Nault confirms Inuit art funding

Ottawa to fund Inuit Art Foundation for three more years


The Inuit Art Foundation already knew it had enough money to keep going for another three years.

But Bob Nault, the minister of Indian and northern affairs, made it official on Sept. 24 in Iqaluit, when he announced that the Ottawa-based foundation will continue to get money from his department.

This means the IAF can count on $458,000 a year for another three years – until March 31, 2006.

INAC had been supporting the IAF with grants since 1989. But this year a delay in confirmation of renewed funding caused the foundation to scale back.

Inuit Art Quarterly, the glossy magazine published by the IAF, skipped an issue. At the same time, the IAF closed its art boutique in downtown Ottawa and retrenched its activities and sales in suburban Nepean.

Marybelle Mitchell, executive director of the IAF, said the foundation had to provide volumes of paperwork to convince the federal government that its money is well-spent by the organization.

In addition to publishing and retail sales, the IAF, whose board of directors comprises Inuit artists from around the Arctic, lobbies for artists, promotes their activities, and organizes a variety of cultural and artistic activities.

“We had to hold back on some of our activities, but it made us realize how much support we had in the world at large. It made us reflect on what we we’re doing and how we can do it better,” Mitchell said from Nepean this week.

“Of course, it wasn’t easy. It took us quite a while, but we had good support within the department. People were working very hard to get this money but the documents that the Treasury Board wanted were really incredible.”

Over the next three years, INAC, in collaboration with the foundation, will work on a strategy to find more money from other departments for the foundation.

Nault had planned to make the announcement in Cape Dorset at the West Baffin print shop, with local MLA and Sustainable Development Minister Olayuk Akesuk, two IAF members, Nuna Parr and Adamie Ashevak, and Nunavut MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell.

Instead, Nault did the deed at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit after bad weather kept aircraft grounded on Wednesday afternoon.

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