2021 CreateSpace BIPOC Public Art Residency Open Call for Artists 

2021 CreateSpace BIPOC Public Art Residency Open Call for Artists 

Are you, or an artist you know, interested in gaining experience, building networks and professional skills needed to launch or expand a public art practice? 

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 capacity of artists who are underrepresented in Canadian public art and demonstrate the power of art to reimagine equitably designed cities. 

We are thrilled to launch CreateSpace, a national public art residency program designed in consultation with advisors from coast to coast, to provide emerging Black, Indigenous and racialized artists with the skills, relationships and practical experience needed to take their public art practice to the next level. 

CreateSpace artists-in-residence will gain: 

  • Skills: virtual workshops, artist talks and studio visits for 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 public work 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 a $1000 stipend to support their participation, as well as have the opportunity to request additional accessibility, production, documentation and engagement resources. 

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 Metis) or racialized, interested in participating in a virtual residency from March through December 2021. Up to ten residents will be selected for this opportunity by a review panel of BIPOC members of the arts community, with half of CreateSpace’s first first cohort reserved for applicants who express a willingness to exhibit work in partnership with ArtworxTO. 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. Applicants must be a Canadian citizen, or Permanent Resident to qualify for this opportunity. 

Interested applicants must submit their expressions of interest by January 31, 2021 at 11:59pm EST. Those living outside of the Eastern time zone are encouraged to use a timezone converter to ensure your application is received by the deadline. More information on the application process and what participants can expect can be found at www.publicartresidency.ca. 

CreateSpace is made possible through partnerships with the ArtworxTO and TD Bank Group. 


As part of their participation in CreateSpace, Artists in Residence with support from STEPS staff and mentors are expected to: 

  • Attend in at least 15 of approx. 20 residency sessions held over XX months which will include: workshops, artist talks, 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 1pm and 8pm EST, Monday through Saturdays. 
  • Identify and execute a public art project by the end of the residency. 

○ While residents 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 STEPS and CreateSpace partners can provide. 

  • Contribute to the planning and execution of one CreateSpace virtual public event through serving as a speaker, panelist, facilitator or moderator. This is an opportunity to develop your public engagement skills and reach new audiences with your work! 
  • 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 

  • Submission Deadline: January 11, 2021 
  • Results Communicated: February 2021 
  • Residency Begins: March 2021 
  • Residency Programming Underway: (March – October) 
  • Public Artwork Production/ Installation Period: June – September 
  • Residency Concludes: November 2021 

How to apply 

To apply, please click here to fill out the application form by January 31, 2021 at 11:59pm 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 2021 CreateSpace Public Art Residency program are here. 

Applicants who are Deaf, have a disability, or need support to complete their grant applications can apply for funds to cover the costs of assistance from Application Support Service Providers. Please contact Janet Hinkle, STEPS Program Coordinator at janet@stepsinitiaitve.com or call 416.366.6565 ex. 2 at least two weeks before the submission deadline (January 17, 2021) to allow STEPS to appropriately accommodate your needs and to discuss alternate formats for submitting your application. 

How will submissions be assessed? 

Residency spots will be awarded on a competitive basis by a review committee of Black, Indigenous and racialized public art practitioners from across Canada. Review committee members have been selected 2

on the basis of their familiarity with a broad spectrum of public art practices, specialized expertise, fair-mindedness, and regional representation. The committee will assess submissions based on: clarity of learning objectives and/or public art project concept; alignment with needs and residency supports; and merit of applicant’s arts practice. 


  • Full Name * 
  • Preferred Name *if applicable 
  • Preferred pronouns 
  • Primary Phone Number * 
  • Email Address * 
  • Street Address * 
  • City/ Town * 
  • Postal Code * 
  • Website or Online Portfolio * 
  • Social Media Link 1 
  • Social Media Link 2 
  • The CreateSpace Residency is open to Canadian-based artists who self-identify as Black, Indigenous and/or racialized, and identify as early or mid-career artists. 

STEPS encourages applications from individuals that represent the full diversity of communities in Canada, including complexities of intersecting identities such as ability, age, class, gender, race and sexual orientation. Please check all of the following that you identify with: ○ An Artist living with a disability or chronic illness 

○ Black 

○ First Nations, Inuit, & Métis 

○ Deaf or hard of hearing 

○ English as a second language speaker 

○ Francophone 

○ Inuit 


○ Métis 

○ Mixed-race 

○ Newcomer or refugee 

○ Person of colour 

○ A member of another under-represented artistic community (please provide details below) 

○ Please name any unlisted communities here: 

________________________________________________________________ ○ Prefer not to disclose 

  • If you would like to provide any additional information regarding the identities you have selected above, including how (if at all) they impact your artistic practice, we invite you to do so here. (optional) 


  • Artist Biography (max 200 words) 

For selected artists, a version of this biography may be used in program materials 

  • Do you have any past public art experience? (This is not a requirement for participation in the CreateSpace residency program) 



  • Do you have any past community arts or public engagement experience? For example, facilitating activities with a group of people to collaboratively develop an art project. (This is not a requirement for participation in the CreateSpace Public Art Residency program) 



What are your primary motivators for applying to participate in the CreateSpace Public Art Residency? Please select THREE. 

