Ottawa Arts Council Announces the Recipients of their 2023 ActivArt Micro-Grants Program!


OTTAWA, November 23, 2023 – The Ottawa Arts Council is very pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 ActivArt Community Micro-Grants program. The Council disbursed $5000 to the artists, achieved through fundraising and donations from the community.

ActivArt was created for Ottawa’s existing and emerging artists and supports projects representing all artistic forms and practices. The grants are a 2 tiered system designed to support either a community project or an individual artist. Eligible projects include creating art that is made publicly available.

Nominations were evaluated by a jury that consisted of artists and arts professionals.

The 2023 ActivArt Micro-Grants Recipients

Neighbourhood Stream:

Inuit Women Sewing Centre
Visual Art – Indigenous Craft
The Inuit Women Sewing Centre plans to acquire soapstone for their WorkShop program, facilitating the creation of soapstone qulliqs by Inuit men, women, and youths. The ActivArt Neighborhood micro-grant will help their community purchase these tools and materials so they may continue to participate in these important cultural activities and arts practices.

Moov Ottawa Dance
Moov Ottawa Dance, led by Artistic Directors Alea and Arnaldo, is launching the “$5 Open Street Dance Practice,” a 7-week event aimed at fostering community connections among Ottawa Street Dancers, with a focus on BIPOC representation but open to all backgrounds and ages. The project provides a crucial space for dancers to collaborate, share, and build relationships in a post-covid world through weekly practice sessions and will be supported by the ActivArt Neighborhood micro-grant.

Artist Stream:

Elaine Tamblyn Watts
Literary Arts – Poetry Launch Event
Elaine Tamblyn Watts has received funding from the ActivArt Artist micro-grant to organize a launch event for the self-published poetry chapbook, “The All-New Filaments,” at Happy Goat Coffee on Laurel Avenue, featuring a live reading with multimedia components. The event, prioritizing COVID safety, aims to showcase 15 unreleased poems, combining spoken word with visual elements projected on a screen.

Sarah Ivanco
Literary Arts – Zine on queer lived experience
Sarah Ivanco, with support from the ActivArt Artist micro-grant, is planning a self-published magazine (zine) that explores the diversity of queer bodies, sexuality, and sensuality, featuring visual and literary works from local Ottawa queer artists. Through an open call process, they aim to collect submissions ranging from photography to poetry that highlight various aspects of queer experiences, relationships, and intimacy. The final zine will be distributed physically to local organizations and available as a free digital download, fostering community engagement, supporting artists, and contributing to the artist’s multidisciplinary development.

Dominic Bercier
Francophone Disabled Artist – Graphic Zine |
Dominic Bercier, a disabled francophone Ottawa creator with 35 years of experience in comics and graphic novels, would like to acquire a drawing tablet with a stylus for the creation of a graphic novel titled “Psych Ward (Confidential)”. The ActivArt Artist micro-grant will help to enable Dominic to streamline the creative process; producing visual art, lettering, tones, and design in one place, ultimately contributing to a greater understanding of mental health challenges.

Sidney Paul
Indigenous Craft – Beading
Sidney Paul, a member of St. Mary’s First Nations reserve, sought the ActivArt Artist micro-grant to purchase beading supplies such as size 10 & 11 glass seed beads, stiff felt, and acrylic cab centers. Additionally, Sidney plans to acquire fabric for ribbon skirt making, aiming to create regalias for herself and her daughter to participate in future pow wows. Sidney is dedicated to preserving and sharing Indigenous culture and traditions, ensuring a connection to heritage for future generations who may not have the same on-reserve experiences. The ActivArt Artist micro-grant will help to support Sidney in continuing and passing on these cultural art skills.

Anna Coulombe
Down Syndrome Artist – supplies
Anna Coulombe, an Ottawa-based artist with Down Syndrome, is starting a project to create a piece for sale with the aim of raising funds for charity. With a passion for expanding her art practice and contributing to the larger community, Anna seeks to use her artistic talent to make a meaningful impact through charitable giving. The ActivArt Artist micro-grant will support Anna in purchasing materials for her creative process.

Iyore Edegbe
Digital Arts – Web Series
Iyore Edegbe is planning create the creative proof of concept for her groundbreaking web series, “F is For Fcked Up?” The series follows two young Black female artists from Ottawa navigating life and love in Montreal, uniquely challenged by not speaking French. Utilizing a visually engaging comic book photography style, the proof of concept aims to vividly capture the series’ essence, facilitating potential investor and collaborator engagement. The ActivArt Artist micro-grant will support visual concept development, creative collaboration with skilled artists, and is expected to lay the foundation for “F is For Fcked Up?” to become a culturally significant and resonant web series.

Geoffrey Dollar
Dance and Disability Arts/Queer Arts
Geoffrey Dollar, an emerging Contemporary Dance Artist based in Ottawa, is receiving support from the ActivArt Artist micro-grant to support the extended development of his dance-theatre solo, “InSight.” This powerful piece explores the lived experience of a visually impaired dance artist through spoken word and contemporary dance. The grant will fund in-studio rehearsal sessions, including the creation of additional movement sequences and French text, aiming for a full-length debut in April 2025, with the eventual co-presentation by Aroha Fine Arts. The project aims to enrich Ottawa’s dance sector and provide audiences with a unique, visceral exploration of disability and artistic expression.

Xandria Reece
Music – Caribbean
Xandria Reese, a Black, queer Guyanese-Canadian artist, envisions using the ActivArt Artist micro-grant to deepen her connection with her cultural history through music. Recognizing a lack of spaces celebrating Caribbean art in Ottawa, she plans to purchase DJ equipment and software, learning from local Black and Brown Caribbean DJs to create music that resonates with her heritage. Additionally, Xandria aims to invest in learning steel pan drums, preserving this cultural knowledge as a first-generation immigrant and incorporating it into her DJ music, which will be a fusion of various Black art genres.

We thank everyone who applied. We hope to be able to continue the program in 2024 to support and champion local creatives. The arts community is in need of support for artists toward their creative practices – and, with your help, we can answer the call!

Please consider making a donation. It will be used to help create an environment where equity and diversity are celebrated, and artistic achievement is fostered, recognized and rewarded.
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For media inquiries:

Joni Hamlin
Communications and Development Manager
Ottawa Arts Council