Live in Public - The Art of Engagement

ATSA ATSA is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1998 by artists Pierre Allard and Annie Roy. The pair creates transdisciplinary works for the public realm that take the form of interventions, installations, performance art and realistic stagings. Their actions are born of a desire to raise public awareness of crucial social, environmental, and heritage issues that need to be addressed. In order to sway both the public and the media-in short, to motivate as many citizens as possible to take an active role in improving society-ATSA marshals artistic quality, a playful, imaginative outlook, pithy media exposure, and content based on sound, thorough documentation.

ATSA Robin Brass (Saulteaux/Scottish) is an interdisciplinary artist originally from the Regina/Treaty IV region of southern Saskatchewan and a busy mom of three boys. She has studied at York University and completed her B.A. in Indigenous Fine Arts, First Nations University of Canada. Robin is co-founder of Sakewewak Artists' Collective, Circle Vision Arts Corp., Red Tattoo Theatre Ensemble, and Sakewewak's Distinguished Storytellers Series. From 1997 - 1999, she spearheaded Sakewewak's development and operations. She has produced works including: Tawihken Kakike-Kakike (making space over and over, again and again) Performance Canada Conference, (2005); Root of Love, for the exhibition 'Constitution', Godfrey Dean Art Gallery(2005); Mining Dog, Neutral Ground (2000). As well as contributing to various group exhibits and collaborations including: Pelican Nocturne (2005), Robin Poitras, artistic director; Pooling Time: Beyond Performance, PAVED Arts with TRIBE (2003); Nomadic Recall (1999) & Backtracking: The New Museum (1998), Edward Poitras, artistic director; The House of Sonya, Red Tattoo Theatre (1997), Floyd Favel Starr, director; MexterminatorII, (1997), collaboration with Guillermo Gomez Pena & Roberto Sifuentes. In the fall of '99 Robin took a teaching position with the First Nations University of Canada, teaching Native Art History on several Saskatchewan reserves. She moved to northern Saskatchewan in 2000 where she has most recently created new work based upon the intimate relationships between Healers(plants) and Patients(humans), as well as delving deeper into new performance work based in the Nakawe language, further pursuing her true love of Indigenous orality.

Common Weal Community Arts brings communities and professional artists together to inspire ideas for social change through art. By linking artists with communities in collaborative art projects, Common Weal empowers people-and their communities-to tell their stories in their own voices.


Melanie Fernandez is currently Director of Community and Education Programmes at Harbourfront Centre and Artistic Director of the summer festival season. During her tenure, many new program initiatives such as the city-wide Planet IndigenUs (an international exploration of contemporary aboriginal arts), Culture Shock: Voices of an Emerging Generation Youth Arts Festival, Leaning for Living, and many others have been launched. For six years she worked as Community Arts Officer at the Ontario Arts Council. During this time, Fernandez led a comprehensive policy review of community arts in the province that resulted in new definitions, directions and programs. Following this position, she was Head of Education at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In addition, she currently teaches a course in community arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design and has written extensively in the areas of cultural diversity and cultural production, aboriginal cultural production, and community arts. Melanie has served on numerous boards and advisory committees for numerous organizations including Cultural Pluralism in the Arts (University of Toronto), Community Arts Ontario, A Space Gallery, Art Starts Neighbourhood Cultural Centre, the Canadian Commission of UNESCO, and Canada Council for the Arts Racial Equity Committee.

Pam Hall spent two years in The Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland as their first Artist-in-Residence. This was a major project for her, and the deep engagement with a non-art community on a daily basis proved transformative to her life and practice in many ways. She created and installed work reflecting on many aspects of her experience in this community of clinicians, medical students, and medical educators, deepening her interests in the body, ethics, and the terrain of "healing" in the process.

Ruth Howard is the founder and Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre, a Toronto-based company producing arts projects in collaboration with communities. Howard has worked for over twenty years as a set and costume designer at theatres across Canada and in the U.K. She has created (designed/written/shaped/produced) many original performance works and events, including Once A Shoreline (2004) in Davenport West, Twisted Metal and Mermaids Tears (2000) in South Riverdale, and, most recently, Bridge of One Hair (part of the 2007 New World Stage Festival), and Harbourfront Centre's Fresh Ground Program, which sprang from a three-year arts residency in Etobicoke, and which won Howard a Dora nomination for Costume Design. In 2005, Howard won a Toronto Community Foundation Vital People Award.

