On tiny Malcolm Island, just north of Port McNeill, Vancouver Island, sits the small fishing village of Sointula. With around 600 residents, the remote community—part of the unceded and rightful Kwak’wala-speaking territories of the ‘Namgis, Mamalilikala, and Kwakiutl Nations—is a haven for wildlife and was given the name by Finnish settlers in 1901, describing a “place of harmony.” Sointula Art Shed was founded in 2013 by local residents Kerri Reid and Tyler Brett, both visual artists originally from North Vancouver and Chilliwack, B.C., respectively. Consisting of a cottage, an adjacent studio in a quaint shed with a window gallery that looks out onto “downtown Sointula,” and flanked by an occasional flower stand, the residency places participants in the center of the village and within view of the bay.
The organizers make an effort to include both local and visiting artists in the window exhibition rotation. “We try to schedule the first two weeks of every month to someone local, and the last two weeks of each month are for the artist in residence—if they wish—to have a small show while here,” Reid says. “We are also very happy to help artists to connect with the local community and share their work in other ways, such as workshops, concerts, and/or presentations in the local school.”
Sointula Art Shed generally hosts artists for one-month periods, although occasionally can accommodate two-week residencies. Partners and families are welcome, although applicants should keep in mind that the one-bedroom cottage is just that! And on that note, pets unfortunately are not permitted. For one month, the residency fee is CAD$750 ($850 for two or more people) to cover cottage expenses.
Applications open annually in January for residencies the following year, so keep an eye out for the next round in January 2024 that will schedule for 2025. Find out more at sointulaartshed.ca.
All images © Sointula Art Shed, shared with permission. Header photo by Dawn Dudek.