Eastern Edge Gallery helping artists with new residencies

Eastern Edge Gallery, located on Harbour Drive in St. John’s, recently issued a call for proposals for artists in residence. Allan Bradbury/Kicker

Eastern Edge Gallery issued a call this week for new proposals for artists in residence at its new studio space.

Eastern Edge Gallery hopes to give artists time and space to create art without having to worry about finances.

With that aim in mind, the gallery is taking proposals for artists in residence.

Eastern Edge Gallery is a non-profit, artist-run centre for visual arts in St. John’s. One of its purposes is to encourage the growth of the local art scene in St. John’s and throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

The gallery issued a call for proposals for projects to be completed during residencies in their new studio space adjacent to the gallery on Harbour Drive.

“We are delighted to accept residency proposals from artists, artist collectives, and curators across all media for our brand new EEG Studios residency space,” the call on the website reads.

The recently acquired studio space has been dubbed the Eastern Edge Studio. The space is large enough to accommodate up to four artists in residence at a time.

According to assistant director Daniel Rumboldt, some residencies at other galleries require artists to actually pay for the studio space. However, Eastern Edge is providing the studio space free of charge, and artists will be paid residency fees comparable to other residencies on a national level. The gallery will also subsidize travel.

The gallery receives funding from a variety of different sources to be able to support artists in residence. Funds come from federal and provincial governments, and from other arts organizations.

One of its primary benefactors is Arts NL, a non-profit Crown corporation that disburses grant funding for arts across the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Arts NL grants are funded by the provincial government and corporate sponsors.

Reg Winsor, executive director of Arts NL, is very supportive of residencies.

“They are a very important part of what I call the arts ecosystem.”

Benefits are not for the gallery

The benefits of the residencies at Eastern Edge are for the art community at large as well as the residents, rather than for the gallery itself.

“It’s not a bargaining chip for us,” Rumboldt said. “We don’t use their artwork in an exhibition directly after and sell it. It’s all to help the artist and help the community. That’s why grants are so important.”

Rumboldt says  Eastern Edge is non-profit and it is responsible to show its donors how it is supporting the arts community.

Mixed-media artist Vicky Sabourin performs her piece entitled "Warm Blood" at Eastern Edge's Holdfast contemporary art festival. Sabourin was an artist in residence at Eastern Edge in the summer of 2017.
Mixed-media artist Vicky Sabourin performs her piece entitled “Warm Blood” at Eastern Edge’s Holdfast contemporary art festival. Sabourin was an artist in residence at Eastern Edge in the summer of 2017. Submitted/Philippa Jones, Eastern Edge Gallery.

Vicky Sabourin, a Montreal-based mixed-media artist, was the gallery’s first resident artist in the summer of 2017. She came to St. John’s with a life-size hand-felted horse, which she used in a performance art piece.

During her time in St. John’s as a resident artist, she added to the piece, creating additional felted animals as well as collecting nature elements on hikes in the St. John’s area. She performed the piece at Eastern Edge’s annual contemporary art festival, Holdfast.

“I didn’t really know anyone in St. John’s,” Sabourin says. “So, when people would come in and comment on my work, I was getting their honest opinions.”

She also said she was really grateful to make connections with new artists from different parts of the country.

The gallery is hoping to host up to 12 artists from early June 2019 to the end of February 2019. Rumboldt says the gallery has received some inquiries already, but it doesn’t have many applications yet. He expects many applications will come in as the deadline draws nearer.

The submission deadline is April 18.



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