Call for Artists: Hamilton Winterfest 2023

Murals, Installations, Light-based work, Performance

Beautiful, Bold, Bright background image – Jackson Square by Tania Lacaria

Hamilton Winterfest is co-produced by arts non-profit Cobalt Connects and the City of Hamilton. In 2023 the festival will run from February 3rd to 20th, with a closing celebration on Family Day. A central piece of Hamilton Winterfest is the Winterfest Hub programmed by Cobalt Connects from February 10th to 20th.

About the Winterfest Hub

The rooftop of Jackson Square will host to this year’s Winterfest Hub, giving the festival an accessible site in the centre of the city surrounded by key programming partners like the Hamilton Public Library, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Levity Comedy and the restaurants and retail shops of the Downtown Hamilton BIA.

From February 10th to 20th, the rooftop will be transformed into a contemporary art showcase including large-scale visual and media arts installations, light-based murals, music, theatre and dance performances, and a temporary skating rink. The theme for this year’s festival is Beautiful, Bold and Bright which embodies our intention to bring a burst of life into the grey days of winter, while talking about core issues facing our communities in a publicly engaging format through contemporary art.

As a foundation to the site, we have engaged environmental researcher and ambient music artist Douglas Tewksbury to create a site soundtrack based on his body of work, including his newest album Brutes.

About the Jackson Square Rooftop

The rooftop of Jackson Square has been a challenging space in the centre of our city for decades. The space was designed as a public square but has rarely been engaged as such, with the exception of a handful of arts and sporting events.

The expanse of the rooftop offers greenspace pockets, reflective windowed towers, concrete and brick surfaces, and multiple entry points from the surrounding neighbourhoods. Working with our partners at Jackson Square, and the surrounding buildings, we aim to show this space in an entirely new light. Through the creativity of artists in multiple disciplines, the Winterfest Hub will be an unforgettable experience that showcases what this space can be with the right intentions and investment.

Google Maps

To view the space online follow this link.


The Winterfest Hub has a variety of artist opportunities that are outlined below. Artists may submit for a maximum of two opportunities, and if selected, will only engage in one project.

9 works in varying scales – $5000 – 15,000 per installation

The installations for the Winterfest Hub will present a range of static and interactive three-dimensional works in a scale that befits the structures surrounding the site. Some will be small and intimate, inviting the audience to step close, while others will be significant in size and presented at a distanced viewing experience.

Light Bright Murals
5 light-based wall-mounted works – $10,000 – 15,000 budget per mural

Working with local LED and neon light experts, the Light Bright murals must use light in some fashion. This could be text-based or design works in neon, panel-based works with back-light, wall-mounted objects with interior lighting, etc. These works will be placed in locations throughout Hamilton prior to the festival, converge for the Hub dates, and then return to the community for permanent installation.

Stelco Tower – Light Extravaganza
1 large-scale light-based work – up to $30,000 budget

The Stelco Tower at 120 King Street is a 25-storey tower that presents window-clad sides to the central Hub location, and the downtown core. Once a symbol of the diminished steel sector, this building is now alive with new tenants from tech to healthcare. The Light Extravaganza is our environmentally friendly take on a firework show. Working with the festival production team we aim to create a lively light performance from within the building, presenting out to the rooftop. Acting as a performance piece, the work will be shown at set times throughout the Hub schedule.

Performance Works
3 performance works – up to $15,000 per performance work

Performing outside in the Winter can be both challenging and magical. The Winterfest Hub will engage up to three performance works (dance, theatre, puppetry, multi-disciplinary) to be presented on the rooftop of Jackson Square throughout the Hub dates.

Performances must:

  • Be engaging in both day and night lighting environments
  • Engage a minimum of 3 performers
  • Be created specifically for Hamilton Winterfest, or not previously presented within a 60-minute drive of the city of Hamilton
  • Be performed at least 3 days during the Hub dates (dates/times to be determined once selected in concert with festival management)
  • Be a minimum duration of 10-15 minutes (long-format durational pieces are acceptable)
  • Clearly embrace the thematic approach of Beautiful, Bold and Bright
  • Be appropriate for a family audience, but not works for children

Inspired by Icebergs by Tanis MacArthur and Cobalt Connects


Hamilton Winterfest prides itself on presenting a cross-section of artists that represent our community, and a broader international perspective. We actively seek opportunities to collaborate with Indigenous, BIPOC and LGBTQ2SIA+ artists in all disciplines.

A minimum of 75% of the artists selected for Hamilton Winterfest will be Canadian artists.

Applications are accepted from individual artists, artist team or collectives. We encourage applications from both established and emerging artists. Applications will be evaluated based on artistic merit, experience, and alignment with the theme.

Major installation works commissioned through Hamilton Winterfest will become part of Cobalt Connects Public Art Inventory program. This program seeks to create ongoing income with completed works by being stored, maintained, and actively presented to other festival and public art opportunities in Ontario on a mutually beneficial basis with the artist and Cobalt Connects.

All works will be selected by a jury of representatives from Cobalt Connects, the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Hamilton Public Library.


All submissions are due by September 9, 2022, 5:00pm. Late applications will not be accepted.

All submissions must be made online at: Online application

The full Call for Artists can be downloaded here


For more information or questions please contact:
Jeremy Freiburger
Festival Producer

Instagram @cobalt_connects | @hamiltonwinterfest
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