(Toronto — August 23, 2010) The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), in partnership with OCAD University (OCADU) is thrilled to announce the establishment of the Dr. Tony Belcourt Endowment Fund for Métis in the Arts.
“It is an honour to be in partnership with such a successful and acclaimed University. Because of the introduction of this fund, Métis students will have greater opportunities for future careers in the arts,” said MNO President Gary Lipinski. “It is important that we encourage our youth to grow and to learn and to support them in all their endeavours.”
The award will be established in recognition of the Métis Nation of Ontario’s founding president, Tony Belcourt’s more than 40 years of service to the nation and Métis people. It will serve as acknowledgement of Dr. Belcourt’s invaluable role and continued leadership excellence across Ontario and Canada.
“OCAD University is strongly committed to building an Aboriginal Visual Culture Program”, said Dr. Sara Diamond, President of OCAD University. “We’re honoured that the Métis Nation of Ontario has chosen to support OCADU students of Métis descent in recognition of their founder. The Dr. Tony Belcourt Endowment Fund for Métis in the Arts will provide support for a Métis student to undertake research and creation that is rooted in their culture. The Endowment Fund is a welcome addition to our existing student funding, and aligns with OCADU’s deep commitment to Aboriginal culture and diversity.”
Once established, the bursary will be open to Métis students residing in Ontario who are pursuing arts and design related careers through OCADU’s superior programs.
Belcourt would like to see the endowment fund not only have enough revenue to support bursaries for Métis artists but also enough to support a scholarship, especially for further studies on Métis history and Métis art in history.
“The MNO’s contribution has been the building block to help this fund grow. My hope is to give back by holding fundraising events,” said Belcourt. “I’m very grateful to MNO for making this possible. It’s truly an honour to me personally but it is going to be a tremendous benefit to Métis people who want to consider art as a career.”
Belcourt’s three children are all involved in arts careers and were part of the reason that OCADU was chosen for the bursary. “President Lipinski brought the idea to my attention several months ago and after considering other institutions, my kids all said, ‘it’s gotta be at OCADU, dad.’”
Belcourt hopes that the introduction of the endowment fund will create a greater profile of Métis art at OCADU.
About the Métis Nation of Ontario
The Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people with a unique history, culture, language and territory that includes the waterways of Ontario, surrounds the Great Lakes and spans what was known as the historic Northwest. The Métis Nation is comprised of descendants of people born of relations between Indian women and European men. The initial offspring of these unions were of mixed ancestry. The genesis of a new Aboriginal people called the Métis resulted from the subsequent intermarriage of these mixed ancestry individuals.
About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.
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