The Gathering: Indigenous Activism in the Arts

The Gathering: Indigenous Activism in the Arts
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 | 2-6pm 

Aki Studio Theatre
585 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 2B7
Panel General Admission:  $10 – Register on Native Earth’s Box office.

In collaboration with IPAA, Native Earth, and Aboriginal Curatorial Collective.
There has been much discussion publicly about the central importance of Indigenous peoples to how Canada sees itself.  Much of this has been fueled by Indigenous artists in different disciplines who have been actively engaged in building their arts practices within diverse Indigenous cultural forms and creating some of the most exciting works in contemporary Canadian arts.

Participants: Cynthia Licker-Sage, Clayton Windatt, Camille Georgeson-Usher, Cole Forrest, and Ryan Rice. Performances by Unsettled Scores.

Participants Bios:

Cynthia Lickers-Sage is a Mohawk, Turtle Clan visual artist from Six Nations and is currently the Executive Director of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance. Following her graduation at the Ontario College of Art and Design she Co-Founded The Centre for Aboriginal Media, imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival and is the sole proprietor of Clickers Productions. She has spent the last 25 years working in the not-for-profit arts sector as the Executive Director at imagineNATIVE and ANDPVA and the General Manager at Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. She has also served as an arts officer at the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Cynthia serves on the board of directors for CAPACOA and Ontario Presents and has served on a variety of volunteer boards and commitees at arts organizations both Nationally and Internationally. Cynthia is the proud recipient of the Toronto Aboriginal Business Association’s – Aboriginal Business Women and the Year award and is a recent recipient of the Meritorious Service Cross from the Governor General of Canada.

Clayton Windatt is a Métis non–binary multi-artist working between Sturgeon Falls and Toronto, Ontario. Clayton holds a BA in Fine Art and is a certified Graphic Designer. With an extensive history working in Artist-Run Culture and Community Arts, Clayton now works as Executive Director of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (ACC-CCA). Clayton works with arts organizations on national and global issues relating to relationships and the intersecting points between many peoples. Clayton maintains contracts as a critical writer and columnist for various publications. Clayton is an active film director with recent works featured in festivals such as ImagineNative and the Toronto International Film Festival. Clayton works with community, design, communications, curation, performance, theatre, technology, consulting, and is a very active writer, filmmaker and visual-media artist.

Camille Georgeson-Usher is a Coast Salish / Sahtu Dene/ Scottish scholar, artist, writer, and Director of Programming for the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective from Galiano Island, BC which is the land of the Pune’laxutth’ (Penelakut) Nation. Usher completed her MA in Art History at Concordia University and is currently a PhD student in the Cultural Studies department at Queen’s University. She has been awarded the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Scholarship for her research-creation work around urban Indigenous experiences within Indigenous communities, groups, and arts collectives through both little and big gestures that activating public spaces. She was awarded the 2018 Canadian Art Writing Prize and most recently has had work exhibited in Soundings: an exhibition in five parts at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, ON.

Cole Forrest is an Ojibwe artist and spoken word poet originally from Nipissing First Nation near North Bay, Ontario. He strives for compassion and acceptance within the arts. By always seeking new horizons and pushing to be the best he can be, Cole is forever learning new techniques to hone his craft.

Cole has trained and honed his craft at the “Big Medicine Studio” while working with the group Aanmitaagzi. Cole has worked with the group Aanmitaagzi for several years on various performing arts pieces at the local, provincial, and nation-wide levels. Cole has written, directed, and acted in various student/independent short films as well as fringe festival theatre pieces, and, a musical. Cole is a recipient of the Ken and Ann Watts Memorial Scholarship of “Sears Drama”. Cole’s play “Speaking Mind Spoken Word” was shortlisted for the Wayne Fairhead New Play Award. Cole’s other play “Life Anishinaabe Youth” was the recipient of the Outstanding Original Work award at the On The Edge Fringe Festival (2017). Cole is also a recipient of the James Bartleman Indigenous Youth Creative Writers Award. Currently, Cole works with the nation-wide music education group Coalition for Music Education in Canada as an ambassador for their Youth4Music Program, sits as a co-chair on their National Youth Council, and leads their First Nations, Metis, Inuit Projects. As a film student, Cole continues to write, direct, create, while attending George Brown College for their Video Design and Production Program.

