9 Northern Ontario Artist Residencies That Will Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

From backcountry campsites to a former volcanic island—check out these scenic options for artists in need of some isolation or inspiration! 

If you’re a creative who’s feeling burnt-out and uninspired after the last few years, then it’s time to break out the old artistic statement and apply for one of these dream residencies!

Some cost a small fee, others pay stipends, but all of them offer a space to create in beautiful Northern Ontario surroundings. 

Here's our round up of 9 artist residencies in Northern Ontario. 

If you have a residency you'd like to be added to the list, email us at info@northernontario.travel.

Halls Island, Haliburton Highlands

Deadline January 15, 2023

Creators seeking solitude, “quiet reflection” and nature-fueled inspiration will love this residency, which is open to any discipline, although activities like recording an album are probably out, seeing as the off-grid cabins—which are only accessible by boat—are solar-powered and without WiFi. 

Artists should be comfortable staying on a rustic island alone (read: folks with overactive imaginations might want to skip this one), however dog companions are welcome! 

There is no fee or stipend for the residency, which is available for blocks of up to ten days throughout the summer, and participants must bring their own food and personal supplies. Transportation to the island is provided from the boat dock. 

Porphyry Island Artist Residency, Thunder Bay

Deadline March 31, 2023

Established and emerging artists alike are welcome to apply for a week-long summer residency on a former volcanic island that is now a Provincial Park Nature Reserve and home to a historic lighthouse. 

Residencies run over eight separate weeks, and the $310 attendance fee covers boat transportation, a private bedroom, and shared common spaces.

While applications are invited from artists of all disciplines, the island is not equipped with WiFi and has limited electrical resources—so take that into account before applying.

Lake Superior Provincial Park Artist in Residence Program, Wawa

Deadline March 31, 2023

Visual artists working in any medium, on projects related to the natural environment, are invited to apply for a week-long camping residency, which offers the flexibility to bring family members along. Those looking for extreme solitude (and a challenge!) can opt for a backcountry campsite, which includes a canoe rental. 

Friends of LSP cover the campsite fees, and provide a $1,500 honorarium to help cover travel, meals and supplies. Artists are asked to donate an original piece of work to LSPP, and lead two programs for park visitors (such as a workshop or demonstration) during their residency. 

Warbler’s Roost, Deer Lake

Open Deadline

Understanding the gift of a focused space to create in, artists Darren Copeland and Nadene Thériault-Copeland opened this B&B/Artist Residence hybrid in the Almaguin Highlands region.

They offer year-round accommodations at a discounted artist’s rate (ranging from $345-$395 per week) to creatives looking to complete a self-guided residency, which includes private accommodations, shared common areas, a continental breakfast, and seasonal outdoors equipment like snowshoes and kayaks. 

IISD Experimental Lakes Area, Kenora

Applications on a rolling basis

Artists craving a stimulating atmosphere should consider a residency at this environmental laboratory, that's been conducting freshwater research for the past 50 years. Expect to engage with onsite scientists, and even participate in some of the science!

Creators of “any kind of expressive art” are invited to apply for residencies of a week or more, running May-October. Accommodations, meals, and travel from Winnipeg or Kenora, Ontario to and from the site are included.

White Water Gallery, North Bay

Applications on a rolling basis

Canadian and International artists are invited to apply for micro-residencies of one-to-three weeks through this artist-run, not-for-profit centre that was founded in 1974. 

Priority is given to projects that align with the Gallery’s mandate, and artist fees and travel details are negotiated on acceptance.  

4elements Living Arts Mobile Studio, Kagawong

Deadline not specified

Creatives interested in land-based work, could have the option to explore Manitoulin Island, housed in this moveable, off-grid studio, that will welcome artists for stays of a week or longer for the first time in 2023. 

Details of the residency are still being worked out, but interested applicants can watch their page for more information, or submit their interest to receive updates. 

Bridge & Falls Creative Residency, Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls

Deadline not specified

The township has previously offered self-guided, rural and remote residencies to “all manner of creative people,” their website states, providing the opportunity create in the boreal forest region, removed from the usual day-to-day distractions.

In past years, use of a day studio (including an on-the-water floating studio!) has been provided, along with stipends to help cover travel and accommodations. Previously, applications have been due in February – check their webpage for updates. 

Quetico Provincial Park Artist in Residence Program, Atikokan

Chelydra sumi-e painting © 2019 Quetico Foundation Artist in Residence Tom McCann // Courtesy Quetico Foundation Facebook

Deadline not specified

Previous residencies at this wilderness park on the Canadian Shield, have included campsite accommodations for up to two weeks during the summer, as well as access to an artist studio and a modest honorarium. 

In exchange, the artist is expected to provide a workshop, lecture, or demonstration to visitors of the park. Details of this year’s residency have yet to be released, however previously applications have been due in March. 

Need more inspiration? Check out these picturesque paddling spots, a selection of art created out of Thunder Bay, or plan a Group of Seven-inspired road trip.  

About Celeste Percy-Beauregard

Celeste Percy-Beauregard is an Ontario-based writer who discovered just how large our province is when she travelled across it in a cube truck performing children’s theatre and eating all of the poutines along the way.

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