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.

2020 Artist in Residence

The City of Waterloo is pleased to announce Richard Burrows and Christa Mercey as the 2020 Artists in Residence. Throughout the summer, Burrows and Mercey will present 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, will be added. Participants of every level are encouraged to follow along, create their own videos, and submit their creations. These will be assembled into final versions of the songs which will premiere as part of Waterloo’s online Canada Day celebrations and at the end of September as part of the City’s Culture Days programming.

Submit your creation for the community 2020 Artist in Residence program.

Submit creation

Follow along each week as we provide sheet music and our 2020 Artist in Residence will assemble a final community version of a song. View this weeks sheet music to create your submission:

O Canada - guitar (PDF)

O Canada - uke (PDF)

O Canada - drums (PDF)

View click track on YouTube.

The Artist in Residence program is a result of the City of Waterloo Culture Plan. This program animates public spaces and explores community stories by providing opportunities for the public to work with local artists in the creation of a community art project. 

Videos will be released on the Create Waterloo Youtube channel on Fridays from May to September. 

Richard Burrows biography

Richard Burrows has had a substantial career throughout North America, Europe, Mexico, Australia, and Asia. Having earned two Master’s degrees from the University of Toronto, Richard has honed his craft to create a unique approach in both education and performance. An avid educator, Richard has adjudicated and facilitated masterclasses with a specialization in improvisation.

As an active freelance musician within his community and beyond, he has organized and performed in numerous events under the auspices of Open Ears Festival where he is the artistic director, with famed bass clarinetist Kathryn Ladano in “Stealth,” with new music projects for InterArtsMatrix, was a principle cast member of ScrapArtsMusic and is a founding member of TorQ Percussion Quartet. TorQ has commissioned over 100 pieces for percussion quartet, including concertos by Nicole Lizee and Dinuk Wijeratne. Richard endorses Yamaha Canada Music, Innovative Percussion, Dream cymbals and gongs, and Black Swamp Percussion.

Christa Mercey biography

Christa grew up in Elmira, Ontario, surrounded by a musical family. She received a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance in Percussion from the University of Toronto, studied music in Ghana, West Africa, and in 2017, received a General Certificate in Music from Berklee Online. In 2003, Christa joined forces with fellow percussionists to form TorQ Percussion Quartet, performing with the group until 2007. In 2005, she also joined Vancouver’s Scrap Arts Music, touring the world until 2013. Between tours, she also worked as a freelance musician with various songwriters and bands.

In 2013, Christa was selected for a role in Cirque Du Soleil’s KURIOS. She worked on the creation process of the show, and went on to tour with the company for another 3 years, performing over 1000 shows! Deciding to hang up her touring shoes, Christa moved home, opening her own music teaching studio called Sticks and Strings Music School. She will also be attending Wilfrid Laurier University this fall in the Masters of Music Therapy Program. Christa is excited to be back home, connecting with the community that she grew up in. She is also super excited to be in one place so she can grow a vegetable garden!

Past artists

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.