STEPS Public Art and Nocturne - Call for Artists: 2023 CreateSpace Public Art Residency

Melany Nugent-Noble
Posted on January 6th, 2023
by Melany Nugent-Noble

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?

For 2023, STEPS Public Art is partnering with Nocturne Art at Night Society (Nocturne) to support the development of a new temporary public artwork that will be exhibited as part of Nocturne 2023 programming in October 2023.

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.

Founded in 2008, Nocturne is an independent, free, contemporary art festival in Kjipuktuk/Halifax presented by the Nocturne: Art at Night Society. The festival brings art and energy to the streets of our city showcasing and celebrating the visual arts scene in Mi'kma'ki/Nova Scotia. At Nocturne, we hold space for new experiences and communal exchange through the exhibition of temporary public art installations, performances, and screenings with a focus on promoting emerging and professional artists, as well as creative and experimental work.

We are 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.

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. This partnership between STEPS and Nocturne will see one Halifax-based artist 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.

There will be a total of ten artists in residence selected for the 2023 CreateSpace Public Art Residency program, with one spot reserved for this unique partnership. 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.

From STEPS, 2023 the CreateSpace participating artist will receive:

  • Skills: virtual workshops, artist talks and studio visits for a 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.

From Nocturne, 2023 the CreateSpace participating artists will receive:

  • Assistance with identifying a site for the public artwork;

  • Further financial support in an honorarium of $500 CAD (inclusive of HST);

  • Provide the Artist with a material and production stipend, to a maximum of $1000 CAD (inclusive of HST) in value, based on the approved site confirmation and production plan;

  • Provide volunteer support as required during the night of the public artwork exhibition, tentatively October 14, 2023.

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.

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 12, 2023 at 11:59 PM PST. Those living outside of the Pacific time zone are encouraged to use a timezone converter to ensure your application is received by the deadline.

The CreateSpace Residency is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Race Relations Foundation and TD Bank Group.

Participating artists, with the support of STEPS staff and program mentors, 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. We estimate each session to be an hour to an hour and a half time commitment per session. These sessions will run primarily between 1 - 8 PM EST, Monday through Saturdays;

  • 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:

  • Application Deadline: Sunday, February 12, 2023 11:59 PM EST

  • Selected Artist Announced: March, 2023

  • Residency Programming: March - December, 2023

Facilitated Sessions: March - November, 2023

Public Artwork Production & Installation Period: June – September, 2023

Artwork exhibition and Unveiling: October 2023

Documentation & Audience Development: June - November, 2023

Program Reflection & Wrap: December, 2023

How to apply:

To apply, please click here to fill out the application form by Sunday, February 12, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST. 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 all applicants to visit the STEPS website prior to preparing this application to have a better understanding of the organization that will be facilitating this residency. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the CreateSpace Public Art Residency program are here (at the bottom of this page).

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.