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Indigenous arts leader Jesse Wente named head of Canada Council for the Arts

Last Updated Jul 28, 2020 at 4:21 pm PDT

Jesse Wente poses for a photograph in Toronto on December 10, 2018. Jesse Wente, one of the foremost advocates for an increased presence of Indigenous voices in Canada's cultural landscape, has been appointed the chairperson of the Canada Council for the Arts. Wente, an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster and speaker, has held increasingly prominent roles in Canada's arts communities in recent years, including as the executive director of the industry-led Indigenous Screen Office. In announcing his five-year appointment as chairperson of the council today, Heritage Minister Stephen Guillbeault said Wente is the first Indigenous chairperson of an organization within the heritage porfolio. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Summary

Jesse Wente has been appointed chairperson of the Canada Council for the Arts

Wente, an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster and speaker, has held high-profile roles in Canada's arts communities

OTTAWA — Jesse Wente, a prominent advocate for an increased presence of Indigenous voices in Canada’s cultural landscape, has been appointed chairperson of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Wente, an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster and speaker, has held high-profile roles in Canada’s arts communities, including executive director of the industry-led Indigenous Screen Office.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says Wente is the first Indigenous chairperson of an organization within his federal portfolio.

The Canada Council for the Arts distributes millions in federal arts funding annually and oversees some of Canada’s most prestigious arts awards.

Wente takes over as chairperson a time of great flux for artists in Canada, as they struggle to find new ways to present their works, and earn a living, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simon Brault, director and chief executive officer for the council, called the appointment a bold decision and fantastic news for the council.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press