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DAREarts to honour Gord Downie with Cultural Lifetime Achievement Award and a Downie Wenjack Legacy Room at the DAREarts Leadership Awards on May 4

by pmnationtalk on May 2, 20171315 Views

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(May 2, 2017) – DAREarts today announced that it will honour Canadian artist Gord Downie with a Cultural Lifetime Achievement Award at the DAREarts Leadership Awards gala on Thursday, May 4, 2017 at The Carlu. In Gord’s absence, the award will be received by his brother, Mike Downie, Producer, Director, Writer and Co-Founder of The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.

The gala will also feature a Downie Wenjack Legacy Room for all guests to visit, which will display artwork, music videos, photography and videography by Indigenous youths from Ogoki Post (Marten Falls) FN, Webequie FN, Attawapiskat FN, Tuktoyaktuk, Vancouver and Sipeknekatik FN who have participated in DAREarts programs.

The Downie Wenjack Legacy Room is a space where people have the opportunity to learn the story of Chanie Wenjack, the history he represents, and be inspired to act in the name of reconciliation. Chanie Wenjack was 12 years old when he died, fleeing a residential school. By inviting others to set up their own Downie Wenjack Legacy Room, the goal is to continue the conversation that Chanie’s story begins about residential schools, and help the healing process through a combination of awareness, education and action.

“DAREarts is pleased to honour Gord Downie for his work in raising awareness for reconciliation for our Indigenous people,” said DAREarts Founder & President Marilyn Field. “The Downie Wenjack Fund and DAREarts share similar values and goals of working towards reconciliation in Canada and bridging the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous cultures. This is an opportunity for all Canadians to answer Gord’s call to action: to engage in Indigenous and cross-cultural education that will heal our country and inspire change. Let’s all ‘do something.'”

In addition to this presentation, Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, will receive the 2017 DAREarts Cultural Award and six youths will receive DAREarts Leadership Awards.

The gala will be cohosted by Piya Chattopadhyay, host of CBC Radio’s Out in the Open and Jeanne Beker CM, Canadian TV personality, author and newspaper columnist. There will be a sit-down dinner, live and silent auctions, art, drama, dance and music that reflect Canada’s identity in our 150th year. Guests will enjoy a display of Stratford Festival costumes and props, and a sneak peek of DAREarts “Spirit Bear” project, celebrating Mr. Cimolino’s Cultural Award and the Stratford Festival’s expanded collaboration with DAREarts. Creating with children in four remote First Nations of Marten Falls (Ogoki Post), Webequie, Attawapiskat and Neskantaga, that program will culminate at the Stratford Festival’s Indigenous production of The Breathing Hole, where the youths’ artwork will be displayed.

Since 2007, DAREarts has been empowering Indigenous children to create long-term solutions to overcome isolation, suicide and substance abuse and to improve engagement, education and employment skills. In their DAREarts workshops, the children create using all the arts and their traditional culture. This has resulted in increased school attendance and decreased substance abuse and suicide.

DAREarts is grateful to its National Presenting Supporter, Northbridge Insurance and its Lead Supporters: Scotiabank, TD, Anne Livingston and The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Gold supporters are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Guy Carpenter and Noront Resources.

We appreciate In-kind donations from Air Creebec, The Carlu, Freeman Audio Visual, daCunha Voyages, Seneca College, Stock Transportation as well as Auction donors. Media supporters are Classical 96.3 FM, Globe and Mail and JazzFM91.1.

For more information visit:


DAREarts is a Canadian charity that empowers at-risk children with the confidence and courage to be leaders, using the arts. When children apply the DAREarts values of Discipline, Action, Responsibility and Excellence, they take charge of their lives and become leaders who ignite positive change in our marginalized communities. For 21 years, DAREarts has delivered out-of-school, arts leadership programs to over 210,000 children from grades 4 to 12. In Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Nova Scotia, DAREarts delegates participate in real-world workshops in art, architecture, dance, drama, fashion, literature, music and leadership. They then peer-teach their classmates. As well, DAREarts answers invitations from Indigenous communities to deliver arts programming that aligns with their culture, providing the Indigenous children with creative learning opportunities and hope for their future. Since its inception in 1996, DAREarts has helped to break the vicious cycle of poverty, bullying, depression, isolation and marginalization for Canadian children that too often cripples their success.

For more information on DAREarts programs go to:


The Downie Wenjack Fund is Gord Downie’s legacy towards reconciliation in Canada. The goal of the fund is to continue the conversation that begins with residential schools, and to help the healing process through a combination of awareness and education.

For more information about The Downie Wenjack Fund email:

Contact Information

Vince J. Ciarlo
Ciarlo Communications
Cell: 416-458-5090

Matthew Hague


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