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Indigenous art, film, comedy focus of Dream Big 2019

Participating artists announced for Baawating Arts Festival
2019-05-16 Northern Indigenous Artist Alliance
Designer: Andrew Wigwas (Thunder Bay). Image supplied by Northern Indigenous Artist Alliance

This Sept. 27-29, more than 40 Indigenous artists from across northern Ontario will descend on Sault Ste. Marie to celebrate northern Ontario’s top Indigenous talent with Dream Big 2019: Baawating Arts Festival.

The festival is presented by the Northern Indigenous Artist Alliance (NIAA) and will include performances, art exhibitions, and film screenings at various venues across the city.

NIAA co-founder and board member, Rihkee Strapp, says, “These Dream Big events are open to the public and are all by donation. We are very thankful to have endorsement from Chief Dean Sayers of Batchewana and so many community members that have supported the organizing of this event. The beginnings of NIAA emerged from the first Dream Big in North Bay, so it is surreal to be hosting it in Baawating in 2019!”

Dream Big 2019 kicks off Friday night (Sept. 27) with an art exhibition by Ojibway artist John Laford at Eeh jhii Bog mhe be og (commonly known as Baawating Gallery – 80 March St.); and continues Saturday (Sept. 28) at Shingwauk Auditorium with a film screening of Thunderstone Pictures’ Coming Together to Talk with filmmaker Ardelle Sagutcheway, followed by a night of comedy featuring Sudbury comedian Kevin Shawanda and Batchewana’s Two-Spirit darling Teddy Syrette.

On Sunday (Sept. 29), March Street will temporarily close to traffic to make room for an outdoor Indigenous arts market showcasing the region’s top Indigenous arts, crafts, and food vendors. The festival closes Sunday afternoon with a musical performance by Anishinaabe musician Melody McKiver.

All events are open to the public and admission is free/pay what you can, thanks to support from the Ontario Arts Council.

For more information, visit the Dream Big 2019 website at or contact