Indigenous art bank, new grants for Indigenous artists coming for P.E.I.

·3 min read

An art bank of Indigenous art and new grants for Indigenous artists living on Prince Edward Island were announced by the provincial government Friday.

The two new programs are designed to celebrate and support the accomplishments of P.E.I. Mi'kmaw and other Indigenous artists, the province said in a written release.

"It's nice to finally have something for us, by us," said Patricia Bourque, an accomplished Mi'kmaw photographer and a consultant for the Indigenous arts programs.

"The past support I received from provincial art grants has helped me access resources, and build my confidence and passion for creating."

The P.E.I. Indigenous Art Bank will buy, loan and display art in public places like the lobbies of provincial government buildings.

This is an exciting opportunity for Indigenous artists of Epekwitk. — Melissa Peter-Paul

Indigenous arts grants will help and encourage the work of the Indigenous arts community on P.E.I., the release said.

Melissa Peter-Paul is a Mi'kmaw artist who was recently part of an art show at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, featuring her quill work on birchbark.

"I'm excited to see more Indigenous art and projects on the Island. I'm so grateful for the projects that I had that were supported by the P.E.I. arts grant. It allowed me to take it further into the art world," Peter-Paul said.

"I encourage all Indigenous artists to apply or be involved in the jury process! Don't be afraid to ask questions or to ask for help. This is an exciting opportunity for Indigenous artists of Epekwitk."

Deadline to apply Feb. 26

"Indigenous art is a powerful form of visual storytelling. From the materials they use to the traditional techniques, every element has meaning and intent," said Premier Dennis King, P.E.I.'s minister responsible for Indigenous relations.

Logan Perley/CBC
Logan Perley/CBC

"Creating a dedicated Indigenous Art Bank and arts grants gives all Islanders a chance to see beautiful pieces of art and at the same time, learn about Indigenous culture through the artists' work. Whether the art is about their personal journey or the history of the P.E.I. Mi'kmaw, they tell stories that will encourage us all to reflect on how Islanders can promote a fair and inclusive province."

Art will undergo a peer review, and members of the Mi'kmaw arts community are invited to apply to take part in the selection process for both grants and the art bank.

Artists must be considered professional and have finished the pieces they're submitting in the last two years. The deadline for applications for both the grants and to submit a piece for donation or purchase by the art bank is Feb. 26.

The programs were developed in partnership with P.E.I. Mi'kmaw artists and artisans and with guidance from best practices across federal and provincial jurisdictions, the release noted, adding that the P.E.I. Culture Action Plan calls for all Islanders to have opportunities to engage with art forms that derive from Indigenous language, world views and practices.

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