Evaluation of the Suite of Aboriginal Arts Programs - Final Summary Report

Proactive Information Services and Program Evaluation and Beyond

Canada Council for the Arts

Aboriginal Reports

July 2015


Over the past 20 years, the Canada Council for the Arts provided direct support to Aboriginal artists and arts organizations through a number of targeted programs. The Council saw this 20thanniversary as an opportunity to review the impact of these programs in order to strengthen Council’s support going forward. Therefore, to ensure the relevance and effectiveness of future programming support, the Council undertook an evaluation of the suite of Aboriginal Arts programs. The evaluation was managed by the Research and Evaluation Section and undertaken by a team of external evaluators. This comprehensive two-year evaluation helps the Council better understand the impact of its work and tell the story of how this investment has served Aboriginal artists, organizations and communities since 1996.

The primary objectives of the evaluation were:

  • To examine whether the programs’ objectives are still relevant,
  • To explore and assess accomplishments,
  • To document impacts of the programs on Aboriginal artists, organizations, and communities.

The evaluation employed multiple methods, both qualitative and quantitative. The Final Summary Report triangulates the findings from the main lines of inquiry – a file review, an on-line survey and case studies.

Some of the important findings are:

  • Applications from Aboriginal artists more than doubled over this time period
  • More than half of individuals and organizations identify their practice as multi-disciplinary
  • 100% surveyed believe in the importance of dedicated programs for Aboriginal artists
  • The most frequently reported outcome was “Aboriginal artists and arts organizations have increased knowledge and capacity”
    • Individuals also identified ‘self-definition’, ‘skills development’ and ‘having dedicated time to create new work’ as important outcomes
    • Organizations reported ‘inter-generational and cross-community sharing of knowledge and skills’ and ‘development of internal capacity’ as their impacts

One foundational piece of the evaluation was the creation of the ‘Pathway,’ - an indigenous expression of a logic model - based on the Medicine Wheel and representative of Aboriginal ways of knowing. It was developed through in-depth consultation and will inform future program considerations.

The report makes a number of recommendations. The Canada Council has accepted all them and is implementing them in the new program.

Final Summary Report [PDF, 328.1 KB]