This City V: Building Together
Crazy Dames with the Yellowknife Artist Run Community Centre

Building Together’ was an interactive public engagement project in Yellowknife that asked participants to share their visions for an inclusive city. Crazy Dames led an interactive workshop on inclusive and creative place-making and participants built a collaborative and immersive art installation. This project was rooted in community, with a large focus on community outreach to schools, city planners and other city staff and community organizations.

About This City V

In Yellowknife, a city of approximately 20,000 inhabitants, homelessness is undeniably disproportionate and affordable housing options are limited. 

This City is an annual project by Yellowknife Artist Run Community Centre that invites artists to explore the complex issues within the city and find creative solutions to community building and activating unused spaces in the downtown.  

YK ARCC invited the Crazy Dames to participate in the fifth annual year of This City to take over the former BMO space in Centre Square Mall. We proposed a project that addressed the theme of inclusion in the City.

For a week and a half in early October 2017, we invited Yellowknife residents to build together and explore the question – ‘what makes an inclusive city?’. This included a series of workshops (From Stories to Art) which asked residents to share stories about their experiences in Yellowknife and contribute to an immersive art installation that transformed the space and set the stage for further activation of the space. 

We worked with many members of the Yellowknife community. Programming included:

- 7 school workshops on site, with an additional on-site visit to a school in Dettah, a Dene First Nations community located just outside of Yellowknife;

- 7 community drop-ins where members of the general public and community groups could create artwork (This included many local artists and the Yellowknife Association for Community Living);

- Community-led/artist-led workshops and events in the transformed space. This included:

Dene Nahjo Urban Hide Tanning Camp 2017 Highlights

Artist and Dene Nahjo founding member Melaw Nakehk'o presented on the 2017 hide tanning camp and led a discussion on Indigenous cultural resurgence in the context of reconciliation in Canada.

Community Singing with Mary Kelly of Music Interchange

Uniting our voices using old and easy-to-learn new community-themed songs, we experimented with different vocal parts and ways of singing in a group.

Building Personal Strength with MIRAJ featuring Taiga Yoga

Community members were invited to join a yoga class with Tiaga Yoga, or just come and close their eyes and listen as Harrison Roberts and Sami Blanco of MIRAJ added their ethereal sound to space.

Film screening with WAMP

A selection of short films courtesy of Western Arctic Moving Pictures.

Creative Planning 101 

Our own Sara Udow, community and cultural planner, led a conversation on the role of creativity in planning communities.

Bookbinding Workshop 

Jennie Suddick led a book-binding workshop using recycled materials to create sketch books with community members.

Check out more photos below!

Founded in 2011, the Yellowknife Artist Run Community Center (YK ARCC) is a non-profit organization facilitating the production and presentation of Yellowknife and NWT artwork. It brings artists and organizations of all art forms together and encourages collaboration, with a vision for a community where individuals are empowered to create positive change through art. 

Visit the YK ARCC website for more information:

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