A groundbreaking arts partnership looks to the past & future for new dialogues between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada

Ottawa, April 29 , 2015 – The Canada Council for the Arts, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (The Circle) today announced the launch of a new, cross-sector funding partnership to support artistic projects that explore the ongoing process of conciliation and reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada. 

About {Re}conciliation:
This unique initiative will promote artistic collaborations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists, investing in the power of art and imagination to inspire dialogue, understanding and change. Council will administer the {Re}conciliation initiative. A call for proposals will be issued in late May 2015. Interested artists and arts organizations will be invited to submit proposals for project funding up to $75,000.  This initiative precedes the release of the much-anticipated report from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and seeks to help artists and Canadians alike reflect upon, and help repair historic injustices

The partnership also highlights Council’s recent commitment to building a vital and engaged new Aboriginal program as part of the upcoming transformation of its national arts funding programs
“Reconciliation between Aboriginal peoples of this country and non-Aboriginal Canadians is a defining issue for the future of our country,” said Canada Council Director and CEO, Simon Brault. “We not only believe that the arts can bring greater understanding to the issue and will highlight the unique voices of Canada’s Indigenous artists, but also lead to new and constructive dialogues on justice and healing.”

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's historic work offers Canada an opportunity to reshape relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. Philanthropy and the arts have important roles to play in supporting creative collaboration in forging a culture of respect and reciprocity,” said Stephen Huddart, President and CEO of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.

“Reconciliation in Canada is a process in its infancy, and will need to continue for many years. It will be collaborations, partnerships and individuals working in all fields –committed to the process, which keep the issues before the Canadian public –that will eventually lead to systemic change. In that spirit, it is an honour and a privilege to be part of this collaboration alongside the Canada Council and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation,” said Victoria Grant, Chair, The Circle.

Canada Council for the Arts
The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national public arts funder. We champion and invest in artistic excellence so that Canadians may enjoy and participate in a rich cultural life. In 2013-14 we allocated $153.6 million dollars towards artistic creation and innovation through our grants, prizes and payments. We also conduct research, convene activities and work with partners to advance the sector and help embed the arts more deeply in communities across the country. We are responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future for Canadians. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
Established in 1937, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation engages Canadians in building a more innovative, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient society. The Foundation’s purpose is to enhance Canada’s ability to address complex social, environmental and economic challenges. We accomplish this by developing, testing, and applying innovative approaches and solutions; by strengthening the community sector; and by collaborating with partners in the community, private, and public sectors. 
The Circle 
The Circle is an open network to promote giving, sharing, and philanthropy in Aboriginal communities across the country. We connect with and support the empowerment of First Nations, Inuit and Métis nations, communities, and individuals in building a stronger, healthier future.


Media contacts:           

Canada Council for the Arts
Mireille Allaire, Public Relations Officer
613-566-4414, ext. 5226 or 613-218-0737 (cell)

The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
Laurence Miall, Director of Strategic Communications

The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
Thea Belanger, Manager, Communications & Engagement
613-236-2664, ext. 368