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Nunavut Sivuniksavut

Nunavut Sivuniksavut is a silattuqsarvik (Inuktitut for "a place and time to become wise").

This program is dedicated to providing Inuit youth with unique cultural and academic learning experiences that will allow them to develop the knowledge, skills and positive attitudes needed to contribute to the building of Nunavut.

Since 1985, Nunavut Sivuniksavut has been affiliated with Algonquin College in Ottawa. An innovative arrangement allows NS to remain independent while at the same time providing for formal accreditation. Graduates of the program are enrolled as Algonquin students, receive Algonquin College certificates, and NS staff are college employees.

Nunavut Sivuniksavut Wallack's Art Ottawa

Portrait exercises on coloured paper with oil and chalk pastel

It is a unique 8 month college program where students learn about the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, Inuit history, Contemporary issues surrounding Inuit, English, Inuktitut, computers and cultural performing and arts. That last one is where I (and Wallack’s) come in.

Nunavut Sivuniksavut Wallack's Art Ottawa

Austin’s really precise in his drawing, and used the Sakura Drawing pen sets


Nunavut Sivuniksavut Wallack's Art OttawaThis program is amazing and so are the students. Once a week, I join them for an afternoon art class where we try out materials and techniques. Their course load is heavy, and the hope is that project classes are a bit of a break from the heavier materials they’re wading through. The students and I talk through what tools they’d like to try, and it’s my job to help them explore the techniques that interest them.

Tooma’s a naturally gifted painter.


Thanks to a partnership with Wallack’s, the students and I get access to WAY more supplies than a budget would normally allow. We also have the chance to try out a lot of materials that are actually made in Canada. The quality of these materials is the perfect level for my students to explore new techniques and decide if they’ve found their medium of choice. We also use a variety of mediums, and different students start to focus on drawing tools, painting, or clay techniques. Making the most of the budget is hugely important and I’ve been able to get all the materials we’ve needed and been super pleased with the quality.

Nunavut Sivuniksavut Wallack's Art Ottawa

If they land on something they love, Wallack’s is one of the few places that will actually get materials to Iqaluit and the surrounding area. Access is important, and when these artists find tools that work for them, it’s important that they be able to order them to more hard-to-reach areas. I am so lucky to get to hang out with this super talented group while they’re here and I love being able to bring them whatever supplies they want to dive in to. 

Okay, I have to run. There’s a room full of artists and supplies that’s calling me and these messes aren’t gonna make themselves!

Today's post comes from Brenda Dunn of Art In Jest, Ottawa based community engager who uses art and visuals as her form of communication.

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