The NEW Hamilton Arts Council Artist Residency Program is a 3-month rotating artist residency in The Cotton Factory. This valuable opportunity provides artists from a wide range of disciplines and career levels to build their practice. Participating artists are encouraged to use their time to experiment, develop new ideas and learn new skills in addition to forming meaningful ties with their fellow artists in residence and Cotton Factory tenants. The participating artists will be required to deliver an artist talk and open house during the final week of their residency.

The Cotton Factory is a creative community in the heart of lower Hamilton. This former industrial building from 1900 is a prime example of adaptive reuse. It has been transformed from a cotton mill into a creative industries complex, with space for workshops, galleries, office space for creative professionals and studios for artists.

The Cotton Factory continues to demonstrate, ongoing commitment to fostering emerging artist practices as well as their continued contribution to Hamilton’s flourishing contemporary art community.

The studio is located on the second floor of the Storehouse Building at the Cotton Factory (270 Sherman Avenue North, Hamilton)



Hamilton Arts Council: Artist Residency at The Cotton Factory

The Cotton Factory has generously donated a studio space for the Hamilton Arts Council to facilitate an artist-in-residence program. This residency program provides a valuable opportunity for artists from a wide range of disciplines and career levels to build their practice and engage with a flourishing hub of artistic activity. We are seeking applications for this rotating self directed artist-in-residence program. The dates and deadlines are listed below.

The successful applicant will be expected to use the space a minimum of 2-3 days per week and perform an artist talk or workshop in conjunction with a culminating open studio, open to the public.

Two artists will be selected for each term and are expected to share the studio space.

* Please note you must be a member of the Hamilton Arts Council in order to be considered for this opportunity.



Please provide the following information:

  • Letter of intent/ project proposal (500 words max)
  • Short Biography (100 words max)
  • Artist Statement (350 words max)
  • Curriculum Vitae (3 pages max)
  • 10 images (max) in JPEG format or links to youtube or vimeo files

Next Residency:

  • April – June 2018                                       Deadline:  March 2, 2018
  • July – September 2018                              Deadline:  April 6, 2018
  • November – January 2019                         Deadline:  September 7, 2018
  • [October  – Visiting Artist Residency – Estonia]

Results will be communicated shortly after the deadline. Due to the high volume of applications we receive, only the successful applicant will be notified.

Please send applications in a single email to

Please include Cotton Factory Residency Application in the subject line of your email.

The Hamilton Arts Council Residency Program as well as the accompanying speakers series,  is made possible through project from th Ontario Arts Council and The Cotton Factory.

  • August Art Crawl Recap

    August 14, 2012 by Stephen Near

    Friday night I headed down to James Street North for the August Art Crawl. I absolutely love going to Art Crawls. There is a feeling of a close-knit community and the amount of energy and creativity in the air is simply infectious.

    I started out my night wandering through White Elephant. They have such cute vintage jewelry, housewares, clothes and much more, from local or international artists. You can check out their website or follow them on Twitter. Fair warning: their Twitter feed is seriously entertaining.

    Earrings at White Elephant

    Have a Ball at the Crawl


    Continuing down the street, now listening to my stomach rumbling, I go in search of food. I happened to be out with one of the pickiest eaters ever, so we passed quite a few places before settling on Jack & Lois. Settling is a poor choice of word – we stumbled upon a true gem. The service was great and friendly, even on this crazy busy evening for them with people constantly asking about tables and being directed out to the back patio. It’s definitely a place I’d go back to. Who wouldn’t with such great food!

    We continued our adventure and ended up at the Maker’s Market, one of my favourite stops of any of the crawls. We stopped at various booths, with me picking up some fun new buttons and then stopping to chat with Carla Tilt of Tilted Design. Carla makes one-of-a-kind, hand painted wearable art. You can find her and her funky shoes on Facebook &Etsy.

    Tilted Shoes


    Walking along, one of the busy bees of the Beehive Craft Collective who was working away in the window of Needlework caught my eye. She was working on the Beehive’s upcoming Modular Beauty Project. The project is a series of hexagons, made using English paper piecing, that are stitched together to form beehives. These hives will be mounted on buildings and other places along James St N for the September Supercrawl. Why beehives? Along with representing the name of the organization running the installation, it also represents Hamilton. The original Hamilton Coat of Arms, still seen on The Armoury at 200 James St N, has a beehive prominent in the middle of the design. ‘Hamilton has always been an ambitious and industrious city, with residents are who are familiar with working with their hands. We feel a connection to this aspect in particular of its manufacturing past, and wish to pay reverence by draping the street in our softer, but just as driven, methods.’ It’s not too late to get involved in this massive undertaking either; they are still collecting hexagons at 10 locations until August 31st.

