Artist in Residence

     Program Overview 







Artist: Luke Despatie 

Critical Mass 2022 Artist-in-Residence Program: Where do we go from here?

Critical Mass: A Centre for Contemporary Art offers artists a paid four-week residency in an historic mid-1850s former little train station, made possible with funding from Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Municipality of Port Hope.

If you’re looking for the quintessential heritage small-town community experience, then our residency in a mid-1850’s former little train station in downtown Port Hope, Ontario is for you!

Learn more about this residency opportunity by toggling through the program information below. 

We currently have ONE residency position opportunity in August for a LOCAL artist, curator or artist collective.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Sunday, March 27, 2022 by 11:59 p.m.

Our Mission

Critical Mass: A Centre for Contemporary Art brings contemporary art to our community for all to experience because we believe art stirs our feelings and challenges how we see the world and our place within it.

Our mission for the 2022 Artist-in-Residence program is to provide socially-engaged artists with an opportunity to play an active role in our community — creating art experiences that will help shape the cultural vibrancy of Port Hope.

Program Overview & Goals


Critical Mass is offering artists a paid four-week residency in Port Hope, Ontario, funded by Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Municipality of Port Hope.

The Artist-in-Residence program provides socially-engaged artists with the time and space to generate new or bold ideas; showcase their creative practice; build their body of work and connect with individuals in the urban/rural small town community of Port Hope.

Where do we go from here is the chosen theme of the 2022 Artist-in-Residence program. Artists may explore this theme in terms of the natural and/or cultural environment as widely or as narrowly as their practice and interests dictate.

Program Goals:

  • Animate public space(s); generate art that may make use of, reinvent, or challenge people’s relationships with space in Port Hope
  • Animate public space(s); generate art that may make use of, reinvent, or challenge people’s relationships with space in Port Hope
  • Help to tell or expand Port Hope’s story
  • Elevate what makes Port Hope great; contributing to civic pride and visitor appeal
  • Broaden and increase arts engagement, especially among youth and seniors
  • Create opportunities for inter-generational and/or inter-cultural exchange

Project Scope

During the residency, the artist’s project should engage residents and visitors of Port Hope, creatively animate or add significance to public spaces, and promote an appreciation of contemporary art practices.

While the artist’s process is as important as the resulting artistic products, residency projects should produce an outcome such as, but not limited to:

  • a temporary installation
  • performance
  • creative collaboration
  • exhibition, or
  • a shareable community experience
Program Requirements

Selected artists will:

  • Engage community members in creative experiences
  • Deliver your project within the program’s agreed upon scope, timeline, and budget
  • Update staff regularly on progress
  • Speak with media
  • Hold open studio hours
  • Debrief at the end of the residency

These details will be reviewed with artists-in-residence before their term begins.

Community Engagement

A central feature of the residency program is for artists to engage with the people of Port Hope. This can include one or more of the following:

  • Provide a focused skill-share workshop or class
  • Put on an exhibit (in the Little Station gallery or at another public location)
  • Create a public installation (indoor, outdoor, or online)
  • Give an artist talk or performance
  • Create a shareable community experience
  • Work with a particular segment of our community (youth, seniors, marginalized)
  • Other ___________________ (tell us what you’d like to do!)

Artists early in their career may receive guidance and support as they develop skills in these areas.

Selected artists will work with our Program Director to meet our program poals and to deliver a project that reflects a balance of creative practice development, theme exploration, collaboration, and community engagement.

Where appropriate, Critical Mass encourages artists to donate or leave us with one piece of artwork, upon completion of their residency. This work would be used to support our organization’s future community-based arts programming.


We are seeking 2022 Artist Residency candidates who are:

1) socially-engaged contemporary artists
2) at all career stages
3) artists living and working in Northumberland County
4) individual artists or artist collectives

Please note: International artists will be responsible for their own visas, if selected for a residency. Collective applicants will have access to the same stipend as individual artists.

Best-suited for applicants with:

  • community engagement experience
  • an exhibition or publication record
  • formal training in visual arts at the post-secondary level
  • equivalent experience from apprenticeship and/or peer recognition

Alumni: Applications from artists that have worked with Critical Mass before January, 2018 are encouraged.

Critical Mass is committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of inclusion and connectedness. We welcome the unique contributions that you bring.

Residency Terms & Stipend


Critical Mass will award a 4-week residency, between August 1-31, 2022 to a local artist, curator, or artist collective.

