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About the Program

Hamilton Arts Council (HAC) in partnership with The Cotton Factory, offers an Artist in Residence (AIR) program. This opportunity is designed to support the individual artistic practices and professional ambitions of emerging and mid-career artists/creatives in Hamilton.

The program provides access to free studio space and associated benefits of being absorbed in the creative ecology of The Cotton Factory. This is an exceptional opportunity for an individual to develop both their creative processes and professional skills in building a successful career in the arts.

To learn more about Hamilton Arts Council and The Cotton Factory, click the corresponding images below.

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Program Details

  • The program will accept one emerging or mid-career artist.

  • Students are not eligible.

  • The program runs twice yearly with calls for submissions around the fall & spring seasons.

  • Artists are selected by an adjudication panel of community peers, program administrators, and former AIR participants.

  • Selected artists will be assigned a free studio space for the duration of the program.

  • Selected artists should expect to dedicate 20+ hours per week to art practice and/or goals in the studio during the program.

  • Selected artists will be paid CARFAC fees to deliver an artist talk during the program.

  • Selected artists can apply for material supply assistance costs up to $150.

  • Opportunity to participate at Cotton Factory open-door events. 

  • Opportunity to publicly hang work in the hallways.

  • The program is open to visual artists, writers, and musicians.

  • The program is absolutely free.

  • Participants will be required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

We encourage individuals who reflect the diversity of Hamilton to apply.


Calls for Submission

Calls for submissions are made to the community semi-annually, normally during the fall and spring seasons. Each call is for a six (6)-month residency period.​

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Applicant Eligibility

  • Based on studio space (approx. 482 sq ft.) eligible artists/creatives will be considered from practices including: fashion, film/television, literary arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.

  • Emerging or mid-career artists/creatives.

  • Live and/or work in the Greater Hamilton Area (Ancaster, Binbrook, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Waterdown) or Six Nations of The Grand River.

  • Not be actively enrolled as a student.

  • Able to dedicate in-studio twenty plus (20+) hours per week for the designated six (6) month period to art practice.

  • Willing to conduct a public artist talk during their residency term, at the applicable Canadian Artist Representation (CARFAC) payment rate.

  • Completion of an “I am an Artist/Creative” profile on The Arty Crowd at the time of their submission. (The Arty Crowd is free for artists/creatives of any practice.)

  • Completion of an AIR Application.

  • Able to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

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  • Applications are reviewed by a panel of three (3) local arts professionals, (e.g. creatives, arts program administrators, former AIR participants).

  • The panel will consider the content of the applicants’ Arty Crowd profiles (e.g. goals/vision, examples of work) and their AIR Application (e.g. how the AIR residency might improve or further their practice, how their time may be allocated to develop their work in the studio space).

  • Each adjudicator assigns a score in each of the four (4) criterion of the Adjudication Scoring Guidelines below. Scores are tallied and the top three applications recommended for final selection by HAC and The Cotton Factory staff.

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Selected Resident

  • May apply to HAC for material supply assistance costs up to $150.

  • May participate in The Cotton Factory’s open-doors events.

  • Visual artist residents may publicly hang their work in The Cotton Factory hallways.

  • May be featured in local digital and print media publications (e.g. The Hamilton Spectator).

  • To view a list of previous AIR recipients, click here.

The 2022 Residency recipient is Vick Naresh!​

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Vick Naresh is a Mumbai-born, self-taught contemporary artist currently living and working in Hamilton, Canada. His ongoing body of work is an exploration in figurative abstraction that delves into metaphorical narratives tackling social contemporary & personal themes around post-colonial displacement, belonging & identity.

Select exhibitions include 19 Karen Gallery in Brisbane, Australia, The Art Gallery of Burlington, Hamilton Artists Inc. & The Art Gallery of Hamilton. Naresh’s paintings have been widely acquired by private collectors all over Canada, The USA, Europe, The Middle East & Asia.

To read more about Vick, visit his profile on The Arty Crowd:

About the Cotton Factory

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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 Cotton Factory is located at 270 Sherman Ave N, Hamilton, ON L8L 6N4

The studio is located on the second floor of the Storehouse Building at The Cotton Factory 

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Mosa McNeilly - Artist in Residence 2021/2022


Olivia Brouwer - Artist in Residence 2020/2021

Olivia Brouwer has been HAC's Artist-in-Residence from December 2020 to September 2021. Olivia is a partially blind artist, and the artwork she creates attempts to translate the experience of vision loss in ways that make the viewer think differently about sight, perception, and meaning. During this six-month residency, her goal is to complete a refined body of work expanding on the theme of blindness using mixed media painting, sound installations, and sculpture. She will develop work encouraging viewers to use the sense of sight, sound, and touch, and ultimately bring awareness to the need for accessibility in the art world.💛

Cesar Cordoba- Artist in Residence 2020/2021

CESAR CORDOBA's style focuses on organic sculptures, using a technique incorporating plants, seeds, peels, and natural materials collected from different regions of Canada and Mexico. His process has evolved over the past 17 years. These sculptures are a commentary on the consciousness embedded in the natural world.



