space will be available with an active listener.
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Out of This Blue
Songwriter and musician Sarah MacDougall and writer and storyteller Ivan Coyote both used to live on the road. They met before a show in 2016, and a deep and lasting artistic connection was immediately sparked. When the pandemic struck, Sarah sat down with a guitar and her computer and began to craft some new songs, and Ivan began to answer the giant backlog of mail and correspondence that had collected while touring. April 6th through April 11th, Intrepid Theatre will host an on demand streaming of Out of This Blue, an eclectic selection of the songs and stories that emerged from both artists during this time. Talkback with both artists on April 11th. The video is closed captioned and the artist talk will have real-time captioning (CART).
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Embrace Arts online classes
Beginning April 7th, join Embrace Arts Foundation online for Hip Hop with Devon, a four-week open level class that is suitable for individuals of all abilities. And, beginning March 30th, join Erin for an online weekly Community Music Jam, a time to share music and connect!
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iAM Program
The iAM Program, hosted by JAYU, provides youth-led arts & social justice mentorship to anyone ages 12-26 from across Ontario. If you're interested in making art, growing your storytelling skills and incorporating social justice into your creative process, sign up to participate in this free program. iAM registration is open to anyone who is interested, however, priority will be given to equity-seeking individuals, including Black and racialized people, people with disabilities, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and LGBTQ2S+ folks.
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Article: The Faces, and Realities, of Those Living on Disability Assistance
Read more in The Tyee about Vancouver Island-based illustrator Roz MacLean and her pandemic art project. Roz has been creating digital portraits of British Columbians who live on provincial disability assistance since September, to draw attention to the inadequacy of current assistance and to "invigorate a ‘neglected conversation.’"

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!

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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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