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Creating A Living – Your Art, Your Business Conference


THUNDER BAY, ON - June 10, 2011 - Produced by WorkInCulture and the Ontario Crafts Council, with TBAGthe Thunder Bay Art Gallery as Presenting Host, the Creating A Living – Your Art, Your Business Conference takes direct aim at the need for artists in all media to get serious about business if they want to succeed.

To that end a number of presenters from both Thunder Bay and beyond will gather at the Art Gallery to enlighten participants about how to get serious about their art as a business.

Keynote speaker, sculptor Michael Belmore, a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, confronts the dilemma many artists have in his talk, “Is Business a Dirty Word?”

Other Plenary Speakers include Eleanor Albanese, Alice Sabourin, Jude Ortiz, Suzanne Tighe, and Lisa Vescio. All have extensive experience in this field.

Some of the topics sure to be of interest to artists who want to get tough with their business approach are:

“Vision and Reality: The Ever Changing Landscape of a Creative Practice” by Eleanor Albanese, playwright.

“The Artist and the Business Brain” by Jude Ortiz, craftsperson

“Business Planning: Setting Goals and Making Plans” by Suzanne Tighe, and Lisa Vescio, PARO.

The conference is a unique artist-to-artist interaction designed to provide resources and information to help artists transfer their creative planning skills into the business planning context.

The objective is to attract artists from Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.

Producing Sponsors:

WorkInCulture helps to build a resilient culture sector by delivering business skills training, services and resources for artists, workers and organizations in Ontario arts, heritage and culture disciplines.    
WorkInCulture is based in Toronto.

The Ontario Crafts Council is a member-based, not-for-profit arts service organization whose mandate is to significantly grow recognition and appreciation of craft and craftspeople by building a strong, talented, distinct craft community, and acting as an advocate on its behalf.

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery, as Presenting Host, has for 35 years provided artists in Thunder Bay and the region with a broad range of support services, and is once again pleased to make the Gallery available for this very worthwhile conference.


While not part of the official agenda, participants are invited to join Dryden artist Michele Coslett Goodman in discussion with Art Gallery Curator, Nadia Kurd. They will be discussing Michele’s exhibition Night Garden, showing at the Gallery until September 4.

Friday, June 17 – doors open at 6:15 pm, with Michael Belmore’s Opening Keynote “Is Business a Dirty Word?” (open to the public) at 7:30 pm. A reception and networking event follow.

Saturday, June 18 – the day kicks off with registration at 8:00 am and the first Plenary at 9:15 am. The agenda unfolds throughout the day until final remarks and the Traditional Closing at 4:30 pm.

The Producing Sponsors acknowledge the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ontario Arts Council.

Other partners helping to make the conference happen are: PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, City of Thunder Bay, Province of Ontario, Thunder Bay Aboriginal Arts and Heritage, CAHEP, and CARFAC.

