Call for Artists: 2023 CreateSpace Public Art Residency

Are you, or an artist you know, interested in gaining experience, building networks and professional skills needed to launch or expand a community-engaged public art practice?

STEPS Public Art is thrilled to launch the 2023 CreateSpace Public Art Residency, a national public art 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 experiences needed to build and advance community-engaged public art practices.

Mural in progress by 2022 CreateSpace Artist-in-Residence Tina Nguyen. Photo credit: Bee Hess.

2023 CreateSpace participating artists will gain:

  • Skills: Virtual workshops, artist talks and studio visits for greater understanding of the public art process through the lens of Community, Identity, Accessibility, and Land, including: demystifying public art RFPs, exploring fabrication and approaches to public engagement.
  • Relationships: Opportunities to connect with public art practitioners from across the country, cultivating professional networks in various sectors and industries.
  • Practical Experience: Creating new community-engaged public artwork with tailored coaching from STEPS staff and artistic advisors, through which experimentation is encouraged.
  • Public Audiences: Through promotional support leveraging STEPS and partner network, as well as supports to document and present past and current public work.
  • Financial Support: Artists will each receive individual support valued at up to $5000 CAD, inclusive of a $1500 participation honourarium, as well as production, documentation, engagement and accessibility supports.

This residency is open to early to mid-career Canadian-based visual and media artists working in public space, who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and/or racialized, interested in participating in a virtual residency from March through December 2023. Up to ten artists will be selected for this opportunity by a selection panel composed of members of the arts community who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and/or racialized. Program components will be offered primarily in English, with translation and ASL services available as needed to support participation of a diverse community of artists.

Applicants must be a Canadian citizen, or Permanent Resident to qualify for this opportunity. Interested applicants must submit their expressions of interest by Sunday, February 5, 2023 at 11:59 PM PST. Those living outside of the Pacific time zone are encouraged to use a time zone converter to ensure your application is received by the deadline.

Participating artists are expected to:

  • Attend at least 10 of approx. 15 residency sessions held over 10 months which will include: workshops, artist talks, panel discussions, facilitated discussions, studio visits, etc.;
  • Identify and execute a community-engaged public art project by the end of the residency;
  • While participating artists are NOT expected to have well thought out plans for a public art project at the time of their application, having a project concept and clearly defined learning objectives for advancing your public art practice are important to make the most of the support that STEPS and CreateSpace partners can provide;
  • Participate in ongoing program evaluation that will help shape the CreateSpace Public Art Residency and other artist capacity building programming;
  • Respect the time and knowledge of CreateSpace advisors, mentors, staff and fellow participating artists, by committing to cultivate a safe, inclusive, supportive and respectful space for learning, exploration and growth.

Key Program Dates:

  • Deadline to request accommodations (for application process): Tuesday, January 17, 2023
  • Application Deadline: Sunday, February 5, 2023 at 11:59 PM PST
  • Selected Artists Announced: March 2023
  • Residency Programming: March – December 2023
  • Facilitated Sessions: March – November 2023
  • Public Artwork Production & Installation Period: June – October 2023
  • Documentation & Audience Development: June – November 2023
  • Program Reflection & Wrap: December 2023

How to Apply:

We encourage all applicants to visit the STEPS and the CreateSpace Public Art Residency website prior to preparing the application to have a better understanding of the organization that will be facilitating this residency. Residency information is also available in French.

To apply, please fill out the application form by Sunday, February 5, 2023 at 11:59 PM PST.

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants cannot save the form and return to complete it at a later time. We strongly recommend downloading the following form and saving your answers on a separate document prior to filling out the online form.

We encourage applications from all qualified candidates that represent the full diversity of communities in Canada, including complexities of intersecting identities such as ability, class, gender, race and sexual orientation. We are particularly interested in receiving applications from equity-deserving communities, such as those who identify as two-spirit, trans, Indigiqueer, Afro-Indigenous, as well as individuals living with a disability.

Applicants who are Deaf, have a disability, or who need support applying for this opportunity are encouraged to contact Belinda Uwase at or call 1-888-783-7780 ext. 2 at least two weeks before the application deadline (by Tuesday, January 17, 2023) to allow STEPS to appropriately accommodate your needs and to discuss alternate formats for submitting your application.

Year of the Tiger by 2022 CreateSpace Artist-in-Residence Kyla Yin James. Photo credit: Synonym Art Consultation.

About the Residency

STEPS believes public art has the ability to challenge the systemic inequities that exist in public space. In support of this important work, we facilitate programs that: foster inclusive public art practices; build the capacity of artists who are underrepresented in Canadian public art; and demonstrate the power of community-engaged art to reimagine equitably designed cities.

Twenty artists and artist teams from across the country participated in the program’s first two years, with each participant acquiring valuable skills in the field of public art. Each artist created unique and inspiring public artworks that ranged from experimental to performative to sculptural. Visit the CreateSpace Public Art Residency webpage to learn more about these artists and their projects.

The CreateSpace Residency is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment. We also acknowledge the support of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation with funding provided by the Government of Canada.