Art, engagement, action: Connecting with the community, creating change

I am beyond thrilled to finally be able to tell you that I have been selected as the City of Kitchener’s Artist in Residence for 2017 (media release here). I’ve known for a few months now, but it has only recently been approved by city council, so now it is officially official.

This is the first time we have a mosaic artist as our artist in residence. We’re thrilled Sperling will bring the community together to open a discussion about an important topic that touches all citizens who can get involved and share their efforts through visually stunning mosaic art.

Silvia DiDonato, manager, arts and creative industries

Through my art, I will be engaging Kitchener residents in a dialogue about concrete actions they can take on the path to sustainability. To start, I’ll be creating a few mosaics to spark this dialogue. The themes I’m planning to tackle are energy, food, transportation, and natural stormwater management (or perhaps just green space more generally).

Then it’ll be time to engage the community. This is perhaps what I’m most excited about, as it’s an opportunity to connect my art more directly with advocacy and action. So, using these mosaics as a backdrop, and in collaboration with municipal departments and community partners, I’ll be running a series of workshops where Kitchener residents can come learn about environmental solutions through art and conversation. Participants will also have the opportunity to make a small mosaic symbolizing their commitment to taking one practical action (in one of the four theme areas) to reduce their environmental footprint.

The final piece of the puzzle will be to use these small community-made mosaics to create a larger mosaic symbolizing Kitchener’s collective commitment to taking environmental action. The mosaics created over the course of the residency will be on display in Kitchener City Hall during two exhibitions: an interim show in August and a final show in December.

So, if you live in the Kitchener area, stay tuned over the next couple of months. I’ll be reporting on my progress and announcing events and workshops here on my website and on my social media channels. I’d love to see you there!

julie sperling kitchener artist in residence
Who’s excited to be Artist in Residence? This gal!!!

7 Comments

What a wonderful way to introduce yourself (and visa versa) to your new home! Congratulations – I’m as happy about what this opportunity offers you as I am about what you are offering Kitchener. They are lucky to have you (and visa versa).

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