Indigenous Arts Festival returns to Fort York June 19 – 21, 2020

Under the artistic direction of Rhéanne Chartrand, Metis curator and creative producer, the 8th annual Indigenous Arts Festival will build on its recent success with an expansion to include a greater focus on public art. The festival is a free celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous music, dance, theatre, storytelling, film, crafts and culinary experiences of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

The multi-day festival also features a Pow-Wow and performances by Indigenous artists from across Turtle Island. A full program will be available in May 2020.


Rhéanne Chartrand, Curator of Indigenous Art at McMaster Museum of Art is a Métis curator and producer based in Hamilton and Toronto.

Chartrand has curated exhibitions and festivals for the City of Toronto, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Harbourfront Centre, OCAD University, the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Aboriginal Pavilion at the 2015 Pan Am Games, and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Her work focuses on the praxis of survivance, Indigenous epistemes, relational aesthetics, representational politics, and gratitude.

The curatorial vision for the Indigenous Arts Festival 2020 is creating well-being by nurturing the mind, body, and spirit.

For Indigenous peoples, caring for the mind and spirit is as important as caring for the body. Likewise, by caring for the body, the mind and spirit are nurtured and cared for. In a similar way, by caring for the self, one is more whole, more centered and thus able to interact with others in a more authentic, respectful way.

The festival will offer opportunities to slow down and to reconnect and recharge in an inspiring and creatively stimulating space. Experiencing and participating in creative expression is a well-known pathway to well-being, and the arts have undoubtedly helped Indigenous peoples deal with and address historic and ongoing colonial trauma; reconnect to traditional teachings and spirituality; explore traditional making practices and harvesting techniques; and envision the possibility of an Indigenous future(s).