  • Being a part of a peer network of BIPOC artists based in Canada 
  • Developing new technical or artistic skills that I can apply in my practice 
  • Developing public or community engagement skills 
  • Making connections on how my art practice can better align with a social justice framework ● Enhancing my public art portfolio and/or artistic CV for professional advancement ● Expanding my professional networks 
  • Discovering how to engage community concerns in the creation and development of my art ● Experimenting with new modes of working in a safe environment 
  • Honing project management, communication, facilitation and other transferable skills ● Increasing my ability to secure large-scale public art opportunities 
  • Learning about the diverse practices of other BIPOC artists 
  • Reaching new audiences with my work 
  • Please tell us why you would like to participate in the CreateSpace Public Art Residency, highlighting connections to your artistic practice, any past public art experience and your learning objectives (max 200 words) 
  • The CreateSpace Public Art Residency is designed to build the capacity of emerging BIPOC artists as well as amplify the work of more established BIPOC public art practitioners. Tell us about any Black, Indigenous or racialized artists / arts workers who you would like to connect with, learn from or just generally find inspirational. (max 100 words) 
  • Participating artists will be supported in developing a public art project over the course of the residency. If you have any ideas for a public art project concept, please provide details as well as share any support that you would hope to gain through your residency participation that would help advance this project (e.g. knowledge, skills, networks, etc.). Concepts shared are your intellectual property and will remain confidential during the review process. (max 200 words) 


Half of CreateSpace’s 2021 cohort will be reserved for artists interested in presenting work through a partnership with the City of Toronto’s ArtworxTO: Year of Public Art. Due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions, this may include works that can be shared digitally or mailed and installed by third parties, for artists who reside outside of Ontario. Would you be interested in being considered for these opportunities? 

  • Yes, sign me up! 
  • No, I don’t think that is a fit. 
  • Maybe, I have some reservations, but would be interested in learning more. ● Other 


  • Most CreateSpace sessions will be facilitated in English. In order to meaningful participate in sessions, please indicate if you would require any of the following: 

○ ASL 

○ Closed Captioning 

○ French translation 

○ Language translation (non official language – if so please click “other” and indicate language below) 

○ Language not listed above: ________________________________ 

  • Do you have access to an internet-enabled device with which you could join residency sessions and access materials through platforms that may include: Zoom, Google Meets, Google Drive, Miro, Dropbox, WeTransfer, Facetime, WhatsApp, etc? 

○ Yes 

○ No 

○ Yes – with limitations (please provide further details) 

  • In addition to any language or technology support you may have already shared, are there any other supports you may need to successfully participate in this program? (optional, maximum 1200 characters) 

Support Materials 

Please upload at least one of the following as one combined PDF document (max 5 pages) with a filename that begins with your last name. 

  • Artistic CV 
  • Past Sample Work (Image and or Video) 

○ Please include a URL for where your video files may be reviewed (please include a password if required to view the content) 

  • Letter of Recommendation 

As an alternative to providing support material in PDF format, applicants may provide a link here to a video or audio recording that does not require download (eg. link to YouTube, Vimeo, etc). Please include passwords if needed. 


Questions for Selected Applicants: 

  • In order to accommodate participating artists from across Canada, scheduling will be an important consideration. Please indicate all of the following windows during which you are *generally* available 

○ Mondays: 1-3pm PST / 2-4pm MST / 3-5pm CST / 4-6pm EST / 5-7pm AST / 6:30-8:30pm NST 

○ Tuesdays: 1-3pm PST / 2-4pm MST / 3-5pm CST / 4-6pm EST / 5-7pm AST / 6:30-8:30pm NST 

○ Wednesdays: 1-3pm PST / 2-4pm MST / 3-5pm CST / 4-6pm EST / 5-7pm AST / 6:30-8:30pm NST 

○ Thursdays: 1-3pm PST / 2-4pm MST / 3-5pm CST / 4-6pm EST / 5-7pm AST / 6:30-8:30pm NST 

○ Fridays: 1-3pm PST / 2-4pm MST / 3-5pm CST / 4-6pm EST / 5-7pm AST / 6:30-8:30pm NST 

○ Saturdays: 9-11am PST / 10-12pm MST / 11 – 1pm CST / 12 – 2pm EST / 1 – 3pm AST / 1:30-3:30pm NST 

○ Sundays: 9-11am PST / 10-12pm MST / 11 – 1pm CST / 12 – 2pm EST / 1 – 3pm AST / 1:30-3:30pm NST 

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