The Conference brochure and other relevant information is attached. 
MICHAEL BELMORE is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and graduated with an A.O.C.A. in sculpture/installation from Ontario College of Art & Design in 1994.  Belmore employs a variety of media in order to investigate our use of technology and how it has affected our relationship to the environment.  It is through the use of materials Belmore brings into account how we view nature as commodity. 
Belmore’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented in the permanent collections of various Canadian institutions and numerous private collections.  His most recent exhibitions include Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years, an international exhibition of contemporary indigenous art in Winnipeg, and HIDE: Skin as Material and Metaphor at the National Museum of the American Indian – George Gustav Heye Centre in New York. 
ELEANOR ALBANESE has spent her life immersed in arts education, theatre arts and visual arts.  Her plays for young audiences have toured from coast to coast.  She is also an arts educator, currently at the Ontario Arts Council as the Interim Arts Education Associate Officer.  Eleanor is from Thunder Bay and has been involved with many community groups in developing collaborative arts projects, often using community as a theme.  Eleanor has received the Thunder Bay Arts and Heritage Award, the Government of Canada Collaboration Award, and the RCM Mentor Artist Award.  
JEAN-PAUL DE ROOVER is a Belgian/Canadian musician, composer and producer living in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  He was raised overseas but returned to Canada in 2001, where he began developing his musical career.  Since graduating from Lakehead University with an MA in Sociology in 2009, Jean-Paul continues making music his first priority. 
NANCY MILANI has coordinated over 100 events in the past 20 years.  From a variety of charity fundraisers, to professional sporting events, conferences, trade and consumer shows, she believes strongly in making a difference in her community.  She has worked at the Chamber of Commerce for the past ten years, teaches part time at Confederation College and has served on numerous boards and committees.  She also acts as a consultant for new businesses.  
JUDE ORTIZ has worked in the arts and culture sector her entire life.  As a studio goldsmith she has operated a successful studio goldsmithing business and has been invited to participate in local, Canadian and international exhibitions.  Jude has coordinated and delivered fine arts post-secondary education in Ontario and the Canadian Arctic providing her with considerable experience in working and liaising with a variety of Indigenous peoples, governments and funding agencies.  Since 2004 Jude has worked for NORDIK Institute, at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie conducting community-based research around links between culture and the creation of healthy, resilient and sustainable communities.  For example, in 2005 she prepared a Community Strategic Planning Toolkit for Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) and in 2007 completed a report looking at the socioeconomic impact of the arts on Sault Ste. Marie’s economy.  She is currently working on a strategic plan to develop Northern Ontario’s culture and creative sector. Jude is a PhD candidate at the University of the West of England (Bristol).  
holds a Masters Degree in Social work (1997) and has worked as a community arts facilitator merging contemporary art practices of photography and visual art with traditional forms of community healing.  Art workshops bring people together in a safe and supportive manner to bring a voice to social issues facing the community.  Her long-established community arts practice began in 1991 with lasting relationships in the community of Thunder Bay and regionally.  Her organization Beedaubin Arts, is a unique approach to creative vision and she has established credibility at the community level, with funders and within the arts community.  
SUZANNE TIGHE joined the PARO Centre For Women’s Enterprise in the fall of 2006, as Program Coordinator of The Business Accelerator Program.  Suzanne’s responsibilities are to provide women entrepreneurs with a flexible variety of workshops, mentoring, expert coaching, web and tele-classes in Thunder Bay and throughout the region.  Suzanne comes to the position with 25 years of wide-ranging business experience.  Starting her career path in sales of a high profile securities firm in downtown Toronto; she then moved to Thunder Bay and became Owner/Operator of a large home-based family business and franchise for 14 years.  From Thunder Bay she partnered with a land developer, and established a recreational business and golf course in southern Ontario.  In 2003, she went to Calgary where she worked as General Manager for a locally-based Thunder Bay company as they developed a new business from start-up to such time that it began trading publicly on the TSX Ventures Exchange.  Happy to move back to Thunder 
Bay, she enjoys living life to its fullest. She is also committed to raising funds for Breast 
Cancer Research.  
LISA VESCIO joined PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise as an employee in 2010, after having been involved with PARO for many years.  She is currently the owner of The UPS Store and previously owned The Body Shop for 11 years, selling it in 2008.  As a local business owner, Lisa participated in and delivered workshops, attended networking events and eventually became part of the Dream Team in 2010, working as part of the business development team at PARO.  
Lisa also works as the Business Development Counsellor of The Breaking Barriers-Building Bridges program. Through this program ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) woman and men who want to start a business get individual assistance and guidance regarding all aspects of business plan development and the day-to-day challenges of running a business.  Lisa brings practical, real life business experience to the participants.  She believes in the program and the participants and is committed to helping them maintain sustainable businesses.  Seeing the personal progress and pride in her clients as they reach their milestones is a very rewarding part of her job.  Lisa won Women of Distinction award from PARO in 2009 and is a member of the Dreamcatchers Circle, which won Circle of the Year 2010 at the PARO AGM.   
