Thursday, May 5, 2016

Quetico Residency

2 week residency this July in cute little Quetico cabin. dont come visit me. i have to get this shit done.omg.

Neechee Studio TBT News

THUNDER BAY -- Lucille Atlookan's passion for art has opened up a world of opportunity for Aboriginal youth. New challenges arose when Atlookan moved to Thunder Bay leaving her feeling as though she didn't belong.
"I was going through a culture shock by the time I moved,” said Atlookan, an Anishnawbe artist from Eabametoong First Nation. “The transition from on-reserve (life) to the city really got to me.
"I got into the Die Active Art Collective but it was only for the summer time. I couldn't find anything during the school year that was free. I was asocial, shy and I didn't know how to get around."
Her passion for art awarded Atlookan the opportunity to be part of the team that created Neechee studio. The youth-driven program focuses on collectively confronting personal struggles faced by many Aboriginal youth through artwork as a practice of being restorative and skill building.
The idea originated a few years ago when Atlookan attended a meeting with her mentor, Moffat Makuto, executive director of Multicultural Association of Northwestern Ontario. Makuto along with other individuals were considering applying for a grant at the time and were discussing their options.
When asked, Atlookan mentioned using the grant to create an art program.
"They liked the idea," Atlookan said. "I told them about what Lora does at DefSup with Die Active Art Collective. I asked my colleague and friend Matilda Suganqueb to join us and that summer we became a committee."
The Neechee studio lead outreach coordinator said she wanted a space that empowers youth through artistic expression.
"For me, art tells a story. When I'm doing my artwork I don't think about anything. It helps me escape," she said.
Throughout a six month period Neechee studio produces seven art workshops led by local emerging and Aboriginal artists, covering a wide range of art including beadwork, quillwork, silk-screening, street art, sculpture, film and photography.
Based on the interests of the participants, culturally applicable art themes are created to teach youth about different art mediums.
Despite Neechee studio's learning atmosphere, the studio's main purpose is to exist as a safe space for Aboriginal youth to fit in.
"It's a community," she said. "It's a safe environment for youth to feel like they fit in.
"I feel as if I don't belong here in the city but when I go to the studio I feel like I belong."
DefSup's youth outreach coordinator Lora Northway explained that Neechee studio is a fun, free, safe drop in art collective for Aboriginal youth ages 14 to 30 years-old to meet new people and learn different art skills.
"The youth that come to the studio are looking for a place to fit in and they get that there, they meet each other and they can access a variety of community opportunities," Northway said.
"When I think about what it would be like to leave my home town at a young age and go to a high school in a new city all by myself how scary that could be. Just to imagine that sort of transition it was pretty obvious that a program like Neechee studio was needed.”


Recipients of the 2015 ARCCO Emerging Cultural Leader Award
ARCCO once again congratulates the winners of the Emerging Cultural Leader Awards:

Lora Northway (Thunder Bay)
Holly Cunningham (North Bay)
Jenna Faye Powell (London)

ARCCO’s inaugural Emerging Cultural Leader Award celebrated and acknowledged exceptional, emerging, creative champions (such as artists, cultural workers, curators, writers, and activists) who demonstrated initiative, generosity and excellence within Ontario’s artist-run centre community.
Images from left to right: Emerging Cultural Leader Award Recipient Jenna Faye Powell; Recipients Holly Cunningham (left) and Lora Northway (right); Recipient Lora Northway (centre-left) joined by her peers from Definitely Superior Art Gallery, Thunder Bay. Photo credit: Morris Lum.

The Art of Recognizing Emerging Leaders

Story by Tara George, Photo by Dee Larocque
It really was the perfect way to end off a successful year for Lora Northway. The community/youth outreach coordinator at Definitely Superior Art Gallery was named one of the recipients of the Emerging Cultural Leaders Award by the Artist-Run Centres Collective & Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO). Known for acknowledging and awarding those with long-standing dedication to the artist-run culture, this year ARCCO introduced a new award category to recognize emerging talent who “demonstrates initiative, creativity, generosity, and excellence.” Northway, who received her award among her peers and colleagues at ARCCO’s national conference in Toronto, is appreciative of the honour, and shares that “It’s important to acknowledge all those working in the arts, not only those with long-standing histories, but also those with a growing passion for it.”
Artist-run centres, such as Definitely Superior Art Gallery, are an integral part of the art culture in Canada. Northway explains that many artists find their starting point at artist-run centres, especially experimental artists. As an artist, educator, and outreach coordinator, Northway is not only part of the artistic landscape of our community and beyond, but she also plays a significant role in moulding it, most notably through the three youth programs she launched: Die Active Art Collective, Neechee Studio, and inVISIBLEink. These programs highlight the talents of young local artists. Specifically, Neechee Studio and inVISIBLEink focus on Indigenous youth and LGBTQQ2S youth, respectively. In her seven years at Definitely Superior, she has become a voice for emerging artists in the north, and in the last year has been invited to speak twice about the importance of art and culture in our communities. For her speaking engagement at the Dream Big conference in North Bay last summer, Northway brought along eight Die Active graffiti artists and they worked all week to create a 100 foot mural; the initiative sparked North Bay to establish a youth art collective.
With award in hand, what’s next for Northway? Well, apparently there are two big things that have emerged as a result of the award. Unfortunately for us they are currently a secret, but Northway is an active blogger and all secrets will be revealed in due time, so stay tuned. In the meantime, good things are happening on the local arts and culture scene, and, according to Northway, “Thunder Bay’s presence in Canada is vibrating a bit louder.”
Find Northway’s blog at

TedX Thunder Bay

So this is a thing! I've been invited to speak at TedX tbay, June 10.  Trying not to feel the weight of those big red letters and see it as a chance to shake things up a bit in our understanding of youth led creative production~might be a few tickets left!