Cultural Ambassador Program
The Cultural Ambassador Program aims to connect the arts with health and well-being by preparing young artists (17-30 years) to perform at various venues (e.g. seniors homes, libraries, interpretation centres, hospitals, schools, festivals, etc.) in their communities during the summer months. Sponsoring organizations may pay their Ambassadors’ salaries directly or apply for funding from programs such as Canada Summer Jobs.
The Cultural Ambassador Program began as a pilot project of the Soundbone Foundation during summer of 2017. With funds from the Canada Summer Job program, we hired a young musician to perform along the Kittiwake Coast from Carmanville to Gambo. She performed at seniors homes, public libraries, hospitals, private homes, community centres, recreation centres and festivals. The project was deemed a great success by all involved and we were encouraged to expand the concept the following year.
In 2018 Soundbone invited other organizations and communities to hire their own Cultural Ambassadors this summer. Music educators Jennifer Lane and Eric West, along with project manager Claudia Karrasch, provided mentorship workshops and performances in Ladle Cove. Three young performers (from Musgrave Harbour, Gambo and Forteau) took part in the event, after which they returned to their communities and performed throughout the summer, funded by the Canada Summer Job program.
The 2019 Cultural Ambassador Program involved four young artists and partnered with several organizations throughout the Province. Terra Nova National Park offered the use of its staff houses to accommodate the Ambassadors for the mentorship week (June 3-7). During this time professional artists and educators conducted musical and organizational skills workshops – developing appropriate repertoire, finding suitable locations venues and discussing other issues – as well as providing performance opportunities for the young artists. Four Ambassadors (from Makkovik, Pouch Cove, Musgrave Harbour and Torbay) took part in the Program as well as Terra Nova Park interpreters. The mentorship week was free for the participants; they were only responsible for food and transportation for the week. The Ambassadors’ salaries for the workshops were paid by the Canada Summer Jobs. Memorial University’s School of Music supported the Cultural Ambassador Program by encouraging their students’ participation, suggesting sponsoring organizations and offering a member of their staff as guest mentor. The National Arts Centre sponsored both the 2018 and 2019 mentorship weeks. Terra Nova National Park provided accommodations and workshop space. Additionally, the Soundbone Foundation receives sustaining funding from ArtsNL.
We believe the Cultural Ambassador Program has the potential to assist young artists in developing their careers while benefiting their communities in the process. If you are interested in learning more about the Program please contact us.