    Hexagon basket


    If you were within a block of him, Gord Simmons’ gorgeous operatic voice would have had you stop in your tracks, even if only for a second to have a listen. There were so many great street performers out, I just wished I had time to stop and listen to them all.

    Gord Simmons

    One of our previous guest bloggers, Aaron Jan of Fulcrum Theatre, was also there handing out information for his upcoming shows. Antigone opens August 18th, and a double bill performance of  ‘To The Pointe’ and ‘Drafts’ opens August 16th. Both shows will be at theLyric Theatre. ‘To The Pointe’ will be preformed by To The Pointe Dance Project which was created by Alyssa Nedich. Collaborating alongside Alyssa are long time friends and dancers, Karly Dely and Carly Arnott. Their mission is to spread the passion and love of dance to youth in the Hamilton region. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter.

    On our way back up the street Mary Luciani’s artwork caught my eye. Mary is a Burlington-based acrylic painter. Mary & fellow artist Kathryn Sewell have set up at the corner of Cannon & James for the past three art crawls. I asked her what she liked about coming and setting up at art crawl. She said that, “the people here are legitimately interested in what you’re doing. They may not buy anything, but they’ll stop and say ‘that’s really awesome’ and that makes you feel really good.” You can find Mary and Kathryn on Twitter.


    Mary's Artwork

    We stopped for a late night snack at Mulberry Coffeehouse, which was seriously happening even after the crawl was done. With some good chats, and an excellent chocolate chip cookie we wrapped up our night at the August Art Crawl.

    Mulberry Sign


    Have any exciting stories from the August Art Crawl? Share them with us in the comments on this post. And can I just say that for me the countdown is on for Supercrawl!

    MacNab Terminal

    Macnab Terminal after the Crawl

    Until next time, this is your favourite summer student Casey, signing off from the HAC Offices.

    Casey Haughland is a Hamilton student, studying graphic design at Mohawk College. You can follow her on Twitter at @haughland.

  • How to Defeat The Creative Block

    August 10, 2012 by Stephen Near

    How to Defeat The Creative Block

    Posted on August 10, 2012 by Stephen Near

    “Hey Casey, why don’t you do another entry for the blog.”

    “Sure, sounds great!”

    There’s just one small problem. I seem to have all these great ideas, but as soon as I open the document to get started writing my mind goes completely blank. I’m sure this happens to a lot of people, but it is so frustrating trying to work on a project and not being able to get past that first hurdle. Enter, a being so terrifying and imperious only a brave few can take him on, The Creative Block. (This sentence is to be read in the voice of an overly dramatic Saturday morning cartoon narrator.)

    How do you get started when you can’t think of anything? Well I decided to look for some answers. My “research” (aka the first few pages of Google results) turned up quite a few interesting resources from creative minds that have written about overcoming different kinds of blocks.

    7 Types of Creative Blocks (and what to do about them)

    Overcoming Creative Block

    Creative Block – Design Ideas for When You’re out of Ideas

    I’m actually really enjoying going through and refreshing the page on Creative Block. Each time you do you get a great one-liner that will make you stop and think a little differently.

    Typographic Image of complied results from Creative Block

    Typographic Image of complied results from Creative Block

    Maybe some of these will help you through a block of your own. Looking for inspiration, changing tasks, asking for help and so many other ways that you tackle that creative block to the ground and tell him to get lost. And with that last and fatal blow, the notorious Creative Block is defeated.

    Until next time… This is your favourite (if only) summer student, signing off live from the Hamilton Arts Council Office.

    - Casey

    Casey Haughland is a Hamilton student, studying graphic design at Mohawk College. You can follow her on Twitter at @haughland.

  • Summer Posting

    August 3, 2012 by Stephen Near

    “The Hamilton Arts Council is seeking applicants for the position of Arts Outreach Assistant. This is a temporary 7-week position funded through the Canada Summer Jobs Program.”

    Do you remember this post from June? Maybe you’ve been wondering what happened?

    Well, coming to you live from the Hamilton Arts Council office is your summer student Casey, just finishing up my third week of work.

    I honestly can’t believe it’s only been three week since I walked through the doors of theSonic Unyon Records building for my first day. I was so nervous! Though the nerves melted away as the day went on, and by the time the conversation in the office turned to Lightsaber fights I knew it was going to be a good summer.

    Both Stephanie Vegh and Stephen Near have been so helpful in showing me the ropes of what the Arts Council does, and let me tell you there is a lot going on here all the time.

    I’ve gotten my hands dirty in quite a few projects so far. From creating brand guidelines for our new logo & colours, to doing extensive and sometimes exhausting research for the new edition of the Arts Directory, and all the way down to sorting & archiving the Art Beat newsletter from way back in it’s printed days. And now I guess they’ve even got me writing for the blog!

