In December of 2000, an Arts Education sub-committee of the City of Thunder Bay’s Arts & Heritage Committee completed a study on Best Practices in Arts Education from several cities in both Canada and the USA.  The study also looked at what programming was already in place locally, who could access that programming, and where the gaps existed.  From the results of this study, several recommendations were made to improve the level of arts education for our community.

These recommendations were:

  1. More financial support for artists
  2. More community-based arts education programming
  3. Partnerships with private sector and individual artists
  4. Artist in Residency programs
  5. More venues for young artists to perform and display their talents

CAHEP began as a pilot project funded through the Ontario Trillium Foundation.  A Steering Committee acted as the Board through the first two years of funding.  CAHEP also set up a Network Group with 18 stakeholders in arts and heritage that included individual artists, arts and heritage organizations, and educators.  The CAHEP Network Group offered suggestions and had collaborative input to help develop CAHEP’s programming and resources.

Part way through its second year, CAHEP established a small working group from the original Steering Committee which refined our mandate and vision and created our constitution and by-laws.  The original Steering Committee was dissolved after OTF funding was finished.  The first CAHEP Board consisted of five individuals who participated in the work that was done to create the by-laws and constitution of the organization.  In February 2005, CAHEP was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization and in June 2005, we received our charitable status.