ART PLACE 2016 – 2017: Brenda Dunn – sculpture & storytelling

Art Place Project


Community Partner: Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC)

Participants: Youth

Art Practice: Visual art and storytelling

Language: English

Description: This project is bringing an imaginary creature to life, and then giving that creature a place and a story. Participants are divided into small groups and we’ll each sculpt a small creature guardian/companion in a workshop setting. We talk through each part of the making of an imaginary creature to get into the mindset of making something without worrying too much about the outcome.

We’ll then work together to create a story for each creature that describes their origin, talents, likes and dislikes. Sometimes this happens really easily, and sometimes it takes a bit of time, and participants don’t always feel comfortable making things up right away.

Artist Statement

My artistic practice revolves around making art that invites and engages. The tone of my work is often playful with a purpose. I think a lot about creativity, play, spontaneity and collaboration.

My aim is to make my work from a place that starts before that self-consciousness  takes over whether the end product is “good” or not. Keeping the focus on creation often involves trying to get back to the childhood frame of mind – the one where you’d wear your tutu and rubber boots every day and KNOW you looked good. Making is really just an attempt to get back to that place and bring other people along with me.

Participants will then have the option to introduce me to their creature and tell me their story, and I will collaborate with them to co-create a scene or portrait of them with their guardian/creature. The workshops will be geared towards getting people into the process of making and collaborating and remembering how to play.

About the Somerset West Community Health Centre:

Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC) is a non-profit, community-governed organization that provides primary health care, health promotion and community development services, using interprofessional teams of health and social service providers. These teams include physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, dietitians, health promoters, early childhood educators, child and youth workers, counsellors and others. We offer a wide variety of programs and services designed to meet the needs of our community, including after-school programs and youth drop-in programs.

Project Updates

Third Year of Art Place Artist-in-residence Program Amplifies Voices in the Community – News Release

Guardians and Storytelling – An Origin Story: Interview #1

Speaking clay: how to clear a language barrier – Blog post #1

The Fun of Frustration: Blog Post #2

Risk Taking and Monster Making – Blog Post #3

In the meantime… – Blog Post #4

The Tortoise and The Hare: Blog Post #5

Getting reckless with clay: Art Place Interview #2 with Brenda Dunn

The Last Last Ones. Blog Post #6

Art Place Final Thoughts with Brenda Dunn


About the Artist

Brenda Dunn has been getting in trouble for crayoning on the walls for as long as she can remember. She eventually went to art school at the University of Guelph and drew on whatever the hell she wanted.

She works and plays in Ottawa where she came for grad school and just stuck around ever since. She learned a lot of busy words during her Masters in English Lit, but it turns out she actually prefers the visual to the verbal when it comes to communication.

She also doesn’t totally get why these things are always written in the third person but concedes that it does just sort of feel right.


Facebook: @artinjest

Twitter: @artinjest

Instagram: @artinjest featured inside a white circle against a brush painted backdrop

Comments (1)
  1. Pingback: Guardians and Storytelling – An Origin Story: Art Place Interview #1 with Brenda Dunn |

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