JOANNA AEGARD, Head of Virtual Services at the Thunder Bay Public Library, manages the library's website, online services and information with the goal of making the virtual library easy to use. Joanna also spearheads the library's presence on social media.  She plays hockey and the flute, but not at the same time.  
STEPHANIE ASH founded Firedog Communications in 2003 following her immigration to Canada from the UK.  Leveraging her international management experience in public relations and marketing management, Stephanie has successfully grown Firedog Communications into an award-winning, full-service communications agency.  Stephanie has a proven track record of delivering complex communication strategies in a high profile environment.  Prior to launching Firedog Communications, she worked in PR and marketing in Marseille, France, London, England and Sydney, Australia.  Since opening her business in Northwestern Ontario, Stephanie has become deeply engaged in her community.  She has also taught a post-graduate diploma in Corporate Communications at Confederation College and is currently studying for the APR designation – the highest level of distinction in the PR industry. 
JOHN BOOKS is a substantially self taught artist working most often with sculpture.  He is exceptionally adept at shaping, carving and transforming wood.  His subjects are often human figures which express complex stories murky with mystery, universal symbols and myth.  Whether crafted in wood, stone or cast bronze, he consistently creates beautifully flowing forms.  Skilled in both representation and abstraction, John navigates between the sacred and the sensual with apparent empathy for both his created characters and materials used.  He has exhibited in the United States, Manitoba and Ontario since 1987.  John has been awarded several commissions in Thunder Bay: for the City of Thunder Bay, St Joseph’s Care Group, the Province of Ontario and Kuch Stephenson Gibson Malo Architects. 
RODNEY BROWN is a distinctive artist with a unique talent for bringing Canadian history, especially the stories of the north, to life.  With a songwriting and performing career spanning over 30 years, Rodney has recorded ten albums and is deeply involved in his community and is an advocate for many causes. 
PAMELA CAIN took the position as the Executive Director of the Community Arts and Heritage Education Project in January of 2011 to continue the promotion and development of this exceptional program that connects arts and heritage programmers with the community and schools in Thunder Bay.  As Curator at the Fort Frances Museum (1984-2011), she collaborated with the arts and heritage community, promoting regional artists and developing arts and heritage initiatives in the community and Northwestern Ontario.  She has facilitated public art creation, workshops, exhibitions and professional development workshops.  Pam obtained a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba and continues to explore her creativity through producing multi-media works including drawing, painting, handmade paper, collage, plaster, clay and sculptural works.  Pam has exhibited in solo and group shows in Northwestern Ontario, Northern Minnesota and Manitoba and has her work in community collections, including an outdoor public art sculpture and indoor mural.  As an artist educator, Pam has developed a variety of programs, instructed classes in many media, and connected with all ages.   
LILA CANO: “The arts are magic. It is my calling to remind people why we must have magic in our lives.  Our hearts and minds are hungry for it.”  As the past Executive Director for the Community Arts & Heritage Education Project, Lila developed and implemented programming, projects, artists’ residency projects, created resources in arts education and offered training and mentoring in arts and heritage locally and regionally.  She is currently working with thirteen communities in Northwestern and Northeastern Ontario to guide and facilitate their arts education initiatives. 
DIANE DAVY is Executive Director of WorkInCulture.  Before that, she was an executive in a wide variety of companies, gaining the unique ability to bridge an appreciation of creativity with a solid sense of business.  Diane was President of Key Porter Books Ltd, an internationally respected Canadian publisher of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction. She served as President of NextMedia Inc, a marketing and consulting company specializing in television, music and publishing, and was President and Publisher of Greey de Pencier/OWL Books, creators of award winning Canadian children's books and Publisher of the OWL Group, producers of children's magazines and television shows. 
FRITZ LEHMBERG began a full time pottery studio in 1983 and has a managed a living since, through studio sales, teaching, grants, starting a successful studio tour, and experiments with a small gallery and a B & B. As the Dalai Lama says, “change is always constant”.  How do you define success? 
JEAN MARSHALL is of Ojibway/English descent, born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario - an artist and educator.  She earned her BA in Native Studies at Trent University.  In Thunder Bay she has taught in elementary schools for Learning Through the Arts and presently teaches at Lakehead University.  She also works with adult learners in corrections, community centres, at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and in other workshops.  She has received Ontario Arts Council grants from different programs.  Although she is recognized mainly for her beadwork, she is interested in many other art forms such as printmaking, woodworking, basketry and porcupine quillwork. 
