OAC is honouring the memory of former Indigenous Arts Officer, Sara Roque, who passed away on June 7, 2023. From 2007 to 2015, Sara brought both passion and compassion to her role in support of Indigenous artists and arts organizations.
Over her OAC career and beyond, Sara mentored artists and was a leader in creating innovative programs, policies and protocols. Her colleagues remember her for her unfailing generosity in sharing her wisdom. It was through Sara’s leadership and vision that in 2012 the Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Arts Award was created to recognize Indigenous leaders and artists both established and emerging.
Sara and filmmaker Danis Goulet, developed Shapeshifters (Thunderstone Productions), a series of nine video profiles featuring Indigenous artists in Ontario to illustrate the diversity and breadth of Indigenous arts in the province.
In addition to the Indigenous arts programs, Sara was instrumental in the development of the Indigenous Visual Artists’ Materials program and for a time managed OAC’s Northern Arts program and the Access and Career Development program designed for emerging Indigenous artists and artists of colour. She and Danis created the Indigenous Presenters in the North: Music Projects program to support opportunities for Indigenous musicians.
Over almost a decade at OAC, Sara also led professional development sessions for Indigenous artists and convened Indigenous arts leaders when insights were needed to support the community.
Sara is featured in OAC’s widely used and insightful Indigenous Arts Protocols video, produced for OAC by Maaiingan Productions.
A documentary filmmaker of Anishnaabe heritage, Sara was a co-founder of the O’Kaadenigan Weengashk Arts Collective. Her 2009 film Six Miles Deep focused on the role of clan mothers in the 2006 Caledonia blockade in Ontario.
Heartfelt condolences to Sara's family and friends.
From Left, Denise Bolduc, laureate of the 2017 Ontario Arts Council Indigenous Arts Award, with Sara Roque.