Blog / Old Fire Hall

Risky Business: Inside Look at how Performing Arts directors choose what you see

Risky Business: Inside Look at how Performing Arts directors choose what you see

If you've ever wanted to know the kind of vision that goes into developing a festival or a performing arts season--now is the time for you to find out?  How DO these few people decide WHICH shows will sell in the Yukon?  What helps make their decisions?  Do they hand out surveys asking YOU questions?  Or do they have an insight to Whitehorse patrons that we don't know?  Is it a Crystal Ball?  Or is it a lot of planning and  designing that goes into making these decisions?

When putting together a major festival like Frostbite, or ALFF, or Pivot---is it just a combination of artist availability and price? 

How would you decide which music acts might be popular in the Yukon? 

Is Taste shared?

Can one person KNOW what YOU might like? 

Well, someone has to make those choices in organizations.  You have to have someone(s) in every performing arts organization that makes the kind of fortune-telling guesses that create a successful season.  How do they do it?  What are they thinking about when they decide?  Are they trying to mold your preferences, or are they molded BY your preferences? 

Get inside the minds of four Artistic Directors from Nakai, Yukon Arts Centre, Frostbite, Yukon Film Society and Gwaandak Theatre (yes, four people, five organizations).  Find out how they make choices. Remember, all five are non-profit organizations that exist on grants as well as on ticket sales, aiming to please granting agencies, boards as well as patrons. 

Maybe you'd like to be an Artistic Director someday.  Maybe you just want to know who's to credit for bringing in a show you LOVED (or why they brought one you HATED).  Maybe you just want to know WHAT THEY'RE THINKING.

The Mind of the Artistic Director.  It is a fascinating place.  Starring Eric Epstein, David Skelton, Patti Flather and Andy Connors--moderated by Miche Genest.

For this panel discussion, the Artistic Directors may reveal their tips, their tricks, their thoughts, their fears, their best and worst moments, and how complicated it all is choosing what comes to the Yukon.

Come join us!  Bring questions!  Find out HOW IT ALL WORKS (or doesn't).... WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 5:30pm, OLD FIRE HALL.

Where are the Queers in History? AGOKWE and the ARTTALK: Queer Creative Leadership in the Arts

Where are the Queers in History? AGOKWE and the ARTTALK: Queer Creative Leadership in the Arts

“Within the typical secondary school curriculum,  homosexuals  do not exist.   They are ‘nonpersons’ in the finest Stalinist sense. They have fought no battles, held no offices, explored nowhere, written no literature, built nothing, invented nothing and solved no equations.  The lesson to the heterosexual student is abundantly clear: homosexuals do nothing of consequence. To the homosexual student, the message has even greater power: no one who has ever felt as you do has done anything worth mentioning.”
                                                                                                                                                                                    -Gerald Unks, editor, The Gay Teen, p. 5. From Famous Gay People.

LGBT + folks, or the queer community, weren’t always considered the edge of society, or nonpersons of history.  At many points in history, being gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, queer, was celebrated, and queer people had positions of power and importance in communities, given that they lived somewhere in the middle of genders, sometimes believed to be encompassing both genders, or being “two-spirited”.  They were spiritual leaders, political leaders, warriors, advisors, prominent in their communities--- whether that was early Celtic or First Nations people, or early Europeans—they were there—leading, helping, guiding.  And then something changed and queer folks hid their identities, their stories, to survive.

But you might have heard of some of them: Alexander the Great, Emperor Hadrian, Sappho, King Richard the Lionhearted, Julius and Augustus Caesar, Aristotle, Socrates, Erasmus, King James of the King James Bible, Christina of Sweden, Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Roosevelt, Queen Anne, Marie Antoinette, Margaret Fuller, and more modern names like Dag Hammerskjold (UN Secretary), Josephine Baker, Isadora Duncan, Frida Cahlo, Ellen Degeneres, Sir Ian McKellan, Gene Robinson, Mary Glasspool, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Raymond Burr, Rudolf Valentino, Montgomery Clift, Tab Hunter or George Takei.  And don’t get me started in literature—I could design an entire semester's syllabus for an American Literature class that would include many of the (American) greats and nobody would question that I covered the important authors.  

These are the recorded names, but many more from the LGBT community have contributed to history who weren’t recorded, but who were an integral part of their society.  How important are these stories—these people—to our society?  Are they a part of EVERY person’s story in some way?  How can we encourage our LGBT youth to take leadership roles in today’s society—and how can we help society encourage LGBT youth to see themselves with just as much potential for leadership as any person?

In conjunction with AGOKWE, the Dora Award winning play from Waawaate Fobister  (details below), please join us for a panel discussion on Queer Creative Leadership in the Arts discussing the history of LGBT people in leadership, First Nation leadership as well as general leadership, in society, but especially in the Arts---at the OLD FIRE HALL, SATURDAY, JAN 26, 3pm.  This talk features:

Erin Corbett
Often focusing on gender roles and sexuality, Corbett uses video and visual arts to explore the whimsy of queer theory. Her works have been shown in Whitehorse, Vancouver, Montreal and China.

Waawaate Fobister
An award-winning actor and playwright. In 2009, his production of Agokwe — a one-man play which he wrote and starred in — won six Dora Awards. He is also a choreographer, dancer and producer. A proud Anishnaabe from Grassy Narrows First Nation, he is a graduate and winner of the Distinguished Performance — Male award from Humber College’s Theatre Performance Program. Agokwe is presented by Naki Pivot Festival and the Yukon Arts Centre on January 25.

