In our 10th year, Culture Days has been examining the theme of Creativity, the Arts, and Well-being. Culture Days recognizes that the contributions of artists, heritage organizations, and cultural advocates have meaningful impacts in the communities where we live and work. Creative expression through participation in arts and culture is also deeply connected to the well-being of individuals, and the vitatlity of our neighbourhoods and social fabric.
You can read our special blog series exploring the the topic here. Leah Sandals dives deeply into how people and organizations across Canada are working at the intersections of art, physical and mental health, aging, and well-being.
To celebrate the 10th annual Culture Days weekend, we’re excited to release a video series profiling 5 individuals and their respective organizations. The work they do have impacts that reverberate beyond themselves—they inspire, empower, advocate, and boost communities around them, and exemplify why arts and culture are so fundamental to our lives.
I like to create because it fulfills a need to look at the world in a different way. It’s too easy to kind of flash-by in life without examining what’s there.
Kathleen Noelle Black
MAJE and Youth Art Connection
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Songwriter and performer MAJE boasts the importance of expression through his own writing and composition process—music and words have the ability to inspire, and spark happiness.
MAJE examines his role as an artist living and working in East Preston, a predominately Black neighbourhood, and how Black identity shapes his work. MAJE is an alumnus and facilitator at Youth Art Connection, which has become a hub for empowering young artists, championing their work, and building career-focused skills and business literacy.
Kathleen Noelle Black and Artists in Healthcare Manitoba
Multi-disciplinary artist Kathleen Noelle Black describes how creativity allows one to more closely examine the human condition, and how expression informs a deep inward sense of self.
Kathleen extends these values into her work with Artists in Healthcare Manitoba, which aims to improve patient, family, and staff experiences in healthcare facilities through engagement with the arts.
David Granirer and Stand-up for Mental Health
Vancouver, British Columbia
Stand-up comic, counselor, and author David Granirer describes the muilti-layered benefits of stand-up comedy, especially for those with mental health illnesses or issues.
Through his journey towards using comedy as a tool for personal fulfillment, he’s expanded these benefits out into the community by teaching stand-up to others and tackling public stigma. Comedy and therapy can be complimentary, which is the basis on his founding Stand Up for Mental Health —he holds workshops with the goal of building confidence for those with mental health issues to help them see themselves as courageous, inspiring…and funny!
Elder Dr. Duke Redbird and Wigwam Chi-Chemung
In busy cities and urban spaces, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the land that we live on and, in turn, forget about those who lived on it before us. Elder Dr. Duke Redbird, of the Saugeen First Nation, is artist in residence for the Toronto District School Board, Urban Indigenous Education Center. Through his work, he demonstrates why artistic expression is especially important for asserting Indigenous presence and histories in communities.
In partnership with Myseum of Toronto, his project Wigwam Chi-Chemung uses visual art and art-making workshops to reintroduce the history of Toronto’s waterfront to the public from an Indigenous lens, providing space for people to explore the heritage and achievements of the city’s Indigenous peoples.
John Loeppky and Listen to Dis’
John Loeppky speaks to the power of agency when it comes to expressing himself as a performer with a disability. To combat the stigma that disabled people often face in day-to-day life, John finds inspiration in collaborating with others who face challenges like him in the world of theatre and performance.
John works with Listen to Dis’, Saskatchewan’s first and only disability-led, disability arts and culture organization. Through their work, they build communities of open access in which disabled people can claim agency over their lives through full creative expression.
People really truly do, in this city, go to a theater show and then come up after us and go, ‘You really changed the way I thought of disability, and this is going to impact what happens when I go to my work, when I go to my job, when I go out in public, when I see people who look or sound or live life as you do.’
This video series was made possible thanks to the generous support of Canadian Heritage.