By Lindsay Ducharme
Fort McMurray’s art scene has been steadily growing and gaining momentum in recent years and the Regional Municipality hopes continue the trend when their fourth annual Artist in Residency Program kicks off this June.
“Right now we have the call for submissions and we are looking for applicants from across Canada, so either emerging or mid-career artists,” explained Theresa Jolliffe, community strategies and event coordinator.
“We bring on four artists to be a part of the 11 week residency. The residency takes place at MacDonald Island at the community art gallery there is a studio there that they are putting together for us. The actually residency will start on June 16th and end on August 28th with a group exhibition,” she continued.
Artists included in the residency will have the opportunity to work together in a collaborative environment. Jolliffe noted that this year’s program will include in more community involvement than previous years.
“What they will be doing is providing additional programming for our community which is new this year. In previous years they have done artists talks and hosted open houses, so we will be continuing with that, but we’ve added on another stipulation that the artists are required to fulfill a certain amount of hours of community engagement. That can be anything from community workshops, to networking opportunities, or opportunities to work with other community groups in order to produce an event.”
“We really like this addition and hopefully our community will as well. We hope to get more community engagement, more awareness and maybe community members will learn some new skills and hopefully be inspired to apply to the program next year,” she added.
One aspect of the residency that will unfortunately not be included this year is sending artists to neighboring rural communities. Jolliffe explained that typically the program tries to include the rural communities by putting two artists in the area, however, this year organizers ran into space limitations due to massive construction within the communities. Jolliffe noted that this is actually “fantastic” news for the rural areas because they are growing.
Those interested in applying to the Artist in Residency Program must submit their package by April 11th. Mediums accepted in the application process include visual arts in the form of acrylic or watercolour, oil paintings are will not be accepted due to the ventilation system; digital media, new media, drawing, textile and fiber arts are also acceptable forms of entry for the residency. “As for photography, we already have had some submissions for photography, that we are going to have to talk to the studio about only because we don’t have dark rooms, it’s definitely up to the photographer,” Jolliffe pointed out.
In addition to artwork, applicants must also submit an entry form, a proposal package including their plans for the residency, a biography, resume, at least three references and at least 10 pieces of visual documentation of their work, which would best illustrate their proposal. Applications can be sent via regular mail, to Jolliffe directly via email at email@example.com or online through the municipal website at www.woodbuffalo.ab.ca/artistinresidency. “We hope have made the application process as easy as possible so we get as many submissions as possible.”
For more information on the Artist in Residency Program visit www.woodbuffalo.ab.ca/artist or www.rwmbculture.blogspot.ca.