Artist in residence

Our Artist in Residence program is an initiative of the culture plan. The program offers opportunities for artists to partner with the city to deliver community art projects to citizens of all ages, abilities, and experience.

2021 Artist in Residence

Applications are now open for the 2021 Artist in Residence Program. 

The 2021 Artist in Residence program will take place on trails throughout the City of Waterloo. Waterloo boasts a number of trails that travel through City parks, naturalized areas, neighbourhoods, and more developed urban areas.

As part of this residency, the selected artist will explore the relationship between city parks, trails, and users by engaging in a conversation about what parks contribute to our community. This can include an exploration of the natural environment through signage, shadow art, trail murals, or other temporary art installations.

The residency is expected to result in the creation of a tangible artistic product such as an installation, exhibition, performance, or piece of writing that will be loaned, installed, or to used by the City of Waterloo for a minimum of twelve months following the residency period for the purpose of public display.

The total budget for the 2021 Artist in Residence initiative is $10,000 (includes artist fees and materials costs). Funds will be dispersed over the duration of the residency.

Applications are due Wednesday, April 28, 2021 by 5:00 p.m.

Learn more and submit your application

Past artists

2020 program

The 2020 program hosted Richard Burrows and Christa Mercey as the 2020 Artists in Residence. Throughout the summer, Burrows and Mercey presented a unique opportunity for the community to participate in an art project culminating into two community anthems, O’Canada, and an original song, We are Waterloo.  

Each week, new elements of the two songs, O’Canada and We are Waterloo, were added through sheet music online and through video tutorials on YouTube. Participants of every level were encouraged to follow along, create their own videos, and submit their creations. These were be assembled into final versions of the songs which premiered as part of Waterloo’s online Canada Day celebrations and at the end of September as part of the City’s Culture Days programming.

Each week sheet music was provided, and the 2020 Artist in Residence assembled a final community version of a song.

O Canada - guitar (PDF)

O Canada - uke (PDF)

O Canada - drums (PDF)

View click track on YouTube.

Watch the videos they created on the Create Waterloo YouTube.

2019 program

The 2019 program was hosted in Veteran's Green weekly from July to October. The community was invited to meet with artist Paul McDonald as he held sessions to discuss the art he was creating.

McDonald's project saw the development of a temporally large scale installations that celebrated elements of the unique neighbourhood located between Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, bound by University Avenue West, Phillip Street, Columbia Street West and King Street North known as Northdale. Over the past 25 years, the area has seen permanent residents replaced by a student population and rental housing.

2018 program

The 2018 program was hosted in Waterloo Park to celebrate its 125th anniversary, with Denise St Marie and Timothy Walker of St Marie φ Walker selected as the artists.

Their project, Prose in the Park, included hands-on workshops, word walks, storytelling activities, word treasure hunts and other activities in the park.

2017 program

As the 2017 artist in residence, Barbara Hobot facilitated a community-wide art initiative. "Growing Together: A Neighbourhood Cookbook Project" collected the art, recipes, instructions, and family memories of community members to produce a published collective of community stories.

Throughout the project, Hobot worked with community members to collect their stories and visuals during free workshops. These workshops were held in parks and community gardens across Waterloo. No experience was necessary and all materials were provided. There was also an opportunity to share recipes by email or scanning at designated city facilities.

"Growing Together" aimed to explore neighbourhood identity and foster inclusivity by encouraging discussion among neighbours from diverse backgrounds. The project also supported the development of Waterloo's neighbourhood strategy.

View the cookbook (PDF)

2016 program

As the 2016 Artist in Residence, Michele Braniff held a series of free, hands-on workshops, story-telling tours, and urban sketching meet-ups. Her project, "Community Re-construction of Waterloo Construction 2016" engaged the public in crafts, collaborative art, and the exploration of community ecosystems.

The collaborative project offered participants a chance to engage with construction and development in Waterloo through a new lens. Together, the community and artist constructed a continuous image depicting the look and feel of the area during the span of the residency.

2015 program

In 2015, Waterloo artist Rick Nixon, was selected as the city's first artist in residence. Nixon held a series of free, hands-on workshops at the Albert McCormick Community Centre. His project "Birdhouse Installation" engaged the public in crafts, collaborative art, art installation, and the exploration of community ecosystems.

During the workshops, Nixon invited citizens to think about the area surrounding the community centre and participate in the creation of bird houses that reflect the community and the facility. Participants were encouraged to incorporate found objects into the sculptures. The birdhouses were later installed in gardens around the community centre.