In Autumn 2021, I was hosted by Concordia University – St Paul as Artist-in-Residency as part of my exhibition “Beacons of Hope.” The exhibition presented sculpture, installation, and participatory works that centered on the conceptual and gestural elements of hope. The idea was to consider hope not as ephemeral or whimsical, nor pedantic or simple, but a considered and serious response to the contemporary condition. I believe that hope facilitates human and creative agency and asks the viewer to engage and reimagine–through the idea of hope.

In addition to the exhibition of sculptures and installation created specifically for Concordia Art Gallery, I also worked with students as an artist-in-residence. Part of this response was  co-creation with others, as we hope for our future. Together with the students we created some of the 6” by 6” squares in the exhibit. Others were created as part of an on-going exhibition engagement. The small paintings represent the audience connection. We welcome everyone into the exhibition through this co-creation participation within the gallery. Gallery-goers could see themselves as part of a larger, holistic community at Concordia St Paul and beyond.

Over the course of five weeks, I hosted “hope roundtables” with 300 students, discussing hope, resiliency, and the generative qualities of hope. The dialogical space was one where students felt like they could be vulnerable and discuss issues that really impacted them. One student shared that “every single person they  knew was having a mental health crisis.” As part of our discussions, students and others made 350 individual squares that were then hung in the gallery. These objects were co-creations–with the artist (me) creating the painted tyvek and grommeted squares and the audience/participants creating the works on top of the square and hanging them in the gallery.t The audience then reflects the creative community at Concordia, while also recording a particularly place and time.