Northern District highlights artists in new handbook

By: Shaunna Grandish October, 2011

The Northern Sport, Culture and Recreation District (NSCRD) has developed the Northern Saskatchewan Arts & Culture Handbook, a colourful, 50- page publication, which highlights many of the region’s creative talent. The NSCRD developed the handbook to help promote the many artists living in northern Saskatchewan, many of whom do not have the same opportunities to get province wide exposure, which many of their southern counterparts may receive.

According to Judy MacLeod Campbell, program manager, Culture and Community Development, NSCRD, “people often approach our organization inquiring about artists working in the North. “The many talented artists and craftspeople of northern Saskatchewan are often ‘hidden’ in their communities. The Handbook was developed to begin to identify who these artists are, and to recognize and profile their work within their communities, the north, and the province.”

She goes on to say that “The artists and communities are very proud of the handbook and their profile within it. We have also had significant interest from cultural organizations and organizations we partner with in the north, such as education and government.”

During the early months of 2011, the NSCRD created a northern, Saskatchewan-wide artist registry to develop the handbook. Artists were able to self-register. Community partners helped the Cree and Dene-speaking artists with the registration process, so that they too would be represented in the handbook.

Sixty-six artists are represented and all have a varying degree of experience in their creative field. Some are hobby artists, others are emerging artists, or professional artists. Each artist page in the handbook features the artist’s biography/statement, their medium, contact information, and photos of their artwork. “We know we have not reached all of the artists in the north in this Handbook, so we will continually collect artist profiles,” MacLeod Campbell notes.

“We hope that the benefits will include utilizing the artists (in a respectful, professional way that includes payment for service) in community programs to pass on the knowledge of the art or craft – which are often traditional culture – to the youth in their communities, and to provide these youth and community members with increased cultural and artistic opportunities and experiences,” explained MacLeod Campbell.

Also, the Handbook was designed to help schools and communities access artists for programming, community events and showcasing their artwork. It also aims to promote an understanding of the value of the art and artists, instilling a sense of community pride.

MacLeod Campbell said she also hopes that the handbook will help to link artists with programs and opportunities that are offered through organizations, such as the SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Arts Board, and the Saskatchewan Craft Council.

Although no definitive plans have been made, MacLeod Campbell said an updated edition could be in the works in the future. Currently, there are only a limited amount of copies of the handbook available for purchase for $20 including shipping. To purchase a copy of the handbook, please contact NSCRS’s mail office at (306) 425- 3127 or visit for more information.

The Northern Saskatchewan Arts and Culture Handbook was created thanks to funding from Capacity Building Grant available through SaskCulture.