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Calgary Chinatown Artist Residency

Calgary Chinatown Artist Residency

The Calgary Chinatown Artist Residency is an opportunity for professional artists to be embedded in Calgary Chinatown. The artists will explore its rich history and culture. They will also engage the community as they envision the future of the area. This residency aims to support contemporary art practices and facilitate conversation with the Calgary Chinatown community.

Calgary Chinatown artist residency postponed

Due to the developments around COVID-19, in discussion with its partners, the public art program is postponing any further activity on the Calgary Chinatown artist residency.

Following the direction from Alberta Health Services, the postponement is being implemented to avoid compromising the health and safety of the artists, staff and community members involved. Other factors contributing to this decision were the high volume of engagement required for this project and the artists living quarters situated within a higher vulnerability population of seniors at Clover Living in the heart of Calgary Chinatown. We understand that this decision will have a great impact on our artists, partners and community stakeholders. We will be working closely with the artists and The New Gallery to reschedule when we have more clarity regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and can ensure the safety of all involved in the project.

The Calgary Chinatown artist residency compliments the work being done for The City’s Tomorrow’s Chinatown project. The objective of the Calgary Chinatown artist residency is to explore Calgary Chinatown, engaging with the community as they look to envision the future of the area.

Produced in partnership with The New Gallery, this residency is the first municipally-led project of its kind. Artists will be embedded into the community allowing them the time, space and resources to make a meaningful impact and the potential to influence major city-planning initiatives.

Three artists will participate. Teresa Tam (Calgary, AB), Annie Wong (Toronto, ON) and Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong (New York, NY) will be in-residence throughout 2020 engaging with the Calgary Chinatown community and developing a new body of work.

For an intensive exploration of Calgary Chinatown and the complex history and culture of the community, artists were brought together in November 2019 for an introductory week with community members and subject matter experts.

Artists explored critical aspects of the community, including its history, cultural identity, built environment and heritage resources. The artists connected with historians, cultural workers, urban planners, business owners, residents and many other community stakeholders participating in more than 35 activities. This ranged from presentations and round table discussions, guided tours of Tongs and significant sites, to intimate conversations with residents over dinner, Mahjong and Tai Chi lessons.

In 2020 each artist will spend three months immersed in the community while they develop their artwork that will influence the development of a new Local Area Plan (LAP) for Chinatown.

Artists at the Chinese Cultural Centre

Artists during program week​



About the artists

Teresa Tam (Calgary, AB)

Teresa Tam is a practicing visual artist born and based in Calgary, graduating from ACAD in 2014. Teresa’s practice utilizes familiar spaces and experiences to alter them into something foreign through re-interpreting and re-creating. Her projects are developed to include and emphasize visitor interactions. She specializes in digital platforms, functional installations, body-based exchanges, and labour-intensive cooking. She recently exhibited with EMMEDIA’s Particle + Wave Festival as Quartet in Transit, Stride Gallery, and M:ST Performative Art.


Annie Wong (Toronto, ON)

Annie Wong is a writer and multidisciplinary artist working in performance and installation. Often collaborative, site-specific, participatory, and process-oriented, her practice explores the intersection of the poetic and political of everyday. Her recent research explores diasporic hauntologies and embodied knowledge through rituals and soundwork. Wong has presented across North America, including at The Gardiner Museum (Toronto, ON), Studio XX (Montreal, QC), Third Space (Saint John, NB), and Open Source Gallery (New York, NY). She has held residencies at The Art Gallery of Ontario, Khyber Centre for the Arts (H​alifax, NS), and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Banff, AL). Wong’s literary practice includes poetry, art writing, and non-fiction. Her writing can be found in C Magazine, Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Canadian Art, Performance Research Journal (UK), and MICE Magazine.​​​​​

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong (New York City, USA)

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong is a New York-based artist and trained architect working at the boundary of art, architecture and social practice. Her work investigates the transformation of shared space over time, and seeks to challenge social and political boundaries through sculpture, installation, performance and site-specific architectural interventions. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Cheryl received her B.A. in Art and Italian at the University of California at Berkeley, studied sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera (Milan, Italy) and earned her Master of Architecture from Columbia University GSAPP. Cheryl’s work has been commissioned by the City of Inglewood, the New York City Parks Department and by the Percent for Art program in Washington DC. Her work has been exhibited at Triangle Arts Association, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Istanbul Design Biennial, Usagi Gallery, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Taliesin West, the Venice Biennale of Art, BMW-Guggenheim Lab, Berkeley Art Museum, Museo della Permanente in Milan, amongst others. She has been a visiting critic at Columbia University GSAPP, and taught architecture at Parsons School of Design, University of Sao Josè in Macau, and at the International Program in Design & Architecture (INDA) at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand​​​.

The three artists for the Calgary Chinatown artist residency were selected through The City’s standard public art selection process. Each artist will be paid an all-inclusive budget of up to $22,000 to participate. This budget is inclusive of:

  • Artist fees $15,000
  • Travel allowance (up to) $2,000
  • Material budget (up to) $5,000

About Calgary Chinatown


Chinatown is one of Calgary’s most distinctive cultural neighbourhoods. It has a long history. The first Chinatown in the city was formed in 1885. Today’s Chinatown is located in a 49-acre span. It is bounded by the Bow River to 4 Avenue S.E., and from 2 Street S.W. running east to Macleod Trail. This is a significant and unique area within the fabric of Calgary. It is highly valued by residents, Calgarians and visitors to the city. But like many other Chinatowns across North America, Calgary Chinatown is at a crossroads. As Calgary continues to change, there is a need to protect its culture, history and identity.

The City of Calgary is launching the Tomorrow’s Chinatown project. The goal is a new Local Area Plan and Cultural Plan for Calgary Chinatown. Tomorrow’s Chinatown will work with the community to identify a cultural vision. It will establish priorities for future development and use of the area. For the first time, cultural considerations will inform the policies related to the built environment.

More information on Calgary Chinatown can be found through the Chinatown Historical Context Paper, commissioned by The City of Calgary. The study provides an overview of major historical events, persons, institutions, landscapes and structures in Calgary Chinatown to help inform future work.