Elwood Jimmy is originally from the Thunderchild First Nation, Saskatchewan, Canada. A lifelong Saskatchewan resident, he has been actively engaged with contemporary art as an artist, curator, administrator and activist within local, national and international contexts since the late 1990's. Previous experience has included Aboriginal Curator in Residence at the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery in Yorkton, director of the board of the Independent Media Arts Alliance, representative of the Plains Artist Run Centre Alliance, member of several committees organized by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Manitoba Arts Council, and extensive involvement with Sakewewak Artists' Collective, a Regina-based centre for the production and dissemination of contemporary Aboriginal art. Elwood's curatorial projects include Urban Renewal (Winnipeg Aboriginal Film and Video Festival, Stony Mountain Penitentiary), Subverting Virtual Territories (Godfrey Dean Art Gallery), Poundmaker's Garden (Godfrey Dean Art Gallery), 21 (A Space Gallery, PAVED Arts) and Transition/Transaction (Ace Art). As an artist, Elwood has exhibited at the Red Shift Gallery (Saskatoon), Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina), Neutral Ground (Regina), Tribe (Saskatoon), and Available Light Screening Collective (Ottawa). His most recent projects have been in collaboration with Lynn Acoose, an artist, writer, curator, and producer from the Sakimay First Nation. Their collaborations have included video, installation, text, and performance works, as well as interdisciplinary projects in collaboration with their home communities. He is currently the Executive Director for Common Weal Community Arts.

Sara Kendall is Vancouver-based, her current work as a practicing artist and facilitator has grown out of her experiences in grassroots community projects, anti-corporate globalization activism throughout the Americas, and multidisciplinary performance. Sara is focused on work that fuses arts practice, heart-centered spaces of interpersonal connection, and political action. Sara is a lead facilitator with the youth arts empowerment organization Power of Hope, a member of Metaphor (youth empowerment through Hip Hop), the founder of a community choir called the Cultural Medicine Cabinet, one of the circus-theater motley crew, Nucleus (The Ancient Rugged Review), one half of the female acapella Hip Hop duo In.Stead, and a ready-to-learn community-activist at large. She is dedicated to convergence across lines of separation - in community, in public, in joy, and in all seriousness.


M. Simon Levin has been creating site-based systems that explore the esthetics of engagement using a variety of designed forms and tools for the past 20 years. Using remote sensing, locative and tactical media, these relational projects investigate the often-blurred boundaries between the private and the public, resulting in poetic interventions into space and place. Levin's public works have taken such varied forms as land care centres, gardens, utility trucks, cargo containers, telecom systems, alternative tours of cities, storytelling tricycles, and whispering book carts. Through these forms, he explores the engagement possibilities that highlight the contentions and conflicts inherent in the public sphere. By fostering critical analysis in cultural workers and participants, he ultimately exposes how public space operates and for whom. His teaching and inter-disciplinary art practice have led him to create and collaborate on numerous art projects for public and private spaces in Canada, USA, Mexico and Australia.

Cheryl L'Hirondelle (aka Waynohtêw, Cheryl Koprek) is an Alberta-born, Vancouver-based, halfbreed (Metis/Cree-non status/treaty,French, German, Polish) multi/interdisciplinary artist. She has created, performed, collaborated and presented work in a variety of artistic disciplines: performance art, music, theatre, storytelling, installation art, video and new media. She has also worked as an arts programmer, cultural strategist/activist, arts consultant, facilitator/coordinator, administrator, assessor, workshop and sessional instructor and director/producer. Her practice is an investigation of the intersection of Cree worldview (nêhiyawin) and the inter/multidisciplinarity of creative expression inherent in other indigenous, world, and youth cultures. As part of this investigation, L'Hirondelle develops performative physical endurances, infiltrations and interventions, site-specific installations, interactive net-art projects [] and keeps singing, making rhythm, dancing, and telling stories whenever and where ever she can. Cheryl was recently appointed as an Associate Researcher with SmartLab, London, UK.

Ingrid Mayrhofer is a visual artist, curator and community arts practitioner. Her practice addresses issues of social justice through personal imagery and collective experience. After completing her BFA at York University, she taught drawing in Nicaragua as part of her MA fieldwork, spending much of the 1980s working in Central America and with solidarity groups in Toronto. In 1989 she joined the Red Tree artists' collective, a group that bases its artistic vision on the idea that community art and cross-cultural collaboration evolve from human rights activism and popular education. In the 90s Mayrhofer was Program Director at A Space Gallery where she initiated CAB 2000, the first Toronto-wide community arts festival. As Assistant Curator at the McMaster Museum of Art (2003-2006), she introduced Hamilton audiences to renowned Canadian and international artists, and initiated participatory arts education projects and community curatorial collaborations at the university museum. Independent curatorial interests include new practices, collaborations, and international exchanges.

