ARTPRENEUR Ottawa 2020 is a multi-day conference presented by Arts Network Ottawa in partnership with Wallack’s, Invest Ottawa, and SHIFTER Agency. It brings together leading local and national creative experts and business leaders to assist artists in building their creative professions. The conference will be held online as a series of webinars and presentations.  

With COVID-19 grinding the gig economy to a halt, Artpreneur will address the economic, social and cultural disruption on the arts sector in Ottawa and beyond. The Conference aims to deliver a valuable experience for delegates, with opportunities for rich conversations and connections in an open, welcoming environment with a wide array of speakers and panelists. 

Speakers will address what recovery means to them as artists and organizations of all disciplines aim to restore or innovate the sector through the initiative, adaptations and the lenses of equity, sustainability, technology and collaboration.  

NEW THIS YEAR! Artpreneur will be offered live online to make attending safe, economical and accessible. Sessions will feature English closed-captioning and PWYC pricing.  

Dance, Movement, and Stillness in Your Arts Practice

Allison Burns, Laura Taler and Mary Catherine Jack

11 AM | Panel

A conversation between multidisciplinary artists about dance and it’s relationship with the broader arts ecosystem. The ways we consume and create art are changing and opening up opportunities for alternative collaborations and approaches to working. An invitation to artists of all disciplines to feel empowered to work with dance, movement, and stillness in their creative process.

Beyond Value Chains and Supply Chains: the future of the labour of artists

Zainub Verjee

1 PM

Today we are witnessing the limitations of an entrepreneurial state driven by the neoliberal logics. The three crises that we are enduring—public health, social and economic—have shone a light on the paradox of labour and embedded reality of artists. In testing times such as these and to envisage a path forward we need to understand where we are now and how did we get to the present crisis? How did the systemic evolution of the cultural labour market premised on the introduction of competition saw the subsequent transformation of artists into cultural entrepreneurs?

This keynote will highlight the political economy of the labour of artists and explore the options as to whether we go for a reset or reinvent a new way forward.

From Idea to Inception: A Strategy for Surviving and Thriving as an Arts Collective and Label

Jordan David and Peter Albert from Music.Art.People

2:30 PM

This presentation will dive into how Music.Art.Ppl started as an idea among friends who wanted to create space for a different perspective on how events were presented in Ottawa. Examining the steps MAP took as a collective to be bold and push boundaries with events while maintaining the vision of being inclusive and representing the community they serve. Embracing change with open arms and how MAP decided to use COVID-19 as a springboard and pivoting point to reinvest in the Ottawa creative community with the launch of a music / poetry label. We will also hear from a special guest on their experience as a creator in Ottawa and some of the challenges independent artists face in our creative community.


Zainub Verjee

Allison Elizabeth Burns

Laura Taler


Zainub Verjee is the laureate of 2020 Governor General’s Visual and Media Arts for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Canada. She is currently involved in the national campaign on Basic Income and is the co-author of the public letter to the Prime Minister of Canada on Basic Income Guarantee.#artists4basicincome  

An artist, critic, a writer, a keynote speaker, arts administrator with expertise in cultural policy and cultural diplomacy, over four decades she has contributed to international and national policies and legislation pertaining to the culture sector including the international instruments like the Status of the Artists and Cultural Diversity. She continues to work on issues of Artist Labour, Artist Income, Racial Equity, Cultural Planning, Intellectual Property, Digital Ecosystems of Art, Cultural Institutions, Cultural Diplomacy and Culture Trade.  Former Executive Director of the Western Front, her work on the British Columbia Arts Board led to the formation of British Columbia Arts Council, as well as she has contributed to the formation of many other institutions. An active member of civil society, she was the Vancouver Moderator of the Spicer Commission – The Citizen’s Forum on Canada’s Future. Currently, she is the executive director of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries in Toronto.