August is Arts Month in Port Hope, and Critical Mass would like to reserve this residency month to feature an artist living and working in our region. 


The maximum total stipend awarded to a selected artist is $5,000 with 50% paid at the start of the residency and 50% upon conclusion.

What does the stipend cover?

The stipend is intended to meet the artist’s basic needs while doing focused work and includes a contribution to assist artists with travel expenses. Artists will be responsible for their own living arrangements, personal expenses, materials, and supplies.

We want to ensure that our artists are successful. Critical Mass will provide official confirmation of your project should you wish to seek additional funding for your residency project.

While materials and supplies will be the responsibility of the artist, some may be accessible through community partnerships.

To find out more, contact our Program Director.

Facilities & Equipment

A Unique Work Space

Built in the mid 1850s, the Little Station might have been the first railway station built in Port Hope—by the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada. The restored three-season, two-level building now serves as a multi-use creative space.

As an artist-in-residence, you will have full access to the entire building.

Studio / Gallery Space

The upper level of the Little Station is 375 sq ft with 10 ft ceilings. It can be used for installations and exhibits, facilitating community workshops and/or for your studio workspace.

The lower level is also 375 sq ft with 7 ft ceilings and can be used as studio workspace and/or for storage. Like all public buildings, the Little Station is smoke-free.

Tools, Equipment and Supplies

The Little Station has basic shop and hand tools, as well as workbenches, folding tables, and chairs for the Artist-in-Residence Program. Artists will also have access to general office supplies and equipment (e.g. computer, wifi, colour laser printer, and projector). A full inventory list will be provided to selected artists.


The upper level of the Little Station is wheelchair accessible. However, the lower level is not. It has two steps down.

The building does not have running water or washrooms. Artists will have access to the public washrooms behind Town Hall that are a 2-minute walk from the building.

If you have any other requirements, material needs, or requests, please let us know in your application. 

Resources for Selected Artists

Staff Support

Artists-in-Residence will have a dedicated Program Director to:

  • Acquire permits for animating public spaces, as appropriate
  • Facilitate access to municipal facilities, venues and public spaces
  • Connect artists with collaborators and volunteers
  • Source accommodation
  • Mount exhibits, if applicable
  • Coordinate promotional materials (writing, editing, design and printing)
  • Arrange exposure for the artists: interview opportunities, promotion, and documenting of work

Community Partnerships

Residency recipients will receive an information package detailing resources and partnership contacts.

Artists will have access to urban and rural sites and partnerships for community engagement and creative animation opportunities.

Some sites and venues may include:

Public Spaces:
Parks, Trails, and Riverside features; Community Buildings like libraries, sports or seniors centres

Little Station features:
Little Station, Lent Lane, Elias St Fountain

Partnership examples include:
Northumberland Makerspace; Port Hope Schools, Agricultural Heritage Club, Green Wood Coalition, and more.

In the Community

The Little Station is situated in the heart of downtown Port Hope. It is a short walking distance from the main street shops, cafés, restaurants, drugstore, post office, library, theatre, LCBO, and the Ganaraska River and Lake Ontario.

Critical Mass is committed to our community. The central location of our Little Station reflects our commitment to engaging with and shaping a vital and vibrant community.

Artists are encouraged to schedule open hours to engage with the public, give an artist talk, facilitate a workshop, or host an open house during their residency.

Port Hope sits along Lake Ontario (one hour east of Toronto) at the mouth of the Ganaraska River and offers an urban and rural mix of natural and historical assets to explore. Urban Port Hope features architectural gems and friendly shopkeepers on its ‘best preserved’ main street, and has been used in film and television (e.g., Stephen King’s IT movies and Murdoch Mysteries); rural Port Hope is lush with agricultural heritage, rolling hills, and beautiful vistas and farms.

What Sets Us Apart

Our small community is our strength. We connect with and look after each other, and we want you to experience what that’s like.

You will be welcomed by our friendly, earnest, volunteer group of artists and townsfolk. We are eager to make you feel at home. You can count on us to be your tour guides around the community, your resource to facilitate connections, and your new pals to meet up for copious amounts of coffee or communal meals.

We are here to support your professional needs as well. We want you to have a successful residency. Our Program Director will be dedicated to promoting and documenting your work so that you have opportunities for exposure before, during, and/or after your residency.

For More Information


Debbie Beattie
Program Director
Critical Mass: A Centre for Contemporary Art
Port Hope, ON