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People of Good Will - Call for Proposals

People of Good Will is a community-based art project that provides space and resources in Downtown Guelph for Aboriginal, immigrant, and culturally diverse communities to share their voices, creative visions, and contemporary experiences with Guelph and the region. People of Good Will is a collaboration between the Guelph Black Heritage Society, Musagetes, and the art collective Postcommodity.

The home of this project is Guelph Black Heritage Society at 83 Essex Street in Guelph. The British Methodist Episcopal church has stood at 83 Essex Street since 1880. The church was built by abolitionists and former fugitive slaves associated with the Underground Railroad. The Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) was formed to purchase the church and preserve its historical significance by creating a cultural, historical and social centre.

People of Good Will reimagines the Underground Railroad narrative as a living history and metaphor of cultural self-determination for all Indigenous, immigrant, and culturally diverse peoples living in Guelph. Historically, Aboriginal people helped newly emancipated slaves as they arrived in the north. This project fosters a creative alliance between these groups.

Over the course of one year, a series of interdisciplinary collaborations among Guelph arts programmers, artists, organizations, and Postcommodity will take place at the Guelph Black Heritage Society. This series of collaborations will generate conversations and activities that:

1) translate the Underground Railroad into a living history of cultural self-determination;
2) examine the contemporary experiences of immigrant, Aboriginal and diverse communities;
3) develop ideas about and responses to issues that are critical, timely and relevant for immigrant, Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities;
4) examine contemporary contexts of intercultural relationships, power and determinism.

We are seeking exciting new ideas and activities for visual art, literature, music, audio, dance, performance, and interdisciplinary work. Are you an aboriginal, immigrant, or culturally diverse artist or arts programmer? Are you a community group or cultural organization practicing principles of inclusivity, solidarity, and intercultural relationship-building? We want to hear from you.

People of Good Will offers artist fees and programming budgets as well as mentorship and capacity building opportunities for participants. Tell us about yourself! Please include:

• Full name and email address
• What you are interested in: visual art, literature, music, audio, dance, performance, interdisciplinary work, or another discipline
• What you are dreaming up: in one paragraph, tell us how about your artistic or programming goals and what your work means to you and your community

Please send your information by September 2, 2014 to Postcommodity@gmail.com.

We’ll all be more innovative if we participate in collaborative webs and share more openly. Creativity is always a collaboration and it’s always a form of improvisation, written large in the social world.

– Keith Sawyer