About Us

inPath is a non-profit organization that co-creates arts-based programming, workshops, and professional development tools and resources in educational contexts.

inPath works with Indigenous communities, schools, and organizations to implement and sustain arts-based programming.

We are growing a dynamic catalog of programs and events, including:

  • training for artists and educators
  • a mobile production studio
  • artist teaching residencies ( in school and extracurricular settings)
  • festivals and celebrations
  • youth gatherings

Our philosophy of “living programs” has emerged in response to the needs voiced by the people we serve.

By listening and learning, we have embraced methodologies that affirm and center youth and ensure that local perspectives and Indigenous ways of knowing are respected and embedded in our programs.

inPath Founders: how we got here

I remember pulling on the door of Willie J. Happyjack School in Waswanipi where I was invited by the Cree Nation Youth Council to give a motivational speech… and it was locked! I looked around and saw another building. As I stepped through those doors I was greeted by an individual who said “welcome to our youth centre”. His name was Jonah Cooper, a professional Cree hip-hop artist. We started talking about music and I decided to set up my mobile music studio in the back room, inviting some of his friends over to make some beats. Totally informal.

30 kids showed up that day and by the end, we had produced three tracks. Everyone was so happy! And the response to the songs from the community was incredible.

As I weaved through the winding roads of the Cree Nation towards the next community while listening to the freshly-created songs, I realized that I was about to embark on a special journey across the Northern regions, and was excited at the possibility of meeting all of the hidden talents in the next eight communities. Together with the youth, we produced songs and interview videos in each community. I went back to Montreal, mastered the tracks, uploaded them to iTunes. We worked tirelessly for weeks with each community to raise awareness of the project that was set to launch and to ensure that the release was going to be supported and memorable. By the end of it, we were all exhausted and the release day was upon us.

The next morning we woke up and we had gone Number 1 in Canada… It was surreal.

I was invited back to the Cree Nation to talk about the success of the project and future plans for the music initiative. On my trip back to Montreal from Chisasibi, I was telling a friend about my vision to continue serving the Cree Nation through the arts, with exciting plans to bring music studios into every community. Little did I know that the two people seated in front of me worked for the Cree School Board and were listening closely. They introduced themselves and said they were in the middle of looking for ways to create engaging programming for their students. I handed them a copy of the N’we Jinan Volume 1 album and said: here…this is what the kids want, listen to the words and their voices. Two weeks later, the Cree School Board sat down with me and proposed I create an arts concentration program to bring the same excitement into the schools and I knew right away that I needed help…

David and I had crossed paths in art and social circles for years, following each other’s work, attending the same events, and working with youth. All of a sudden I get a message from him asking if we could talk about an opportunity he thought I would be perfect for.

At this time in my career, I was teaching Community Arts Education at Concordia while doing my Masters. I was also running a non-profit – En Masse Pour Les Masses – bringing artists into schools to do collaborative large-scale black and white murals and giving teacher workshops in collaboration with school boards and a local art store Brault & Bouthillier. Up to that point, I had been orbiting education systems and creating arts programming for over 10 years for various organizations — I was ready for a new challenge, something farther reaching with more sustainability for youth.

David talked to me about his experience in the North, the needs of the youth in Northern Cree communities, the Cree School Board, and what kind of expertise he was looking for. I was so excited! What an opportunity. And it just so happened that the week before I purchased my first-ever parka and proper winter boots… who knew!

As our conversation progressed to more specific details regarding arts curriculum, I recognized our need for a skilled education consultant and my mind went directly to Melissa-Ann Ledo, whom I had been working closely with for many years at the EMSB and at Concordia… David couldn’t believe I mentioned her because her name was the only other he’d been thinking of…

My career started as a high school arts teacher and later I became the arts consultant for the English Montreal School Board (EMSB). I connected with lots of arts professionals and supported teachers in visual arts, music, dance, drama — specialists and non-specialists.

I often brought other artists and independent consultants into the schools I worked with to provide professional development to teachers, as I was just one person supporting a variety of teachers! I introduced the curriculum to Katie and she became my go-to person to provide these workshops. Our professional relationship grew and we began attending many conferences together.

I first met Katie when we invited her and her En Masse Pour Les Masses team to work with our consultants on a collaborative drawing project. It turns out, we were also in the same undergrad program together but I was a year ahead so we hadn’t met! Around this time, David was recommended by a colleague to apply to join the roster of anglophone artists for the Culture in the Schools program. I offered to meet with him and support him in applying and he got on the list.

I worked at the school board for about five years when I decided to take a leave to focus on my master’s thesis in art education. I had convinced Katie to do her Masters at the same time – how else could we change the world of education together!?

One day, Katie had just finished meeting with David when she walked into our graduate office at Concordia, and the look on her face said it all: She was going to ask me to quit my job at the EMSB! She told me about David’s amazing project, the request from the Cree School Board, and the Northern youth — I was thrilled; my heart was in it from the get-go.

As soon as we were invited to do this work, we knew we had to visit the communities to ask questions that would guide the work: we needed to know what the youth, parents, and community members wanted. That trip will always remain in my heart as the start of it all. We committed from day one to co-creating the programs with the communities who invited us to work with their youth. These programs belong to the youth!