By Trevor Greyeyes
Manitoba has a large and growing Indigenous arts community but there is the Manitoba Arts Council and their program Indigenous 360.
Tracey Longbottom is the Program Consultant. Here’s her brief bio and questions I have asked her.
Tracey is originally from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation and has worked with the Manitoba Indigenous community for over 25 years. She started her artistic career at age 17 as an artist and printmaker at the Wee Gwas Art gallery located in her home community.
She enrolled at the School of Art at the University of Manitoba, and later became the first Indigenous curatorial intern at the Winnipeg Art Gallery working with the Inuit art collection. As an independent curator she developed two exhibitions “The Prolific Ashoona family of Cape Dorset” and “Full Circle”. Since 2008 she has been the Indigenous 360 program consultant at the Manitoba Art Council located in downtown Winnipeg on Treaty One territory.
“Here at the Manitoba Arts Council we are committed to an approach that respects and recognizes the distinct worldview and creative culture of Indigenous communities, while aiming to make Indigenous artistic expression a source of pride for all Manitobans.”
How long has Indigenous 360 been around?
The Indigenous 360 program has been in existence since 2018, however MAC has offered programming specifically for Indigenous applicants since 2003. One fun fact is that this program was named by Dave Mcleod of NCI, who was a member of our Indigenous Advisory group at the time we were developing the new program.
Indigenous 360, how is it unique?
The program exclusively funds Indigenous applicants who are based in Manitoba.
This program funds a wide spectrum of activities from creation to completion and everything else in between. For instance, artists can apply to create new artwork such as writing a book or creating a carving made of wood or antler.
The program also supports artists at all career levels. One common project is for an emerging artist to embark on a mentorship with a more established artist
Another common activity of the program is applying to present work to an audience, such as a production of a play, a screening of a film, or a concert of music.
Artists can travel all over the world with this grant to feature their work at festivals, exhibitions, residencies, and conferences.
However, the most common projects being awarded are often workshops held within our own Manitoba communities. Those include teaching traditional artforms such as regalia creation, ribbon skirts, or beadwork.
It is the only program at MAC that is reviewed solely by Indigenous assessors who make the decisions on what projects receive funding. These assessors would be the Indigenous artists, Knowledge Keepers and arts/cultural professionals who work at Indigenous artistic organizations.
We recognize that there is a long tradition of vibrant artistic expression and experience present within our community, so we have made a real commitment to bridge the gaps and bring our original peoples’ artistic and cultural practices back to the forefront where they rightfully belong.
MAC is working hard towards reconciliation and addressing some of wrongful colonial practices of our past, which was really grounded in an outdated Euro-centric lens of “artistic excellence”. This has translated into a significant increase in funding to the Indigenous 360 program in recent years as a way to address this inequity.
How does someone apply?
There are two ways to apply. If you are comfortable with using a computer and have access to internet, then we recommend that you apply through our online grants application portal called Manipogo which can be found on our website www.artscouncil.mb.ca
The first step would be to register, or to create a profile within the system. You will be asked a series of questions, then you would upload a artistic bio or an artistic resume (not employment resume). We also have a lot of resources available on our website on directions how to apply, as well as video tutorials.
If you do not have internet access, or are not so technically inclined, you can request a paper application to be mailed out to you.
What is the best part about your job?
I personally love working with the artists and being along for the journey of seeing them accomplish their artistic goals and creative dreams.
So many emerging artists that I have worked with over the years have received funding from this program and are now recognized internationally for their work and are in turn, influencing the next generation of Indigenous artists. So, it is really an exciting time to be witnessing this level of artistry in our Manitoba Indigenous communities.
If you are a Manitoba based Indigenous artist and you have an awesome project idea or artistic event that you would like to do in your community, then then please feel free to contact me for more information at 204-945-3180 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The next deadline for the Indigenous 360 program is on Oct 25.