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Call for Submissions

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Performance, Come Home by Chun Hua Catherine Dong, May 2017. Varley Art Gallery of Markham. Photo: Tony Chao

Varley Art Gallery of Markham

Call for Proposals

Community Artist-in-Residence (CAIR) 2018

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham is seeking expressions of interest from individual artists or collectives for its new Community Artist-In-Residence (CAIR) program. This year-long initiative invites professional artists with socially engaged practices to help develop, organize, and deliver a minimum of three (3) original and innovative programs based on the exhibitions on view at the gallery. Programs can include (but are not limited to): workshops, talks, performances, lectures, interventions, guided tours and outreach programs. The residency will take place from February 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.

In 2018, all exhibitions will revolve around the idea of art as an instrument of social discourse and programming activities around civic engagement, collective work, cooperation and collaboration. These programs will seek to understand how artists (and artistic institutions) can be agents of change in contemporary society. Selected topics include mental health, environmental sustainability in suburban milieus, cultural loss and rebuilding in times of conflict, nationhood and individual liberties, and queer politics. The main objective of this residency is to bring new and exciting ideas to the gallery’s exhibition related programming. For this reason we encourage submissions from applicants across the GTA with various levels of experience and backgrounds.

The successful artist or collective will receive a $5,000 fee, and have a $1,000 programing budget for materials, supplies or honoraria for invited artists. This is not a live-in residency, and there is no dedicated studio or office space for the CAIR. Shared office space will be made available as needed. Travel to and from Markham will be the responsibility of the CAIR.

Applicants will be considered based on the following criteria: their previous bodies of work; their experience; their capacity to engage with the public, and their proven ability to deliver work of high artistic quality, on time and on budget. Once selected, artists are encouraged to propose projects on a scale that reflects the level of compensation. With the understanding that the process can be as important as the product or outcome, artists are encouraged to develop projects that comprise active community participation in hands-on creative experiences. The CAIR will work collaboratively with Gallery staff to develop the programming schedule and implement the individual offerings.

Art Social, October 2017. Varley Art Gallery of Markham. Photo: Louis Li Photography

Preparing your application

Submissions deadline: December 15, 2017, 5PM

In a concise manner, submissions should provide an overview of the applicant's practice and provide visual documentations of their work. Please submit the following documents:

  • An expression of interest that explains why you wish to undertake this residency, what experiences you bring to the position and how this will impact your career development. Explain your vision for the residency by speaking directly to your understanding of socially defined artistic and community practices. (500 words maximum)
  • A current curriculum vitae listing your complete contact information and relevant artistic experience including education, teaching, program development and implementation, exhibitions, publications, etc. (Up to 4 pages maximum for individual artists; up to 2 pages each for collectives)
  • Up to 10 items (photos, video, audio) of related work undertaken within the past five years.
  • Image list with the title, medium, dimensions, year created and brief description of each work.

These documents, including images, should be merged into a single PDF (no larger than 4 MB).

Send submission via email to: or via an email transfer program such as

The City of Markham is committed to providing accommodations for people with disabilities. If you require an accommodation, we will work with you to meet your needs.

We thank all those applicants who have applied, however only those applications selected for an interview will be contacted.

For more information contact Anik Glaude, Curator at or 905-477-7000 ex.3262

This program is funded in part by the Audra Noble Commemorative Fund.

About the Varley Art Gallery of Markham

The Varley Art Gallery of Markham is a municipal gallery with a vision is to be a cultural hub in the City of Markham. We present exhibitions of historical and contemporary art and offer educational programs year round. We strive to be a leader within the artistic community of our region and act as a gathering place for artistic expression. As part of our original mandate, we share and celebrate the life and work of F.H. Varley and his peers, through ongoing research, exhibitions and public programs. We also produce exhibitions that support the work of contemporary artists that are relevant to the communities we serve. The Varley Art Gallery of Markham is an accessible venue.

Mon. | Closed
Tue., Wed., Fri., Sun. | 11AM – 4PM
Thurs.| 11AM – 8PM
Sat.| 10AM – 5PM

@VarleyGallery | |
216 Main Street Unionville, Markham L3R 2H1 | 905-477-7000 ext. 3261






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