Rural and Northern Arts Mentorship for Indigenous Artists
The Rural Art Mentorship Program (RAMP) is a ten-month online program that pairs five emerging northern and rural artists with Lita Fontaine, a professional artist, and mentor. Fontaine will share knowledge, experience, and practical help in weekly group meetings. Participants will be expected to invest another 3 hours/week in artmaking.
RAMP is a partnership between Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA) and the Manitoba Arts Network (MAN).
About the Mentor:
Lita Fontaine is of Dakota, Anishinaabe, and Metis descent. Fontaine is a Mother, Sister, Art Educator, and Visual Artist. Her mother Rose Anne Fontaine’s band affiliation is Long Plain, her father’s, Sagkeeng First Nation. Fontaine was born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, and grew up in Winnipeg’s North End. Ever since childhood, Fontaine always enjoyed the act of creation like drawing, building, sewing, and collecting recyclables.
Fontaine is a graduate of the University of Manitoba’s School of Art Diploma program and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) specializing in Inter-media (Mixed–media) at the University of Regina. Fontaine has exhibited her art in several solo and group exhibitions. Fontaine’s current occupation as Artist in Residence with the Seven Oaks School Division is to collaborate with teachers, integrating art into the school division’s curricula. In the past, Fontaine has also taught Foundation Drawing and Aboriginal Art History at the University of Manitoba’s School of Art as a Sessional Instructor.
We would like to congratulate Fran Cooper, Katlyn Schwalm, Tess Ray Houston, Kristy Janvier, and Anne Courchene for being selected as the 2021/2022 RAMP Participants
Meet the Artists:
Fran Cooper is a Manitoba interdisciplinary artist who has been creating and contributing to this Earth for over three decades. She is interested in exploring the reciprocity elements of this Earth along with human interaction in her artwork. There are various layers of meaning for her; past, present and potential future; to link her story of human experience visually.
Her work has been shown at MAWA, NorVA, Sam Waller Museum and various Northern Juried Shows. She is a true Canadian with a rich and varied cultural and genetic background from the Parkland area who now resides in The Pas, Manitoba.
Using acrylic, charcoal or oil based paints and pastels, Katlyn Schwalm has drawn mostly her whole life and picked up painting along the way.
“I think becoming more involved in a diverse and accepting environment when it comes to artistry is a big step for a lot of us; to be able to create and explore new mediums and possibly even finding new inspirations within ourselves is something that usually isn’t a thought when asked “what do you expect” – it’s something a lot of us don’t get to experience or have chance at. With being accepted into this program , I’m feeling very excited and honored to be given the chance to learn and getting a chance to work on my skill set.”
Tess Ray Houston is a multimedia Manitoba based artist who uses their special interest and past experience in photography and makeup design to capture and illustrate moments which characterizes the daily motion of they’re life.
“I’m eagerly anticipating gaining irreplaceable knowledge from a professional such as Lita Fontaine, who has already achieved what are only aspirations to me at the moment.”
Kristy Janvier, born and raised in Flin Flon and of Dene (English River First Nation), English/Irish, and Ukrainian descent, has begun exploring beadwork after 15 years of working in the entertainment industry with Disney. Kristy began by seeking out other forms of movement and dance making work based on improvisation and interaction with bodies and space, connecting to her roots through contemporary-Indigenous dance in Manitoba before her beadwork
She has toured as an invited guest with Dancers of Damelahamid with Flicker (Oct-Nov ’17) and the national/international premier of Mînowin (Sept-Nov ’19). She has also worked with Raven Spirit Dance in The Gift (2019), presented solo work at IndigDIV (2019) and Confluence (2020).
Anne Courchene is an Anishinaabe/Nehiyah self taught visual artist from Sagkeeng First Nation.
“I have been interested in art since my early school years. I paint, bead, sometimes sew. I try to draw every single day so I can improve my art and to begin to develop my own style…I am looking forward to the encouragement and connection as part of this mentorship program.”
Past: Mentorship – Artists from the Eastman Region with Brenna George
In partnership with Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA) the program pairs emerging and experienced professional artists, to provide knowledge, experience, and practical help in a learning environment. Through the program, artists develop lasting relationships with other artists in their area and learn many of the skills needed to further their growth as artists. A different region of the province is selected by the program each year. This program is contingent on grant funding.
Meet the Artists for the 2020-2021 Mentorship Program
Alexandra Ross (she/her) is a multimedia artist based Mitchell, MB, Treaty 1 Territory. She holds a B.F.A from the University of Manitoba’s School of Art (2020) with concentrations in clay, photography and print. Alexandra held her first solo exhibition at the Steinbach Cultural Arts Centre (2015) and has since participated in several group exhibitions primarily in Manitoba, Canada. Alexandra uses installations to explore themes of chaos and emergent order through both the micro lens of personal narrative and the macro lens of human impact on the environment, and the interconnection arising from the environment’s adaption.
Cyndi Wiebe of Small Creek Studio has been drawing since she could hold a crayon. She trained in graphic design, and now works from her home based studio with print media, digital and traditional illustration, and creates art in various mediums.. Cyndi also loves to teach and explore art with her students of all ages in Winnipeg & Southern Manitoba. She lives with her husband Kyle and their beautifully blended family on a little patch of prairie in southern Manitoba.
I have recently retired from my work passion in order to make time for my art passion. I live in beautiful Pinawa where nature provides daily inspiration. I enjoy playing in several different mediums. Lately I have been dancing with a clay sculpture to find likeness and with acrylic painting to find strong colour. I really am new to this art thing but I am looking forward to RAMP and to creating with new friends.
Kelly Murray started oil painting in her early 20s, then as her family grew had to change her way of creating. Kelly sews, makes cross-stitch, tole painting, paper tole, photography, scrapbooking, card making, acrylic painting, sketching, alcohol ink and watercolour paints.
Brenna George is a practicing Winnipeg-based artist. She studied art at Emily Carr College of Art and Design and exhibits her drawings, paintings and video nationally. She has taught workshops through Video Pool Media Art Centre, Forum Art Centre and was a Mentor for the MAWA Foundation Artist Mentorship program. She has received A grants from the Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canada Arts Councils. Her work is in the Collection of the National Gallery of Canada. She creates art that is humorous, visually lush, sentimentally mushy and which explores fretful thought.