May 1, 2018 by Stephen Near

    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:

    • July – September 2018                              Deadline:  May 4, 2018   [Extended]
    • November – January 2019                         Deadline:  September 7, 2018

    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.

  • European Artist in Residence Program Recipient - Tor Lukasik Foss

    April 17, 2018 by Stephen Near

    The Hamilton Arts Council is pleased to announce artists Tor Lukasik Foss has been awarded the Hamilton Arts Council’s European Artist in Residence Program taking place in September, 2018. 

    The vision of this residency program is to build and strengthen cultural connections between Europe and Canada by providing an opportunity for Hamilton artists to work in Europe and meet local artists in the vibrant Estonian arts scene. The program is a partnership with the Hamilton Arts Council, the Estonian Artists Association and funded through the generous support of The Cotton Factory. The residency provides an opportunity for professional and artistic development through access to facilities to create new work; Access to local artists through the Estonian Artists Association; and includes two speaking engagements in Tallinn and at Tartu University.

    Photo Credit Darin White 2015

    TOR LUKASIK FOSS is a native Hamiltonian artist whose creative practice spans over two decades and encompasses visual art, performance, and creative writing. In the last decade his practice has investigated social anxiety particularly as it relates to public and private space. Lukasik Foss has used storytelling and song writing as both intimate and public actions, particularly stories and songs that stem from myth, folklore, and religion.

    His multidisciplinary practice investigates the eccentricities of the public sphere, everything from municipal signage to the concert stage. He exhibits work both individually and as part of TH&B, an artist collective of which he is a founding member (along with Ivan Jurakic, Simon Frank, and Dave Hind). Lukasik-Foss performs under the pseudonym ‘tiny bill cody’ and has released four Cd’s of original songwriting over the last two decades, He writes regularly for “Hamilton Magazine”, is a founding member of the Hamilton Seven, a story telling collective seen most notably at the 2017 Hamilton Fringe Festival. He has also been awarded the 2007 K.M. Hunter Award for Visual Arts, 2008 Visual Arts Award from the City of Hamilton, a 2009 Hamilton Music Award (Best Male Artist) multiple Ontario Arts Council Mid Career Visual Arts Grants and a 2014 Canada Council Project Grant. He lives with his family in central Hamilton and works as the Program Director for the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

    Photo Credit KJ Bedford 2009

    Our partners on this unique residency are the The Estonian Artist’s Association (EAA) and The Cotton Factory.

    The Estonian Artist’s Association (EAA) is the legal successor of the Soviet Estonian Artists’ Association established in 1943 and is an umbrella-organization uniting 19 professional unions of artists and art historians. Fixed on October 1, 2002 there are 965 professional artists and art historians in the EAA. Most of the Members of the EAA have graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts.

    Photo Credit The Cotton Factory

    Located in the heart of lower Hamilton, The Cotton Factory has been transformed into a creative industries complex, with space for workshops and small manufacturing, office space for creative professionals, and studios for artists.  Though the complex is now fully leased, the community and uses of the complex are always growing and evolving. Over 60 tenants currently call the facilities of The Cotton Factory home for their artistic or creative practice. Among them are photographers, designers, curators, painters, potters, textile artists and woodworkers. Areas of the building have also been used for a wide variety of television and movie productions.

    Stay tuned for more news about this one-of-a-kind residency.


    March 20, 2018 by Stephen Near

    Our annual Culture Guide will be turning five this year!

    In 2014, the Hamilton Arts Council amalgamated our popular Theatre Guide and Gallery Guide and revamped both publications into the Culture Guide as a way of promoting and celebrating all arts across the city and highlighting achievements in music, visual arts, literature and the performing arts in the Hamilton region.

    Published annually, the Guide tells the stories of the artists, performers and musicians that call Hamilton home. In past years, we featured original articles on important cultural events like the City of Hamilton Arts Awards, the monthly James Street North Art Crawl, and our very own Hamilton Arts Week. We've also done feature stories on arts education, our local music scene, the profile of international artists, and the importance of public art in the community. As well, each Guide has included a series of handy directories of local arts organizations and a calendar of events throughout the year.

    A one-stop source for keeping all Hamiltonians informed on what is happening on the cultural front, the Culture Guide continues to be a signature program for the Hamilton Arts Council and we're very pleased to be celebrating the fifth year of this important publication as we enter into a year of exciting programming including the I Am An Artist campaign and Building Cultural Legacies.

    To mark this year's Culture Guide, we're looking at redesigning both the look of Guide and the contents but we want your feedback as artists in the community on what you'd like to see.

    Take our short survey and help us design our new Culture Guide!


    February 26, 2018 by Stephen Near



    Hamilton’s Tower Poetry Society Turns 50 and Shelagh Rogers gets on board.
    March 2001


    The Tower Poetry Society, the oldest poetry group in Canada, is proud to announce that 2001 marks the society’s 50th year of publishing and promoting poetry.

