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Call to Artists – Indigenous Artist Residency

Call to Artists – Indigenous Artist Residency

Deadline: Monday, June 5, 2017 at 4 p.m. MST

As part of its commitment to provide more opportunities for Indigenous artists, The City of Calgary Public Art Program is seeking Treaty 7 and local urban Indigenous artists for a three month long residency from July 10th to October 10th, 2017. This is an invitation to Indigenous artists working in a wide range of media and with an interest in public art practices. Artists will be chosen by a selection panel process based on the strength of their applications. The outcome of this Indigenous Artist Residency will include community and stakeholder engagement, public presentations and the development of proposals which may inform future public art commissions.

Context and History: Located in the rolling foothills of southern Alberta, Calgary boasts one of the most striking settings of all Canadian prairie cities. Calgarians live where the high plains rise into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and are deeply carved by the Bow and Elbow rivers. For centuries the confluence of these rivers has been a place of gathering, relationship building, and trade for Indigenous peoples. Calgary was established on these lands – in the heart of Treaty 7 Territory – and contains a rich history that is a significant part of the local narrative. Moh’kinsstis is a Blackfoot word used to describe the landscape of what is now known as Calgary. The literal meaning of Moh’kinsstis is elbow and refers to the area where Calgary’s rivers meet. Calgary is built on the traditional territory of the Niitsitapi (the Blackfoot people) who occupied the land since time immemorial. The sustained presence and connections to the land of the Niitsitapi people is documented and captured in their stories of creation and oral history. The Niitsitapi were later joined by the Nakota Sioux people of Stoney and the Beaver people of Tsuut’ina. Together, these nations entered into Treaty 7 with the Crown in 1877. At time of treaty, nations in Treaty 7 were removed from their traditional lands and relocated to reserves, while their children were placed in residential schools where their native languages and their traditional, cultural and spiritual practices were forbidden, resulting in historical and intergenerational trauma.

The City of Calgary is developing an Indigenous Policy Framework and an Indigenous Policy which has shifted The City’s conversation regarding what Indigenous communities have to share and how Indigenous ways can benefit, inform and enhance The City in planning, advising and decision-making. The Indigenous Policy Framework provides context for The City’s future work with Treaty 7 Nations and urban Indigenous communities (First Nations, Métis and Inuit). In 2015, Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee presented the document, Calls to Action of White Goose Flying – A Report to City Council on the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation:

This report was named in honour of Jack White Goose Flying, from Piikani Nation in Brocket, Alberta (Treaty 7 Territory), and a student of St Dunstan School who tragically died of tuberculosis at age seventeen and was buried at the site. Jack’s story, among many others, is a part of a shared history between the Indigenous people of Treaty 7 and non-Indigenous Calgarians. The Indigenous Policy Framework, the Indigenous Policy and the White Goose Flying Report collectively represent The City of Calgary’s shared path to reconciliation. The Indigenous Policy mobilizes The City to focus on matters of historical, traditional and cultural significance with Treaty 7 Nations. Matters of contemporary significance will be guided by urban Indigenous communities.

Description of Opportunity: This residency is designed to provide dedicated research time for Indigenous artists interested in working within a Municipal Government context and in pursuing public art as part of their practice. Working with and responding to the City of Calgary Municipal Complex and considering St. Dunstan’s Anglican School (1896-1907), the only residential school site in Calgary, we invite artists to bring Indigenous identities, histories, cultures, languages, traditions, principles, worldviews, relationships and ways of knowing to these important sites. About The City of Calgary Municipal Complex: The City of Calgary Municipal Complex includes the historic sandstone City Hall, the Administration Building and the modern Municipal Building with its outdoor plaza. The Municipal Complex is home to Calgary’s municipal government, administration and many public services. This complex is a lively, popular place where Calgarians come to take part in celebrations, festivals, events, exhibitions, engaging in the democratic process, conducting municipal transactions and other political gatherings. About St. Dunstan’s Anglican School: St. Dunstan’s Anglican School was located in the Odgen neighborhood and is currently unmarked. This site contains a history that many Calgarians are unaware of, although former residential school students and families still experience the aftermath of its effects.

Purpose of the Indigenous Artist Residency:

 To foster a supportive environment for Indigenous artists in Calgary;
 To provide time and space for Indigenous artists to do research and develop their ideas;
 To honour the relationship between Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples within Treaty 7 Territory;
 To respond to the Calls to Action of White Goose Flying – A Report to City Council on the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation;
 To invite Indigenous artists to address representation within the Municipal Complex;
 To potentially inform the commissioning of a public artwork in response to the site of Calgary’s only residential school;
 To facilitate a public presentation based on the artists’ research.

Artists in Residence are expected to:
 Investigate and consider the representation of Indigenous voices and the potential for artistic response to the Municipal Complex and St. Dunstan’s School through traditional and contemporary knowledge and art practices;
 Develop a public art proposal for the Municipal Complex;
 Engage with municipal administration and investigate aspects of The City’s responses to White Goose Flying;
 Share their experiences and proposals at the end of the residency through public presentations;  Report to the advisory support team and the public art program staff regularly;
 Provide a summary of their experience as a participant in the residency program; and
 Participate in the evaluation process of the residency program.

Budget: Each artist in residence will receive a stipend of up to $12,000 for the three month residency period, proposal development and public presentation. Additional travel and accommodation fees may be available to support research within Treaty 7 Territory. Material costs for proposals may also be provided if deemed appropriate.

Submission Requirements: Artists are invited to put forward their own approach to best meet the needs of their practice within the established purpose of this residency. The intention of this Call to Artists is to select an artist(s) based on approach, qualifications, experience and references.

Please submit the following:
 Current C.V. including email and contact information
 Letter of Interest that explains why you are interested in this residency, how it will impact your artistic practice and why you should be considered an ideal candidate (maximum one page, 500 words)
 Artist Statement that describes your current artistic practice and approach to this residency (maximum one page, 500 words)
 Images of up to 10 art works or projects including the following information:
o Title
o Date
o Size/Duration
o Media
o Budget
o Brief description
 Two professional references who can speak to professional qualifications, artistic practices and/or relevant budget experience. The City reserves the right to contact all references without prior communication with the applicant. Please note that all images and written material must be submitted in PDF format. Video documentation should be uploaded to a site such as YouTube or Vimeo and linked in the application. Due to time constraints, the selection panel may only view up to 5 minutes of each video. Please note the clip you would prefer the panel to view by including time marks in the documentation list.
Selection Process: The application process for this residency is competitive. The selection panel will review all compliant submissions and assess qualified applicants for admission to the residency. The panel will evaluate compliant submissions through a two-stage process. Stage one will short-list artists and stage two will determine the final selection of up to 3 participants. Short-listed artists may be interviewed in stage two*.

The following criteria will be evaluated:

 Qualifications and relevant artistic practice
 Strength of Letter of Interest and Artist Statement
 Demonstrated project/budget management experience
 Quality of references
 Interview*

Submission Deadline: The deadline to apply is Monday, June 5 at 4:00 p.m. MST. Applications received after this time will not be considered. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Applications must be emailed to Wondering if you are eligible? Questions regarding the requirements? Please contact us and we will do our best to support you in the application process. All questions must be received 72 hours prior to the deadline in order to ensure a response prior to the submission deadline. For more information, email

*The selection panel will determine whether interviews will be necessary for final selection. All shortlisted artists will be notified in advance of the interview date.

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