Children’s Artist/Illustrator in Residence

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Children’s Artist/Illustrator in Residence

The deadline for this opportunity has passed.

Application Deadline: August 14, 2020

The Calgary Public Library invites applications for the paid position of Artist in Residence: Children’s Artist/Illustrator at the Central Library in downtown Calgary for the fall of 2020.

This residency recognizes the contribution of children’s artists to literature and to Calgary’s culture and seeks to introduce library patrons, especially children and educators, to artists and art forms they may not otherwise experience while providing opportunities to meet artists, observe the artistic process and participate in artmaking. As a result of COVID-19, there is a possibility that some or all of the residency will take place online.

Description of the Position

The library seeks emerging or mid-career children’s artists or illustrators with an art practice in any medium and an affinity for people. This residency program 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. The artist is expected to display their work and process, as a way of animating the studio for visitors to look in and see when the artist is not present. Due to unprecedented circumstances, the artist may be required to fulfill some or all their residency using an online platform. Experience working with communities, large groups and/or children and youth is an asset.

The children’s artist/illustrator residency runs for three months, September to November annually. The artist will be required to take part in an artist talk at the beginning of the residency and, at minimum, two public workshops or school programs, in person or online all set-in collaboration with the Library.

Beginning September 7, 2021, the artist will hold open studio hours at the Central Library or online for a minimum of 7.5 hours per week, culminating in a December exhibition. Depending on COVID-19 restrictions (see below), the 252 square foot artist in residence studio is available to the artist during opening hours, to work on their own projects and the Library Goes to Kindergarten contract, and to host community engagement events.


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 or virtual program delivery time, and any other project expenses incurred by the applicant, except for materials specific to community engagement events.

In addition to the residency, the artist awarded the contract will be commissioned to design the annual Library Goes to Kindergarten card and promotional item, during their residency (additional remuneration).


The library seeks emerging or mid-career children’s artists or illustrators and therefore, artists represented by an agent or major publisher will be considered professional and ineligible. Artists must have some daytime and weekday availability to engage in visiting school groups. 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 a children’s artist or illustrator and is recognized as such by artists or 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, 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 must be 18 years of age or older. For collectives of more than two artists, the majority of members must not be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program and all must be 18 years of age or older.

Additionally, the successful applicant must be willing to:

  • Work collaboratively with library staff and other residents, if applicable.
  • Follow public health guidelines and the library’s health and safety plan.
  • 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 both in-person and online, as it becomes necessary.
  • Be available for press events or 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 or via an online presence, so that patrons can either, look in through the windows when the studio doors are closed or visit virtually.
  • 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 one to three-month period.
  • Sit on the selection committee to choose the 2021 children’s artist/illustrator in residence. (Summer 2020)


The library acknowledges there may be restrictions related to COVID-19 and is committed to ensuring a safe experience for all participants. This may require flexibility related to deadlines and timelines (to be decided in consultation between the artist and the library) and the use of online tools for meetings, workshops or programs.

Application Criteria

  • Artistic Practice narrative (500 words or fewer):
    • An explanation of what you want to investigate during the residency and a description of the forms the work might take in the context of a final exhibition.
    • Describe possible public programming, collaborations with the public and other methods of engaging the public, especially children or educators.
    • Describe how your artistic practice is particularly suited to the Calgary Public Library’s values of inclusion, curiosity, and collaboration.
  • Artist statement or bio (250 words or fewer)
  • Resume or CV (PDF)
  • List of possible technical needs (PDF) during the residency i.e.: projector and screen.
  • URL for website or online portfolio showcasing examples of work in children’s art or illustration (optional).
  • Attach any combination of work samples to sufficiently support your proposal. Please include artist’s last name in the file name.
  • Up to five JPG images (no larger than 2MB each or animation or movie files or a combination thereof).
  • List of work (PDF) with title, medium and dimensions. There is room for two to three additional sentences if necessary.

The successful candidate will be selected by a committee.  All applicants will be notified once the committee has made its selection, generally in late summer or early fall.  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 3rd Street SE
Calgary, AB  T2G 2E7

Or to submit applications digitally email

Application Deadline: August 14, 2020

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