Announcing the fall 2023 Culture Neighbourhood Small Grants!
We are excited to share this list of grass-roots community projects that received Culture Neighbourhood Small Grants (NSG) this past fall cycle. This has been our most successful cycle to date, with a total of 33 projects in the region, 15 projects for the Clayoquot Sound NGS and 18 for the Ahousaht NSG!
As usual, we want to extend our thanks to the West Coast Community Resources Society, our community partner, for creating the cheques for community members. NSG makes empowering, accessible opportunities for residents from all demographics to make their communities more inclusive, and vibrant places to live. Check out the projects below from the Clayoquot Sound NSG program and don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to connect to a project leader and participate.
2023 Fall Culture NSG Projects (Clayoquot Sound)
Make Your Own Ornaments – Elizabeth George, Ty-Histanis
The participants will have the opportunity to make an ornament and then cut out and bead the ornament. This project will help lift community spirit and teach beading.
Christmas Decorations – Michelle George, Ty-Histanis
This project will invite community members to make their own decorations for their Christmas tree. Participants will learn how to make crocheted Santas and gnomes.
Dance Regalia - Annie George, Ty-Histanis
The goal of this project is to help community members make shawls so they can attend community and cultural events with pride.
Creating a Youth Space - Karemarena Frank, Ty-Histanis
As youth workers in our community, we were given a space to bring youth together and to create a safe and fun place to learn, hang out, and socialize with other youth in the community. It's a new space so we are starting with a clean slate. We would like to purchase more activities for the space to keep youth busy, such as games, a foosball table, art supplies, snacks, and materials for the programs we run.
Martin Family Reunion Tree – Dwayne Martin, Opitsaht
This project will consist of a family gathering and the creation of the Martin family tree. This project will be ongoing and will be an opportunity for the family (50-100 members) to gather and learn about their heritage.
Hitacu Dinner and Crafts - Daphne Peter, Hitacu
The goal of my project is to build connections back in our community. The trauma caused by residential schools has made connections hard and affected community members in different ways. I want to host a fun evening with food and crafts. I would like to invite Elders and provide honoraria for skill-sharing opportunities like cedar weaving and beading.
Harvest – Billy George, Hitacu
The vision of my project is to teach community and family members how to harvest clams. We will leave from Tofino and distribute the clams in Hitacu. I am from Ahousaht so I will gather the clams from my traditional territory, but I currently live in Hitacu. We will share the clams with Elders first and then with other community members. I will share the opportunity for members to come harvest (room for 3 or 4 on the boat). We hope to harvest enough clams to share with 10-20 families. This is how our communities used to run by sharing harvests and the cost of fuel. However, basically everything has made it hard to live our traditional values, but this small grant helps.
Beading with Marie – Marie Frank-Atleo, Ty-Histanis
I will be inviting family to make traditional gifts for people to have for cultural events. I come from a family of Chiefs, so we always need to have gifts on hand to give away. I will teach family to bead bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and lanyards.
Ucluelet Free Little Art Gallery – Carly Butler, Ucluelet
The Ucluelet Free Little Art Gallery is like a free library but for free art. With a similar small wooden structure and glass door as a free library, the free gallery is a space to share artwork with the community. The gallery will sit in my front yard on Bay Street and be accessible from the road to passersby. I have one year-long art project that will be in the gallery and then it will be open to other community art projects.
This first art project is with Iranian/Canadian artist Gita Hashemi who edited a book about the poet Rumi, 'Rumi Roaming' that includes essays by myself and local nuučaan̓uł (Nuu-chah-nulth) artist Hjalmer Wenstob (publication date end of 2024). We will have a series of postcards in the Free Little Art Gallery with text about and by Rumi in Farsi, English, and nuučaan̓uł that will also include a self-guided walking tour. There will also be a link to a website created by Gita for viewing her series of 4 videos about Rumi that follow the 4 seasons.
The Middle Eastern community in our region is small, but also fairly invisible. Most people in my neighbourhood would not know that I have Iranian heritage, and though I don't speak the language, I'm interested in making a small offering in Farsi to those in the community who do. The nuučaan̓uł component and walking tour will be about how land, language, identity, and translation are inherently complicated and intertwined.
Free Little Art Galleries (FLAG) are part of a worldwide network: https://findafreelittleartgallery.com/
Dance Aprons for Students - Gerald Frank-Perry, Tofino
This project will help to instill a sense of pride in all the youth that come to the Wickaninnish Community School, we plan to make dance skirts for all the female dancers at the school. Last year all of the previous skirts were stolen from events, and since the school has been left with none. This project is to help not only the First Nations students, but all students at the school show off what they have learned. Many of the students have been sad that they haven't had "full regalia" for events, so this will be our chance to give them full regalia to use.
Bring Youth Together – Neleeta Frank, Ty-Histanis
We have a building that was dedicated as a youth centre that we have to open. We would like to bring youth together to socialize in a healthy way. There will be youth of all ages to keep them busy and gather in a healthy environment to discourage experimenting with alcohol and drugs.
Inclusive Washroom Sign Making – Janessa Dornstauder, Ucluelet
Gendered washroom signs can perpetuate harmful stereotypes by reinforcing notions of binary gender norms, potentially excluding individuals who do not identify within the traditional male-female spectrum. Such signs can contribute to an environment that fosters discrimination and prejudice against those who do not conform to societal expectations of gender.
Coastal Queers has a goal of switching out all gendered washroom signs in the region within the next two years. I was inspired to support this goal during a recent "Queer Safe" training facilitated by Coastal Queers. Access to inclusive washroom signage is a barrier for local businesses and organizations in creating safe spaces. We've heard from those looking for appropriate signage that the options are limited and challenging to purchase on the west coast.
This project will support one inclusive washroom sign-making event hosted in the community. It will be targeted at business owners who are interested in creating inclusive signs for their washrooms. Community members can also participate in this fun meet-up and create a stock of signs. This surplus will be useful for Coastal Queers as they continue to engage with businesses in creating safe washroom spaces in the region.
Caroling on the West Coast - Courtney Johnson, Ucluelet & Tofino
Everyone loves music, and children singing Christmas carols can warm everyone’s hearts. I feel we can pick a few places to perform some songs, and perhaps even sing on the radio!
Dance Skirts for Students - Grace George, Tofino
This project is being put together by the cultural team at Wickaninnish Community School. The plan is to put together dancing skirts for the female students at the school. Over the last few years, the skirts the school once had were stolen. This project not only brings those skirts back but also instills pride in all the students who will wear them. The culture team's goal is for every student to have a full set of regalia for school events.
Bringing our families together - Margaret Thomas, Opitsaht
This project will consist of a Christmas arts and crafts night with drinks and snacks or potentially a potluck before crafting.