Cole Forrest is regarded as an emerging cultural leader of Northern Ontario. He is proficient in movement, theater, media, music, and most notably, writing.

Ryan Rice, Kanien’kehá:ka of Kahnawake, is an independent curator whose career spans 25 years in museums and galleries, including posts as Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and the Indigenous Art Centre. He received a Master of Arts degree in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University. His writing on contemporary Onkwehonwe art published in numerous periodicals and exhibition catalogues, and he has lectured widely. Rice is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Liberal Arts/School of Interdisciplinary Studies at OCAD University.

Performance by:

Unsettled Scores was co-founded in 2006 by Spy Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan, and together they have created and presented solo, chamber, orchestral and opera compositions, as well as theatrical and multimedia works. They have also presented at conferences and festivals, and conducted workshops on topics such as intercultural collaboration, and decolonizing through music.

Accessibility: Aki Studio Theatre, CSI and Regent Park Film Festival are accessible. Nia Centre for the Arts is partially accessible.

We aim to host a fragrance-free event. Please do not wear perfume, cologne, or other scented products.

The Gathering on May, 21 and May 27-29 is in collaboration with:

CPAMO is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Toronto Pearson International Airport’s Propeller Project, the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, the Applegath Group, CIBC Wood Gundy and English Testing Canada.

The Gathering Evening Performances May 28: Newton Moraes Dance, The Seat Next to the King, Nova Dance, and Alluvial Plain

The Gathering Performances features Newton Moraes Dance, The Seat Next to the King, Nova Dance, and Alluvial Plain
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 | 7:30-9pm with doors open at 7pm 
Aki Studio Theatre
585 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 2B7
Performance General Admission: $20 |  Students $15
Register on Native Earth’s Box office

Newton Moraes Dance

Newton Moraes was born in Porto Alegre – Brazil. At an early age he started dancing Samba, playing soccer and then pursued studies of Physical Education at the Unisinos University in Porto Alegre. Later he studied Afro-Brazilian Dance, Jazz and street dancing. In 1991 he decided to move to Toronto with his late partner Robert Shirley Professor of Anthropology at University of Toronto and he studied Modern and Contemporary Dance at the Professional Programme at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and became a alumni student. His dance company Newton Moraes Dance Theatre performed to public and critical acclaim in Canada, Germany, Brazil, Colombia and Cuba. NMDT received support from Foreign Affairs Canada, Canadian Embassy, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts, Laidlaw Foundation, Goethe Institute in Toronto.

Moraes has choreographed more than fifty works, both for himself and other dancers. Newton has collaborated with choreographer Patrick Parson in “Orixás Voice” and Dancing Spirits” two new dances created by the Ballet Creole for their season at the Premiere Dance Theatre at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Newton also collaborated with Terrill Maguire in “Crazy to be born” at the World’s Fare Festival at Harbourfront Centre and Alexandro Ronceria in “Agua” at the Planet IndigenUS Festival in the water at the Harbourfront Centre.

Some of Newton’s mentors include Jean Sasportes from Pina Bausch Wuppertal Tanztheater, Fred Traguth, David Earle, Patricia Beatty, Danny Grossman, Marcelo do Nascimento and José do Nascimento (Brazil). Further studies were made in Releasing Technique with Stephanie Scura, Improvisation and butoh with Denise Fujiwara, Natsu Nakajima, Yomiko Yoshioka, Kurt Jooss Technique with Fred Traguth, Afro-Brazilian Spiritual Dance with Pai Beto do Xangó Aganju, gaga dance with Alvin W. Collantes and James Viveiros. Newton Moraes was part of the jury for the Dora Moore Awards 2017/2018 and SummerWorks Festival. One year MFA scholarship student student in choreography at York University. He is very happy with the celebration of NMDT 20th Anniversary season and the collaboration with Sharon DiGenova and his incredible talented performers: Ryan Kostyniuk, Andrea Rojas, Shakeil Rollock, Deltin Sejour and Katherine Semchuk.

