Thinking Rock Blog

This is where we share updates about the projects we are working on across the Algoma District.  Be sure to check back frequently for emerging news and photos!

Summer Students, Community Outreach and Updates

Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Blogs | 0 comments

By: Jackson Reed – Community Liaison – Summer Student


Hello dearest blog readers! Things have been pretty busy over here at Thinking Rock HQ.

I’d like to update you on Thinking Rock’s summer and the work we have been been doing throughout. First, we moved our office to Queen Street at The Downtown Association and are very excited that we are sharing this space with two other awesome organizations – The Downtown Association and the 4R’s Youth Movement. Both groups are community-minded organizations that share similar values in local business, artists, youth development, change making and other great things.

Thinking Rock at Lumberjack Days in Elliot Lake - July 2015

Secondly, Thinking Rock brought in two student staff members, including myself, for the months of July and August. We have spent time between the office and on the road contributing to the Rivers Speak project as well as coordinating outreach activities at events and festivals throughout the communities of Algoma. We visited Blind River Community Days, Desbarats’ Sustain Algoma Expo and Elliot Lake’s Lumberjack Days and have an upcoming event at Searchmont as Thinking Rock assists the work being done with the YSI Algoma Nest and its work to support young change-makers across Ontario.

Rivers Speak at Sustain Algoma Expo - July 2015

I’d like an opportunity to share a bit about myself as a member of Thinking Rock. I like being active in the music and art community. Through this work, I actively support and take part in organizing concerts at local venues (Loplops, Cafe Natura, 180 Projects) and promoting the Soo creative scene online. I will be starting my first year of school in Toronto this fall.

Emily Jane – Meawasige is a creative, passionate and eccentric high school student residing in Serpent River First Nation. Emily-Jane is currently working with Thinking Rock Community Arts to help promote The Rivers Speaks and other community projects.

I look forward to assisting in the development of the Rivers Speak project with the staff and its projects as an organization.

Thanks, I look forward to sharing more with you soon!

Stilts and Masks Workshop in Blind River

Posted by on April 29, 2015 in Blogs | 0 comments

Hello again!

We have been busy over the last several weeks with the Rivers Speak project and our skill-building workshops. In late March we held our Puppet Making workshop at Serpent River First Nation. Then, on April 18 & 19, we visited Blind River to host our next skill-building workshop, focussing on Stilt Walking and Mask Making.




We brought two talented artist-facilitators to Blind River with us. Sarah King-Gold, the artistic director for Myths and Mirrors Community Arts in Sudbury, brought her performing background of stilt walking and theatre performance for participants to learn about and engage in.


Teaching participants about balance on stilts


We also brought in Sean Frey, a mask, puppet and shadow puppet animator who has worked with Jumblies Theatre in Toronto. Sean has a great aptitude for bringing scenes from stories to life through mask making, which was demonstrated over the course of the weekend’s workshop.


Sean Frey working on Wolf Masks


As the weekend unfolded, Thinking Rock’s workshop attracted visitors and participants from several communities including Spanish, Elliot Lake, Serpent River First Nation, Mississaugi First Nation, Iron Bridge, Thessalon, Echo Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and, of course, Blind River.


End of Workshop performance


Underpinning it all was the development of a Kaswenta, the Two Row Wampum, one of the original treaties that outlines the principles of how Anishinaabe people of this area and the Visitors can work together from a foundation of Trust, Mutual Respect and Friendship.

This workshop was made possible by funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council – Conseil des arts de l’Ontario, and Theatre Ontario‘s Youth Theatre Training Program.


Learning about Kaswentah and Two-Row Wampum Belt


We will continue to offer opportunities over the next few weeks and months to learn more about the Rivers Speak project and Thinking Rock Community Arts. We are offering these workshops as a way for local community members to learn about the different artistic skills that can be incorporated in creating a community play. We invite everyone to become involved and learn about these skills as a participant, a maker, and even as a performer when Thinking Rock’s community play launches in summer 2016. These workshops are open to all, regardless of age or artistic experience.

In June, Thinking Rock will be offering another skill-building workshop at Mississaugi First Nation focussed on Theatre and Movement, which will be facilitated by the talented team from Aanmitaagzi from Nipissing First Nation.

An Elliot Lake workshop will follow in mid-August, when we bring Jumblies Theatre’s Ruth Howard and Arts4All‘s Liz Rucker to lead community members in exploring the use of Theatre Design and Words in a community play.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and check back on our website,, for further details.

Stilts and Mask Making Workshop

Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Blogs | 0 comments


Join Thinking Rock artists and our visiting artists Sean Frey (Jumblies Theatre) and Sarah King-Gold (Myths and Mirrors Community Arts) on April 18 & 19 from 1-5pm at Ecole Secondaire Catholique Jeunesse-Nord in Bind River for a super fun hands-and-legs-on workshop for people of all ages and artistic abilities.


The Rivers Speak - Stilts and Masks Workshop


Learn how to walk on stilts and (or!) create masks inspired by the local stories that have been shared by community members from Blind River, Elliot Lake, Serpent River First Nation and Mississaugi First Nation for the Rivers Speak project.

This workshop is made possible with support from Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council – Conseil des arts de l’Ontario andTheatre Ontario‘s Youth Theatre Training Program.

This is the second of four skill-building workshops we will be hosting this summer. Stay tuned for:

Theatre and Movement
June 2 & 3, 2015
Mississaugi First Nation

Theatre Design and Words
August 15 & 16, 2015
Elliot Lake


What is The Rivers Speak?
The Rivers Speak is a three year community art project started in 2013 that invites people of all ages and abilities to share & celebrate stories about our rivers and waterways through fun art making activities. These stories and art pieces will become part of a community play in 2016 that will be created with & for communities of Mississaugi First Nation, Blind River, Elliot Lake & Serpent River First Nation. Everyone is welcome!!!


What is Thinking Rock Community Arts?
Thinking Rock is a non-profit arts organization based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario that practices the art of building community across the Algoma District. Our mission is to help foster the development of healthy, inclusive, vibrant, liveable rural communities. We do this by working with communities to surface and tell local stories through art-making, supporting young people to co-create the communities they want to live in and consulting for businesses and community groups.

Thinking Rock’s staff include Founder and Artistic Director Robin Sutherland, General Manager Miranda Bouchard and Project Coordinator Jon Cada and governed by a four person Board of Directors.

For more information visit