News Release

Second year of Art Place has strong impact on the community
March 31, 2016

April 2 Art Place Showcase, presented by AOE Arts Council

Ottawa (Ontario) – On Saturday April 2, 2016, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., AOE Arts Council will host a Showcase event at Ottawa’s Gallery 101 to celebrate the series of 2015-16 Art Place projects. Presented by AOE Arts Council, Art Place, a 3-year professional artist-in-residence program, addresses social issues by placing professional artists and arts groups in community settings to co-create art projects and provide free of charge arts programming. Since last November, clients from nine non-for-profit organisations (Somerset West Community Health Centre, The Odawa Native Friendship Centre, Unitarian House of Ottawa, Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO), The Alexander Community Centre, Salvation Army – Ottawa Booth Centre, Le Centre Réveil International, Carleton Lodge and Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health) have benefited from participating in Art Place.

“This project had a huge positive impact on our space/community by offering a safe, relaxing opportunity for participants to explore their creative interests and enhance their artistic skill and knowledge,” said Melissa Weigel, M.Div Chaplain, Salvation Army, Ottawa Booth Centre.

“We see music as a form of communication that really opens up the social part of the resident, the reminiscing part of the resident. It brings beautiful smiles, it decreases anxiety, it opens communications; it helps people to remember,” said Christine O’Neill, Executive Director, Unitarian House. “This was the first time that we had a program that encouraged residents to use instruments and not just their voice, and not just a sing-along.”

Community engaged social practice art is an artistic medium that focuses on social engagement to create art in a participatory way and generate social impact through the arts. The program offered the participants a familiar place where they could express themselves using art and co-create with a professional artist or group. The 2015-2016 projects enabled  creative journeys through theatre, dance, music, storytelling and visual art amplifying voices in various underserved communities touched by the project, to tell their stories and share their unique perspectives.

“In the community here not a lot of people participate in artistic programs but there are lots of talented people. If only there were more programs like this,” added Bahja Osman, Senior Program Leader, Alexander Community Centre
    
“We are multicultural, we rise above racism, if there is one thing that brings us closer together it is music,” commented  Ingrid Saphir, who received musical instruction at le Centre Réveil International led by recording artist Abel Maxwell.

“When I came here it felt like a chance to disconnect from the outside world and create a space where I could be myself,” shared Alexandra a teen participant that co-created with her peers and artist Kat Clarida at the Odawa Native Friendship Centre. “Being in this positive environment allowed me to see all the different perspectives, not just one.”

On April 2, excerpts of performances and results of the residencies will be shared with guests and the public.  The program was created and is managed by AOE Arts Council through a call to artists and jury selection process. To date, the program has provided 31 local artists with paid opportunities to engage with Ottawa residents. Artist fees are made possible by project funders and donors. Participating artists were: Abel Maxwell, Alisdair MacRae, Karen Balcome, Kat Clarida, Maria Gomez Umana, Alicia Borisnik, Marley Giunta, Amelia Griffin - Tara Luz Danse,  Marta Singh and Ottawa Stilt Union. Read more about their projects on ArtsAccolade.ca.

“Through this experience, I hope they can develop and build their self-confidence in their ideas, creativity and voice,” said Karen Balcome one of the Art Place artists. “I hope the participants can walk away with some tools to work through conflicts that might come up in their lives and create new opportunities for themselves.”

AOE Arts Council sincerely thanks the generous foundations and funders whose support along with the non-profit host sites that made the 2015-16 program a reality.

For professional artists and potential non-profit host sites, a community art workshop will be held on April 27, 2016 at the Karsh-Masson Gallery. The next call to artists will be launched in May 2016 to participate in the final Art Place program year.

About AOE Arts Council
The Arts Council believes in the power of the arts to transform lives.  Many residents in Ottawa do not have access to a creative outlet. The Arts Council is filling this gap by providing opportunities to professional artists and arts groups whose artistic skills and programming engage with the public in meaningful ways. The Arts Council is motivated by the program’s ability to create more opportunities for artists to share their art practice with new audiences in non-traditional settings. Each art project amplifies a new voice to communities across Ottawa on social issues that matter.

AOE Arts Council represents over 400 artists and arts groups, of all art disciplines. For close to 30 years, the arts service organization continues to connect, champion and collaborate to bring resources together that build a thriving Ottawa arts community.

For more information and to arrange interviews with the artists:
Cristiane Doherty
Director of Communications
Tel.: 613.580.2767
cristiane@artsoe.ca

Cassandra Olsthoorn
Program Manager
Tel.: 613.580.2767
cassandra@artsoe.ca