Allison is a compassionate performing arts professional with a strong commitment to public engagement in dance. Allison is a choreographer, performer, educator, and producer based in her hometown of Ottawa. She is recognized for the ability to create digestible dialogue about dance, and a welcoming atmosphere for audience members. As a passionate dance advocate, she promotes dance awareness and comprehension through workshops, talks, and podcasts. She founded, produced and hosted the dance podcast, Dirty Feet, conducting and archiving hundreds of interviews with dance artists around the world. Allison self-produces evocative contemporary dance and produces showcases that celebrate the work of local dance artists featuring a variety styles. Allison has choreographed and performed in multidisciplinary projects, dance works, and commissions. Recent creations involve polarizing groups, feminist issues, immortal hedonists, and time travel. Her work has been presented at various festivals including the Alberta Dance Festival, dance: made in canada, and Uproar Arts Festival.


Romanian-born Canadian artist Laura Taler began her career as a contemporary dance choreographer before turning her attention to filmmaking and visual art. Throughout her career Taler has explored the links between movement, voice, memory, and history by using cinematic and choreographic devices to articulate how the body is able to carry the past without being oppressed by it. Her work has been praised for its unique combination of emotional resonance, wit, and striking visuals. She has been a resident at the Banff Center for the Arts, Centro Cultural Recoleta (Buenos Aires), Carleton Immersive Media Studio (Ottawa) and a fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (Berlin). Her work has been featured in theatres, galleries, festivals, special screenings and broadcast internationally. She is currently artist-in-residence at the Ottawa Dance Directive and the most recent recipient of Galerie SAW Gallery’s Dennis Tourbin Prize for New Performance. 

Peter Albert


Peter Albert is a DJ, entrepreneur and community leader. His business education along with his passion for music, collaborating and bringing people together through unique experiences has been the fuel that motivated him to start hosting events 10 years ago.  He co-created the collective Music.Art.Ppl because he believes that each person can be a beacon for their community contributing with their creativity, skills and knowledge. Through curated events, Music.Art.Ppl offers artists of all backgrounds – from visual arts to performance and music – a safe and inclusive space to express themselves and share their work with their community. In everything he does, Peter’s focus is on conscious contribution and empowerment. The launch of Music.Art.Ppl’s new label has given Peter and the rest of the team the opportunity to give artists the spotlight.



Music.Art.Ppl is about encouraging artists to share and collaborate with each other. Providing a space where artists from different backgrounds can come together and create a special experience in a safe environment. Music.Art.Ppls efforts are equally focused on curating a unique musical and visual experience. Programming each event with a diverse musical selection with elements of live art in it’s many forms. Most recently, MAP launched a music and poetry label to help empower local artists. MAP collective are open to collaborating and encourage people to reach out online via social media @musicartppl or by email. Music.Art.Ppl is also available for hire to provide music, deco, live painting, lighting, visual projection services.

Jordan David


Jordan David is an Ottawa based Producer/DJ/Curator and event organizer who has been making a name for himself in the local scene. Co-founder of music and arts collective and label, Music.Art.Ppl. Jordan’s event history is broad, having worked and collaborated with organizations such as the National Arts Centre, Ottawa Art Gallery, RBC Bluesfest, TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, CKCU FM, Ottawa Children’s Festival and House of Paint Urban Arts Festival. Jordan David is currently working in community radio and is the talent buyer and stage manager of Ottawa music venue and social hub, Queen St. Fare. 

Mary Catherine Jack


Mary Catherine Jack is an Ottawa based independent dance artist. She divides her career between, teaching, performing and creating. School residencies, coaching professional and preprofessional dancers, and leading various forms of movement classes for adults make up the bulk of her teaching work. Mary Catherine has had the pleasure of working with various Ottawa based artists and has performed as part of The Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, The Canada Dance Festival, Dark Horse Dance Projects, and The Ottawa Dance Directive. Mary Catherine is constantly exploring the corners of her imagination and finds inspiration readily and often in nature, in art, in music and in the community she surrounds herself with. She continues to train, explore and learn, so that she may motivate and engage others. Things that are important to Mary Catherine: strength, connection and curiosity. 

