The 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  (Closed)
  • July – September 2018                              Deadline:  May 1, 2018   [Extended]
  • 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.

  • Interview with Emma Rush

    July 6, 2017 by Bud Roach

    This week, Hamilton Arts Council Board member and Hammer Baroque Artistic Director Bud Roach presents the next installment of his new blog video series. This in-depth conversation features Emma Rush from Guitar Hamilton which hosts the 7th Hamilton International Guitar Festival & Competition from July 7-9, 2017.

  • Job Opportunity: Hamilton Arts Council Executive Director

    July 5, 2017 by Annette Paiement

    The Hamilton Arts Council is seeking an experienced and visionary arts administrator to lead the organization as Executive Director. The successful candidate will possess strong arts administration knowledge and report to the Hamilton Arts Council Board. A proven leader, the ED is responsible for the overall performance, impact and growth of the organization. Displaying strong financial, fundraising, administrative and project management experience, the ED will lead government relations, activities, develop and nurture strategic partnerships, and bring the strategic plan to life through incorporating the goals and objectives of the organization. Deadline for application submissions is Monday, July 31 at 4:30 pm.

    The Hamilton Arts Council has a vision to strengthen the role of the arts and culture in the City of Hamilton by making the arts accessible and relevant to the entire community. Our mission is to communicate, advocate and mediate for the arts and the role of the arts in the community of Hamilton. Founded in 1969 and incorporated in 1973, the Hamilton Arts Council is the second largest and one of the oldest community arts councils in Ontario and is an affiliate member of Artist-Run Centres & Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO).

    The Executive Director will possess strong arts administration knowledge and report to the Hamilton Arts Council Board. A proven leader, the ED is responsible for the overall performance, impact and growth of the organization. Displaying strong financial, fundraising, administrative and project management experience, the ED will be responsible for a $300,000 budget.

    As a strategic thinker, the ED will lead government relations, activities, develop and nurture strategic partnerships, and bring the strategic plan to life through incorporating the goals and objectives of the organization. Demonstrating a strong knowledge of the arts, the ED will demonstrate the highest professional ethical standards, inclusion and thoughtfulness while leading a team of staff and volunteers.

    Holding a degree in a relevant field and arts management experience, the successful candidate will have a passion for the Hamilton Arts community and the ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously.

    To Apply:

    Attention: Hiring Committee
    Please send cover letter and resume in PDF.
    Closing Date: Monday, July 31 at 4:30 pm.
    Please email your application to: with the subject line “Attention Hiring Committee: Executive Director Application”

    Please be aware the selection process may involve any of interviews, test, and presentations or any combination thereof.

    The Hamilton Arts Council is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to inclusive, barrier-free recruitment and selection processes. Accommodations are available for all applicants with disabilities throughout the recruitment process. If you require accommodations for interviews or other meetings, please contact Interim Executive Director. We appreciate your interest, however, only those selected for an interview will be notified.

    Executive Director – Job Description PDF

  • Opera Returns to Hamilton!

    June 28, 2017 by Boris Brott

    (This is the third in a series of blog posts by the Brott Music Festival in celebration of the Festival’s 30th anniversary this year which kicks off in June.)

    Brott Music Festival has been performing staged Opera and PopOpera productions since 2004 as part of their nine-week summer festival, BrottOpera was officially founded on January 13th, 2014. The artistic mission of BrottOpera is to be the destination performing opera organization that entertains, educates and enriches Hamilton and its environs to be driven by both traditional and cutting-edge opera programming, grassroots partnerships which will stimulate new audiences and partner with other community organizations.

    Scene from Marriage of Figaro [Photo: Bob Hatcher]

    Following two successful years BrottOpera is now entering its third season. Each year has consisted of a PopOpera – an evening of favourite opera arias – as well as a fully staged opera; the past two seasons have seen performances of Rossini’s Barber of Seville and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. This year will again include a PopOpera (July 6th) as well as a production of Bizet’s Carmen (July 13th) directed by Patrick Hansen, who is currently the Director of Opera Studies at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

    Set in Seville around the year 1830, the opera deals with the love and jealousy of Don José, who is lured away from his duty as a soldier and his beloved Micaëla by the gypsy factory-girl Carmen, whom he allows to escape from custody. He is later induced to join the smugglers with whom Carmen is associated, but is driven wild by jealousy. This comes to a head when Carmen makes clear her preference for the bull-fighter Escamillo. The last act, outside the bull-ring in Seville, brings Escamillo to the arena, accompanied by Carmen, there stabbed to death by Don José, who has been awaiting her arrival.

