Building Cultural Legacies is a digital storytelling platform that aims to build knowledge, spark creativity and deepen connection by engaging citizens from diverse communities and generations in the sharing of stories about the history of visual arts in Hamilton between 1950 and 2000.


Featuring Rick Hill, Tim Johnson and Yvonne Maracle

Moderated by Rhéanne Chartrand

The Arty Crowd Runs Things:

Native Indian/Inuit Photographers’
Association (NIIPA)


Location: Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Pavilion, Art Gallery of Hamilton 

March 19, 2020, 6-9pm 

Founded in 1985 in downtown Hamilton, the Native Indian/Inuit Photographers’ Association (NIIPA) was one of the longest operating Indigenous arts service organizations in Canada. The organization played a key role nationally as an advocate for Indigenous photographers across Turtle Island (North America), as well as locally to the history of Indigenous art in Hamilton and the surrounding region. 


Building Cultural Legacies presents a discussion with NIIPA members and accomplished artists Rick Hill, Tim Johnson and Yvonne Maracle, moderated by McMaster Museum of Art Curator of Indigenous Art Rhéanne Chartrand.


Rick Hill studied fine art photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1970s. He went on to become a curator and historian as well as a painter. He was the Manager of the Indian Art Centre in Ottawa; and the Museum Director at the Institute of American Indian Arts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is currently working on an exhibition for the Art Gallery of Hamilton that traces his curatorial experiences in contemporary Indigenous art from 1970 to 2000. 


Tim Johnson, director of Landscape of Nations 360° Indigenous Education Initiative, artistic director of The Great Niagara Escarpment Indigenous Cultural Map, and artistic producer of Celebration of Nations, is an experienced education, museum,

and arts executive who was instrumental in the development of four masterworks of public art in the past four years. As the former Associate Director for Museum Programs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, Tim managed the museum’s largest organizational group across its facilities in Washington and New York. He has also been active in his home community of Six Nations of the Grand River within several prestigious education, arts, and journalism institutions for nearly four



Yvonne Maracle has used art and advocacy as a powerful tool for telling the stories of Indigenous people and improving life for those among them who face difficulty in urban Hamilton. Maracle provided many paths for other Indigenous artist as the co-founder of the Native Indian/Inuit Photographers’ Association (NIIPA), 1985 – 1999. She also assisted in the development of the first Native Photography gallery in 1986 through NIIPA. The gallery continued to play a major role in promoting and exhibiting Indigenous photography during NIIPA’s existence. Maracle was responsible for NIIPA’s programming and operations during her tenure as the Executive Director. Through Maracle’s leadership she was able to develop another art and cultural group called Branches of Native Development (BOND), 1988 – 2020. It began as a grass roots community group and NIIPA staff that worked together to host the annual POW WOW celebrations during the June 21 st National Aboriginal Days festival. She continues to advocate and lobby wherever possible and brings Indigenous awareness to those around her.


Rhéanne Chartrand is the Curator of Indigenous Art at McMaster Museum of Art. She holds a master’s degree in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. A Métis curator and creative producer based in Hamilton and Toronto, Chartrand has curated interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary exhibitions, showcases, and festivals for venues and organizations such as the City of Toronto, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Harbourfront Centre, OCAD University, the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, the Aboriginal Pavilion at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Her curatorial work focuses on the praxis of survivance, Indigenous epistemes, relational aesthetics, representational politics, and gratitude.

The Arty Crowd Runs Things
Building Cultural Legacies - Discussion & Submission Workshops

APRIL 9, 2020

(Details TBD)

June, 2020

(Details TBD)

The stories told here have been shaped by many voices and provide an intricate and layered portrait of the city. The current vibrancy of the city owes much to the efforts of those who came before us, many of whom still work and live in the area. BCL provides a space for today’s generation of artists and residents to value the significant contributions made by their predecessors and sets the stage for Hamilton’s continued cultural growth.

The Building Cultural Legacies: Art in Hamilton 1950-2000 exhibition runs from November 23, 2019 - May 18, 2020 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Featuring works by local artists Jim Chambers, Roger Ferreira, Conrad Furey, Cees & Annerie van Gemerden, Catherine Gibbon, Hortense Gordon, V. Jane Gordon, Elizabeth Holbrook, Donna Ibing, Bryce Kanbara, Peter Karuna, P. Mansaram and George Wallace, along with archival materials from Hamilton's art history!

Building Cultural Legacies has been generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Presented by the Hamilton Arts Council, in partnership with the Hamilton Public Library and the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

Further support provided by Centre 3, City of Hamilton, Hamilton Artists Inc., Hamilton Arts & Letters, Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts, McMaster Museum of Art, Workers Arts & Heritage Centre and You Me Gallery.

The arts have been a significant force in the shaping of Hamilton. Its current vibrancy owes much to the efforts of those who came before us, and yet this history is at risk of being lost or forgotten as individuals who lived and worked through these decades age and pass on.

Building Cultural Legacies will provide a space for today’s generation of artists and residents to value the significant contributions made by their predecessors and will set the stage for Hamilton’s continued cultural growth.

Questions? Please contact




Christopher McLeod has a BA in Studio Art from McMaster University and an MFA from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC. He has curatorially consulted for the Ontario Science Centre and is the Artistic Director for the Great Art for Great Lakes project as well as the Project Director for the Hamilton Art Council’s Building Cultural Legacies project. He has taught at McMaster University and was Artist in Residence 2 years at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. His work has been featured at Nuit Blanche, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and at Supercrawl 2018 and 2019. His practice explores social engagement and interaction, focusing on ecological and cultural themes. 



Alexis Moline is a curator, writer and researcher who has worked in Vancouver, Toronto and Hamilton. She received her Master of Museum Studies in collaboration with the Sexual Diversity Studies program from the University of Toronto. She is currently the Content Curator for the Building Cultural Legacies project at the Hamilton Arts Council. Her research explores how art has represented sexuality and gender both explicitly and implicitly and how it has influenced social change through the lens of cultural heritage, gallery and museum spaces.

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© 2020 Hamilton Arts Council and/or the indiviudal featured artists. All rights reserved. Hamilton Arts Council is a not for profit charitable organization. Registered charity number 118951425RR0001

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