Check out our interview with Newton Moraes 


The Seat Next to the King

In September of 1964, a chance meeting between two men reveals the bond they share and the ties connecting them to America’s most powerful leaders in playwright Steven Jackson’s stirring The Seat Next to the King.

Behind the door of a public washroom in Washington, D.C., two lives linked to the country’s most influential figures collide when a white man seeking a sexual encounter meets a black male stranger. Winner of the 2017 Toronto Fringe New Play contest, a festival Patrons’ Pick and a sold out run, this affecting work of historical fiction returns to tackle race, sex, identity, and the cost of reconciling each for two disparate human beings with a shared innate need.

Steven Elliott JacksonSteven Elliott Jackson is an award-winning playwright. His play, The Seat Next To The King won Best New Play and Patron’s Pick at The Toronto Fringe in 2017. The State Of Tennessee placed second in the same contest in 2007. The Seat Next To The King was published by Scirocco Press in April 2018. His new play, Statue Of Limitations will be premiering at Storefront Fringe in Kingston in July 2019 and The Seat Next To The King will be playing in Kitchener and Buffalo in June this year.

Nova Dance


Led by Founding Artistic Director Nova Bhattacharya, Nova Dance is a radically imaginative, contemporary dance company dedicated to reflecting the evolution of Indian classical dance on the Canadian scene. Over the past decade, the company has presented critically acclaimed works, arts events for all ages, and created a context for South Asian dance artists to take space with their art as an integrated part of Canadian cultural expression.

Alluvial Plain

AlluvialPlainPhotoFeb_19 (1)

Alluvial Plain is a Toronto-based acoustic band featuring vocals, upright bass and drums. Lead singer Aruna Antonella Handa writes the songs, revealing eclectic influences including French chanson, classical Indian music, tango, folk, the blues, Motown and art song. Songs about elephants, riots, love, outer space, crickets, addiction, inner space and virtual space focus on vocal texture and textual rhythm. Currently the band is working on a debut EP, Of Bones and Addicts, and preparing a new show Voyage to Anthropocene, as part of the Future Food Salon series.

Check out the interview and performance by Alluvial Plain


Accessibility: Aki Studio Theatre, CSI and Regent Park Film Festival are accessible. Nia Centre for the Arts is partially accessible.

We aim to host a fragrance-free event. Please do not wear perfume, cologne, or other scented products.

The Gathering: Conversations with Local Arts Services Organizations – May 28

The Gathering 
Celebrating 10 years of showcasing, convening and support for equity and pluralism in the Arts

Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) celebrates 10 years of working with providing services to and facilitating learning forums for artists and arts organizations in equity, diversity, inclusivity and pluralism. Through centering their work around empowering the arts communities of Ontario with a focus on galvanizing opportunities for Indigenous and racialized professionals and organizations, CPAMO will convene the arts community around a  four day event, The Gathering: Celebrating 10 years of showcasing, convening and supporting equity and pluralism in the Arts. The first day of the Gathering will feature the Black Arts Mentorships session and the Nia Center for the Arts, for more information about all four-day please visit our website

The Gathering: Conversations with Local Arts Services Organizations
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 | 2-6pm 

CSI Daniel Spectrum
585 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 2B7
Panel General Admission:  $10
Register on Native Earth’s Box office.

Curated by Parul Pandya in collaboration with Muse Arts, East End Arts, Art Starts, Scarborough Arts, North York Arts, Urban Arts, Arts Etobicoke, Lakeshore Arts, and Jumblies Theatre.

