KOAC, Carfac, Tips & Tools
Know the Why
The workshop was set up to be very collaborative and each participant shared a lot about their own experience and their own goals. Some were working with commercial galleries, some did not want to work with commercial galleries but still wanted their work shown in public spaces. Tara felt that it was important for the artists to know why they are interested in pursuing a residency. This is the first time that Tara herself has had this amount of space to be able to see her art displaying fully at its large scale, and it normally is a challenge creating larger works as it takes space to store them, and to make them, that isn’t always available. But, beyond having the physical space and time for creative process, it is just as important to know that participating in an artist residency allows artists to connect to a community, like she has at KOAC…and that residencies are very helpful for building a future career as they foster the building of a valuable network of connections.
Know the What
KOAC’s current resident artist also wanted the participants to know what they want to do in an artist residency. All residency opportunities offer different scenarios, some are longer in duration, some are shorter and therefore more intensive. There are differing levels and sources of funding and grants that can be pursued, so having a sense of what the artist wants to achieve, and under what parameters is key. Tara stresses that artists also have to consider the time they spend away from family to work, and that as an artist you are a business and need to consider practical concerns as well, like having life and health insurance in place as part of your resources.
Think about Where and When
Tara’s first residency was with The Hermitage, in Russia, while she was still a student (along with other students from Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.) It was an intensive two-week experience, with travel to Russia, studying works at the museum and then reproducing some of those works and architectural details of the buildings, and giving a final presentation and an exhibition at the end of the whirlwind.
Her second residency was last year in the Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Downtown, and comprised six months of living and working at the hotel. With this second, hotel residency, being spent indoors, over the winter, Tara was pleased to pursue the six-month residency she currently has with KOAC, keen to spend the summer here in the bright studio. Tara feels the nature around the studio really has an impact on her as she works, “you don’t need to go far, or take a long road to get there, but I arrive at the studio, and I find so much peace in the space.”
Appreciate the Who
One of the benefits of residency at KOAC is the access to mentorship and precious time spent some time with KOAC founder Katie Ohe. “Every time I see her, I just love it, I hug her and we spend time talking, and she is the only one so far who has given me a real critique on my art. To have someone who is a professional and with her level of experience, be able to look at the work and see something and point out things to me that I never thought about and didn’t see that way was very valuable.”
Find out the How
Tara invites all aspiring artist to check out ‘Becoming a Visual Artist’, a free resource put together by Carfac and available for free here.
Theresa Williams, local artist and workshop participant had this to say about the workshop at KOAC:
“Tara was a joy to meet, and I find her sculptures most intriguing. My biggest take-away from the session was meeting other artists and hearing them talk about their creative practices and concepts. I learned a little bit more about possible artist residencies. Two hours flew by and just was not sufficient time to ask more about the do’s and don’ts regarding residency and grant proposals: I do feel the time spent was well invested as I met a group of artists I can reach out to about these subjects. As an older, self-taught artist finding success in the local commercial art scene but living in a small town and lacking a network of peers, I need to start connecting with other artists and CARFAC is proving to be a significant resource.”
Tara has been the resident artist at KOAC since May, and we hope you can join us at KOAC on October 14 for her Artist Talk and Exhibition, where she will share her works with the public as the culmination of her six-month residency.