Call for Applications: The Toni Onley Artists’ Project Residency 2023

Images (left to right): Johannes Zits and Ed Pien. Images of artists submitted by artist.

The Toni Onley Artists’ Project

A Residency for Professional and Emerging Visual Artists in the heart of the Cariboo Region of BC

July 1st – 9th, 2023
Secwépemc and Dakelh Territory || Wells, BC.
Island Mountain Arts is located at 2323 Pooley Street, Wells BC

The Toni Onley Artist’s Project (TOAP) is a unique rural residency opportunity for professional and emerging visual artists. We would be delighted to welcome you to our 2023 program, which will run in Wells from July 1st – 9th, with mentors Ed Pien and Johannes Zits!

At Western University as well as York University, Ed focussed on drawing, painting and printmaking (lithography, in particular). Over the years, he also embraced installation as a strategy to create immersive environments that physically engage the viewers.

Johannes Zits focused on painting, drawing and photography that included collage at York University. Since that time, his practice has expanded to include video and performance.

Learn more about the 2023 mentors here!

Photo by Ciara Phillips

History of the Toni Onley Artists’ Project

The first TOAP was held over 20 years ago with distinguished Canadian artist Norman Yates (1923-2014), and has grown to become an impactful visual artist development program for those who have taken part in it. From July 1st – 9th, participating artists work in the IMA studios under the mentorship of senior artists. It is an intensive studio experience, valuable for those looking for less structured time for set activities and space to develop their own work in a unique rural environment.

Past mentors of the project include Norman Yates, Tony Urquhart, Sherrard Grauer, Robert Murray, Michael Morris, Chris Cran, Michelle Forsyth, Peter von Tiesenhausen, David T. Alexander, John Hall, Harold Klunder, John Freeman, Lyndal Osborne, Libby Hague, Sarah Anne Johnson, Wayne White, Mimi Pond, Mark Neufeld, Leigh Bridges, Joseph M. Sanchez, Ciara Phillips, Jeffrey Spalding, Anong Migwans Beam, Shary Boyle, Lisa Milroy, Jen Mann, Diana Thorneycroft and Rita McKeough.

Image from Island Mountain Arts Archives

More about applying and costs

The cost for the 9-day (8-night) program participation is $605.00 + GST. This includes studio space, mentorship, and a modest breakfast and lunch canteen.

Artists are required to supply their evening meals and to source their own accommodations.

A maximum of 16 spaces are available.

Scholarships and Bursaries are available from Island Mountain Arts to offset the cost of the program. Applications for scholarships and bursaries are due May 1, 2023. Apply for TOAP Scholarships and Bursaries here.

2023 Toni Onley Artists’ Project Application Deadline: May 15, 2023, Midnight PDT.


Island Mountain Arts logo

About Island Mountain Arts
Island Mountain Arts (IMA) is a not-for-profit charitable organization located in Wells, BC.

A culture of gathering, sharing and idea exchange permeates the programming that Island Mountain Arts has cultivated through the forty-six years of its existence. IMA serves artists, builds community, and stimulates and enhances artistic, cultural and economic development. We foster connection and expression through workshops, residencies, seminars, exhibitions and performance.

Here and everywhere, we believe an art-full life is possible.

Wells, and the operations of IMA, are carried out on shared territory of seven first nations: Lhtako, Nazko, Lhoosk’uz, Ulkatcho, ?Esdilagh, Xatśūll, Simpcw, and Lheidli. Wells continues to be a meaningful place to gather, exchange ideas, and share the human experience through a growing variety of mediums.

The top floor of the historic Hill Meat Market building at 2323 Pooley Street serves as the Island Mountain Arts Public Gallery and Gift Shop, highlighting the work of local, regional, national and international artists. In 2014, IMA acquired The Nest to provide accommodation and working space for artists. We also work with the District of Wells and other stakeholders to utilize the Wells-Barkerville School and other buildings and spaces around the District of Wells to host our events and residencies.

Island Mountain Arts
Wells, BC || Secwépemc and Dakelh Territory
1 250 994 3466

Facebook: @islandmountainarts
Instagram: @islandmountainarts
Twitter: @ima_arts

The nature of our town’s 1930’s architecture may be difficult to navigate for folks with different mobility needs. The Island Mountain Arts Public Gallery is partially accessible, as the venue includes a level entrance or ramp access to enter, but lacks an accessible washroom. The studios for the Toni Onley Artist Project are on the second floor, and are not accessible, as the building lacks an elevator.

If you would like to chat more about your needs to make the most out of your experience in Wells, please message

Johannes and Ed’s work for the Toni Onley Artists’ Project is made possible through support from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Image descriptions:
1) Images of Johannes Zits and Ed Pien
2) A past TOAP participant works on a bench outside on a summer day. Small colourful buildings and a playground make up the foreground, with rolling green hills in the background
3) Past TOAP participants converse in the 2nd floor Island Mountain Arts Studios
4) Island Mountain Arts Logo: a green circular graphic, leaving impressions of a mountain and water. Reads Island Mountain Arts An Art-full life is possible