Media Release: VIBE Arts Completes OTF Grow Grant for Arts Programming in Northern Ontario Communities

Sault Ste. Marie, ON (February 3, 2023): On Tuesday, MPP Ross Romano tuned in to VIBE Arts’s Woodland Drawing workshop led by artist Lucia Laford to congratulate the group on the work done using a $201,900 Grow grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that was awarded in 2018. The grant’s focus was to deliver community-driven arts education programming (Boreal Creates) to young people ages 10 to 19 in Sault Ste. Marie, Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay.

“Congratulations to VIBE Arts on the successful realization of the Boreal Creates program. Although access to community-based arts education can be a challenge in Northern communities, participatory programs, such as Boreal Creates, help to foster community collaboration,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “It is wonderful to see Sault Ste Marie’s Lucia Laford (Waawaaskone Qwe) and the other Indigenous artists involved, connecting our communities through meaningful artistic partnerships here in the North.”

Since 2019, VIBE Arts has collaborated with Indigenous artists and arts assistants in Northern communities through Boreal Creates. The grant enabled VIBE Arts to build relationships and expand its reach and impact, tapping into the creative potential that lies in every corner of the province. Over 40 free arts programs have been offered through Boreal Creates in schools, community centres, artist run centres and more. Program offerings included: Beading, Medicine Bag Making, Woodland Arts, Printmaking, Drawing, Lacrosse Stick Making, Filmmaking, Wood Carving and Mitten Making. These programs have reached 1152 participants in Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste Marie.

On Tuesday, VIBE and artist Lucia Laford (Waawaaskone Qwe) led an online Woodland Arts drawing workshop, open to all ages and artistic abilities. Lucia is one of the talented artists who has led Boreal Creates programming over the past few years with programs ranging from Medicine Bag Making to Woodland Drawing and painting to Feather Wrapping.

Lucia in front of “Exploring Woodland”, a mural created with students at École Notre Dame Du Sault
Woodland drawing from Tuesdays workshop. 

VIBE Arts operates at the intersection of arts and belonging. It knows that not all have access to the arts; this is felt especially by people who live outside of the urban core. Members of equity-seeking groups, including newcomer Canadians, racialized young people, Indigenous youth, the LGBTQ+ community and individuals living in poverty face complex barriers. VIBE works directly within these communities to involve thousands of people each year in free arts experiences. We bring young people together to collaborate in safe and accessible spaces and tap into the creative potential that lies in every corner of our province. VIBE programs develop life-long skills, nurture community connections and spark creativity. Together, it works to realize a future where every young person is equipped to contribute creatively to society. Learn more at or follow: @VIBEArtsTO.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grantmaking in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested nearly $209M into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit to learn more.

VIBE Arts Media Contact
Emma Gaudio, Communications Manager