Laurie McGauley has spent most of her life gathering people together to create art, dialogue, dissent and mischief. Over the years, she has been the lead or co-founder of many initiatives, such as Sticks and Stones Theatre and Poetic Justice Theatre; ten years ago, she founded Myths and Mirrors Community Arts in Sudbury, Ontario. Thousands of Northern residents have participated in her multi-media projects, exploring themes of oppression, possibility, and hope. McGauley is a Professor of Women's Studies at Laurentian University, and is currently developing community art curricula and courses for Laurentian's BFA program. In 2006, she completed an external review of the Canada Council for the Arts' Artist and Community Collaboration Program, producing a report titled Imagine. In the same year she completed her thesis, Utopian Longings: Romanticism, Subversion and Democracy in Community Arts. McGauley is particularly interested in the utopian function of community arts-the creation of spaces where our dreams for beauty and justice still matter.

Geoff McMurchy comes to community arts through an active role in the Public Dreams Society in its early years, and through a 30-year process of politicization as an artist with a significant spinal cord injury. He is now Artistic Director of the Society for Disability Arts and Culture, which has mounted two very successful and inclusive kickstART festivals, in Vancouver. The Society strives to empower artists and performers with disabilities to counter cultural misrepresentations, to shape and control their narratives, to bring disability-controlled narratives to wider audiences, and to experience the beauty, pain and fun that community can variously bring.

The National Bitter Melon Council (NBMC) is an artist collective that is devoted to the cultivation of a vibrant, diverse community through the promotion and distribution of bitter melon. Supporting the use of bitter melon for its myriad health benefits and culinary possibilities, the NBMC celebrates this underappreciated fruit through the production of creative and stimulating food-focused projects that highlight the foreignness of bitter melon, instigating situations that, through bitterness, create an alternative basis for community.


Jeremy Liu, Co-founder NBMC, is an artist and the Executive Director of the Asian Community Development Corporation-a community-based, not-for-profit developer of affordable housing and vibrant and healthy neighborhoods for all.

Judy McNaugton is a ceramic artist from Weyburn, Saskatchewan. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Regina with a major in ceramics and a minor in sculpture, and studied under the instruction of Jack Sures and Vic Cicanski. Since graduating in 1994, she has continued her education through a series of formal mentorships. Her studio practice as a ceramic artist includes gallery installations as well as site-specific and community-based ceramic murals. Since 1999 she has participated in residencies in BC and Saskatchewan.

Devora Neumark is a faculty member in the MFA/Interdisciplinary Art program at Goddard College (Vermont). She is also co-director of Engrenage Noir's LEVIER programs (Montreal), supporting creative efforts to imagine alternatives to poverty and social exclusion. Neumark served as Vice President of Canada's first Kosher (yet intercultural) crisis intervention centre and shelter for female victims of conjugal violence. Along with Loren Lerner and PK Langshaw, Neumark initiated and co-organized Public Art as Social Intervention... But now I have to speak: testimonies of trauma, resilience, and change held at Concordia University. More recently she has been a trainer in Concordia University's Institute in Management and Community Development Summer Program. Neumark is a member of ShalomSaalam, the Alliance for Concerned Jewish Canadians, and The Montreal Dialogue Group. Her current art project titled home beautiful (in collaboration with Lisa Ndejuru and Pauline Ngirumpatse) involves the critical and practical exploration of cultural oppression and the un/making of home.


Darren O'Donnell is a novelist, essayist, playwright, director, designer, actor, and artistic director of Mammalian Diving Reflex. His novels include Your Secrets Sleep with Me and Social Acupuncture, a Guide to Suicide Performance and Utopia. His shows include A Suicide-Site Guide to the City, Diplomatic Immunities, pppeeeaaaccceee, [boxhead], White Mice, Over, Who Shot Jacques Lacan?, Radio Rooster Says That's Bad and Mercy! He has organized The Toronto Strategy Meetings, a durational project focusing on self-responsibility as a social act; The Talking Creature, a continuing experiment in public discourse; Beachballs41+all, a wealth redistribution performance featuring Toronto's Culturati, kids in a pool and Liz and Rennie's No Frills; Haircuts by Children, an event offering free haircuts to the public by children aged 10 years; and Ballroom Dancing, an all-night dance party DJed by children in a gymnasium filled with rubber balls during Toronto's inaugural Nuit Blanche. O'Donnell was the 2000 winner of the Pauline McGibbon Award for Directing and the 2000 Gabriel Award for Broadcasting, and has been nominated for a number of Dora Awards for his writing, directing, and acting, winning for his design of White Mice.