    Scene from Marriage of Figaro [Photo: Bob Hatcher]

    Carmen was a one-of-a-kind outlier of an opera when it was written. It shocked the French audiences with its onstage violence. It was also not an actual "opera" per se, because its form was really that of a musical: the story is told in both dialogue and in music. Formally much of it is Italian grand opera, but it is sung in French, set in Spain, and some of the music is based on Cuban dance rhythms (the Habanero, for example). Very advanced for its time! “It is the best example of "verismo" opera I can think of until Puccini comes along with La bohème or Leoncavallo's Pagliacci” says director Patrick Hansen. 

    This Carmen will be set in the 1930s Spanish Civil War - a war Franco eventually won. Carmen's story will be told through that lens of war, rebellion, the quest for freedom against oppression -- the very things that Carmen is all about! Carmen herself is 100% rebel; she fights against the status quo, she fights to be taken seriously as an individual and not just some gypsy who works in a cigarette factory, she smuggles arms for the war, she loves who she wants and when she wants. She and her gypsy friends are smugglers fighting in the resistance to overthrow the political structure in place and defend themselves against the coming Franco oppression. Oppression is everywhere in the opera. Don Jose, Morales, and Zuniga are all soldiers in the regime who simultaneously oppress the people but also want to be part of their culture (namely enjoying themselves at Lilas Pastia's place and the Bull Ring). Micaela represents the oppression that arises from the religious patriarchy -- (come home and marry a good girl, have a family, and forget everything else.) Escamillo represents the machismo oppression found throughout the culture. Carmen and her fellow gypsies represent freedom and liberty and superstition. Carmen's final outburst at the end of the opera sums it up well: she lives free and she will die free!

    Scene from Barber of Seville [Photo: Hugh Caughey]

    “As the stage director, I'll be looking for ways to show the oppression throughout the show, trying to bring out some of the more entertaining aspects of the show (to hit the tragedy at the end a little harder), and making sure the story gets told as clearly as possible. The update alters little, if anything, to the story -- it mostly changes props and weapons. Instead of swords and daggers we will use rifles, pistols and switchblades. Instead of smuggling contraband, the gypsies will be smuggling weapons. The other, oft-overlooked, aspect of Carmen is her belief in destiny and the tarot. This is integral to her belief system and I'll be striving to make it more a part of the story throughout the opera”.

    In addition to the performances, BrottOpera is a two-week program with a very heavy schedule for our emerging professional opera singers, which includes master-classes by some of opera’s top stars: tenor Richard Margison (July 4th 10am-12:30pm) and soprano Adrianne Pieczonka (July 9th 2pm-5pm). These masterclasses are free to the public and will be held at St. John the Evangelist Church (320 Charlton Ave W) in the heart of Hamilton.

    Scene from Barber of Seville [Photo: Hugh Caughey]

    “Very much looking forward to the Carmen production. We have a spectacular cast of first rate soloists chosen from 222 eager applicants. 10 of our best professional stars” says Boris Brott.  “You have a chance to get to know each of them individually singing their best chosen solo arias from different repertoire in our PopOpera program July 6 and then in their roles in Carmen July 13. Patrick Hansen is a brilliant director - we have worked together before at Opera McGill. He is imaginative and has a dramatic concept for Carmen which will delight you. Opera brings it all together - orchestra, chorus, lighting, costumes, sets, and you the audience- don’t miss it!”

  • A Missing Voice

    June 23, 2017 by Stephen Near

    This is a blog post by Tanya Pineda who is a spoken word artist living in Hamilton. As part of Tanya's Grade 13 Co-Op Student Placement, she worked with the Hamilton Arts Council as our Arts Outreach Assistant.

    During my time at my Co-op placement I learned the importance of communication not only through speech but through text and visuals. In an age where we are at our peak of communication technology, it feels like nobody is listening. This where the role of the Artist comes in a play.

    As artists we aim to be multilingual to convey messages to our audiences or transcend feelings of emotions through the cognitive walls of our mind. Consequently, our audiences love it because we feel as though someone is listening. It is always satisfying to hear someone articulate the feeling you couldn’t describe.

