Abel Maxwell

Community Embraces Year Two of Art Place Artist-in-residence Program for its Positive Impact

Ottawa artists participating in Art Place 2015 gather around Arts Council Programming coordinator Cassandra Olsthoorn.

From left: Alisdair MacRae, -, Anik Bouvrette, Karen Balcome, Cassandra Olsthoorn, Marley Giunta, Alicia Borisonik, Marta Singh, Abel Maxwell, and Kat Clarida at the Art Place 2015 – 2016 Launch. Photo: Henry Brynkus

Ottawa artists will engage with residents through social art practices

(Ottawa, ON) At a Fall Mixer event held at the Great Canadian Theatre Company on Nov 18, AOE Arts Council announced the nine jury-selected artists and arts groups who will engage with the community through a second year of its successful Art Place social practice artists-in-residence program.

Due to generous community support from the Community Foundation of Ottawa, Trinity Development Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, City of Ottawa – Community Art and Social Engagement Program (CASE), the Danbe Foundation and the Harry P. Ward Foundation, the Arts Council was able to increase the number of professional artists it could pay to participate in this city-wide initiative for a total of nine projects. The artists or arts groups will develop their social practice projects with a group from a paired non-profit organization, at no cost, for a period of eight to twelve weeks.

Rebecca Aird talks to - at the Art Place Launch

Rebecca Aird at the Art Place Launch. Photo: Henry Brynkus

“On behalf of our donors, our Community Grants Program supports innovative projects that advance the quality of life for Ottawa residents,” says Rebecca Aird, Director, Community Engagement at the Community Foundation of Ottawa. “Through the passion and skill of local artists, this project brings the pleasure, fulfillment and connection of art-making to those who don’t typically have meaningful opportunities to do so.”

The 3-year Art Place project, made possible with foundational support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, is an embodiment of engagement, a core value that AOE Arts Council holds high amongst its priorities for the next five years. The Arts Council designed this program to create opportunities that will bring artists together with each other and the broader community to share ideas, raise understanding on social issues and foster support for the arts in the way it can have a profound impact on resident’s lives.

Arts Council Executive Director Victoria Stelle laughs with Art Place participants.

Arts Council Executive Director Victoria Steele laughs with Art Place guests. Photo: Henry Brynkus

“We have seen first-hand how Art Place artists have been able to work closely with diverse groups of people to bring out personal stories of courage and perseverance, by recording touching memories or addressing sensitive societal issues,” says AOE Arts Council Executive Director Victoria Steele. “The community support through funding and by the host sites is humbling. We truly feel this program is giving back to the community in many enduring ways.”

The 2015-2016 projects will be created through various art practices to include theatre, dance, music, storytelling and visual art.

Art Place challenges artists to work in spaces where there is a gap in artistic programming, such as immigration service facilities, community centres, and seniors’ residences.

Artist Abel Maxwell talks to artist Alisdair MacRae

Artists Abel Maxwell and Alisdair MacRae talk about their Art Place projects. Photo: Henry Brynkus

“I had the burning desire to inspire my community through arts and music and now, Art Place is the stepping stone helping me to fulfilling that dream!” says Abel Maxwell, one of the nine 2015-16 Art Place artists. He will be working with the Centre Réveil International, who added, “Abel Maxwell is a gifted musician and has been very instrumental in elevating the level of excellence of music in our community invested with the mission of expressing compassion.”

Some of the projects are underway; while some are in the final stages of arranging their selected group of participants and a host site. Artists were asked to provide a detailed summary of their project to identify a particular group they wanted to work with, those who would benefit the most from their residency.

In its inaugural year, this new social practice professional artist-in-residence program enabled six artists and artist groups the opportunity to offer unique free-of-charge artistic collaborations with community sites across the city of Ottawa.

The 2015-16 Art Place program was made possible through the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Community Foundation of Ottawa, Trinity Development Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, City of Ottawa – Community Art and Social Engagement Program (CASE), the Danbe Foundation and the Harry P. Ward Foundation. The Arts Council relies on community support from foundations, sponsors and project funding to sustain this program. For more information on how to donate or become a sponsor contact Victoria Steele, Executive Director, victoria@artsoe.ca.

Throughout the process, all Art Place projects will be documented by AOE Arts Council as well as the artists themselves. Images, videos and insights will be posted on the Arts Council’s news site ArtsAccolade.ca and a dedicated Facebook page (Art Place d’art). All projects will be featured at the showcase celebration in late winter 2016.


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