Local artist Ben Nind said he is honoured and humbled to be nominated as a board member of the Canada Council for the Arts, Canada’s national public arts funder
He is one of eight new part-time members of the council’s board of directors, announced on April 7.
Born in Ontario and raised in Yellowknife, Nind said his lifelong experience as an artist in the North prepares him for the job. He said he’s worked with a number of cultural institutions in the territory and sat on the NWT Arts Council as a member.
“I have experience in cross-cultural environments,” he said.
Nind, who is the author and producer of several plays, founded Stuck in a Snowbank Theatre in 1995, the only professional resident theatre in the Northwest Territories. He was the artistic and executive director of the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre. He also has experience in arts programming, tour and program management in remote communities.
The writer, actor, and playwright said the arts council is in the midst of big changes and he is interested in discovering where Northern artists and institutions fit into the equation.
“I’m fascinated to be able to look just at the brand new direction that the Canada Council is going now,” he said, mentioning recent changes to the council, including the injection of funding from the federal government amounting to $1.9 billion over the next five years.
“That puts enormous pressure to make sure that money is allocated wisely to both the artistic institutions and artists across the country.”
As a board member from the North, Nind said he is interested in how many artists in the territories apply for arts grants, including the obstacles they face to apply for them.
“I think it is a challenge for the Canada Council to hit the ground in the North and with enough force,” he explained. “So how do we make that easier for both the artists and the Council to be able to reach each other?”
Other prominent Canadians nominated to the board include novelist Yann Martel, artistic director of Opera on the Avalon Cheryl Hickman and broadcaster, advocate and diversity speaker Jesse Wente.
Nind will serve a four-year part-time term at the Canada Council. He said the first meeting is in June.
“I’m looking forward to dialogue with Northern artists and arts and cultural institutions from all three territories and hearing progressive ideas on the reach the Canada Council can have,” he told Yellowknifer on Wednesday.