Student feels new cultural website is worth checking out

Frank Gale
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Chloé Briand thinks a new website highlighting cultural connections is something that will be worth viewing.

The Grade 10 student and Mainland resident knows a little about culture — Briand is a musician who has been playing the accordion since she was in Grade 1 and taking formal lessons for three and a half years.

She joined in an event Tuesday at École Sainte-Anne in La Grand’Terre (Mainland) to unveil the new, interactive website designed to highlight and promote cultural programming in schools.

Education Minister Clyde Jackman attended the announcement that included Briand as one of seven musicians that performed following the unveiling.

“Music will always be a part of my life and I’m proud of my culture and the fact I’m fluent in both the English and French languages,” she said.

The provincial government introduced the Cultural Connections program in 2005 and has since invested $17.4 million for musical equipment, art supplies, books, music and drama festivals, heritage fairs and other programs and activities of benefit to both students and artists.

Jackman said this new website is an excellent resource for schools and artists, providing a single location from which to access information on a variety of resources and Cultural Connections program opportunities.

Though the program has been around for some time, the minister hopes younger people will begin to take advantage of it. The unveiling of the new website is aimed at increasing that interest.

“Involvement in the arts — thinking and acting in a creative way — builds character and self-confidence and connecting artists with students and teachers helps enrich these learning opportunities,” Jackman said.

Cultural Connections is a partnership between the departments of Education and Tourism, Culture and Recreation, with some programming administered through the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.

Mark Cormier, a local musician on the Port au Port Peninsula and former educator who taught at École Notre Dame du Cap for 31 years, thinks the new website is great.Cormier was responsible for getting the French School Board to introduce an accordion program in francophone schools on the Port au Port Peninsula and welcomes anything to help out with enhancing culture.

He recognized that traditional music was dying on the peninsula, especially when it came to accordion playing, but said Bernard Felix now has 110 students under his wing learning to play the instrument.

Components of the Cultural Connections strategy include: ArtsSmarts, the School Touring program, the Student Travel Grant program, the Arts and Culture Infused Curriculum program, the Resource Acquisition program and the Fine Arts Equipment Acquisition program.

Tony Cornect, MHA for Port au Port District, thought it was appropriate for this bilingual website to be launched at École Sainte-Anne because of its rich cultural traditions in both English and French.

“It is important for our students to learn about Newfoundland and Labrador’s history and culture and to explore and discover their own artistic and creative skills,” he said.

The new website, featuring information on a wide variety of Cultural Connections resources and programming, can be viewed at:



Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.Mark Cormier, French School Board, School Touring

Geographic location: La Grand’Terre, Port au Port Peninsula, Port au Port District Newfoundland and Labrador

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