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This program has been developed in partnership with Manitoba Music. A select number of spots will be reserved for artists working in the music industry.

Do you need a professional kick start to your creative career? Tired of working in a basement/coffee shop and want a real, yet affordable office space? Do you need support and direction with the business side of your art? Feel a need to connect with peers facing similar challenges?

The Arts Exchange Incubator may be for you! Guided by Team Leaders, Ashley Au and Ashley Bieniarz, this program will provide artists with access to a professional co-work space and business skills training delivered by seasoned industry professionals. Participants will also get access to coaching from industry experts in business planning, finance and tax management, marketing and social media, and life work balance. This program is open to artists of all disciplines running their own creative practice.

Participants will attend alternating weekly professional development and peer networking sessions every Tuesday evening at Creative Manitoba. Outside of this time, participants will have access to Creative Manitoba’s Exchange co-working space to continue developing their arts business practices. Participants will also receive coaching from subject matter experts in various fields and be able to drop in for Team Lead office hours!

And because life in the arts shouldn’t all be serious, there will be social sharing nights and showcase opportunities. Artists will be able to participate in First Friday events and showcase their work.

Class Dates:

The program runs every Tuesday evening from October 17, 2023 to March 26, 2024. Participants must be a member of Creative Manitoba or Manitoba Music.

Participants Get:

  • Access to a hot desk with fast WiFi
  • Entrepreneurial training – business planning, marketing, financial management, grant writing, work life balance
  • Discipline specific business coaching
  • Peer networking opportunities
  • Group showcases (First Fridays, etc)


The cost for the five-month, weekly incubator is $300 per participant ($150 upon acceptance, and $150 in January). A flexible payment plan can be arranged. The All Access Inclusion Bursary is open to completely subsidize a select number of spots. We believe that cost should not be a barrier to accessing our programming and would like to work with participants. Please contact us at

Meet The Team

Ashley Au is a Winnipeg-based bassist, composer, sound designer, arranger, and queer creative. A multifaceted musician, Ashley specializes in the upright and electric basses—performing, touring and recording extensively. As a composer and sound artist, Ashley’s work can be found behind various theatre and dance productions as well as galleries and stages internationally.

With over 10 years of experience as an curator and administrator, Ashley’s work specializes in the presentation of emerging and equity-seeking artists from a range of artistic practices, focusing on cross-disciplinary/cross-genre collaboration, experimentation, and artistic-risk taking while centering artist-forward professional development and strategic career development opportunities through a anti-racist, class conscious, and decolonial lens.

Ashley is the artistic director of Cluster New Music + Integrated Arts Festival, Artistic Producer for the Pride Winnipeg Festival and incoming President of the West End Cultural Centre’s Board of Directors. 

Ashley Bieniarz, also known as Kwiat, is a multi-talented and award-winning music industry professional based in Winnipeg. Dedicated to community, songcraft, and representing her cultures, she has worked tirelessly to mitigate barriers for marginalised individuals while creating inspiration and opportunities for others. Notably, in 2023, she was honoured with the inaugural Women in Music Honour Roll award for her outstanding work with Songsmiths, a program that celebrates and supports Canadian innovators and creators. As the first Indigenous woman from Manitoba to receive this commendation, Ashley is making significant strides. Most recently, she acted as the Artistic Director for the RiseUp Mentorship and GerryFest program at St. Norbert Arts Centre and collaborated on an Indigenous Languages and Culture Program grant to revitalize and reclaim Indigenous languages through partnerships with LyricFind and Red Music Rising.

Having completed her role as interim Indigenous Music Development Coordinator at Manitoba Music in 2022, she is well-versed in grants and actively contributes to initiatives promoting gender equity in audio recording and music production. Ashley has a vision of evolving Songsmiths into an artist services and publishing house that incorporates Indigenous knowledge and leadership practices to provide greater benefits and supports to the artists she works with. As Kwiat, she will be releasing her debut single in the fall of 2023, co-produced with Hawksley Workman and mixed by George Seara.

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