MARILYN MCINTOSH is the Northwestern Consultant for the Ontario Arts Council.  Her role is to raise awareness about the range of programs available at the OAC and to assist artists with information and applying to the OAC.  She works with artists and organizations to identify and address gaps in services and support to the region and is co-Chair of the Thunder Bay Funders' Network.  Marilyn has been directly involved with artists and arts funding for the past 9 years and has over 20 years experience in community development and the not for profit sector. 
EMMA QUIN has over seventeen years at the Ontario Crafts Council and has developed valuable and healthy relationships with the cultural sector. She has an important grasp of the issues and concerns faced by craftspeople. Emma's leadership and dedication to the organization have instituted major changes. She has initiated a revitalized engagement between the organization, makers, and the public. Emma has helped the OCC redefine its goals and business practice, as well as what it delivers and how it functions - effectively making the OCC a valuable cultural institution that gives back to the community. 
JESSE ROBERTS, Head of Reference Services at the Thunder Bay Public Library, works with the changing needs of our community to provide relevant and useful library experiences.  Jesse specializes in assisting local businesses with everything from business planning to demographic research and marketing.  She is new to Thunder Bay and happy to call it "home". 
PIERRE SCHRYER is part of the vibrant Franco-Ontarian culture of Canada and from an early age was immersed in the music and traditions of his heritage.  As a solo performer he has received numerous titles and awards including Canadian Open Fiddle Champion, Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champion, Violoneux Championnat, and North American Irish Fiddle Champion.  Over the last decade, Pierre has released six recordings on his own record label, New Canadian Records. His recording, Blue Drag, was honoured with a nomination at the 2004 JUNO Awards for best Roots & Traditional Album of the Year.  Mélange was nominated at the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards for instrumental Solo Album of the Year.  Since its inception in 1995, Pierre Schryer Band has gained an international reputation as one of Canada’s most respected traditional music ensembles by touring throughout Canada, the USA, Ireland, Europe and the UK.  Pierre Schryer’s talents extend beyond his musical abilities.  A modern “Renaissance Man,” Pierre is an accomplished luthier and watercolour artist, currently performing on one of his own violins and creating the cover art and design for his recordings.   
CHRIS STONES was born and raised in Port Arthur, studying at Lakehead University and then the Graduate Studio Program at the University of Waterloo.  A love for the geography of northwestern Ontario and especially Lake Superior drew him back to the Lakehead in 2000.  His creative explorations are inspired by this environment and find their way onto the drawing board and into diverse objects and installations.  Chris has collaborated with a number of local artists, craftsmen and businesses.  In 2009 local sculptor John Books and Chris put together a winning design for the City of Thunder Bay which resulted in the large Bronze relief that adorns the North-East face of City Hall.  His most recent work was exhibited at Thunder Bay Art Gallery in the fall of 2010.  You can find images of his work from the show as well as other installations, sculptures and drawings at
LOUISE THOMAS is the curator and owner of Thunder Bay's Ahnisnabae Art Gallery and the keeper of the memory of her late husband and celebrated Aboriginal artist, the late Roy Thomas.  Best known for the symbolic imagery of the Ojibwe Woodland style, Thomas produced thousands of paintings that are featured today in international exhibitions, dozens of collections and museums in Canada and globally.  Her husband's studio is now a gallery that showcases the work of over 200 Aboriginal artists mainly from across Northern Ontario.  Louise is a self-taught entrepreneur who handles the gallery, sells art through the online gallery and ships art to customers as far away as Europe, Russia and Australia.  
DUNCAN WELLER is a writer and visual artist.  Primarily, he writes and illustrates children’s picture books.  Three of these books are distributed internationally.  The Boy from the Sun won two of Canada’s top awards for children’s books – the Governor General’s Award and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Picture Book Award.  Duncan is currently putting the finishing touches on eight new works that will be launched this year as E-books.  These books will be followed next year with a young adult novel, a book of poetry, and a book of short stories.   
THE THUNDER MOUNTAIN SINGERS are international recording artists from Thunder Bay, Ontario. They have traveled throughout North America over the past 20 years recorded several albums, live recordings and compilation albums.  They received their drum name from the late Margaret Pierre from Fort William First Nation.  It was her vision that through the drum the First Nation youth would return to their traditional culture.  The Thunder Mountain Singers continue to the share their traditional teachings and songs with the youth.
The Thunder Mountain Singers originate from the James Bay Treaty 9 Area, 1850 Robinson Superior Treaty Area and Treaty 3 Area.  They are Ojibway, Saulteaux Ojibway, Oji-Cree and Northern Cree.
Their 2009 studio album "One Voice One Nation" received critical acclaim from the music industry winning the 2010 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award for Best Pow Wow CD - Traditional & receiving nominations for the 2010 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards & 2010 Native American Music Awards.
Many elders, mentors, groups, organizations and family guided us and provided us with the opportunity to learn, experience and lead to become the Thunder Mountain Singers. We will be forever grateful for all our supporters, families and friends we've made throughout the years. 

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