About the CNCAC‎ > ‎

Our Roots

Ottawa is Canada's capital.  We found it odd that as one of Canada's largest urban centres, arts funding from all levels of government was among the lowest in the country, even though residents in Ottawa spend more per capita on culture than the residents of any other metropolitan area in Canada.

With this challenge in front of us, we saw that a small level of administrative capacity and grant writing, coupled with outreach to a few key partners, could lever a platform for a new level of culturally diverse creativity, with a healthy economic growth twist built right inside.  We looked to ourselves, a sea of immigrant arts professionals, and, at the time, similar arts organizations like the Broken English Theatre, SawVideo, the Cross Cultural Sound Exchange, the Ottawa Folk Festival, and MASC.

A concerted effort was started early in 2006 to determine the scope of opportunities available to new immigrants interested in arts and culture and, from this, a Coalition evolved. Original Coalition members wanted to encourage Aboriginal people, the established Anglophone and Francophone communities, and young people to join the Coalition. Bylaws were developed, a Board of Trustees was formed, and the CNCAC submitted a formal registration request to the federal government. The CNCAC was incorporated as a non-profit organization in April 2008. 

The volunteer Board of Directors was established and, along with several interns and volunteers, worked to build up the membership, organize activities and programs, apply for and administer grants, and make connections with various arts organizations in Ontario, Canada, and abroad.

The CNCAC received a number of key grants: an Art Funding Grant through the Diversity in Arts Pilot Project from the City of Ottawa in July 2007. Also, a grant from the Newcomer Settlement Program Sector Development from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Province of Ontario in May 2008. In 2011, the CNCAC was awarded a two-year Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). This allowed the CNCAC to hire two part-time staff as well as funds to carry out a number of other commitments outlined in the grant application.  In 2013 CNCAC receoved a Diversity Fund grant from the City of Ottawa to supplement programming at that time.

The number of artists and arts professionals supported by the CNCAC exceeded expectations.  The capacity to maintain the organization and its vision, however, diminished, while many mainstream organizations opened their doors to the new reality of immigrant impact on Canada's cultural facade.  With its impact established in, now, a diaspora of many creative people, the CNCAC dissolved as a corporation in early 2017.