“Access to arts and cultural expressions allow us to hear stories and see ourselves in multiple ways, showing us an infinite possibility of bright futures. Our government knows that it’s important for parents in minority communities to provide their children with an environment in which they can thrive in their own language and culture,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie. “We are proud to implement this program, which will not only increase the number of activities offered, but also immerse students at official-language minority schools in the cultural life of their community.”
“The ultimate goal of the program is that through the hands-on creative experiences that artists facilitate, teachers, students and community members in the province are inspired to develop their creativity capacity in ways that lead to individual and community outcomes for learning, wellbeing and socio-economic development” said Christie Huff, Lead Consultant – ELAN’s Arts & Education Initiatives.
Schools will be able to plan their own creative experiences and can select from a large pool of highly-qualified, ELAN-approved Quebec artists, representing a broad range of artistic disciplines. “What we are able to offer, with these arts initiatives, to provide for students, is a different way to engage” said musician, Louise Campbell. Many other Quebec artists are equally thrilled and ready to participate in AIG.
To be eligible for the program, artists must identify as members of the English-speaking communities (ESC) of Quebec, representing the diversity of the province’s demographics and cultural communities. They must have also demonstrated their experience with schools through prior work with ELAN or other recognized artistic and educational organizations.
The $2.2 million in micro-grants represent the Quebec portion of a $7.5 million investment over four years, announced in September 2018 by the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie. The investment falls under the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future. This new program, like the Community Cultural Action Fund, will support and strengthen the cultural, artistic and heritage expressions of official language minority communities in Quebec and the rest of Canada.
Management and administration of ArtistsInspire Grants is through a partnership between ELAN and LEARN. ELAN will approve schools’ grant applications based on artist eligibility and travel requirements. As a non-profit serving Quebec’s ESCs, LEARN will administer the grants, paying artists’ fees and expenses for grants approved by ELAN. The two organizations are also collaborating to promote and support the program, including outreach and program counsel, aiming to reach as many of the 300 eligible schools as possible.
A high level of interest in AIG has already been generated to date, with both ELAN and LEARN receiving numerous inquiries from school boards, individual schools and artists. Over the next few weeks the ELAN and LEARN communications teams will launch an outreach campaign to raise awareness among eligible schools and artists. In addition to contacting all schools, communications will include presentations at conferences, social media and a new website www.artistsinspire.ca that will connect schools with artists.
The new website features an accessible, easy-to-use application form that can be used by interested principals. The site will also feature profiles of qualified Quebec artists and their core artistic disciplines.
Through ArtistsInspire Grants, ELAN looks forward to continue empowering diverse artists and connecting them with schools and students, with the common goal of sparking creative experiences and engagement in official-language minority communities.