With the involvement of the leaders of local arts services organizations and other dynamic community-based arts organizations, this session will explore the important role such grassroots organizations play in connecting marginalized and other communities in the arts.

Participants: Ruth Howard, Jumblies Theatre | Paola Gomez, MUSE Arts | Shana Hillman, East End Arts | Bruce Pitkin, Art Starts | Lila Karim, North York Arts | Wendy Rading, Arts Etobicoke | Kim Dayman, Lakeshore Arts | Marlene McKintosh, UrbanArts | Derek Spooner, Scarborough Arts | Performance by Shaunga Tagore Theatre.

Ruth Howard is the founding Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre. Since 2001, she and Jumblies have created multi-year residencies in a series of Toronto neighbourhoods, resulting in large-scale productions and lasting Offshoots. Ruth has worked across Canada and in the UK as a theatre designer; created many projects combining visual, literary, performing arts, oral history research and community-engagement; taught at many universities, colleges and schools; mentored many artists, projects and organizations; and won awards and recognition for her work. Some of her recent projects with Jumblies include the 2016 Train of Thought tour, the 2017 Touching Ground Festival of new works, the Four Lands touring project in 2017/18, in 2019: Odaabanaaag, a collaboration with Soundstreams and composers Melody & Beverley McKiver,Who Knew? with a Jewish seniors’ centre in North York, and Grounds for Goodness, an exploration of social hope. Many years ago, Ruth graduated from the University of Toronto and the National Theatre School of Canada.

Paola Gomez is a trained human rights lawyer, community organizer, artist facilitator, writer and dreamer. A member of PEN Canada’s Writers in Exile, Paola is involved in causes such as ending violence against women and forced migration, as well as community engagement.

Paola is the co-founder and Program Director of Muse Arts (a.k.a Sick Muse Art Projects). In this role, she has developed an innovative way of integrating conversations about identity, inclusion and community engagement into community art programs. She facilitates creative writing workshops for women who are survivors of sexual violence and promotes reconciliation and acceptance through arts for Colombians affected by years of armed conflict in the region. Paola is also the Director of Happening Multicultural Festival.

Paola was awarded the 2008 Toronto Community Foundation Vital People grant in recognition of her exceptional community initiatives. The Canadian Centre of Victims of Torture (CCVT) awarded Paola with the Amina Malko Award for her work in supporting refugee women in Canada, the 2016 City of Toronto Human Rights Constant E. Hamilton on the Status of Women and most recently the 2018 Pioneers of Change Excellence in the Arts from Skills for Change for her work in supporting newcomer and refugee communities through Community Arts initiatives.

Shana Hillman is an Arts Manager with over 18 years experience in audience development, marketing, fundraising and program development. Hillman joined the staff of East End Arts in March 2017. In addition to her work with East End Arts, Shana has been the Producer for Hari Krishnan and his company inDANCE for over 17 years. Previously, she has held positions at Kaeja d’Dance, Creative Trust, Dance Umbrella of Ontario, Toronto Dance Theatre, Sony Centre and the Banff Centre. An active volunteer, Shana is President of Small Print Toronto, an organization that stages interactive literary events for children, and is also a member of the steering committees of ArtsVote and Arts Day at the City.

Bruce Pitkin, Executive Director, Art Starts. As a theatre artist with international experience and a community perspective, Bruce is a true believer in the power of art as a form of expression and a means to empowerment. After earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in performance from York University, Bruce performed, directed, produced, and taught in Japan, Germany, the United States, and Canada. He was the Artistic Director at both the Acting Academy (Munich) and the International Michael Chekhov School of Acting (Munich), and taught Shakespeare, Scene Study and Audition Technique at the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts in Toronto from 2007-2013. In 2013, he was named in NOW Magazine’s Top Ten Artists to Watch for his directing work. He comes to Art Starts after five years as Executive Director of Theatre Ontario.

