Pluralism In The Arts In Canada – A Change Is Gonna Come:




This is a timely book.  There has been so much change in the Canadian cultural landscape, especially in the performing arts.  When I first started Red Sky Performance, I looked for dialogue around diversity and artistic expression, form, and performance.  It is now exciting to see the increasing activity by Indigenous artists, people of colour, immigrants and new generation peoples who were (and perhaps still are) considered marginal in their communities and in public spaces where performance takes place.


This book captures some of the key moments of this exciting growing dialogue.  I’ve participated as a panelist in two CPAMO sessions with presenters and other artists.  Such forums have been very helpful to creating understanding between and enhancing the relationship between presenters and artists.  Well done!   We need to continue this and align ourselves with an exciting future in the performing arts.


Sandra Laronde, Founding Artistic Director, Red Sky Performance



As Artistic Director for Sampradaya Dance Creations, I have been active in planning and presenting at CPAMO sessions.  I’ve also had the privilege to have my company perform at the first CPAMO Town Hall.  CPAMO is an important project, one which has breathed life into the dialogue between Aboriginal and ethno-racial artists and presenters.  It is clearly a sign of the future and an important marker in the rapidly changing world of performing arts.  This book, then, is an important contribution – both because it chronicles a contemporary dialogue and points in the direction the performing arts must go.  Yes, as the title suggests, ‘a change is gonna come’.


Lata Pada C.M., Artistic Director, Sampradaya Dance Creations



At long last!  For five years, the Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement in Ontario…has worked closely with a select group of presenters within the Community Cultural Impresarios (CCI) – Ontario Presenting Network.  This collaboration created a context in which artists (particularly Aboriginal, people of colour, immigrants and others) have been able to meet with and speak directly to presenters about inclusive community building.  At the same time, presenters have been able to speak about the challenges they face, risks they take, and successes they achieve in bringing diverse cultural expressions to their stages.  The CPAMO process has opened and needs to continue to keep this dialogue alive.


Warren Garrett, Executive Director, CCI


These are the attributes given to this book, compiled and edited by charles c. smith and published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.  With articles by award winning poet George Elliot Clarke and award winning presenter Ajay Heble, it is clear that the time is now to enhance work being done on promoting pluralism in the arts.  In this context, this book contains three (3) toolkits – by the Independent Media Arts Alliance/National Indigenous Media Arts Collective, the Neighbourhood Arts Network (NAN) of the Toronto Arts Foundation, and by CPAMO.


The book also contains several articles by performing artists such as Amanda Paixao, Natasha Bakht, Kevin A. Ormsby, Shahin Sayadi, Charmaine Headley, Helen Yung and the catalysts for the NAN toolkit, Leah Burns and Skye Louis.

In the introduction to this book, charles c. smith writes:


The book you are holding in your hands leaps to you from the curb stones of the experiences shared by artists, particularly Aboriginal and racialized artists, with individuals representing venues – theatres and stages – offering a diverse menu of peformances to audiences.  When I say that this book ‘leaps’, I mean that the words and experiences generated through open conversations between artists, presenters, community builders and others over a sustained period of time has led to several concrete and, yes, as well, remarkable and immeasurable outcomes.


In addition to the articles and toolkits, there are online resources on the website of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (  These resources include a listing of community organizations and funding bodies gathered by the IMAA/NIMAC project and a bibliographic essay and annotated bibliography prepared for CPAMO based on its research on evidence-based case studies of initiatives to promote pluralism in performing arts.


To order a copy of the book, contact Erika Shaker at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (