Artist in Residence

2021 Artist in Residence

Apply now!

Budget: $6,500
Deadline: Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Artist opportunity

The City of Guelph invites Guelph-based professional artists or artist collectives to submit Expressions of Interest to be selected for the 2021 City of Guelph Artist in Residence program. This residency will be delivered virtually to ensure the health and safety of all involved during this time of great uncertainty due to COVID-19. Despite being an online residency, community engagement remains at the heart of this program, which is open to artists practicing all art forms including visual, literary or performing arts, architecture and design, or media arts such as sound, video or photography. This call follows a two-stage selection process, the first being an Expression of Interest.

The total all-inclusive 2021 program budget awarded to the selected artist is $6,500+HST.

This is not a live-in residency.

Program goals

  • creatively animate public space(s) – indoor, outdoor and online
  • provide opportunities for artists to engage virtually with the public to showcase their creative practices
  • broaden the community’s experience of the arts
  • contribute to placemaking and civic pride


The City of Guelph will provide:

  • assistance with any necessary permits for public space(s) (as appropriate);
  • limited access to municipal facilities and venues;
  • an opportunity for presentation and celebration at the end of the residency;
  • a budget which includes artist fees and funding to cover other costs directly related to the project;
  • promotional support (coordination of media releases, social media and promotional materials such as posters, postcards, signage, boosted Facebook posts etc.); and
  • recognition of the artist as the official City of Guelph Artist in Residence.

The selected artist will:

  • commit to engaging community members in creative experiences;
  • deliver the selected project within the program’s timeline and budget;
  • provide regular progress updates to staff;
  • be available to speak with the media; and
  • attend a debriefing session at the end of the residency period.

As part of the program, the artist will be expected to undertake a selection of the following, to be agreed upon between the City and the Artist over the month-long, national Culture Days celebration taking place September 24 to October 24, 2021:

  • Virtual talk
  • Virtual workshop or self-guided, public activity
  • Virtual or physical exhibition/display of completed work

Scope of work

The artist’s project for this virtual, community-based arts initiative should engage the residents and visitors of Guelph, and promote an appreciation of contemporary art practices.

Expressions of Interest should outline the project concept briefly and indicate how the artist will engage with the community remotely.

While the artist’s process is as important as the resulting artistic products, projects should produce an outcome such as, but not limited to, a temporary installation, performance, recording, creative collaboration, exhibition or community experience that can be shared and celebrated with the public, either virtually or independently.

Eligibility requirements

Guelph-based artists or artist collectives working in any medium or discipline are eligible to apply. Artists should have proven experience engaging the public and working collaboratively with community members or other artists. They must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, and be 18 years of age or older.

Previous City of Guelph Artists in Residence and City of Guelph employees are not eligible to apply. Familiarity of Guelph is considered an asset.

Fundraising activities are not eligible.

A strong web/social media presence/following is considered an asset.


The total all-inclusive budget available for the selected artist is $6,500 +HST and includes, but is not limited to, all costs associated with the creation and implementation of the residency project:

  • Artist fees (including research, development and administration)
  • Materials (including any studio expenses, services or equipment)
  • Documentation, photography and/or video

Disbursements will be made throughout the project as per a negotiated schedule of deliverables.

Program timeline

The anticipated program timeline is outlined below and is based on a residency term of approximately 80 hours.

  • December 17, 2020: Call to Artists launched
  • February 3, 2021: Stage One submission deadline at noon (12 p.m.)
  • February 26, 2021: Selected candidates invited to apply for Stage Two
  • March 17, 2021: Stage Two submission deadline at noon (12 p.m.)
  • March 31, 2021: Stage Two interviews (Applicants are asked to reserve this date in their calendars)
  • July 1 to September 30, 2021: Approximate residency period

Applicants will be notified of their status as soon as the selection process is complete on Friday, April 9, 2021.

Selection process and criteria

The recommended artist(s) will be chosen through a two-stage selection process. The City’s Public Art Advisory Committee and City staff will review proposals based on program goals and selection criteria.

