Artists’ Education

Inuit Artists’ College

Established in 1991, the non-degree granting program intended to provide professional development services for artists often in partnership with the Ottawa School of Art. Initially, offerings were focused on workshops and seminars for artists conducted in Ottawa but evolved into a variety of north-to-north and north-to-south exchanges, as well as strategic infrastructure investments.

The IAF awarded the Aivilik Arts Society of Repulse Bay $2,500 to purchase a gas-powered 14” saw in order to assist carvers with quarrying.

The IAF began producing instructional posters for artists on a variety of health and safety issues featuring Sananguaqatiit. The IAF awarded artists in Taloyoak and Arviat $3,000 each for tools.

The IAF arranged a meeting with northern cultural workers to discuss infrastructure and other needs facing Inuit artists. The IAF also conducted a telephone survey of almost 100 artists throughout the north and published the results in the Spring 2007 issue of the IAQ; the results of the survey helped to form future programming priorities.

In collaboration with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the Canadian International Development Agency, 10 artists from Siberia participated in a two week marketing workshop called the Business of Art.

The IAF provided a $10,000 grant to purchase power tools for the Puvirnituq Power Tools Carving Workshop.

The IAF provided Sanikiluaq artists $2,000 for quarrying activities and also organized the High Arctic Carvers Symposium, a two-week professional development workshop in Ottawa providing 8 artists from Resolute and Grise Fiord seminars and studio time at the Ottawa School of Art.

The IAF awarded $5,000 to the newly formed Association of Aboriginal Artists of Newfoundland and Labrador to assist with start-up costs, as well as $2,000 to Avataq Cultural Institute for a throat singing symposium in Puvirnituq. The Akulivik Carver’s Committee and the Baker Lake Carver’s Societies each received $2,000 for quarrying. The IAF also sent geologist Will Kelly to Clyde River for an instructional workshop on how to open and maintain a quarry. IAF President Mattiusi Iyaituk, Executive Director Marybelle Mitchell and Program Coordinator Henry Kudluk travelled to Tyumen, Siberia to deliver a three-day workshop to artists and art administrators.

Bill Nasogaluak led 6 artists from the Western Arctic in  two-week workshop held in Ottawa and Toronto. The IAF provided $5,000 to the Taloyoak Carver’s Association to purchase a quarrying drill and to the Clyde River Carver’s Committee to purchase carvingstone from Kimmirut. The IAF also arranged for 3 Nunavik artists to participate in a printmaking workshop in Cape Dorset.

IAF staff presented a health and safety workshop and other professional development information to the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association’s Business of Art symposium in Iqaluit.

Six artist from the Kitikmeot Region participated in a symposium at the Ottawa School of Art, while the IAF provided $2000 to both the Akulivik Artists’ Association and Inukjuak artists to improve safety and infrastructure at their stone quarries.

The IAF hosted the Nunavik Carvers’ Symposium, a ten-day professional development workshop for 7 Nunavik carvers, at the Ottawa School of Art in conjunction with Qaggiq ’98, a public art event. The IAF also gave Rankin Inlet and Pangnirtung artists $2,000 each for a quarrying expedition that resulted in 2,000 pounds of stone for each community. The Coral Harbour Pujuut Carvers’ Society also received $2,000 to purchase a building for carvers.

The IAF produced the Canadian Arctic Multimedia Information Kit (CAMIK) to provide educators across Canada and abroad with curriculum-based information on the north; the kit was approved as an official resource material in Ontario in 1999. 17 women from across the north participated in a training session at the Ottawa School of Art. The Inukjuak Artists’ Association received $2,000 from the IAF to purchase canvas and plywood for a tent in which women could work on sewing projects, while the Gjoa Haven Artists’ Association was given a $2,000 grant to cover the costs of transporting its tool shed to the quarry and Cape Dorset artists received funding to purchase tools for a five-week outdoor carving workshop between elders and youth.

The Pan-Arctic Women’s Workshop was held at the Ottawa School of Art and the Gjoa Haven Artist’s Association received a grant of $1,000 towards the cost of a building in which to store stone and tools at their quarry.

Mattiusi Iyaituk, Okpik Pitseolak of Iqaluit and Uriash Puqiqnak of Gjoa Haven participated in a residency at the Vermont Carving Studio. The IAF produced the Artist’s Handbook, which was used in the Cultural Industries Training Program (see below for more info) as the basis for the curriculum and sent to artists in the North with issues of The Adventures of Sananguaqatiit and audio cassettes to provide an introduction to small business management.

The IAF hosted an intercultural workshop called Beyond Boundaries with the Ottawa School of Art. Bart Hanna of Igloolik, Charlie Kogvik of Baker Lake, and John Terriak of Nain were selected to attend a residency at the Vermont Carving Studio and were then hired by the Studio to teach a weekend session for 14 non-Inuit artists how to work with soapstone. The IAF organized a two-week program coinciding with the opening of Isumavut at the Canadian Museum of Civilization where 4 Cape Dorset women were joined by 2 Pangnirtung artists to experiment with printmaking techniques. The IAF also sent Mattiusi Iyaituk of Ivujivik to give a workshop to the Baker Lake Artists’ Association on tools and safety practices.

The Artists’ Supplement, published for artists and distributed with the IAQ since 1990, was replaced with The Adventures of Sananguaqatiit (“Your Carving Buddy”), a series of comics focusing on health and safety practices.  William Nochasok of Hopedale, Kellyapik Qimirpik of Cape Dorset and Eyesiak Padluk of Kimmirut received a residency at the Vermont Carving Studio. Leah Pootoogook was also awarded a 10-week residency at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts. The IAF also have the Labrador Artists’ Association $2,400 for two longliners to retrieve 14,000 pounds of stone.

Joseph Suqslak and David were awarded a three-week stone carving residency at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Centre in Vermont. The College hosted the Lake Harbour Carver’s Association for a two-week workshop in Ottawa to explore quarrying techniques. The IAF also distributed 10 library boxes (called “resource centres”) containing art books and how-to videos to northern communities.

Taught by Ron Senungetuk, an Inupiaq artist from Alaska, the inaugural Artists’ Session took place over three weeks at the Ottawa School of Art.

Cultural Industries Training Program

This program operated annually from 1995-2007, providing instruction from Ottawa over several months, culminating with a three-week work placement.

Cultural Industries Certificate Program

The CICP replaced the CITP and was specifically aimed at northern cultural workers. CICP curriculum was specifically tailored to the group booking and would participate in a 10 day-long session involving networking and instruction on the business of art.

National Inuit Artists’ College

Founded in 2008 to replace the Inuit Artists’ College, NIAC provided online educational resources for Inuit artists and others.  Under the umbrella of the College, the IAF created the important resource Inuit Art Alive, a website that collected robust biographies and profiles of significant Inuit artists across the North. Nunavik Art Alive and Inukjuak Art Alive followed, as well as the digitization of the exhibition Nunavik North of Sixty in collaboration with the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Virtual Museums Canada. The College also provided informational posters, hand outs and other materials to Inuit artists on health and safety issues, copyright information marketing and promotion and small business management.