JACOB FORREST is a 25-year-old illustrator based in Hamilton, Ontario. He went to Mohawk College for 3D Animation and Graphic Design, where his passion for traditional art was realized. After graduating, he became a freelance illustrator using markers to capture his love of pop culture.

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ANGELA SHAW is Hamilton-born and raised. In high school she began experimenting with alcohol and it ruined the years of her youth. From this point on, Angela led a life close to twenty years of pain and turmoil. Through a friend, she discovered a spiritual twelve-step program. In the first few months of sobriety, Angela found her gift of visual art. Ever since she has been using this gift as a means to speak to the world. Angela’s art has appeared in many establishments around the city of including The Hearty Hooligan, Stonewalls and most recently at The Art Gallery of Hamilton. When not working on her own expressions and raising her daughter Emilly, her spare time is spent engaging with patients at St. Joe's psychiatric hospital. Angela also holds an award from the Paul Hansell Foundation Achievement Award for her continuous growth as an artist in recovery. 




CAROLINA GAMA was born in Brazil in 1979 and has made Canada her permanent home. She uses collage, textile, and video as media for her confessional and feminist art. Since acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts in 2005, Carolina has shown her work in Guatemala, Kenya, Brazil, and Belgium while also working in film as a graphic designer, editor, and director. After battling breast cancer in 2014, Carolina moved to Canada with the purpose of living in an intentional community and has focused on using art as a healing too to express her experiences through diverse media.

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AILISH CORBETT has a Bachelor of Fine Art and a Bachelor of Music from McMaster University. As a multi-disciplinary artist, Ailish enjoys using a wide variety of media to create her visual art. From paint to recycled plastic and textiles, she is never afraid to experiment with new media. Ailish has always had a fascination with collage, even in painted works. Her love of collage is closely tied to her musical background, as all music is created from combining simple units of pitch and rhythm. Because of this, Ailish enjoys creating visual work that is made of many small parts and layers that culminate in a harmonious whole.

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KAREN LOGAN was born and raised in Hamilton. Taking private drawing lessons as a child with Juanita LeBarre Symington, specializing in art studies throughout high school and receiving three honours certificates in fine arts from Mohawk College has helped keep art a central component of her life. She has worked in pencil, ink, charcoal, pastel, watercolour, encaustic, acrylic and Chinese Brush Painting as well as ceramics and silversmithing and stained glass. Originally a mechanical draftsperson and technical illustrator, Karen now works part-time for two not-for-profit industrial environmental organizations. She currently is the Vice President and Exhibit Coordinator for the Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators (SONSI), the Book Keeper for The Botanical Artists of Canada (BAC) and the Treasurer of the Women’s Art Association of Hamilton (WAAH).

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ANITA THOMAS is an artist and a photographer known for her aerial, aviation, and landscape photography. She flies frequently with her private pilot husband, capturing her aerial photography from a Cessna 172. Being around planes, and with a life-long love of motorcycles, her fascination with, and passion for, machine, speed and performance come together in a mergence with her passion for art. She is often inspired by what she has captured in her photography to reinterpret through acrylics, pen and ink, watercolours, and encaustics (layers of fused molten, pigmented beeswax and damar resin). She has participated in many juried group and solo exhibitions, arts festivals, and fundraising events including at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Dundas Valley School of Art, DVSA Gallery, McMaster Innovation Park's Art in the Workplace, HPL galleries, the Fieldcote Museum and the Louvre in Paris, France. Her work hangs in private collections and in professional offices throughout Canada, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom.


NICK LA ROCCA is an award-winning artist and illustrator from Hamilton interested in sequential, conceptual, and experimental art. He graduated from Sheridan College and now works as a fine artist and freelance illustrator. Living his entire life in Hamilton, Nick enjoys encoding Hamilton subject matter and mythology into his work.

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KEIRA MCARTHURis a visual artist and performer whose exhibitions include interactive performance art, live music, and a synthesized re-interpretation of the whole process in book form. She has been in solo and group exhibitions across Ontario and been trained at such institutions as Wilfrid Laurier University, OAC/Royal Conservatory, Sheridan College, York University, and the Mary Schneider School of Fine Arts. Keira received a $250 bursary from Hamilton Arts Council's partner, Women's Art Association, in support of their mandate and mission statement, Working to Advance Women in Art. 


KRISTOFIR DEAN is a painter based in Hamilton and holds a BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU). His paintings create optical effects using light and shadow, perspective, and inventive panel shapes that make viewers question their sense of the works' dimensionality. Kristofir's art activates a conversation about the quality and value of saturated colours to captivate and lift the energy of a space and the people who inhabit iT.

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DANIELLE ROBERTS holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She is a visual artist whose practice is primarily painting based. A recent arrival to Hamilton from British Columbia, she is intrigued about painting public spaces as they are at night and by the unique impact of urban landscapes like fast food drive-thrus, churches, movie theatre interiors, and bowling alley interiors. She is also a co-founder of the MOPE artist collective in Vancouver BC along with Leah McInnis and Kai Choufour.