Township of Nipigon

Capital Grant

Artist holding paintbrush and palette.

The town transformed three vacant downtown buildings to create a vibrant new space for arts and culture programs and events.

Award amount

$85,000

Award timeline

2018-2019 (6 months)

People impacted

550

Age group

Early adolescence (12-14), Adolescence (15-18), Early adults (19-25)

Catchment

Northwestern Ontario

Community size

Rural

Population served

General population

Opportunity

With no extracurricular opportunities for youth to access arts locally, the Township of Nipigon wanted to provide more arts activities for youth in the North Shore region.

Approach

Selected Grant Result: Arts, culture and heritage have appropriate spaces.

The township decided to create a new space for arts opportunities for youth aged 12 to 25. They renovated three attached, vacant buildings in the downtown core to provide an accessible, common space for arts and culture programs, events, and other opportunities for this age group.

Community impact

  • Instead of having to travel 110km to Thunder Bay, 550 youth in the North Shore region now have 1,400 sq feet of renovated space to access arts opportunities on their doorstep in the downtown core.
  • Volunteers contributed 50 hours to make this project a success.

The town renovated three attached, vacant buildings in the downtown core to create one accessible hub for arts and culture programs, events, and other opportunities for young people.

Arts and cultural activities not only bring people together and add vibrancy and spirit to communities, they can also help young people find and nurture their creative side.

According to the Ontario Culture Strategy (2015), arts and culture experiences support lifelong learning and help develop talent and skills of Ontarians of all ages.

For around 550 young people in the North Shore communities of Nipigon, Red Rock, Hurkett, Dorion, and Lake Helen in northwestern Ontario, exploring their creativity through extra-curricular arts opportunities meant a 220km round trip to Thunder Bay, where programs were available.

This lack of accessible arts opportunities meant many of the youth in this community were being raised without this vital piece of their human experience—because of where they live and/or the barriers they face.

After first using an OTF Seed grant to develop their arts and culture strategy, as set out in “The Superior North Youth Arts & Culture Strategy," Nipigon recognized that creating an appropriate space to accommodate arts and culture opportunities is a vital step in building and nurturing a vibrant arts and culture scene that engages youth, whether or not they face barriers.

Ultimately, this can help them to become leaders, volunteers, and entrepreneurs to the benefit of the community as a whole.

With the help of an $85,000 Capital grant from OTF, the town renovated three attached, vacant buildings in the downtown core to create one accessible hub for arts and culture programs, events, and other opportunities for young people.

Work began in November, 2018. The age of the buildings, and the need to combine them into one space, meant it was challenging work. With the help of six volunteers, who contributed 50 volunteer hours, the renovation was complete in May 2019.

The Edge Arts Studio and Gallery now provides 1,400 sq feet of space for creative minds of all ages to gather, create, share, and teach in a safe positive environment. As well as attending events, young people can get inspired and experiment with painting, sculpture, drawing, and designing in an informal, welcoming, and relaxed setting.

A Man in a wheelchair enjoying time outdoors.

Capital grants

OTF supports projects that provide people with suitable, accessible, and well-equipped buildings and spaces.

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