STEPS Initiative's CreateSpace provides emerging Black, Indigenous and racialized artists with the skills, relationships and practical experience needed to take their public art practice to the next level!

STEPS believes public art has the ability to challenge the systemic inequities that exist in public space. In support of this important work, they facilitate programs that: foster inclusive public art practices; build the capacity of artists who are underrepresented in Canadian public art and demonstrate the power of art to reimagine equitably designed cities.

STEPS is thrilled to launch CreateSpace, a national public art residency program designed in consultation with advisors from coast to coast, to provide emerging Black, Indigenous and racialized artists with the skills, relationships and practical experience needed to take their public art practice to the next level.


CreateSpace artists-in-residence will gain:

  • Skills: virtual workshops, artist talks and studio visits for greater understanding of the public art process through the lens of Community, Identity, Accessibility, and Land, including: demystifying public art RFPs, exploring fabrication and approaches to public engagement.
  • Relationships: opportunities to connect with public art practitioners from across the country, cultivating professional networks in various sectors and industries.
  • Practical Experience: creating new public work with tailored coaching from STEPS staff and artistic advisors, through which experimentation is encouraged.
  • Public Audiences: through promotional support leveraging STEPS and partner network, as well as supports to document and present past and current public work.
  • Financial Support: artists will each receive a $1000 stipend to support their participation, as well as have the opportunity to request additional accessibility, production, documentation and engagement resources.


This residency is open to early to mid-career Canadian-based visual and media artists working in public space, who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and M├ętis) or racialized, interested in participating in a virtual residency from March through December 2021.

Up to ten residents will be selected for this opportunity by a review panel of BIPOC members of the arts community, with half of CreateSpace’s first first cohort reserved for applicants who express a willingness to exhibit work in partnership with ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021.

Program components will be offered primarily in English, with translation and ASL services available as needed to support participation of a diverse community of artists.

Applicants must be a Canadian citizen, or Permanent Resident to qualify for this opportunity. 

Interested applicants must submit their expressions of interest by January 31, 2021 at 11:59pm EST. Those living outside of the Eastern time zone are encouraged to use a timezone converter to ensure your application is received by the deadline.


As part of their participation in CreateSpace, Artists in Residence with support from STEPS staff and mentors are expected to:

Attend in at least 15 of approx. 20 residency sessions held over 10 months which will include: workshops, artist talks, facilitated discussions, studio visits, etc. We estimate each session to be an hour to an hour and a half time commitment per session. These sessions will run primarily between 1pm and 8pm EST, Monday through Saturday.

Identify and execute a public art project by the end of the residency. While residents are NOT expected to have well thought out plans for a public art project at the time of their application, having a project concept and clearly defined learning objectives for advancing your public art practice are important to make the most of the support STEPS and CreateSpace partners can provide.

Contribute to the planning and execution of one CreateSpace virtual public event through serving as a speaker, panelist, facilitator or moderator. This is an opportunity to develop your public engagement skills and reach new audiences with your work!

Participate in ongoing program evaluation that will help shape the CreateSpace Public Art Residency and other artist capacity building programming.

Respect the time and knowledge of CreateSpace advisors, mentors, staff and fellow participating artists, by committing to cultivate a safe, inclusive, supportive and respectful space for learning, exploration and growth.


  • Submission Deadline: January 31, 2021
  • Results Communicated: February 2021
  • Residency Begins: March 2021
  • Residency Programming: March – November
  • Public Artwork Production/ Installation Period: June – September
  • Residency Concludes: December 2021

Learn more and apply here.