Lila Karim is the founding Executive Director of North York Arts. Over her 17-year career in the cultural sector, Lila has worked for several non-profit arts organizations including the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, ReelWorld Film Festival and The Harold Greenberg Fund. Lila has held various roles including artistic producer and programmer. Through community and commercial partnerships, Lila has helped generate upwards of 500,000 cultural patrons and has created opportunities for artists and cultural-leaders to thrive. Lila is a digital photographer with a B.A.A. in photographic arts from Ryerson University. Her work has been exhibited in Toronto, and she regularly serves on visual arts juries.

Wendy Rading is currently the Interim Executive Director at Arts Etobicoke. She has worked in the not-for-profit arts for the past decade, starting with building community at Artscape and the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. At Arts Etobicoke as the Gallery and Program Manager, she transformed the Storefront gallery into a bustling artist community space with diverse exhibitions and artist talks.  As well, she coordinated skilled artist facilitators to provide dynamic art programs for kids, adults and seniors. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Wendy has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Recreation Studies from the University of Manitoba and a post graduate diploma in Arts Administration and Culture Development from Humber College. Wendy aspires to build healthy and vibrant communities by using the arts as a catalyst and to support and nurture emerging and professional artists, highlighting the benefits they bring to individuals, communities and the city.

Kim Dayman is an artist, arts advocate and cultural leader. As an OCADU Alumni she strongly believes in community engagement, social justice and that art is a unifying language. For the past four years Kim has worked as Program Manager with Lakeshore Arts and has seen the organization through a period of substantial growth. Her work with the LASO’s as well as past positions with organizations such as Art Starts and The Living Arts Centre her career has focusing on community arts development outside of Toronto’s downtown core. Chosen as one of the Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders in 2018 Kim believes in increasing equity through critical and reflecting thinking and that artists play an important role in political advocacy and civic engagement.

Marlene McKintosh has been the Executive Director of UrbanArts since 2008. Having worked with some of Toronto’s most notable organizations for over 25 years, Marlene has a solid background and expertise in arts administration, non-profit management, organizational development & capacity building, advocacy, training and employment services for multiple stakeholders.  With a passion for youth and the arts, Marlene works tirelessly to ensure young people have access to quality programs and services and that their voices are included in the decision-making process. Marlene is a recipient of the Black Business & Professional Association’s (BBPA) 2015 Woman of Honour Award for excellence in service to the community.

Derek Spooner, M.A., is a non-profit, management and fundraising professional with a strong background in program and fund development, operations, communications, and marketing. Currently, Derek is the Executive Director of Scarborough Arts, one of Toronto’s six Local Arts Service Organizations mandated to bring arts and cultural services to under-served communities outside the downtown core. Derek has built dynamic, profitable fundraising teams throughout his career, including $9.04M in fulfilled gifts between 2011 – 2016 for the Toronto International Film Festival, Save The Children Canada, The New England Aquarium, The Boston Museum of Science, The Chicago Memorial Children’s Hospital and Mirvish Theatre Productions.

Performance by Shaunga Tagore Theatre: 

Shaunga Tagore is a queer multidisciplinary, multidimensional creator. She is a storyteller & astrologer living, working and loving in Tkaronto. Her last play, Letters to the Universe was presented at The Theatre Centre in 2017, with an exploration presented in 2017’s CPAMO gathering Her work explores themes of survivorship, hero/queeroism, and the tangling of memoir, fantasy, mythology, non-linear time and parallel dimensions. She is also invested in building a language, community and practice around theatre as ritual. Currently, Shaunga is developing a new original musical titled Otherworldly Giants – a story about the outer planets coming to life as everyday humans. She is excited to present an early exploration of this new work at CPAMO’s 10th year anniversary celebration.

The Gathering on May, 21 and May 27-29 is in collaboration with:


Accessibility: Aki Studio Theatre, CSI and Regent Park Film Festival are accessible. Nia Centre for the Arts is partially accessible.

We aim to host a fragrance-free event. Please do not wear perfume, cologne, or other scented products.