Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to Bowness.
I’ve lived in Bowness for almost six years. My partner and I bought our first home here and my studio is in my house, so I get to live and do all of my art here! I also work part time at the Alberta University of the Arts as a studio instructor for the continuing education program, and also as a tutor and academic strategist. We have a daughter who just started kindergarten and we’re really excited about Bowcroft school and its walkability and the fact that there are so many playgrounds and schools nearby. And we loved Cadence Coffee before we moved to Bowness! So it was really cool to move here and make it our local place.
Tell us about your work and your origin story as an artist.
I’m a mixed media and inter-media artist. I’m really interested in painting, drawing, sculpture, and some fiber based work. I didn’t actually start drawing until I took a gap year after high school. It started out on a whim thinking, “maybe art school would be interesting?” I had some older illustrator friends who showed me into that world and so at first I thought illustration would be my thing. Then of course, I got to art school and it was a totally new world being exposed to new ideas and artists. Eventually I decided not to do illustration and moved more into the fine-arts side of things.
How did you hear about the artistic residency and why did you choose to apply for it?
I heard about the ARTS program through the other artists’ events last year. When I saw the call for applicants on Facebook and learned BCA ARTS was going to be an annual thing, I was thrilled and started putting my application together. I was really inspired seeing the diversity among the past participants, which made me feel free from needing to fit into a certain box.
How can people like me and communities come together to support the arts?
As a first step, I think it’s important that folks get opportunities to experience the arts first-hand. So I think it’s actually a two way street and beholden on artists a little bit to create spaces for community members to participate in the arts. I think that when artists make their work more accessible and take steps to connect with the community, it builds relationships that make art easier to appreciate and support.
What are you most excited for about your ARTS residency?
I’m excited to make subtle changes to the space at the BCA — not just by installing physical artwork on the walls, but by sneaking in some poetry and vinyl pieces into different areas here. I’m really interested in atypical spaces for artwork and I’ve never had a chance to explore that in a place like a community centre.
What excites you about the ARTS events you are hosting?
I’m very excited for Good Morning Storytime. This will be the fourth iteration of the project which started for me at the Bowness Library with my daughter. As a parent, I wanted to include something for kids and I wanted to bring the storytime experience into an art context. It flips the expectation of who an audience for the arts can be, and I love the idea of inviting kids into spaces that are not usually accessible to them.
For my mail art projects, I believe that mail is this amazing thing that has maybe fallen out of fashion. I think it’s so cool that you can pay a minimal amount for postage, and then send letters all over the country. Folks will be able to sign up to receive mail art, or they can sign up to receive a kit to make their own mail art and send it to whoever they want. I think there’s just something so special about sending and receiving mail nowadays. It also helps make art accessible to folks with limited mobility or someone who otherwise isn’t able to come attend in-person events.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
When we moved here, I started a project documenting things dropped by young children, which is the hashtag that I created around the project. While pushing my daughter in her stroller near all the schools and parks, I started to notice so many interesting things that had been discarded. So I started documenting them by taking photos or sometimes picking them up if I could. I’m really hoping that some community members will be interested in contributing and turning it into an ongoing thing. #thingsdroppedbyyoungchildren