ARTSCAN CIRCLE’S STORY
Over 20 years ago, a chance encounter with youth in Northern Labrador altered the course of harmonica virtuoso Mike Stevens’ professional path and led to an epiphany of why he plays music in the first place. Back at home in Sarnia, Mike drove door to door, picking up donated instruments to bring to the remote northern communities he visited. Mike had the vision to implement music workshops across the North.
In 2002, he founded ArtsCan Circle—a registered charity dedicated to confronting the multiple realities and inequalities facing First Nations, Innu, Inuit and Métis youth in remote, Northern communities. As well as to convey one clear message to the youth: You are valued, and your voices are important.
Since then, ArtsCan Circle has sent artists to over 16 communities to facilitate creative art workshops for the youth. In addition, they have shipped over 40,000 harmonicas and countless violins, keyboards, fiddles, ukuleles and guitars, and impacted over 10,000 Indigenous youth.
The workshops consist of virtual arts, filming, recording, creative writing, drama, poetry, harmonica, keyboard, guitar, beatboxing, beading, and inspirational talks and performances. Many artists and partners are on board from Buffy Sainte-Marie, Leela Gilday and Susan Algurkark to the band offices, community members and Indigenous organizations. Partner communities have expressed that now more than ever is the time to engage with the youth.
ArtsCan Circle needs your support to open pathways of opportunities for First Nations, Innu, Inuit, and Métis youth to collaborate with artists, access instruments and artistic tools, and share their stories through creative expression. Please click on “Ways to Give” to learn how to donate funds, instruments and artistic tools, host a fundraiser or create a partnership. We are grateful to be on this journey of reconciliation together.
Mike Stevens – A Walk in My Dream
A chance encounter with at-risk youth in Northern Labrador alters the course of harmonica virtuoso Mike Stevens’ professional path and leads to an epiphany of why he plays music in the first place.
Mike Stevens’ CBC Radio Interview – Listen to Mike’s initial interview on CBC’s As It Happens radio show from the CBC archives broadcast Nov. 23, 2000. “The healing power of music at Davis Inlet”
We invite you to read the transcription of Mike’s story
Have you seen Mike Stevens’ TEDx Talk at Gabriola Island? Great to see Mike be a part of this franchise and highlight some of the challenges faced in our Northern Communities.