Arts Umbrella launches pilot program that brings leading-edge arts education to children and youth in remote Canadian communities.

Vancouver-based Arts Umbrella, one of the most renowned arts education organizations for young people in Canada, is partnering with Toronto-based TakingITGlobal in the delivery of an acclaimed program called Connected North which provides participating schools with access to engaging and innovative virtual content. This new partnership will provide schools in remote Canadian communities with access to high-quality arts education, engaging some of Canada’s most under-served children and youth in visual arts and performing arts workshops and performances.

Connected North is a leading-edge program that delivers interactive education services to schools in remote communities through two-way video technology. TakingITGlobal, the program manager and charitable partner for Connected North, approached Arts Umbrella to become a lead content provider of arts education workshops and performances.

“It has long been Arts Umbrella’s mission to be Canada’s leader in arts education for young people,” said Paul Larocque, President & CEO of Arts Umbrella. “When TakingITGlobal approached us to provide visual and performing arts programming to children and youth in remote Canadian communities, we knew it would be a powerful extension to our Metro Vancouver programs and a force in creating equitable access to the arts.”

This new Arts Umbrella program, called Northern Arts Connection, will reach school students in remote areas who would otherwise not have access to arts education classes and performances. Arts Umbrella instructors will deliver classes and workshops via high-definition two-way video communication. Cisco Canada is graciously providing the technology for Northern Arts Connection at a reduced cost, which will also allow for cultural exchanges and collaborations between schools, as students will be able to share ideas and learn from one another regardless of geographic location.

Designed to increase feelings of empowerment in school and in life, the theatre and visual arts workshops provide arts content to suit the curriculum and interests of each school. Studies have shown that community-based arts education can help children and youth build self-confidence and develop independent thinking skills, as well as improved academic results and specific career direction.

“Students in Canada’s remote communities deserve high quality educational experiences that help them develop their creative skills,” said Jennifer Corriero, TakingITGlobal’s Executive Director. “Having Arts Umbrella provide programming as a key partner will provide the students we serve with access to unique and diverse Arts programming to help them explore and grow creatively.”

In 2019, Northern Arts Connection will engage 500-1,000 young people in up to 41 schools. Over three years, the program is expected to reach over 2,500 students ages five to 18. Arts Umbrella will launch the Northern Arts Connection pilot program in winter 2019, with a full program scheduled to launch in 2020. This comes at an exciting time for Arts Umbrella, as they move to a larger centre on Granville Island in Winter 2020. The new facility allows for cutting-edge technology and increased classroom space in which programs such as Northern Arts Connection can take place.


About Arts Umbrella
Arts Umbrella believes that art is powerful, that it can change a child’s life. That’s why Arts Umbrella’s programs in Dance, Theatre, and Visual Arts are made accessible to all young people—through bursaries, scholarships, and donor-funded community programs. This year, Arts Umbrella will serve more than 24,000 students, with 80% participating at little to no cost. Since 1979, Arts Umbrella has been active in our communities, inspiring kids to build their creative confidence and develop the building blocks for life: critical-thinking skills, improved self-esteem, and tools for collaboration.

About TakingITGlobal and the Connected North program
TakingITGlobal (TIG) empowers youth to understand and act on local and global challenges. TIG programs have supported youth action and social innovation, facilitated connected learning, and fostered creativity and digital skills for millions of youth globally since 1999. Connected North provides interactive learning experiences for nearly 10,000 students in 41 schools in Canada’s remote communities. Founded by Cisco Systems, the program delivers immersive high-definition learning experiences over Telepresence, with a focus on highlighting Indigenous role models, mentors, language and culture.


Media Contact
Marnie Wilson, Artsbiz Public Relations
T. 604.836.240