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Artist in Residence Program

2017 will be the second year for the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21’s Artist-in-Residence program. (See Past Projects) The goal of our six-month residency is to enable an artist to create new work that contributes to the Museum’s mandate while advancing their art practice. We are looking for an artist who wants to help us share the stories of Canadian immigration and identity with visitors to our museum.

The successful artist will be expected to spend 16 hours per week on-site and to represent the Museum and interact with our visiting public. The artist must be friendly, outgoing and genuinely enjoy visitor interaction in order for all of us to have a great experience. They must also be willing to talk about their project to the media. The compensation for this six-month program is $15,000.00 including materials. This program is available to artists from across the country but does not include accommodations.

Ownership of the artwork will remain with the artist unless otherwise negotiated.

The focus of our second year is a visual art project in the public programming area (see image) of the Canadian Immigration Hall exhibition that complements Canada: Day 1, our Canada 150 exhibition which will be on display in the Ralph and Rose Chiodo Gallery. Ideally, the selected project will cover the most highly visible walls over the course of the six-month residency so that the space is still of interest and can be interpreted on days when the artist is not working on-site.

In their proposals, prospective artists-in-residence should demonstrate how their project will engage visitors and illuminate some aspect of the exhibition. (See detailed description)


Immigration has played a significant role in the building of Canada, shaping Canadian culture, economy and way of life. That first day of physical arrival to Canada is a symbolic, personal and official milestone in the process of becoming Canadian. Canada: Day 1 aims to explore the multifaceted experiences of newcomers on their first day of arrival in Canada spanning from Confederation to present day, as well as the similarities and diversities of these experiences.

Drawing upon oral histories, archival images, original artworks, interactives and objects, Canada: Day 1 will share stories of immigration in an evocative and engaging way sure to resonate with visitors of all backgrounds.

Sample project ideas:

  • For the past 18 months we have been using the public programming area for our mini suitcase activity which teaches visitors about the tangible and intangible things that immigrants brought to Canada and allows them to express what they would bring somewhere and then to decorate their suitcase. An artist could propose an activity in which they work with visitors to create a small piece of art that is then added to the walls.
  • A visual artist may want to use the public programming area as an open studio space to create and hang a series of new works.
  • A mural painter might want to use the walls to tell a ‘day one’ story.
  • A photographer might want to interact with alumni visitors and new Canadians in the Canada: Day 1 exhibit then share their stories through portraits and quotes in the public programming area.

Apply to the Artist-in-Residence Program

Who may apply:

  • This year we are only looking for visual artists.


  • Application deadline March 1, 2017 for submission to our 2017 Residency Program
  • Selection of artist April 1, 2017
  • Review project plan and develop an implementation plan with staff April 2017
  • Project execution 16 hours per week from May to October 2017


  • $15,000.00 (materials included)

Criteria for Selection:

  • Applicant demonstrates artistic excellence and professionalism. (30)
  • Proposed program will help the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 staff share the stories of immigrants initial experiences in Canada in a visually interesting and meaningful way. (30)
  • Extent to which the proposed program includes interaction with our visitors (school groups, exhibit patrons, special program attendees. (30)
  • Feasibility of the proposed program. (10)

Submission Requirements:

Please submit the following items by March 1, 2017. Late or incomplete packages will not be considered.

  1. 1) Cover page/Email including full contact information
  2. 2) Email, CD, DVD or USB drive including:
    • Proposal: a description of your proposed project including requirements and a description of how the proposed project will reflect one or multiple themes of Canada: Day 1 and engage our visitors
    • Brief project plan with a timeline and milestones
    • Estimated budget
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Work samples (five to ten paintings, drawings, photographs, articles or reviews, whatever best conveys your work)

A short list of up to three artists may be interviewed prior to selection.

Send or email submissions to:

Carrie-Ann Smith
Chief, Audience Engagement
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
1055 Marginal Road
Halifax, NS B3H 4P6

D : 902.425.0071 F : 902.423-4025 |

Past Projects

2016 - Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson is a multidisciplinary artist who works with paint and interactive sculpture. A graduate of NSCADU with a Degree in Painting, Kyle’s art practice is primarily spent creating and building work to charm and engage the world.

During his six month residency at the Museum, Kyle worked with visitors on a project entitled "To Those Still At Sea…". By creating a large scale silhouette sculptural painting of the Empress of Ireland, Kyle illuminated the 102nd year anniversary of the lives lost on the greatest maritime disaster in Canadian history.

Progression Gallery of
"To Those Still At Sea…" >

See Kyle's video >