There will be more Artists in our Midst

The Sunshine Coast Arts Council (SCAC) is putting out a call for proposals from creators who want to take on the role of resident artist in the council’s Artists in our Midst program.

Based in a 1,500-sq.-ft. empty retail/studio space nestled in a courtyard beside the Bank of Montreal in Sechelt, the program is “open to artists/collectives/groups who live and work on the Sunshine Coast,” the council said in a news release. 

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“It provides three months of free studio space in exchange for creating work(s) that engages and considers the public and public space,” the release added. “The [location] includes a washroom, sink facilities, a small storage room and a large visible storefront space. [Large] windows face onto a public square, which create an ideal space to showcase work and process in progress.” A $500 honorarium comes with the position.

The intent of the project is “the production of public-related activities,” which “may include but aren’t limited to: developing work for the windows of the space, creating an installation in the plaza, presenting performances either in the space or outside, or any other creative way to connect residents and visitors to art.”

The program started in March, with Gibsons mixed-media artist Nadina Tandy as the inaugural working resident. The first thing Tandy did was decorate the huge window area with whimsical drawings using acrylic-paint Posca pens. Then she began filling the display space provided by the waist-high windowsills. “I wanted to have some kind of fun engagement and install a little art exhibit,” Tandy said in an interview.

The exhibit consists of dozens of what she calls “collages on sticks,” which include surreal and comical characters Tandy created by mashing images collected from mid-20th century magazines. “Our galleries have been closed, but people who are out going for walks and passing by can have a look at these fun little collages I made,” she said.

When Tandy agreed to the position earlier this winter, COVID-19 was just an unnamed viral outbreak in a region of China. But by the time she took over the space at the beginning of April, it had become The Pandemic. Tandy said she might have had one or two workshops had gatherings not been banned, but otherwise she is pleased with how her residency has gone.

“I don’t feel short-changed,” she said. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity to have this space.”

Tandy still has a full month remaining in her tenure and hopes to complete some paintings inspired by her character collages. And if B.C.’s gradual reopening stays on track, she plans a bit of a celebration. “I think close to the end of June we’re going to open the door and do something out in the courtyard, where we can have space and maybe have some of these collage things put in the garden.” Images of some of her recent work can be found at nadinatandy.com.

Details about how to apply for the July-through-September Artists in our Midst residency can be found at sunshinecoastartscouncil.com under the link “Events and Programs.” The deadline for submission is 4 p.m. on Friday, June 19.

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