Big-hearted community keeps the Métis Hall going

Based on an article By Heather Latter for Fort Frances Times Online, original article can be viewed at: http://fftimes.com/node/249369

Big-hearted community keeps the Métis Hall going
Actor Darryl Allan offers some comic relief during the 'Heart of the Arts'
benefit concert.

The “Heart of the Arts” benefit concert, auction, art exhibit, and market held February 16th at Fort Frances High School was lauded by organizers as a success.  “We were really impressed by the generosity of so many people,” said co-organizer and Councillor for the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Sunset Country Métis Council, Wanda Botsford.

“We need events like ‘Heart of the Arts’ to not only show off some of the amazing talent we have in the area, but also to help fundraise to keep the Métis Hall going,” said Clint Calder, President of the MNO Sunset Country Métis. “We don’t have many community halls left in Fort Frances, and we would like to preserve this one to not only house our community gatherings but also the community programs that run out of it,” he stressed. “We really appreciate the help of all of the entertainers who pulled together a remarkable lineup, and the Rainy River Arts Collective for adding another dimension and joining in with a fabulous display of local artistic talent,” he added.

In addition to musicians, there were story-tellers, actors, comedians and dancers, all of whom donated their time and talent to help raise money to sustain the Métis Hall, as did the artists and artisans from the Rainy River Arts Collective. “They are all a true testament to how much ‘heart’ our community has,” he remarked.

President Calder thanked local merchants and community members who contributed to the penny table and the auction, and local bakers for contributing to the bake sale. He noted that the Métis Hall is a gathering place for many community groups and events, and some great programs run out of the Métis Hall that benefit surrounding communities, like the Healthy Living Food Box and the Kids Being Kids playgroup.

“There is a misconception that the Métis Hall is government-funded, but it is not and it never has been,” stressed President Calder. “It is run by volunteers.” He added that because many of the programs there, are philanthropic and cultural in nature, they do not necessarily generate revenue.

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