An arts education program that's expanding its reach across Canada to share the message of reconciliation made its debut at Caswell Community School.
LIVE (Live Interactive Video Education) launched its Canada 150 and Beyond project on Sept. 18 at the school. Caswell will host the first of three online workshops that feature Saskatchewan Indigenous artists working with artists from other regions and Grade 3-8 students from across Canada.
"The staff and student at Caswell have benefitted from participation with LIVE Arts in the past," said Principal Justin Giesbrecht. "We were excited to host the launch event and look forward to being part of the learning and opportunities that the LIVE Arts Canada 150 program will provide to students all across Canada."
The Caswell students were part of the Sept. 26-27 presentations by hip-hop artist Brad Bellegarde, who performs as InfoRed, and David Nelson, a.k.a. Emotionz. Bellegarde conducted an initial workshop with students as part of the launch event and shared a positive message through a performance of his song What's the Worst That Can Happen.
"This song is really, really important because it is a song that is actually about resilience," said Bellegarde, who also spoke with students about the province's Indigenous languages and communities and the importance of knowledge of self with students.
Three nationally broadcast workshops will be held during the coming weeks, based from schools in Saskatchewan. The 45-minute broadcasts will be available to elementary schools across the country through a private website address. Sylvia Fedoruk School will host a broadcast Nov. 7-8 featuring the visual illustration styles of Kevin Wesaquate and Nyle Johnston.
"We look forward to sharing this innovative educational programming with classrooms across the country. This is an opportunity for Indigenous artists to discuss the topics of reconciliation in schools through the sharing of stories, and the teaching of their respective art forms," said Jay Kimball, program consultant with the Saskatchewan Arts Board. "These three programs also intend to illustrate Indigenous resilience and provide tools to the next generation of Canadians to better understand, and respect each other as we begin to understand what reconciliation could look like."
LIVE Arts Education (managed by the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Saskatchewan Ministry of Education and SaskCulture Inc.) is a distance education arts program that reached more than 30,000 Saskatchewan students in 2016.