ArtsCan Circle


Business Number: 862309549RR0001

Our Mission

To encourage self-expression and self-esteem in Indigenous and Inuit children and youth in remote northern communities in Canada through a cooperative exploration of the arts.  

We do this by sending artists to facilitate week-long creative art workshops in the schools. The workshops consist of teaching drumming and numerous other instruments, songwriting, recording, singing, dancing, drumming, drama and visual arts. Children and youth are encouraged to find their voices and express themselves through their art.

In the spirit of reconciliation, ArtsCan Circle collaborates with teachers, knowledge keepers, community members, local artists and organizations to strengthen our workshops and create lasting friendships. We seek guidance from the schools on what type of artists and musicians they wish their students to learn from. Teachers expressed that the more reasons and inspiration youth have to come to school, the more likely they are to stay in school and finish their education.

ArtsCan Circle commits to returning to each community on a yearly basis.

About ArtsCan Circle

ArtsCan Circle began with the work of harmonica player Mike Stevens and now sends teams of musicians and artists to remote communities to engage youth in hands-on workshops in music, songwriting, singing, performing, recording, visual arts, sculpture, dance and drama.

ArtsCan Circle also collects donated musical instruments and establishes instrument resource centres in each participating community so the youth continue to have access to instruments. Recording studios have been set up in some communities and residents trained to operate the equipment enabling them to document traditional music and record new works.

What People Are Saying

""The kids are so amazing in the face of really incredible challenges. Their art is accessible and it's powerful. Our job is simple: to inspire these kids and give them the tools to breathe in their world and breathe out their music." "

— Mike Stevens, ArtsCan Circle Founder

"My week at Gjoa Haven with ArtsCan Circle was amazing! The kids did a performance for the entire school, the youth are so naturally gifted, kind and humble. I learned much from them! Youth fiddle players...are excited to carry on their family tradition! "

— Cindy Paul, Singer Songwriter, ArtsCan Circle Facilitator, Read More

"The artists have opened new paths of engagement to others we haven't been able to reach. It gives them a new way to express themselves in a safe environment. They bring countless musicians with different backgrounds. Each bringing new skills, which have been beneficial to all participants."

— Kenneth Sackaney, Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation Youth Int

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