    I’m so excited to have this opportunity. There is a lot of creative freedom in this job, and I wouldn’t expect anything less with both of my superiors being creatives themselves.(Stephanie is a visual artist & Stephen is a playwright)

    I am looking forward to the next four weeks and hoping they don’t go by too fast; I still need to get a proper geek-education here, and of course learn more about our thriving arts scene.


    Casey Haughland is a Hamilton-based student studying graphic design at Mohawk College. You can follow her on Twitter at @haughland.

    Mouse Moves - August 2 Afternoon

    My mouse movements from the afternoon courtesy of I/O Graph

  • Hamilton Fringe Festival Blog: the Second

    July 27, 2012 by Stephen Near

    A Taste of the Artbar

    One of the things I briefly touched upon last blog was the Artword Artbar – the hangout where artists and patrons of the Fringe drink, mingle and connect after shows. Every evening gathering is centered around one hour of standup by comedian Larry Smith, who hosts his own “Fringe-themed” talk show. It’s a chance for artists to pump their shows and receive a gentle ribbing from Larry in a series of “Tonight Show” inspired interviews. Not to mention he’s funny as hell.

    On Wednesday (while eating some delicious, homemade and free food) I was able to meet some of the other artists of the Fringe Festival and talk with them about their experiences, challenges and processes inside the rehearsal hall and out of it. Everyone was super approachable, which made my job as a first-time (and admittedly underprepared) journalist significantly easier. To keep things simple, I asked them all the same question my Torontonian friend asked me when I entered the Fringe: Why Hamilton Fringe?

    Mischa Aravena (Performer – Betrayal – Citadel Studio):

    • Best part of being in the Hamilton FringeMeeting new people and being rewarded for all the hard work we’ve done. We’ve had good audiences and reviews. I couldn’t be more pleased.

    Luis Arrojo (Performer – Paul and Marie – Hamilton Theatre Inc)

    • Why Hamilton Fringe: Easier to get into than the Toronto Fringe.
    • Best Part of being in the Hamilton FringeIt’s Hamilton

     John Bandler (Playwright – So that the Multitude may live – Citadel Studio)

    • Why Hamilton Fringe: The year before my first play I stumbled upon it and loved the concept. The fact that there is no jury system allows each individual to be themselves and to be creative without having to satisfy a reviewer.
    • Best Part of being in the Hamilton Fringe: Great people, creativity, good time.

    James Biss (Performer – Lies, Damn Lies and Magic Tricks – 141 Park Street):

    • Why Hamilton Fringe: I am in Hamilton very often and love the arts         community.
    • Best Part of being in the Hamilton Fringe: I was expecting camaraderie, but I’m really shocked by the level of it here in Hamilton. I’m used to getting no’s for advertising. In Toronto it’s 5 no’s for every yes, but in Hamilton it’s 5 yeses for every no.

    Samuel Chang (Co-writer/Director – The Girl in the Window – Citadel Theatre)

    • Why Hamilton Fringe: It allowed us to showcase our play at a very reasonable price. It is difficult for young aspiring directors to find an affordable venue to display their craft in the Hamilton area.
    • Best part of being in the Hamilton Fringe: The artists are encouraged to view other shows for free, which in turn creates a great friendly environment. Watching the volunteers, artists, and the audience come together really makes this Fringe special to me.

     Jeff Culbert (Actor/Writer – The Donnelly Sideshow – 141 Park Street)

    • Why Hamilton Fringe: People. I started hearing good things from Edmonton’s Fringe.
    • Best Part of being in the Hamilton Fringe: Being in Hamilton. The feel of Hamilton. It’s a really unique place. The venues are good as they’re really close together and accessible.

    Radha Menon (Playwright – Ganga’s Ganja – Citadel Theatre):

    • Why Hamilton FringeWe live here. We’re Hamiltonians who’ve lived here for four years.
    • Best Part of being in the Hamilton Fringe: Not having to travel far.

    Victoria Murdoch (Performer – Dairy Free Love – Citadel Studio):

    • Why Hamilton Fringe: I am from Toronto so it’s close and I have family here. It’s also first come first serve and I’m prompt. (Blogger’s Note: Probably my favourite interview of the night.)
    •  Best Part of being in the Hamilton Fringe: Hamilton is a great town.

    Peter Ormond (Performer/Co-Playwright – Occupy the Musical – Hamilton Theatre Inc)

    • Why Hamilton Fringe: Done it three times. Local theatre. It’s a safe space to be    creative.
    •  Best Part of being in the Hamilton Fringe: Having fun.

     Jim Sands (Performer – Charlie: A Hockey Story – 141 Park Street)

    •  Why Hamilton Fringe: It fit into my schedule. I spoke to Brian on the phone and      it felt like a really warm and friendly space.
    •  Best Part of being in the Hamilton Fringe: I love the arts community. It’s so diverse. There are all kinds of art. It’s a happening place.