Stage One: Expression of Interest

Artists will be scored based on their previous body of work and experience; capacity to engage the community virtually; ability to deliver work of high artistic quality on time and on budget; as well as their artist statement including a preliminary project proposal that is realistic and achievable and has a vision for community involvement.

Stage Two: Request for Proposals

Three shortlisted artists or artist collectives will each receive a $325.00 honorarium upon submission of a detailed project proposal, timeline, and budget as part of Stage Two. Shortlisted artists will also be invited to participate in interviews as part of the review process. They will be scored based on:

  • Qualifications and experience (20%)
    • Experience, interests and talents as a professional artist complement the program
    • Demonstrated experience and inventiveness in working collaboratively with community members
    • Knowledge and skills required to facilitate, coordinate, and administer the project on time and on budget
  • Quality of Proposal (40%)
    • Proposal has artistic merit
    • Proposal is innovative and unique
    • Proposal is realistic and achievable
    • Proposal responds well to the goals of the program
  • Realization of Proposal (40%)
    • The proposed project will creatively animate public space(s) (indoor, outdoor, online)
    • Plans for cultural programming and community engagement are strong
    • The proposed project demonstrates a connection to the city and/or relevance to the citizens of Guelph
    • Proposal shows potential for impact in the community

Application process

This is a two-stage artist selection process.

Stage One: Expression of Interest

Submission deadline: Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 12 p.m.

All submissions should be formatted as a single PDF and sent electronically to [email protected] containing the following corresponding to the outline below:

  1. Application form
  2. Expression of Interest (1 page maximum): Include a brief artist statement; a preliminary project proposal that describes desired outcomes and a vision for community involvement that responds to the current COVID-19 safety protocols.
  3. Artist resume (3 page maximum)
  4. Support materials: Include up to 5 samples of your artistic work in your single PDF submission. Label materials, Artist Name_Number, corresponding to a documentation list with a description of work, title, date created, medium(s), budget (if applicable), and dimensions (if applicable) for all support materials.

Please include only the items listed above. Additional materials will not be presented to the selection panel.

Stage Two: Request for Proposals

Submission deadline: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 12 p.m.

Following review of eligibility requirements and Expressions of Interest, selected shortlisted artists will be invited to develop their concept proposals and attend an interview via Webex. Shortlisted artists will receive a $325 honorarium for their submissions.

Stage Two submissions should be formatted as a single PDF and sent electronically to [email protected] containing the following:

  1. Detailed project proposal (3 page maximum): Expanding on their preliminary project proposal, the artist will be required to submit a detailed project proposal including site identification (if any), plans for execution, community engagement activities and any partnerships and/or collaborations.
  2. Project timeline:  Artists will be required to provide a project timeline identifying proposed key project stages. The start and end dates of the residency period are flexible.
  3. Budget: Artists will be required to prepare a budget for the proposed project. The project budget is $6,500 +HST and is inclusive of all materials, technical costs, permits, fabrication and/or installation costs as well as an artist fee.

Shortlisted artists will be required to attend a virtual interview via Webex, and are asked to reserve the following date in their calendars: Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

Please note that submissions will not be returned and late or incomplete proposals will not be accepted.

General provisions

Artist Agreement: Shortlisted artists will be required to enter an agreement with the City of Guelph to enter the second stage of the competition and receive the artist honorarium. The successful artist will enter into an additional agreement with the City of Guelph. Upon notification of being awarded the project, the successful artist will have a 15-day time period to finalize and sign the agreement.

Conflict of Interest: Applicants must disclose any potential conflicts of interest in their submission, including any which may involve City employees, Council members, or members of the City’s Public Art Advisory Committee.

Reserved Rights: The City of Guelph and the Public Art Advisory Committee are not obliged to accept any of the submissions and reserve the right to not recommend any proposal or finalist and to terminate or re-advertise any project.

For more information

Jen Rafter, Cultural Program and Event Coordinator
Culture and Recreation, Public Services
519-822-1260 extension 2629
[email protected]