Indigenous Art Market: Where culture and community meet

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Indigenous Art Market

NAC Indigenous Theatre is thrilled to announce that our next Indigenous Art Market (June 12th) will be in-person! This will be Indigenous Theatre’s first in-person art market since December 2019, and will be part of National Indigenous History Month program offerings. 

Did you know that the first Indigenous Art Market at the NAC was organized BEFORE the official launch of the department? It was created and organized in December 2018 by Mairi Brascoupe (Indigenous Cultural Resident, Indigenous Theatre), Lindsay Lachance, (Artistic Associate, Indigenous Theatre), with the help of Amanda Baumgarten (Associate Producer, Popular Music and Variety). Mairi describes their vision and goal: 

“We wanted to find ways to invite the local Indigenous community into the building and make the space a welcoming environment that Indigenous folks felt comfortable entering. Lindsay and I both knew a lot of great artists in the community. We wanted to support them by creating an event that would celebrate them and introduce NAC audiences to incredible Indigenous work, even before there was anything from our department on the stages.”

Some may ask why host an art market in a space known for theatre. For those who have attended a powwow, the connection makes sense. Mairi Brascoupe explains: 

“We were inspired by all the powwows we went to in the summer [of 2018]. We went out to get to know the communities and to let them know Indigenous Theatre would be launching at the NAC in the coming year. Powwows are the ultimate Indigenous community event. People get together, see friends and family, celebrate culture, dance, explore new artists and return to old favourites. We wanted to bring that energy into the building.”

Although the online format of the Indigenous Theatre’s art market has been popular, the Indigenous Theatre team is really excited to return to in-person. Mairi describes the importance of gathering together, and the difference between virtual markets:

“The difference with an in-person art market is the connections that you make by bringing everyone into a room together. We had to put in a lot of work into keeping that community feeling when we moved to a virtual market.”

Indigenous Theatre’s art market continues to be an important program offering that Mairi and Indigenous Theatre plan twice a year. Mairi discusses why the art market is so crucial to Indigenous Theatre and the community:

“The Art Markets are transformational. The NAC building can be intimidating. We have been told on many occasions by people in our community that the NAC felt like a space that wasn’t for them. The Art Markets change that. It becomes an Indigenous space, filled with Indigenous art and Indigenous peoples seeing friends, shopping from their favourite artists, laughing, smiling, and making that space theirs. It is important to me to support artists in our community and to build relationships and trust with Indigenous folks that enter our building. It also helps Indigenous Theatre bring awareness to all the other great work we do in the building and on our stages.”

Join us Sunday June 12th from 10 am to 5 pm to celebrate and support Indigenous culture and arts. The Indigenous Summer Art Market is free to attend and is open to everyone. We hope to see you there!

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