    Additionally, we have ways of getting our voices out there from the safety of our own handheld ”verbal bullet” proof screens. Yet with all these really important conversations going on, especially about the future of Hamilton and the artists residing here, there is something missing. I would check the lost and found box at your local high school if I were you; because you keep forgetting the 14-19 year olds who have no idea what’s going to hit them in the next eight years.

    To be fair not many of us have the clairvoyant ability to even predict what will happen in the next hour, but these kids are too big to sit at the kiddy table. You could argue that if they really wanted to know they will do research. But how do you know what questions to ask if you don’t even know what you're looking for?

    This thought came up during the Microfunding meeting held by the Hamilton Arts Council to begin the process of creating a microgrant for the artists in Hamilton. Before that meeting, I didn’t think much of grants let alone know what they really entail. During that meeting, I realized how important they are and that I will most likely end up in a position where I will have to apply for grants. Actually a lot of us will end up in that situation. But how will we know how to deal with it if we don’t even know that's something we are going to end up dealing with? I’m not trying to make this easier for us. But if you’re trying to change the future, you should include the future.

    It would be extremely beneficial if the local arts community reached out to the schools. The school board wouldn’t really be ideal to teach this kind of stuff especially since the arts is usually the most ignored department in a school system. In the same way, you need to make it known that these adolescents are welcome to the conversation, and that these conversations are happening.

    It can be as simple as making a poster and hanging it in a guidance office. Following this further, don’t exclude voices because they don’t have experience, include them so they can develop an experience. Communication isn’t just one way or the other. It is multidirectional.

  • A New Festival for Hamilton’s Youngest Audiences

    May 25, 2017 by Vitek Wincza

    At the end of May, Culture for Kids in the Arts is hosting a special two-day theatre festival for children aged 2-6. Kinderfest was founded in 2016, in partnership with the Wee Festival, in order to bring internationally celebrated artists from Canada, and around the world to Hamilton, and to support the development of children aged 0 – 6 through performance. Now in its second year, Kinderfest presents Puzzle Theatre from Montreal and their fantastical bilingual production of Little Yarn Stories; enthralling puppet theatre which feeds the imagination as simple balls of yarn transform into an extraordinary world of characters!  

    As well as bringing leading artists to Hamilton, Kinderfest is committed to providing accessible workshops, and learning opportunities that explore the importance of the arts in the development of young children. Unique to Kinderfest is the opportunity for educators, and facilitators to observe the way in which young participants engage with arts during live theatre, and then reflect on that experience with field experts and their peers. 

    Little Yarn Stories, Ivan Stavrev

    In the spirit of this initiative, Kinderfest is offering a free panel discussion intended for – parents, educators, college and university students, administrators, artists and arts workers – interested in taking part in a discussion around the topic of Recognizing Language: Exploring the Importance of Arts in Early Years. This platform for dialogue was created by Culture for Kids in the Arts in response to their commitment to deepen the connections between arts and early years and discussion across the region. After attending Little Yarn Stories, participants are invited to observe, and then reflect, and share different ways in which we can support the developing language of a child.

    This year’s panel will be facilitated by leading members of the arts and education communities in Hamilton: Evette Sauriol, Kate Einarson, Brenda Ferguson and Vitek Wincza, Founder and Artistic/Executive Director of Culture for Kids in the Arts. The panel will be moderated by Jessica Lea Fleming, Operations Manager for Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts

    Puzzle Theatre, Ivan Stavrev

    The panel aims to explore the complex variety of ways in which children develop language and process learning. We will discuss the impact that non-verbal, physical action has on the development of early language, and how the arts can help nurture and expand our understanding of the tools in which children use to communicate. The discussion will allow participants to reflect critically and practically on what they have observed during the performance. Audience members will have the opportunity to discuss practical ways of nurturing the development of language at home, in the classroom or through developing performance. This panel discussion is open to anyone who wishes to attend. 
    Little Yarn Stories plays at Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts on May 31st –June 1, 2017. Tickets are priced at $10 (including a complimentary child’s ticket) and $5 for individual children’s tickets. To purchase tickets please visit this link.

    The complimentary panel discussion will be held at 11:30 am on May 31st. If you would like to attend the panel discussion or if you have further questions about booking tickets for families or groups please contact Hanna Wolf at