Public art has the ability to challenge the systemic inequities that exist in public space, but Canada’s public art collection does not currently reflect its diversity. This is the inspiration that led Canadian public arts organization STEPS to launch CreateSpace, a national public art residency program designed in collaboration with advisors from coast to coast, to provide emerging Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and racialized artists with the skills, relationships and practical experience needed to take their public art practice to the next level.
Ten artists will bring public art projects to life with the support of STEPS and multidisciplinary artistic mentors in their communities across five provinces: Amanda Lederle (Toronto, ON), Anna Jane McIntyre (Montreal, QC), Arjun Lal (Halifax, NS), Bruno Canadien (Black Diamond, AB), Charmaine Lurch (Toronto, ON), Jieun June Kim (Toronto, ON), Laara Cerman (Port Coquitlam, BC), Nuff (Toronto, ON), Shelby Gagnon (Thunder Bay, ON), and Yasmeen Nematt Alla (Toronto, ON). Five Toronto-based artists and installations are made possible through a partnership with the City of Toronto, timed with ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art.
With nearly 100 submissions from across the country, artists-in-residence were selected by a committee of BIPOC-identifying public artists and professionals from across Canada. Advisor Sean Lee of Tangled Art + Disability shared, “I was really interested in CreateSpace because it aligns with Tangled’s desire to create access for a more intersectional conversation, as well as centering the experiences of queer, trans and disabled folks.” While Jennifer Smith of the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition reflects that “the residency is about change-making.”
STEPS is a Canadian-based public art organization that fosters dynamic, inclusive and resilient communities through one-of-a-kind art initiatives and engagement strategies. The CreateSpace Residency is made possible by support from TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment, the City of Toronto, Partners in Art and MAWA.