Guinevere Pencarrick is a community artist based in Vancouver BC. She speaks publicly about her experiences as an exited street-youth, art mentor and practicing multi-disciplinary artist. It is this combination of backgrounds that drives her practice - from individual and collaborative drawing projects, to her community work in the downtown south and downtown eastside. She currently runs the weekly Arts Drop-in for Youth at Risk at The Roundhouse Community Centre, and is Painting Instructor at The Gathering Place Community Centre.

Valerie Salez engages in site-specific performance/installation/sculpture and produces videos and animations. She has exhibited and presented her performances across Canada, in the UK, Germany, and Japan. In 2004, Salez was interviewed by Shelagh Rodgers on CBC Radio's Sounds Like Canada about her snow shovelling practice. More recently she was featured on the new National CBC Radio series, Socket, which showcases the brightest young Canadian artists. Salez has received two Canada Council awards and a New Media award from Aliant Canada. She received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2002. Valerie grew up in the Yukon, has lived all over, and currently lives in Dawson City, YT.

Cathy Stubington, artistic director and puppet designer, has been producing theatre with puppets for 20 years. Her puppets have ranged from giants moving to the accompaniment of live orchestra, to miniature folk in a suitcase world. Her projects have been inspired by health education, agriculture, folklore and simple magic! Productions have taken place in a variety of settings: a clearing in the forest, a rocky outcrop, an eventful agricultural tour, a procession through the woods, and in shops during open hours. Her most recent work in the rural area around Enderby BC has been produced through Runaway Moon Theatre. Stubington regularly works with the local community on large-scale theatrical arts projects such as Enough is Enough, a community shadow play on a drive-in movie screen and By the River, a celebration of the Shuswap.

Kamala Todd is a Metis-Cree/German writer, filmmaker, community planner, and Mother. She has a Masters degree in Urban Geography (UBC) and she worked for the City of Vancouver as Aboriginal Social Planner (2000-2006). Kamala is creator and director of Storyscapes, a community arts project that gathers oral histories and creates opportunities for Aboriginal people to tell their stories of Vancouver, through video, text, public art, and more. She is project director of Our City Our Voices (OCOV), a Storyscapes video project funded by the National Film Board of Canada. Recently, she published Storyscapes: Aboriginal stories of Vancouver to share project highlights. In 2006 she was the recipient of the Greater Vancouver Urban Aboriginal Strategy Award for Community Leadership. Kamala was a segment producer for First Story, a weekly half-hour documentary series on CTV, and a news reporter for CityTV. She is writer and director of City of Life (for my son) a short personal narrative documentary, and the longer version, entitled my urban eyes (in post-production), for which she received a Canada Council Aboriginal Media Arts grant and an NFB Filmmaker Assistant Program grant. She is creator and director of Indigenous City-a multimedia project that affirms the important place of Aboriginal people in the city. She is currently in production with the NFB for a short film about Squamish herbalist, video artist, and single mother Cease Wyss. Kamala has written for such publications as brunt, Mix, Vancouver Sun, Redwire, and Society and Space.


Iwan Wijono was born in 1971 in Central Java. While studying international law in Jogjakarta he became active in the pro-democracy movement against the Suharto regime. The student movement which opposed inequality brought Wijono to look for an art form which was efficient in delivering political messages, finally with body media or performance art he went to the streets to take these political messages. Besides the political awareness above, Wijono also gained an aesthetic awareness that performance art could be undertaken any¬where and was not restricted by exhibition space, public or even the time of the activity. He eventually enrolled in the ISI (Indonesian Art Institute), where he began looking for a practical form of art that would express his political ideals. His early performance art activities on the street have evolved to include arts events both locally and internationally throughout asia, europe and the 2003 Havana Biennale. Since the 2006 earthquake in Java, Iwan has been working with the people of Gemblangan towards buiding a new cultural centre in the devastated zone.

Hans Winkler is based in Berlin. Since 1982 exhibitions, actions and public art projects include, 1988 - 2000 (paint the town red) . Selected exhibitions: 1997: "treffpunkt niemandsland", Brennerpass, exhibition and the "hermitage library"; 2001: Pierogi Gallery New York; 2002: curator of "fest kunst" exhibition together with Marion Piffer-Damiani, Brixen, Italy, 2004: "legal/illegal", curator of the exhibtion together with Helen Adkins and Kai Bauer, NGBK, Berlin. Exhibitions in 2005: Künstler/Archiv, Akademie der Künste, Berlin; Focus: Istanbul, Martin Gropius Bau Berlin; Nova Library, grunt gallery, Live Biennial of Performance Art, Vancouver; Last Exit 44, Intervention, Berlin 2007; Ezra Pound´s Cage, Nuova Icona, Venice. Visiting artist/professor at San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) since 1999.


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