The Sointula Art Shed



Location: Sointula, British Columbia, Canada


Mission: We are a small artist run residency involving a shed and a cottage in a remote fishing village that was originally founded by Finnish socialist utopians. Our residency is ideal for artists who are looking for a lot of access to nature, and quiet, and who are interested in the unique cultural history of this place, and the region. We enjoy facilitating various ways for visiting artists to connect with this community, and, to that end, have hosted workshops, open studios, musical performances, artist talks, and film screenings, and we will soon also have a Window Gallery for small exhibition purposes.

We – Tyler Brett and Kerri Reid – are visual artists who are originally from the west coast, and have done several residencies ourselves. We came to Sointula in 2013 after founding and running a different residency – the Bruno Arts Bank – in the small agricultural community of Bruno, Saskatchewan for three years. We moved back west to be a bit closer to our families, and much closer to the ocean, and chose Sointula as it seemed the perfect place to build upon our idea of hosting artist residencies and projects in rural locations. Our first artist-in-residence came from New York City to Sointula in September of 2013, just three months after we moved here, and we’ve been hosting a wide variety of terrific artists here ever since.

Sointula is a remote fishing village located off of northeaster Vancouver Island – on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. The village was founded by Finnish socialist utopian settlers, led by Matti Kurikka, in 1901 – the name Sointula means ‘Place of Harmony’ in Finnish. There is an abundance of wildlife here, from the humpback, orca, and minke whales that can sometimes be seen from local beaches, to sea lions, seals, otter, deer, eagles, ravens, and a variety of other birds making their homes on the island. We are located right in town, so a short walk to the ferry, co-op grocery store, museum, library, cafe, and the local inn/bar, etc. There is also easy access via ferry to the neighboring communities of Port McNeill and Alert Bay.


Cost: $700/month for a single occupancy rate. (Artists pay all travel, material, and food costs, though we are happy to provide veggies and berries from our garden, and eggs from our chickens, when available.)

No fellowships or stipends at this time. (Quite a few artists have received grants to come here from their regional granting bodies, which we are happy to write letters of support for. And some artists have also been able to offset their costs through hosting workshops while here. If an artist runs a workshop, they keep all of the funds, and we take nothing.)


Application Fee: No application fee


Number of Artists: 1 (or a couple)


Length of Stay: 1-2 months


Accommodations: The artists live in their own self-contained cottage, that has a full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, and deck facing the ocean – we are one block up from the beach. The studio is directly beside the cottage in the shed, and also has windows overlooking our yard, and a view of the ocean. (We live next door, on the other side of the shed.)


Demographic/Medium: We accept applications from both emerging and established artists, and from local, national, and international artists.

Our residency is open to all variety of mediums, though at this point we are not equipped with specialized equipment such as kilns. We have some small tools available for woodwork, and have hosted artists working in drawing, painting, animation, music, weaving, embroidery, natural dyeing, video, and writing. We are also happy to help artists find other locations and facilities to suit their needs, such as the beautiful Athletic Hall, which is located right across the street from us, and works well for film screenings and musical performances. We also occasionally host and record musical performances in and near our shed as part of our Songs in the Shed YouTube series.


Benefits: We have seen many of the artists who have done our residency go on to show the work they created here in a wide variety of contexts, which we find very gratifying. Our hope is to help artists with their projects by providing them with the time, space, and inspiring location needed to push their practices in new and potentially unexpected ways, while also just giving them a bit of a get away from the demands of regular daily life. We also take great pleasure in helping the artists who visit here connect with the local community, so we are always happy to take the artists on various local tours, introduce them to members of the local community we think they might connect with, hold open studios, and arrange for the artists to host workshops as desired. We will also soon have a Window Gallery, where we intend to exhibit the work of both our artists-in-residence and anyone in Sointula who wishes to show their work with us.


Deadline: Ongoing Deadline


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