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Arts programming for a new generation // Storytelling through the Arts

Mikw Chiyâm is an interdisciplinary arts program that was commissioned by the Cree School Board in 2015. The program aims to increase student retention and attachment to school by providing an alternative space for creative learning. Mikw Chiyâm aims to inspire youth by creating contexts for students to collaborate with professional Canadian Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and express their personal and collective voices through artistic expression. Artists are integrated into school and community-based programming through intensive multi-week creative residencies throughout the school year. We promote art literacy, art appreciation, and collaboration by bringing together students, artists, teachers and community members in positive learning spaces where creative initiatives can flourish. We also provide exceptional pedagogical support for artists and teachers to incorporate the projects within the school curriculum and respond to their students’ needs. This is a living program that is constantly shaped and reshaped in response to the students, teachers, artists, community and administration feedback; we are in constant communication with our teachers, artists, students, administration and community members to reflect and adapt our programming according to their feedback and reflections.

Throughout the creative residency, the artists-in-residence also produce creative work(s) that align with the projects that the students are creating and that motivates the teacher to create as well. Thus, inviting students to learn through observation and interaction with the artists’ creative processes. Beyond school hours, artists also engage community members outside of the program through after-school or weekend community events or workshops. The purpose of these workshops is to create positive links between the school and the community, provide a space for students and community members outside of the program to engage with artistic exploration and to promote non-judgemental, safe spaces for positive dialogue. The program culminates at the end of each residency with a celebration where students, artists-in-residence and teachers have the opportunity to share their work with their immediate community. In addition, students are invited to apply to the annual Mikw Chiyâm Festival; a celebratory event showcasing the dynamic talent of our students. For the 2017-18 school year, we have our arts concentration program running in five secondary schools. We are also piloting integrated programming in one elementary school.

Application inquiries: mikwchiyam@gmail.com

Applications for 2017/2018 School Year are Open. Applications Due: May 17th // 11:59 EST
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