Call for 2023 Indigenous Artist in Residence

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Call for 2023 Indigenous Artist in Residence

Winter/Spring 2023

The Calgary Public Library invites applications for the three-month, paid position of Artist in Residence: Indigenous at the Central Library in downtown Calgary, Alberta for February – April 2023. This residency aims to recognize the contribution of Indigenous artists, craftspeople and knowledge keepers to Calgary. In response to the calls of action in the City of Calgary’s White Goose Flying report, the Library seeks to honour Indigenous cultures and to promote intercultural understanding, perspective-taking and communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The residency aims to create a supportive environment for artists in Calgary to have time and space to create their own work while introducing library patrons to artists and art forms they may not otherwise experience. Community engagement events, such as lectures and workshops, and regular open studio hours provide the public with opportunities to meet artists, observe the artistic process and participate in art-making.

Description of the Position

The library seeks emerging or mid-career self-identified First Nations, Inuit and Métis artist and artist teams working in any artistic discipline and who enjoy working with people. An emerging or mid-career artist is identified as one who has not been internationally shown and does not have regular representation by an agent or gallery.

The artist(s) should:

  • Have a connection to Calgary. Those with connection to the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani) Îyâxe Nakoda Nations (Chiniki, Wesley and Bearspaw), Tsuut’ina Nations, Calgary’s urban Indigenous community, and Métis Nation Region (MNA) 3 are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Bring knowledge and understanding of the significant cultural heritage and legacy of Indigenous people especially the rich histories, stories and customs inherent in the land. We invite artists to bring their Indigenous identities, histories, cultures, languages, traditions, principles, worldviews, relationships and ways of knowing to the public through the Library.
  • Create learning opportunities that support the Calgary Public Library’s journey of reconciliation and commitment to respond to the City of Calgary’s Calls to Action of White Goose Flying – A Report to City Council on the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation. The Calgary Public Library has an important part to play in the reconciliation process by bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities together in a culturally safe space.

Description of the Residency

The residency is based in a glass-walled studio in a public space, which means, while the artist’s practice and privacy is to be respected whether in the studio or in the public space of the library, we do expect the artist to be comfortable and open to engaging with patrons. Artists are encouraged to make their creative process visible in the studio space, so that the public can look in through the windows when the studio doors are closed. Experience working with communities, large groups and/or children and youth is an asset.

The Indigenous residency runs for three months, February – April annually. The artist will be required to take part in an artist talk in the beginning of the residency and, at minimum, two public workshops and/or school programs, all set in collaboration with the Library. The artist will determine and hold regular, open studio hours at new Central Library for a minimum 7.5 hours per week, culminating in a May exhibition or performance. The Artist in Residence studio is available to the artist during opening hours to work on their own projects.


The Artist in Residence honorarium is $50 per hour to a maximum of 100 hours per residency. This amount includes offsite preparation time and onsite program delivery time, and any other project expenses incurred by the applicant, except for materials specific to community engagement events.

The Indigenous Artist in Residence is also awarded the TD Indigenous Artist Award at the Mayor’s Celebrating the Arts Event which includes a cash prize of $5,000.


Artists may not apply as an individual and be part of an organization or collective applying in the same competition.
If the applicant is an individual artist, the following eligibility criteria apply:

  • Must not be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Self-identify as an artist/illustrator/performer/craftsperson and is recognized as such by artists/illustrators working in the same artistic tradition
  • Actively practices their art

If the applicant is an organization or a collective, the following eligibility criteria apply.

A collective is defined as two or more artists working together under a group name with at least one of the members self-identifying as Indigenous, either on a single project (ad hoc) or on an ongoing basis. For collectives of two artists, both must not be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and be 18 years of age or older. For collectives of more than two artists, most members must not be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and 18 years of age or older.

Additionally, the successful applicant must be willing to:

  • Work collaboratively with library staff and other residents, if applicable.
  • In every case, the library and the resident or a residency group’s representative will sign a formal written contract which will detail the rights and responsibilities of each party.
  • Successfully meet the criteria of their residency under the budget, residency schedule (co-developed with library) and timelines set out in their contract.
  • Express desire to create artwork for and in the public realm.
  • Engage and catalyze people and places.
  • The artist should feel comfortable creating programming to contextualize their work and ideas in the library for the public, as it becomes necessary.
  • Be available for press events/media interviews, and be open to discussing their work with library patrons when engaged (within reason).
  • Participate in library-initiated projects, such as video interviews, for the library’s archives.
  • Artists are encouraged to make their creative process visible in the studio space, so that patrons can look in through the windows when the studio doors are closed.
  • Document and share their residency with the library and the public (ie: blog, social media feed, written account, photographs etc.).
  • Provide a short bio (50 words or less), an artist photograph or organization logo in high resolution .JPG or .PNG format, suitable for print reproduction and a short description of the artist’s work (150 words or less). This information will also be used to create in-library signage and to introduce the artist at community engagement events, as well as for additional publicity opportunities.
  • Provide a booklist for the library’s website on a topic related to their artistic practice.
  • Showcase their work, at the close of their residency. Visual or sound exhibitions may be displayed for a 1-3-month period.
  • Sit on the selection committee to choose the 2024 Indigenous Artist in Residence. (late December 2023 or early January 2024).

Application Criteria

Interested applicants are invited to attend an online information session about the application process:

Residency and Grant Opportunities for Artists

Learn about the library’s paid residency and Indigenous placemaking programs, current opportunities, and learn from past artists’ experiences. Hear from arts organizations, AFA and CADA, about upcoming opportunities within Calgary’s arts community. Followed by a Q&A to answer questions about the library programs and applying for upcoming opportunities.

Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2022, 6 – 7:30pm

Sponsored by TD Bank Group

Artistic Practice narrative (500 words or fewer, PDF or video/audio submission):

  • An explanation of what you want to investigate during the residency and a description of the form/s the work might take in the context of a final exhibition or performance.
  • Describe possible public programming, collaborations with the public and/or other methods of engaging the public.
  • Describe how your artistic practice is particularly suited to the Calgary Public Library’s values of inclusion, curiosity, reconciliation and/or collaboration.
    • Artist statement/bio (250 or fewer).
    • Resume or CV (PDF) including full mailing address, email address and phone number.
    • List of possible technical and other needs (PDF) during the residency i.e.: smudging, projector and screen.
  • Attach any combination of work samples to sufficiently support your proposal. If uploading files, please include artists last name in the file name.
    • Up to 5 jpeg images (no larger than 2MB each).
    • List of work (PDF) with title, medium and dimensions. There is room for 2-3 additional sentences if necessary.

The successful candidate will be selected by a committee of library employees and Indigenous community members.

All applicants will be notified once the committee has made its selection, generally in early January. The successful candidate will be notified, but their name will not be announced until the residency has been secured.

Please submit applications to Service Design: Artist in Residence Program, Central Library, 800 3 Street SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2E7.

Or electronically to

Application deadline: December 18, 2022.

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