The 47th Winning Button!
Created by Katie Simmonds
Menihek High School, Labrador City
The 47th Labrador Creative Arts Festival (LCAF) was a success all around!
They had students and artists in Happy Valley – Goose Bay for the first time since Covid-19 and it was great to finally have students back on the stage at the Lawrence O’Brien Arts Center!
The Festival is an annual event that brings together students from across Labrador with artists from various disciplines to share with Labrador Youth and broaden their horizons. The Festival upholds three main principles:
- There is an expressed need for young people residing in Labrador, be they Innu, Inuit, Metis, or resident to know their past and preserve their heritage and cultures, while appreciating and respecting others’
- To provide youth with the opportunity to come together and express their creativity, understanding, and thoughts
- The Youth can obtain self-confidence, self-expression, self- esteem and develop many social interaction and critical thinking skills respectfully
The Festival also provides stage and school performances of student-written material, as well as workshops in various genres and exhibitions by visiting artists.
The LCAF is now more than a week-long festival in Goose Bay. It is now spread over all of Labrador!
The LCAF, now in its 47th Year, has always responded to the changing needs and interests of youth and of the larger Labrador community. In a time when we hope to regenerate the in-person activity of the festival, giving young people the opportunity to share ideas and creative expression once again with their peers and the larger community, we celebrate breaking the boundaries that have kept us literally within our known territories.
Boundaries sometimes function to keep people safe; sometimes they have served to establish and reinforce identity politically, as happened with the resolution of the Labrador Boundary Dispute of 1927, delineating our present-day borders. But boundaries can also reduce expectations, confine identity, and prevent free travel and expression.
The LCAF was originally conceived in the 1970’s as a forum for children from isolated communities to see each other and to share knowledge about the places they came from, in a time when such contact was rare and difficult to achieve. Breaking the boundaries of physical communities promoted communication and understanding and led to lasting relationships and an increased sense of a collective identity as Labradorians.
The pandemic lesson of the festival has been the versatility and resilience of the arts, as the committee continued to find ways to share learning and entertainment to communities through virtual connections that maintained the importance of participation in artistic expression. At the same time, the LCAF recognize that the strength of the festival has historically been in the contact with visiting artists and with other participants and breaking the recent barriers to personal interaction will be celebrated as the festival returned to its in-person format.
Breaking boundaries will allow us to examine our perceptions in terms of identity, whether that be gender, ethnicity, career expectations, or arts genres. We will explore collaborations that combine arts genres, that blur distinctions between types of artistic practice, and that prove the versatility of arts education and practice.
An examination of boundaries as barriers that keep us apart rather than reinforcing our sense of unity will once again fulfill the mandate of the Labrador Creative Arts festival, as we work to regain our space in a post-lockdown time.
This year’s festival was planned by Sandra Broomfield – the festival coordinator, and the LCAF board which included 7 other members!
Each year the Committee chooses a theme- the 2022 festival theme is “Breaking Boundaries”. To participate in the festival students are required to write an original script, rehearse it over time and perform the play in their home community and then on the stage at the Lawrence O’Brien Arts Centre in HV-GB. Each drama group receives a public adjudication from the animateur immediately after their performance. The public is invited to comment on what they have seen and how it contributed to Labrador understanding.
The 47th LCAF had the following schools write and perform their play in HV-GB:
MMC – Goose Bay
ACMS – Hopedale
BLM – Postville
JCEM – Makkovik
NLA – Rigolet
Innu Mushua School – Natuashish
HGA – Cartwright
St. Peter’s – Black Tickle
Sheshatshiu Innu School – Sheshatshiu
LSA – L’Anse au Loup: Filmed their play and sent it in
With these spectacular performances of high school students, the LCAF also had some special guests:
Meghan Greeley as the Animateur
Monika Rumbolt – Visual Artist
Andie Bulman – Comedian
Bill Flowers – Author
Anna Plaskett & Heather Cameron – Children’s Musicians
Jennifer Young & Ellen Ford – Visual Artist / Inuk Elder
Alakan Haley White – Mixed Media Artist
Rachael Borlase – Small Economy Works
These artists were busy delivering workshops to schools in the Upper Lake Melville area and to the students that travelled off the coast to perform their play.
These artists reached a total of 2548 students across Labrador!
Not only were these artists part of the LCAF, but they also had 4 Virtual Visiting artists lined up for all students in Labrador to access as well!
Remy Rodden – Children’s Singer
Daniel Rumbolt – Visual Artist
Partner – Rock Band
These four events reached over 800 students!
The LCAF also had artists reach out to other venues in Goose Bay as well:
Long Term Care Facility, Valley Dance Works, Pumpkin House, and YMCA Day Care. All these locations had multiple artists perform!
The LCAF is now in the process of hiring local artists in each Labrador community to offer workshops to their schools – to share their passion, skill, craft, and knowledge!
The LCAF is already planning for the 48th Festival – PERSPECTIVE! This version will be held in November 2023!