    Such is the exclamation that graces the top of the Tower Poetry media announcements this year - all year. Also new: Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio has agreed to be the honorary patron for the 2001 anniversary. Society president Eleanore Kosydar couldn’t be happier. Kosydar speaks about the group with the excitement of a new employee on the cusp of a career change. Yet Kosydar has spent the last two years as the organization’s most active volunteer and president, promoting the group, attracting new members and participating in the society’s monthly discussion groups and readings. She claims she was hooked on the group after attending only one meeting. According to Kosydar, Tower Poetry Society is a lively group of people from diverse backgrounds. Meetings are stimulating experiences that involve critiquing each other's various styles of poetry.

    The Tower Poetry Society currently has a membership of about 300, but all meetings are open to the public. The next two are February 11, 2-4pm and March 11, 2-4 pm, at the Carnegie Gallery in Dundas. These meetings are open to the public, but the society encourages people who participate regularly to become members. “That’s how we keep the society going,” Kosydar states. It’s also one way they keep the Tower Poetry Society’s biannual publication afloat. Sales from the publication basically pays production costs, Kosydar explains. The launch of the next issue on June 14 is an extra special event: it’s the society’s special event - Volume 50, issue 1. The launch is at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, 7-9pm and features a poetry reading beginning at 7:30pm. Admission is free, but they request that everyone reserves a seat.

    The Tower Poetry Society had an interesting start 50 years ago and it’s no doubt a story Kosydar will be asked to share more than once this year. In the early 1950s, founder Ida Sutherland Groom, a mino religious poet in England, came to Hamilton with her brother, a McMaster English professor. She came packing the idea and drive to establish a poetry society in the city. After rallying a group of like-minded University types around her the Tower Poetry Society was born. The organization still boasts one founding member: honorary president Jean McCallion.

    Telenko, Sherri. “The Internet: New Medium or Shear Madness?” Arts Beat, vol. 13 , no. 5, February - March 2001, p. 4.


    February 26, 2018 by Stephen Near


    Volunteering for Art’s Sake

        He volunteers for the Hamilton & Region Arts Council. He volunteers for the Tivoli Theatre, for Theatre Aquarius, for Festival of Friends, the YMCA, the Library, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and… well you get the idea. Maurice W. Rondeau has been called “Downtown’s Art Ambassador’ for all the work he does, gratis.

        “They say volunteers don’t get paid,” says Maurice - the bearer of good cheer and good news, “but I get paid in so many other ways. I’ve had organizations give me free tickets to shows. I’ve got a collection of T-shirts you wouldn’t believe. I go to events and get behind the scenes, cause I like to be where the action is, not to mention the hundreds of good people I meet in my walkabouts.”

        If you venture downtown Hamilton on any given Thursday you’ll probably cross paths with Maurice as he goes from theatre to gallery to office, handing out flyers, posters and brochures. His “walkabout” is his form of exercise (he figures he puts in 10 miles each day). “I got fed up hearing people say ‘I didn’t know this was going on’ so I had to find a way to touch base with different people and distribute what they were doing to a bunch of other people. This is a big city. There’s lots of room for the arts. People should be in touch with other people,” he advises, meaning more than just the sharing of information.

        Maurice has been doing his downtown walkabout for almost five years. He’s handed out programs and worked the front house at Aquarius for almost as long. He’s “done everything” at all the festivals (Mustard, Aquafest, Festival of Friends, and Buskingfest). “Volunteering came naturally to my family,” Maurice explains. “We were involved with Scouting and church activities as a matter of course, so you could say I’ve been volunteering all my life.”

        Figuring he volunteered 700 - 800 hours in any given year, as this year, the International Year of the Volunteer, rolled around Maurice set a goal for himself - 1,000 hours. Trouble is, he passed that mark sometime in September. And in true Maurice style handed out certificates of gratitude to the organizations he volunteered for - thanking them for giving him the opportunity to reach his goal. Now he’s set another goal - another 250 hours by year’s end. The hours are duly recorded at the Volunteer Centre of Hamilton. Maurice says, “If you want to put a little fun in your life - try volunteering.”

        “I volunteer because I want to, not because I’m, obligated to,” says the 59 year old Maurice. In addition to this volunteering, he signs in three choirs (Dofasco Male Chorus, Stoney Creek United Church and Enchanted Ensemble). “I’ve been a singer and dancer my whole life. I love getting in front of an audience.” His self-confidence and talkative nature easily attest to that. Maurice always has a positive opinion, an encouraging word or a cute little story to brighten up anyone’s day. According to Maurice it’s a gift that along with his harmonic voice, deserves to be shared. And those of us who live or work in downtown Hamilton are better for it.

    Hunter, Lawson. “Volunteering for Art’s Sake” Arts Beat, vol. 14 , no. 1, Jan 2002, p. 8.