Blog / Archives / August 2015

Bringing it home: Ivan Coyote

Bringing it home: Ivan Coyote

It’s not enough to say that I am excited to bring our show, Tomboy Survival Guide home to the place I was born and raised. It’s so much more for me than just exciting.

I’m going to try and put it all into context for you. I planted the trees and shrubs outside of the Yukon Arts Centre, in the summer of 1992, I think it was, when I was working for Iditarod Landscaping. I helped lay the bricks in the little outdoor amphitheater just in front of the big glass doors, I laid the sod and watered and mowed the grass there. I was 23 and working on my first book. I remember sitting there on my lunch hour, looking out over my hometown and dreaming that one day I would be an artist and a writer, and one day I might get to perform there, inside on that big fancy stage.

From the YAC archives: a crowd gathers in the garden for Yukon Arts Centre's opening day, 29 May 1992.
From the YAC archives: a crowd gathers in the garden for Yukon Arts Centre's opening day, 29 May 1992.

Well it’s 23 years later and those little shrubs are well rooted trees now and my eleventh book is due out next fall and I’m bringing three of the best musicians I know with me to perform on that stage on September 17th. Tomboy Survival Guide is the most intimate, personal show I have ever written. The stories are rooted in my Whitehorse childhood, in my Yukon blood, they are written in the clay cliffs and the Qwanlin Mall and the alleys behind my grandmother’s old house on Alexander Street.

Coyote, Willekes, Zori, and Gorman perform as Tomboy Survival Guide. Photo courtesy of Ivan Coyote.
Coyote, Willekes, Zori, and Gorman perform as Tomboy Survival Guide. Photo by Fubarfoto.

None of the other members of my band have ever had a chance to see Whitehorse, Sally was born in Iraq and grew up in the Middle East and then Toronto, and Pebbles hails from Amsterdam.

I am bringing the far-flung parts of my life and art home, and telling stories born and raised in Whitehorse, just as I am so very proud to be. Most of my family will be there with us. I hope you can come and be there, too.


Ivan Coyote was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. An award-winning author of eight collections of short stories, a collection of essays, one novel, three CD’s, four short films and a renowned performer. 

Tomboy Survival Guide is made up of Ivan Coyote, bass player Pebbles Willekes, drummer Sally Zori, and trumpet player Alison Gorman. They are bringing the show to the Yukon Arts Centre on September 17, 2015. 

Artwork Wednesday: Jenni House Residency

Artwork Wednesday: Jenni House Residency

Heather Bell Callaghan will be occupying the Jenni House Residency, located in Shipyards Park. The August residency focuses on Craft, as a part of the Craft Year 2015 initiative which is a year-long, nation-wide festival aimed at promoting craft as a key player in Canadian Culture. The Jenni House Residency, for the month of August, is presented in partnership with Yukon Film Society and Yukon Arts Centre.

Callaghan will be focusing on creating regalia inspired by the Chilkoot Trail’s history of trade routes during her Chilkoot Trail Residency (July 8th – 23rd). Heather will also be continuing her progress on a ten foot painting for Walking with Our Sisters which incorporates more than 60 moccasin tops, sometimes called ‘vamps’, ‘uppers’ or ‘tongues’.

 ‘Heather Bell’ Callaghan is a local girl who loves the outdoors and was born and raised in the Southern Yukon. She is of Inland-Coastal Tlingit and Norwegian/Irish Ancestry and takes pride in learning about her roots from both of her parent’s cultural backgrounds. Her  first artistic mentor was her Grandma, Tlingit Artist Eliza Bosely (nee Fox), who lovingly shared with her Granddaughter various technical skills, and design ideas. From the Eagle-Killerwhale clan, Heather’s Tlingit Woven Art has been accepted by the Yukon Permanent  Art Collection and is currently on exhibit and is currently in the Found, Forged and Fused exhibit at the Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery in Whitehorse. She has been part of exhibits in Vancouver and some amazing international cultural exchanges where she has  been able to share art with communities in New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii and other places she has visited in Central America, Africa and others. She loves to create traditional regalia, as it always brings her back to her roots with her Grandma Eliza, and helps to  contribute, alongside other artisans, to the cultural community of our northern home. Callaghan’s philosophy with art and life is “the more you learn, the more you realize there is to learn”.

 Goals of Residency

• Provide Artists with free studio space to design, create, and promote artistic creation projects; with a focus on craft for the August residency.
• Encourage the cultural intendment of the Pioneer Hotel/Jenni House as a space for reinterpretations of Yukon heritage through artistic expression;
• Promote interaction within the community with one open-house per residency to be coordinated jointly between YFS, the Artist, and the Sponsoring Organization Yukon Arts Centre.

Heather will host an Open House and Public Workshop on August 27th, 2015 from 5:00PM to 7:00PM.