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Summit provided a look at what the southeast has to offer

Breakout sessions, panel discussions, table talks, a keynote speaker and more were part of the event.
Nearly 60 people attended the South East Summit on Thursday at the Southeast College's Estevan campus.

ESTEVAN - Dozens of participants learned more about offerings for arts, culture, heritage and more during the inaugural South East Summit on Thursday.

With the theme of The Sky's the Limit: Estevan, approximately 60 people attended the event at the Southeast College's Estevan campus. They listened to speakers, participated in discussions and learned more about things that are happening in the region.

"I was so pleased," said Amber Andersen, the community development consultant for the South East Sport, Culture & Recreation District. "We had such good feedback … we had panelists, we had breakout speakers, we had a keynote speaker, and everyone's commentary on all of the sessions was how much they enjoyed it."

Artists don't get a lot of opportunities in the southeast to connect, network and learn, she said, so Andersen believes this was an important event.

The event started with guests attending one of three breakout sessions. Art Starts at the Library was by artist Regan Lanning and Southeast Regional Library community services manager Morgan Kelly. Coronach in Bloom was courtesy of Town of Coronach community development officer Kelsey Manske and Andrew Exelby, a Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association parks and open spaces consultant. The final option was All Aboard Ogema! by Carol Peterson, who is not only the community's mayor but is the lead volunteer with the Southern Prairie Railway.

A table talks session saw participants divided into groups to hear from provincial organizations Age-Friendly Saskatchewan, the Community Initiatives Fun, Culture Days, the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils, Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association, SaskCulture and SK Arts.

"There were 15-minute sessions where people could select which provincial leader they wanted to sit with, and then they would do the talk and then I would basically tell everyone you need to shuffle," said Andersen. "They had the opportunity to do that three times in an hour. It's just a way to network not only with the provincial leaders but with different people in the room."

After lunch, an afternoon panel discussion was on how art and heritage can enliven communities. Participants were artist Karlie King, who has had community artwork in Estevan; Project 104 Moose Jaw co-ordinator Cori Sass; and Saskatchewan History & Folklore Society executive director Kirstin Enns-Kavanagh. Andersen moderated the discussion.

During a roundtable discussion, participants talked about what an artist or heritage residency looks like in the community and unique partnerships that could be formed.

The event closed with a keynote speech by Cadmus Delorme, who is the former chief of the Cowessess First Nation, located north of Broadview. He is the founder and CEO of OneHoop. In his speech, There is No Reconciliation Without Truth, Delorme reflected on his experiences, highlighting the importance of sports and education. He often incorporated humour as well.

(The Mercury and SaskToday will have more on Delorme's speech later).

Andersen, who joined the Southeast District organization last year, said the summit was one of the first things they wanted to integrate into their offerings. She wanted everyone to realize that cultural vitality is significant, not only ensuring succession planning and continuity of communities, but for tourism.

"You don't have to be a large urban centre. Large things can happen in small places, and so I hope that this planted a seed, and that everyone goes back to their different communities, and that we can see some different cultural elements happening."