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Public Art and Social Practice Workshop Series

As part of its commitment to provide a variety of opportunities for artists, The City of Calgary Public Art Program, in collaboration with Illingworth Kerr Gallery (IKG), is pleased to be offering a Public Art and Social Practice workshop series. Internationally renowned artists Alfredo Jaar, Jeanne van Heeswijk, plus a third to be announced, will each present a free public lecture and lead a weekend workshop for a selected group of Calgary artists. This workshop series is intended for local artists and results in an exhibition at the IKG and an opportunity for a public art commission.

Five artists were selected through a competitive process to participate in this program:

Dick Averns
Alana Bartol
Kevin Jesuino
Taryn Kneteman
anne drew potter

Artists photograph
From left to right: Taryn Kneteman, Kevin Jesuino, Dick Averns, Alana Bartol, anne drew potter, Dawn VandeSchoot, and Alfredo Jaar.

This workshop series is designed to provide professional development for artists interested in pursuing public art projects with a social practice focus and is intended for professional artists wishing to:

  • Explore and develop a socially engaged practice with a distinct focus on public art.
  • Understand the opportunities and the challenges that this type of practice entails.
  • Discover the breadth of possibilities that public art and social practice offers.


To complete the series, artists will design a project proposal that involves a community partner in the development and/or implementation of the project in some way. The proposals will then be exhibited at IKG for juried competition. Through the workshops, lectures and group discussions participants will be mentored by world renowned artists practising in the field and provided with the tools, skills and in-depth understanding necessary to develop a project proposal and subsequent practice in socially engaged public art.  

Lead Artist Biographies 

Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who lives and works in New York City. He was born in Santiago de Chile. Jaar’s work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Biennales de Venice (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013), Sao Paulo Art, New York; Whitechapel, London; The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The Museum of Contemporary Art; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. A major retrospective of his work took place in summer 2012 at three institutions in Berlin: Berlinische Galerie, Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V. and Alte Netionalgalerie. In 2014 the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki hosted the most extensive retrospective of his career. Jaar has realized more than sixty public interventions around the world. More than fifty monographic publications have been published about his work. He became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. His work can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum, New York, the MCA in Chicago, MOCA and LACMA in Los Angeles, the Tate in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Centro Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlaebeck and dozens of other institutions and private collections worldwide.
How can an artist be an instrument for the collective reimagining of daily environments, given the complexity of our societies? This is the question that artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, of the Netherlands, considers when deciding how to employ her work to improve communities. Van Heeswijk believes communities need to co-produce their own futures. That’s why she embeds herself, for years at a time, in communities from Rotterdam to Liverpool, working with them to improve their neighbourhoods and empowering them to design their own futures—not wait for local authorities to foist upon them urban planning schemes which rarely take embedded culture into account. Her work often attempts to unravel invisible legislation, governmental codes, and social institutions, gradually preparing areas for their predictive futures. She calls it “radicalising the local” by empowering communities to become their own antidote. Van Heeswijk’s work has been featured in numerous books and publications worldwide, as well as internationally renowned biennials such as those of Liverpool, Busan, Taipei, Shanghai and Venice. She has received international for her work, including most recently the 2012 Curry Stone Prize for Social Design Pioneers and the 2011 Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change.
Schedule of Free Events Open to the Public
​Public Art 101 Evening Lecture with Alfredo Jaar Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016​
​Public Art 101 Evening Lecture with Jeanne van Heeswijk ​Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017
​Project Proposals Exhibition at the IKG ​Thursday, Mar. 23 through Saturday, Apr. 22, 2017
To learn more about the opportunities to get involve as a community member please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribe to our e-newsletter