Nurturing Deaf Arts Weekend

The three-day Nurturing Deaf Arts event included an art workshop, a grant writing workshop, an artist talk, performances by Deaf artists, and an ASL tour of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (CMHR).

Art Workshop

Our partner, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA), hosted Deaf artist Ellen Mansfield's Friday Deaf Image View Art (DE’VIA) Tile Mosaic workshop and Saturday’s DE’VIA artist talk. The purpose of these events was to connect and express one’s Deaf experiences in DE’VIA art. The presentations inspired Deaf artists—and the broader arts community—to explore this art form using their personal Deaf experiences. The participants learned about using art elements (tile pieces in mosaic and images in painting) as representation of their Deaf experiences.

The De’VIA Mosaic Tile workshop was filled to capacity with a mix of Deaf and non-deaf artists. The visiting Deaf artists really connected with our local artists. They expressed appreciation of accessible arts events and a desire to see more workshops like this—perhaps as an annual event.

Grant Writing Workshop

Saturday’s grant writing with Dr. Anita Small involved a lecture and hands-on exercises for participants. Anita brought her extensive knowledge and experience to the discussions during the workshop. The information presented was new and informative for Deaf artists. They asked many questions and engaged in intense conversations about the material presented.

Later, six Winnipeg Deaf artists wrote grants to Canada Council for the Arts (CCA); one secured funding to take the Art of Managing Your Career (AMYC) course from Creative Manitoba, and ASL interpretation costs were covered for the six Deaf artists to attend AMYC through efficient use of the funds.

Artist's Talk

Ellen Mansfield gave an Artist's Talk at MAWA after the grant writing workshop. She explained what DE’VIA was, then showed her work and explained how the symbolism in her art reflects her experiences as a Deaf person.


Saturday evening performances—which took place at the Irish Association of Manitoba—introduced Deaf culture to the non-deaf and Deaf communities, with storytelling, mime, and drumming. The performances brought in over-capacity crowds, leading MSCD to provide two performances instead of just one. Performers included the Vibrations Drummers from the Manitoba School for the Deaf, Story-teller Christine Spinks-Mitchell, and the 100 Decibels: A Deaf Mime Troupe, Joanna Hawkins and Christopher De Guzman.

A silent auction with items donated from various businesses and individuals occurred.

ASL Tour

The weekend wrapped up with an ASL tour at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

A Deaf videographer captured footage of the events. Two videos (5 and 30 minutes) were created and captioned. They were then posted on social media and on MCSD-DAM.

Overall Weekend Wrap-up

The weekend brought in Deaf artists from five different provinces (New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba) and two countries (England and the USA.)

Advertising this event to the general public raised awareness of our small Deaf arts community. The general public expressed a desire to learn more about what we do. Posters, emails to other arts organizations, a radio interview, and social media posts all served to build excitement in the community at large about the Nurturing Deaf Arts Weekend.

Photo Gallery photos taken by: Project Director Alice Crawford and Videographer Michael Austria

Gallery Photos

Five Minute and 30 minute videos of the Events during Nurturing Deaf Arts weekend