AAS: Is there a particular thing you’re most excited for the summit delegates to see or experience as part of this?
MB: I have to admit I’m very excited about the exhibition that we’re going to have at the center, for one, as well as the Adäka Festival, which is going to be following right after the summit. It’s just that much more open to the public. And Adäka are going to be able to utilize so many of these artists that are coming in from across Canada [and internationally]. They are going to be here on site and be able to even have more performances thereafter.
I think it comes down to the experience that I had back in Norway, individual artists and those of us who work in the arts can have those really meaningful connections. Hopefully we spark some collaborations—it’s that legacy piece. If they could spark here on site and then grow, that’s real magic.
Personally, I hope that I get introduced to a number of artists that I’ve never heard of. Since we haven’t been traveling, we haven’t been able to do that level of connections recently. Even just on an incredibly selfish note of ‘I can’t wait!’ because I’ve got programming spots where I could fit them in and I know Michelle is feeling the same too.
AAS: Are there any future plans you can tell me about now?
MB: It’s not necessarily linked to the summit, but next September, we are hosting an exhibition, Arctic Highways, with funding through Nordic Bridges, curated by Sámi artists. In the show there’s thirteen Sámi artists, two Canadian and one from Alaska, Sonia Kelliher-Combs. It’s touring through a lot of Nordic embassies and Nordic museums within the states, but we’re the only stop in Canada.
It’s wild—they have stops in Washington DC, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, pretty major slots, but all of the artists are like ‘no, no, if we only choose one stop it’s Whitehorse.’ They want to come North!
A number of those artists, especially the Sámi ones, have confirmed that they’re coming to the summit, which is nice. So we’ll get a chance to meet in June and then the hope is that come September we can really continue that conversation.