Whitehorse, YUKON

Diverse Arts and Cultural Scene
Did you know?

Embrace, a play by Hazel Venzon at Nakai Theatre's Pivot Festival: In Whitehorse, she explains, the Filipino community is rather new — having really enlarged over the last five to 10 years. This was exactly what she was looking for — what a new immigrant community might have been like for her mother in Winnipeg. She wanted to capture that moment in Embrace ... that leaving a place for the first time ... that coming to a new place. Venzon interviewed the Whitehorse Filipino community for their stories, what they could remember about leaving, about first seeing Whitehorse. But she also knows that, ultimately, Embrace is a very personal story. “I wanted to understand how [my mother] and I get along or didn’t get along.” In the play, “I play myself and an ‘everyone’ character.” She interacts with real, recorded conversations between her and her mother on stage.

Resource / Link: http://www.whatsupyukon.com/index.php

The Yukon International Storytelling Festival: Founded in the mid 1980s, Angela Sidney, one of the last speakers of the Tagish language, had to travel all the way to Toronto in order to tell her stories to a large audience. This prompted two Yukoners to organize the first Storytelling festival in the Yukon in 1988. 

Resource / Link: http://www.storytelling.yk.net/


The following listings include municipal, provincial, and federal arts councils/ foundations and their policies/programs for culturally diverse artists and practices.

City of Yukon Arts Policy includes..."The quality and value of local and First Nations Art will receive heightened recognition." 

Resource / Link: http://www.city.whitehorse.yk.ca/index

The Yukon Arts Council is an organization that was founded as an independent society under the Yukon Societies Ordinance in October 1971. The council has spoken on behalf of a number of cultural groups within the Yukon Territory; in 1991 it represented literary, visual, and performing artists and arts organizations, seeking to promote arts development in all areas of the Yukon Territory.

Resource / Link: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com

Canada Council for the Arts: Equity Office advances the guiding principle of equity throughout the Canada Council to positively impact the Canadian arts sector and through it, the general public. 

Advisory Committee for Racial Equity in the Arts (REAC) The Equity Office consults closely with this committee made up of arts professionals with a critical understanding of matters relating to equity.

Resource / Link: http://www.canadacouncil.ca/equity


The following listings include arts organizations that support culturally diverse artists and practices.

The Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse organizes programs that highlight First Nations Arts and Cultural events.

Resource / Link: http://www.yukonartscentre.com/programs.html

Nakai Theatre Creates development opportunities for theatre practitioners, including artistic exchange and learning locally, nationally, and internationally.

Resource / Link: http://new.nakaitheatre.com

Northern Cultural Expressions Society is  committed to providing opportunities for young people to channel their energy to artistic expression, and business development. The programs are not restricted to Yukon First Nation students; yet, the carving instructors are primarily from Northwest Coast and Athabaskan traditions. Current and past participants have been invited to represent the Yukon in other countries and are in demand to offer their services as artists, cultural ambassadors and artistic instructors.

Resource / Link: http://www.northernculture.org

Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery
The Gallery is committed to excellence in the visual arts and to bringing innovative exhibitions that explore the rich diversity of contemporary art from local, regional, national and international perspectives.

Resource / Link: http://www.yukonartscentre.com/2010_Gallery/exhibitions.html


The following listings include important dates and festival and annual events that support culturally diverse artists and practices.

Important Dates 


Black History Month -February

Asian Heritage Month -May

National Aboriginal Day – June 21


Festivals and Annual Events

Yukon International Storytelling Festival For the first Festival, storytellers came from six countries on four continents and joined Yukon native elders to tell and sing stories in 23 different languages, 16 Native languages, Dutch, French, Danish, English, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Ukrainian.  All storytellers were encouraged to tell in their first language, with a summary or full translation in English. One very important mission of the festival is to promote cultural understanding through storytelling

Resource / Link: http://www.storytelling.yk.net/

Available Light Film Festival Held in Whitehorse, Canada's largest feature film festival north of 60 is a feast of contemporary Canadian and International cinema that takes place in the heart of winter.

Resource / Link: http://yukonfilmsociety.com/alff/

Listings of festivals and annual events

Resource / Link: http://canada.travelall.com/yk/events.htm