Harbourfront Centre is delighted to announce the appointment of Denise Bolduc as inaugural Director of Indigenous Arts.
Strengthening Indigenous creative and leadership capacity within the arts is one of the critical tenets of Harbourfront Centre’s long-term strategic goals. This mandate extends itself across the organization, from the presentation of Indigenous artists on its stages to the curators and educators they hire and the producers they work with.
Bolduc is an accomplished artistic director and producer whose programs seek to transform perspectives and activate change. Her career represents countless contributions and connections with numerous celebrated artists, creative thinkers and leading cultural institutions emphasizing elevating Indigenous voices.
“I am thrilled to join the team at Harbourfront Centre as Director of Indigenous Arts. My relationship with Harbourfront Centre began as Artistic Director of the inaugural Planet IndigenUS in 2004, and this full-circle moment reflects the evolution of this work,” says Bolduc. “I am truly looking forward to exploring, transforming and collaborating with the local and international community, partners and everyone at Harbourfront Centre, focusing on interweaving and amplifying Indigenous voices, relations and worldviews.”
Working in tandem with all programming departments, Bolduc will function as an advisor and thought-leader, spearheading the advancement and promotion of Indigenous artists and educators while also initiating new programming in the world of Indigenous arts and culture.
As a catalyst for creative growth, Bolduc’s decades of experiences as a creator, producer and collaborator have fostered deep relationships within the Indigenous communities of Toronto, nationally and internationally. This will strengthen Harbourfront Centre’s commitment to presenting diverse, contemporary programming for the public to enjoy.
“Harbourfront Centre has a strong reputation presenting Indigenous work throughout its almost 50-year history – from Planet IndigenUS to Indigenous artist residencies to presenting Indigenous musicians, dancers and educators. With the breadth of experience and leadership that Denise brings to Harbourfront Centre, we are well positioned to realize our goal to strengthen Indigenous leadership and creativity in the arts,” says Iris Nemani, Chief Programming Officer. “I look forward to working closely with Denise to shape what this new role can be and how she will guide and influence our future programming and way of working.”
“In my early discussions with Indigenous colleagues when I moved here, I shared my hope that Harbourfront Centre would provide a space where Indigenous communities could have the conversations they would like to have in front of and with Toronto, Canada and the world. Inviting Denise to work with us is another step on the path to sustained engagement with Indigenous artists and leaders – in our community and around the globe,” says Marah Braye, Chief Executive Officer. “We hope the work we will do together will provide another creative platform for artists and thinkers to inform our journey towards reconciliation.”
Bolduc grew up in northern Ontario around Lake Superior land-territory, now often referred to as the Robinson-Huron Treaty Territory. She is French and Anishinaabe, and is a member of the Batchewana First Nation with familial ties in Garden River First Nation. Bolduc has a long history working across disciplines with many recognized organizations and within many leadership roles, which began in theatre and what she describes as her “first art family” in the City of Toronto. Bolduc has continued within the creative arts field as the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Aboriginal Music Project and Artistic Director of the inaugural Planet IndigenUS at Harbourfront Centre. She was an Arts Program Officer for both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council and has led notable programs, including Luminato (Zaagidiwin, Built on Genocide, Biiziindan, Illuminating works and Tributaries), Maadadizi/Summer Journeys (PANAM Relay Finale), Beyond 150 Years Film Festival (REEL Canada), Songs in the Key of Cree (a retrospective of Tomson Highway), and as a contributing writer and co-editor of the recently published Indigenous Toronto: Stories That Carry This Place.
Bolduc currently resides as a faculty member with the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and continues as a mentor. She is also on the board and council for Coach House Books’ Non-Fiction Indigenous Editorial Committee, Indigenous Music Office’s Working Group, OCADU Indigenous Education Council, BIBU Festival Advisory, Forbes Wild Foods Inc. and Tri Nations Indigenous Arts Council. For her contributions, she has received the 2020 Margo Bindhart and Rita Davies Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation and the Indigenous Arts Award from the Ontario Arts Council.
About Harbourfront Centre (harbourfrontcentre.com)
Harbourfront Centre is a leading international centre for contemporary arts, culture and ideas, and a registered, charitable not-for-profit cultural organization operating a 10-acre campus on Toronto’s central waterfront. Harbourfront Centre provides year-round programming 52 weeks a year, seven days a week, supporting a wide range of artists and communities. We inspire audiences and visitors with a breadth of bold, ambitious and engaging experiences, and champion contemporary Canadian artists throughout their careers, presenting them alongside international artists, and fostering national and international artistic exchange between disciplines and cultures.