I think it is time we start weaving our Provincial basket
Natalie Sappier, Aboriginal Outreach Officer
It’s going on two years as an Aboriginal Outreach Officer for artsnb; the partnership with JEDI (Joint Economic Development Initiative) who are an Aboriginal not-for-profit organization dedicated to working with partners to foster Aboriginal economic development in New Brunswick has been a wonderful support in making this possible. The outreach I have been doing has helped artsnb reach over 200 Aboriginal Artists in the Province of New Brunswick with workshops on Artists grants, opportunities, mentorship in professional development and career planning.
JEDI knows the importance of Aboriginal Arts & Culture and the livelihood it brings to the First Nation communities of our Province . artsnb programs are aimed to help development in careers of artists. JEDI has been very supportive with the goals artsnb is working towards in providing more Aboriginal programs and are very keen in helping us to continue to bring workshops that help the First Nation artists learn the tools and business skills to have a successful sustainable career in the arts.
On Feb 23rd and 24th 2015, JEDI hosted a PLENARY at Delta Beausejour in Moncton, the Plenary was entitled ‘First Nations Open for Business’. The two day event was packed with activities such as:
• Community economic development workshops
• Entrepreneurship workshops
• A networking reception
• A trade show
• A fireside chat
• A keynote presentation by Gabrielle Scrimshaw a consultant on Indigenous issues and international speaker; who offers keynotes, panel moderation and advisory services that deliver inspiration and build understanding.
The plenary was a success with a mixture of entrepreneurs from around the Province. A trade show was held that hosted various businesses and local Mik Maw artists from Metepenagiag First Nation, Pauline Young, Fran Francis and our new circle of elder’s member George Paul. Fran Francis who is a visual artist spoke on a panel of entrepreneurs about the difference of being an artist in business and how most artist do not have the tools that are needed in keeping a long term successful business. Workshops and plenaries are very important and I would like to see it to continue.
artsnb also had a booth at the trade show where we met a few new Aboriginal Artists which is always exciting! Executive Director Akou Connell came along with me to the plenary to share the opportunities that are available for artists and other programs that are in development. During the JEDI networking reception I had the opportunity to speak more about my position as an Aboriginal outreach officer, how the experience has been and addressed some artist’s needs and suggested some solutions. My most important message; support. Supporting our Aboriginal artists, they hold our history and culture of language of our lands, our people and our future. It is important for us to continuing to create programs for the Aboriginal arts and culture and build sincere Provincial partnerships; programs that will be in constant redevelopment and have room to evolve as we continue to evolve as strong Aboriginal Artists. I think having gatherings like the plenary is important because it allows us to get to know each other more and build those relationships. I think it is time we start weaving our Provincial basket and building friendships. I believe New Brunswick is capable of having more public cultural events, let’s make this happen!