     Ahti Tolvi (Director – Wealth Secrets – Citadel Theatre)

    • Why Hamilton Fringe: The expectation that is constantly there to see something   that’s even better.
    • Best Part of being in the Hamilton Fringe: Meeting all of these other people          with all these exciting ideas and the feeling that it can just get better and better.

    So there you have it. After you’re done with a long day of Fringing, head over to the Artword Artbar and be ready for an evening of music, alcohol and laughter.

    See you at the Fringe!


    Aaron Jan is a Hamilton-based theatre playwright, performer, director and the Artistic Director of Fulcrum Theatre. You can catch the company’s entry in the Hamilton Fringe festival, Drafts, at the Citadel Theatre until Sunday, July 29th. You can follow him on Twitter at @afatchineseboy

  • Hamilton Fringe Festival Blog: the First

    July 25, 2012 by Stephen Near

    I’m writing this blog at 1:39 in the morning…fresh after our 4th Show at the Hamilton Fringe. Despite the requests of my mother to “go to bed early”, I have locked myself in my basement, hooked myself on the interwebs and am now scouring the internet for reviews on my play to post on every social media outlet.

    My name is Aaron Jan and this is the first time that my company has participated in the Hamilton Fringe Festival. With the first 4 of our 7 shows complete, I’ve been asked by theHamilton Arts Council to provide some insight about the experience of being a first time participant in the Fringe.

    When I told my Torontonian friend that our company had entered in the Fringe, his response (to quote magician James Biss) was less than fabulous: “Why the HamiltonFringe?” he asked bluntly. I didn’t really have an answer for him at the time. I made up some lie about “giving back to our community” and ended the conversation there – feeling exceptionally stupid and naïve. More on that later.

    Contrary to my friend’s opinion, our experience at the Hamilton Fringe thus far has been nothing short of positive. A big part of this has to do with our venue technician, Adam Archer. Ever since our first meeting, Adam’s been there for us. Every day I see him extensively selling the shows at our venue to patrons. There’s a kind of loyalty and invested interest there that I’ve never experienced before. Needless to say, we’re purchasing him copious amounts of alcohol to show our gratitude.

    I think that’s the thing I really dig about the Hamilton Fringe Festival. In my past dabblings with community theatre, I’ve noticed that other companies don’t necessarily support each other. Every community theatre (ourselves included) in Hamilton seems to have a circle of followers at every performance with maybe 10 strangers or random people. Cliques, if you will. Not so at the Fringe. Because the Fringe is unjuried and advertising is entirely self-motivated, the Festival puts onus on us to sell our show. Even companies with large networks cannot sustain 7 nights of shows with their circles alone.

    Obviously, friendships make sense. Everyone is on equal footing. Everyone paid the same fee to apply to the Fringe. If there’s prejudice or contempt here, I’ve yet to notice it. Not only is the work of the other artists interesting, but partnering with another company to “double promote” shows has proven to be extremely popular and effective for getting bums in seats. There’s a sense of fellowship when you see other “artists of the Fringe” seeing your show, because you’re all alike in some messed up way.

    This really comes together at the Artword Artbar. After shows, companies gather at the Artbar to exchange stories, whispers, rumors and flights of fancy. They get drunk, share marketing strategies. They laugh together, eat soup, and poke each other. It feels like a unified and cohesive community…maybe one that Hamilton’s theatre scene desperately needs.

    Because at the end of the day, we’re all united by one desire: to sell. No one wants anyone to get an empty house. That’s the big struggle…trying to overcome that massive obstacle of not having people see your show. That’s also the fun of Fringe…the tactics of tempting a stranger to take a chance on your show. This is the reason why I’m up at this ungodly hour, advertising the show all over Facebook. Tomorrow I’ll be at the Fringe, communicating with patrons at the Artbar and handing them our postcards in the waiting lines of other shows. It’s obsessive and addictive.

    It’s to these tactics that I credit our audiences. At best we’ve had over 78 people in the house. At worst we’ve had 25. I’ve been told that the first three shows are the hardest and based on our audience size tonight I’m pretty confident that we’ve crossed this hurdle.

    So why Hamilton Fringe then? Simple: It’s a bunch of ragtag artists gathered in one spot with one desire. It’s a chance for both performers and audiences take a risk with potentially huge payoff. It’s a glimpse of the artistic community that Hamilton could and should have.

    See you at the Fringe!


    Aaron Jan is a Hamilton-based theatre playwright, performer, director and the Artistic Director of Fulcrum Theatre. You can catch the company’s entry in the Hamilton Fringe festival, Drafts, at the Citadel Theatre until Sunday, July 29th. You can follow him on Twitter at @afatchineseboy