The North has given me professional experiences in the arts that I might still be waiting for in the South. I have found a niche here that marries my skills and interests. Yellowknife is full of young, creative entrepreneurs, ready to make a difference and I really enjoy that vibe. I am grateful to be making a difference to arts and culture in the North, in a way that also feeds my soul.
Lynn's Story - Yellowknife
When people ask me where I live, I am never really sure how to answer that question. I tell them I live in Canada – and spend much of my time in Yellowknife. I grew up in Ontario, and started my arts career in BC, writing copy for artists, and feature articles about artists and other creative people, which led to helping artists market themselves. I’ve always had a deep love of indigenous arts, in particular, Inuit art. After living in BC, I moved to Nova Scotia and was fortunate to work under John Houston, of the Houston family (known for ‘discovering’ contemporary Inuit Art), as Curator and Co-manager of the internationally recognized Houston North Gallery in Lunenburg. I received an intimate education on Inuit art and had the opportunity visit many art-producing communities around the North.
Through this work, I was offered a contract for the Artistic Director of the Great Northern Arts Festival (GNAF) in Inuvik where I lived for two years. During my time there, I recognized northern artists had a tremendous gap in the understanding of the business side of art — what to charge, who buys their work, how to work with galleries, and what other artists outside of the North were creating. I decided to write a series of workshops that addressed these needs, and with that, started Points North, which eventually led to a full-time business, consulting for arts organizations and governments promoting and developing northern arts and culture.
Although I maintain my roots in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, I spend most of my time in Yellowknife. Yellowknife is the gateway to the North, so it just made sense for my business.
Recently, I was responsible for the vision and creative direction of Canada’s Northern House, the pan-territorial Olympic Pavilion for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, which resulted in a ‘Gold Medal’ win for best 2010 pavilion for the territories. My team and I also set up a retail program for visual artists in Northern House, which resulted in unprecedented exposure and retail sales for northern artists. That was a dream project!
I was the Artistic Director for Folk on the Rocks music festival in Yellowknife for 4 years, which allowed me to expand my knowledge and experience in the arts to include the performing arts — which has been very rewarding both professionally, and personally.
I think everyone should live in the North at least once in their life. It’s a magical place. I love the people and the cultural diversity — and the light, particularly further north in the Inuvik region. It’s an artist’s light, and it leaves me breathless.