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CARFAC expands its services in the North

CARFAC received final approval of the revised proposal for the second phase of the Northern Expansion Project from Heritage Canada at the beginning of November 2005. This $200,000 matching funds project will last until October 31, 2006. The Department of Canadian Heritage is contributing $100,000; CARFAC is providing matching funds.

The main thrust of the project is the establishment of territorial satellite CARFAC offices to supply services to professional artists in the Yukon and Nunavut. Past CARFAC Chair Pat Durr is the Project Manager for this initiative and Megan Williams, former Director of the Canadian Conference of the Arts, is working with CARFAC as an outside consultant.

In Nunavut, CARFAC is partnering with the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association (NACA). In November CARFAC and NACA received $55,000 from the Nunavut government as matching funds for the project. For the first three months of the project, Gyu Oh worked one day a week in NACA’s Iqaluit office for CARFAC, and the remainder of the time for NACA. In January, she visited Arviat and Baker Lake. She held information meetings to introduce CARFAC and its services to the resident Inuit artists and gathered information to assist CARFAC in understanding what the isolated artists in small communities need.

As of March, CARFAC is delighted to welcome well-known Inuit artist and drum dancer, Mathew Nuqingaq as our Nunavut Representative. He will be working with CARFAC to assist us in meeting our goal to provide professional services that will improve the artistic lives of Inuit artists throughout Nunavut. In June, Pat Durr is planning to join Mathew Nuqingaq in Iqaluit at the NACA sponsored Nunavut Arts Festival to meet with Nunavut artists and present informative workshops and discussion sessions.

In the Yukon, CARFAC has just engaged Philomena Carroll as our Yukon Representative. She will inform professional artists in the Yukon and the North West Territories of CARFAC’s interest in establishing territorial satellite offices in the North. Partnering with others, she will work on building and enhancing CARFAC’s profile by delivering a series of information meetings in several locations including Whitehorse and Dawson City, and by starting the process of building membership for a territorial affiliate.

Since November, as part of the Northern Project, April Britski, CARFAC’s acting National Director, has been working with Mike MacDonald, CARFAC National Representative, and various others to improve and adjust the information on the CARFAC web site to better serve the Northern Territories and our Affiliates. Plans are to add informative sections in Inuktitut (PDF) for Inuit artists.

Also in conjunction with the goals of the Northern Project and the potential expansion of its responsibilities, CARFAC, at its March Face-to-Face Board Meeting focused on an examination of its governance with the assistance of consultant, Megan Williams. An on-going committee will continue to work with Ms. Williams to further define CARFAC’s needs and recommend necessary constitutional revisions.

While CARFAC is only in the beginning of the one-year project, everything is moving forward smoothly and there is great excitement about its future success.