Real House of Ensemble

City Fidelia

3 PM

Born an Ottawa native, City Fidelia is a soulful street poet, rapper, singer and songwriter. He launched Real House of Ensemble, a creative agency and arts resource hub, during the pandemic in July 2020 filling a resource gap for local creatives – with big goals for the future.  This discussion will provide an overview about how businesses can continue to dedicate resources towards economic growth and innovations within the hip hop community, which deservemore recognition for sustainable contributions to the music industry and arts sector, locally and beyond Entrepreneurship, multimedia, music, fashion, and self-sufficiency will be addressed by an artist with experience living and working in Ottawa and Toronto, and touring world-wide. 

Theory Meets Action: Queer Hustle as a Form of Praxis

Maren Kathleen Elliott and Juan Saavedra

5:30 PM

Queer creative duo Maren K Elliott and Juan Saavedra met in Ottawa in 2019 and bonded over being new to the city and their shared desire to make and share artistic experiences. Since then the team has continued on to produce a series of projects (workshop, panel and pop-up shows) tackling social issues ranging from mental health, body image and sexuality, to LGBTQ inclusion and queer activism. Their latest project, ‘Concrete Cleavage’ was a pop-up art and design poster show featuring the work of artists from across Canada that took place in outdoor locations in Ottawa, Toronto, and online. Concrete Cleavage was not just shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was born of it.  From the concept of this show, to its execution (for example, centralization of printing, taking place in outdoor and virtual spaces), Concrete Cleavage is a case study in flexibility, risk taking, and relationship-building.  

Artists and entrepreneurs alike practice examining the world from a non-traditional perspective to seek opportunities in adversity. Yet there is sometimes a stigma from within the creative community around the term ‘entrepreneurship’, a fear of seeming too capitalist, colonial, or selling out. Prior to moving to Ottawa, both Juan and Maren had their own businesses. In this presentation they will confront the pejorative understanding of entrepreneurship using their experience applying its lessons to produce community-based arts events, with a lens of queer-disability and a framework grounded in equity. 

Co-presented by:


City Fidelia

Maren Kathleen Elliott

Juan Saavedra


Born an Ottawa native, City Fidelia is a soulful street poet, rapper, singer and songwriter. Focusing on authentic storytelling through lyrics and rhythm, Fidelia is known for crafting music that reflects his hardships and experiences which deeply resonates with others. Committed to being vulnerable and truthful in his music, Fidelia aims to inspire others to overcome difficult situations and pursue their dreams freely. Having performed at sold-out shows in North America, Asia, and Europe, Fidelia often considers himself a global citizen. He has previously collaborated with artists like Malik Yusef of G.O.O.D Music, Timbaland, Showtek, and Eva Shaw, and been selected as the opening artist for musicians such as French Montana, A$AP Rocky, Mac Miller, and Action Bronson. Fidelia has also been invited to perform at Bluesfest, Manifesto, Under Pressure, Megaphono, and E.L.E fest. Fidelia also spearheads Ensemble, a lifestyle movement of which the core belief is to unite individuals through forms of art: experiences, music, and fashion. With so many exciting ideas and so much music lined up, Fidelia is ready to stick his head out and establish his name in the industry in his own inimitable way.


Maren Kathleen Elliott is an interdisciplinary creative who splits her time between Edmonton AB and Ottawa ON. Her modalities include illustration, mixed media, movement and music. Maren is passionate about arts accessibility, storytelling, mental health advocacy, and community activation.


Juan Saavedra is a Toronto-based design researcher specializing in health literacy, education and social policy. He holds a Master of Design in Industrial Design from Carleton University. He is an advocate for introducing Sex and Gender-based Analysis into design education and health research.

As a team, Maren & Juan have collaborated on a number of projects including pop-up art exhibits and presentations, often highlighting LGBTQ+ creative voices and exploring creatively-inclined queer activism.


Jacqui Du Toit

Sarah Hopkin

Claudia Gutierrez

Jenna Richards

Nik Ives-Allison

Marisa Gallemit