Duane Gastant' Aucoin
An award winning 2-Spirited Tlingit/Acadian Performing Artist from Teslin, Yukon. One of the early pioneers of the 2-Spirited Arts Movement he celebrates this year the 10th anniversary of "Children of the Rainbow" which won the Audience Favourite Award at the 2003 Vancouver Queer Film Festival. He is currently his Yanyeidi Clans representative on the Teslin Tlingit Executive Council and a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Jerome Stueart
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer. His work has been heard on CBC and published in Geist, Strange Horizons, Fantasy, and various anthologies and magazines. He earned his PhD at Texas Tech University in English and teaches a Writing Faith Workshop at the Whitehorse United Church. His gay Christian resource page, Talking Dog, gives churches and individuals ways to work through the coming out process. He is working on his first novel.

For more information, contact Jessica 393 7109 or gallery (at) yac (dot) ca

This ArtTalk is being offered in conjunction with AGOKWE, Waawaate Fobister’s play about “gay love on the rez”—that earned him 6 coveted DORA Awards!   Come see Agokwe either Friday, JAN 25 or Sat JAN 26 at 8pm.

Agokwe—meaning “two- spirited”—is Waawaate Fobister’s tale of social isolation, lost traditions, and a community struggling to redefine itself wrapped in a queer love story about two teenage boys from neighbouring reserves, an all nation hockey tournament, and Nanabush, the trickster.
Please note: some mature content
Agokwe is part of Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival happening this week.
Tickets are still available to see AGOKWE while it’s here—only two nights.  Call 667-8574, our box office, or go by Arts Underground, or online at to get tickets.

Agokwe is sponsored in part by BURNT TOAST CAFÉ and EDGWATER HOTEL. And is a Northwestel Art Lovers Series event!

Thank you to all our sponsors! 

Art Talk at the Old Fire Hall: Oh Canada, an exhibition by MASS MOcCA

Art Talk at the Old Fire Hall: Oh Canada, an exhibition by MASS MOcCA

Please join us for a panel discussion discussion of the exhibition Oh Canada, currently on display at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art ( MASS MoCA). The panel will feature Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery Director Mary Bradshaw, and Yukon artists Joseph Tisiga and Tytus Hardy.

The largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever produced outside Canada, Oh Canada features work by more than 60 artists who hail from every province and nearly every territory in the country, spanning multiple generations and working in all media. MASS MoCA's curator Denise Markonish spent the last three years crisscrossing Canada to view hundreds of exhibitions in museums and galleries, visiting over 400 artists' studios, and making connections with a full range of artists working in Canada today.

Culture Days 2012

Culture Days 2012

It’s Culture Days in Canada! On September 28, 29 and 30, culture is taking over from coast to coast to coast, and dozens of spots around Whitehorse will be offering Yukoners an incredible variety of fun, FREE activities.

With free museum visits, trolley rides, live music, family-friendly art-making activities, artist demonstrations and studio tours, book readings and spoken word performances, and Doors Open events at historic sites across the city, there’s something to pique the interest of every kind of culture lover.

At the Yukon Arts Centre Art Gallery, we’ll be hosting a very special Culture Days Kids Kreate session. On Saturday, September 29 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, local artist Helen O’Connor will be teaching us the traditional art of wet felting. We’ll also be taking inspiration from the colourful fibre art of Louise Hardy, on view all day in our Public Gallery. (All welcome - Kids Kreate is drop in; all kids must be accompanied by an adult!).  Kids Kreate is generously sponsored by Lotteries Yukon.

If you’re downtown, stop and visit the Old Firehall and get to know the cultural community of Whitehorse. From 12:00 to 5:00 on Saturday, there will be great activities for the whole family including: live music, face painting, the Cultural Expo, a market by the Potluck Co-op Society, and lots more. Doors Open Yukon will give visitors a chance to visit local historical sites all weekend, free of charge. And for the curious, our famous Mystery Tour will be departing from the Old Fire Hall at 11:50, 1:40, and 3:30. Each tour is under two hours and will give tour-goers some fascinating behind-the-scenes looks at a number of cultural destinations across the city.

While you're out exploring the city, keep an eye out for Bright Spots:


Venues displaying these stickers are Culture Days destinations, open to the public and offering great events! You can access the full list of events for the city here. With so much to do, why not plan your weekend using the handy My Culture Days tool? Sign up and you can create, print and share your own personal event schedule so you don’t miss a moment of fun.

See you there!

Jay White, Chilkoot Trail Artist in Residence coming to OFH

Jay White, Chilkoot Trail Artist in Residence coming to OFH

This is going to be great!  Animator, Jay White, went over the Chilkoot Trail as part of the Chilkoot Trail Artist-in-Residence!  He just got back!!
Check out his Talk about his experience, and some AWESOME art, at the Old Fire Hall, 5pm, THURS, Aug 16.  Should be a great time!

Jay White likes to bring his imagination
to life through oil and watercolour paintings, animated
short films, and through interdisciplinary collaboration
with other artists.

His current animated short film, The Perfect Detonator,
premiered at the St. Louis International Film Festival, and
is now showing in festivals across the world.

THE CHILKOOT TRAIL ARTIST-in-RESIDENCE is a collaborative creation from Parks Canada, the US National Park Service, the Skagway Arts Council, and the Yukon Arts Centre!

Two countries,
two arts groups,
two park services,
two artists

---one big, long, exhausting, beautiful trail between them!