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AIRS Artists are professional, community engaged teaching artists who work in a broad range of media including drawing, painting, weaving, carving, print-making, sculpture, textiles, video, film and photography.
In the AIRS program, the artist becomes a part of an elementary school community, working with classes of students and their teachers one day a week from a dedicated studio space in the school. Each artist develops a unique concept or program design that invites students across the whole school into a shared artmaking experience that is age appropriate, inquiry-based and explores issues that are relevant to students and their world. Projects can be co-creative and emergent, individual or collaborative, permanent or ephemeral, and can encompass a diversity of visual media and arts disciplines.
Artists work in diverse practices, processes and mediums to explore a broad range of social, and environmental justice issues, that connect students to themselves, to one other and their sense of belonging in community and the natural world.
"One of the many benefits of the AIRS program was developing friendships and connections and learning from other professional artists working in classrooms, both thanks to our group meetings throughout the year and also through visiting the school studios of a few experienced artists to learn about their methods and approach while helping out for the day." Jaymie Johnson
Monica Cheema is a filmmaker based out of Surrey, BC.
She works as a researcher for the City of Vancouver, where she writes community-
engaged reports about Historical Discrimination Against People of South Asian descent. And as an artist-in-residence for AIRS, where she
invites young people to use storytelling as a tool to think about the past, present, and future. Her most recent short film is an experimental portrait of Paldi, a historic mill settlement often
described as a ghost town on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, now home to a rich community archive housing stories about labor, loss, discrimination, cultural memory, and resilience. She is most excited by films that transgress genre conventions, threading fiction and non-fiction to create something new and surreal in the process.
Aibhlin Fowlie is a multimedia artist that specializes in illustration and
visual storytelling. They find the small moments that lead us through our daily lives enchanting and they focus on telling small stories. They
use their practice to notice how the world changes and to visualize how we are affected internally by our daily lives. They use digital and
traditional illustration and comic arts to tell these stories and their illustrations vary from straightforward and comedic to surreal and
expressive depending on what tells the story best. They would like to spread a message of community and awareness of each other and
also ourselves with each piece they create.
Nellie Gossen is an interdisciplinary artist based on the unceded territories of the Musqueum, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh first nations. Working through the media of fashion, costume, textiles and performance, Nellie uses clothing as a tool to think and feel through social systems. Considering the many truths of industrial labor and consumption, her work explores the material of mainstream fashion as a vehicle for study, spaciousness, social action, rigorous love practice and phenomenological inquiry. Drawing on one background in fashion design and another in religious studies, Nellie is particularly interested in the space that is created when clothing and contemplative practices meet.
Nellie has presented her work at Kunsthalle am Hamburger Platz (Berlin), Altes Finanzamt (Berlin) and Ku’damm Karree (Berlin). As a costume designer and textile collaborator, Nellie has worked with artists such as Nancy Tam, Steven Hill, Francesca Frewer, Erika Mitsuhashi, Alexa Mardon, Elissa Hanson and Lexi Vajda. Nellie holds degrees in Fashion Design from Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee, as well as in Religion, Literature and the Arts, from the University of British Columbia. She is currently studying contemplative end of life care with the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care.
Zhuohan Yin, who usually goes by Grace, currently lives in Burnaby, BC. She was born in Shanghai, China, but moved to Canada shortly
after. Wherever she visits, she hopes to be a polite guest. She graduated in 2022 with an HBA from the University of Toronto, completing the Visual Studies Studio Specialist program as well as a minor in Art History.
Presently, Grace volunteers at Burnaby public elementary schools doing all sorts of odd jobs and fun things: leading lessons, helping
with large art projects, translating for students, and organizing a school-wide student art exhibition. Throughout the past year of volunteering, she has noticed that there is a severe lack of support for all things art in elementary schools—especially visual art. Students didn’t have a safe space to create, and there were never enough opportunities for kids to contribute and express themselves through
art. Despite having barely any sort of plan, she decided to try to bring art back into elementary experiences, with the student exhibition as one of the first steps. Grace likes to draw. Although most of her drawings are pencil on paper, she also uses acrylic paint on scrap plywood, digital art programs, video editing software, and words (incorrectly) to draw. These drawings are about everything and nothing, but mostly have to do with herself, and having fun.
Kelsie Grazier is a Canadian visual artist whose practice engages with painting, drawing and installation art. Through her work, she communicates the complexities of Deaf identity and cultural histories. Kelsie grew up hard of hearing and lost her hearing in her twenties. With layers of gestural paintings and light reflection installation, she is addressing themes of disconnection and belonging within Deaf and
hearing worlds. The work comes from a desire to understand the contrast of the isolation and beauty in deafness through intuitive gestures that span across the large surface to take up space, both literally and metaphorically. Kelsie holds a degree in Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, a Bachelors of Education in Fine Art and a Masters in Deaf Education from the University of British Columbia. In her teaching, Kelsie’s passion is to share a process based art practice rooted in mindfulness. Through sharing her own story and
Deaf Culture, she strives to create a safe space for students to build self awareness, create and share their own perspectives through artmaking.
Rebecca is a community-engaged artist, author and educator. She received a MFA from the Tufts University/SMFA program in Boston. She has taught photography and photojournalism courses at several universities. After completing an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Rebecca studied documentary photography at the International Center of Photography in NYC. She began working as a newspaper photographer in the 1990s and continues to do freelance work. However, in recent years Rebecca has become involved in the use of photography for pedagogical documentation in early childhood and primary school settings. She is currently engaged in graduate work with the Faculty of Education at SFU. Rebecca has been working with AIRS since 2017, bringing experiences with nature and wonder into Vancouver public schools. In both her own art practice as well as her studio work with children, she seeks to create spaces in which dialogue and artistic modes of expression can flourish.
Alanna Ho is an educator, community engaged artist (sound-focused) and cultural producer based in New Westminster, BC. Her research is on deep play, female representation and feminist activism in the arts, and accessible art programming in early education. The Rainbow
Forecast Project, founded in 2016, an initiative created to examine the critical connection between radical pedagogy in the arts, and empowering children and young womxn beyond the classroom. She is dedicated to integrating child-led play; inquiry and process based learning; and 21st century learning skills into classrooms. Using storytelling, games and play as the main momentum, she introduces sound and new media technology as a creative tool in combination with traditional materials to aid in the unravelling and discussion of sensitive topics such as diversity in representation and environmental awareness.
inHarmony inNature Collective was co-created during our time together as the Artists in residence with the Hastings Sunrise Community Center 2020-2022 to expand our relations in nature. Lori Snyder is a Metis herbalist and educator of wild, native and medicinal plants; and Laura Cisneros is a Cuban Art historian, mother of twins, dreamer, and gardener. During our residence, we collaborated with the community to weave a legacy book of recipes, art, knowledge, plant harvesting, tea making, and so much more as an artistic way to record this enriching experience. We also create Earth art, medicine making, and ancient arts like gardening with moon phases and meditation. The Hastings Association has invited us to be the guardians of the Welcome Native Garden at Templeton Pool for the last two years and where we host events and workshops to continue the gathering of the community. Recently inHarmony inNature was invited to share plant and ecology teachings with grade 6 students through our senses and 'painting' the
living landscape with dried plants, feathers, and other natural materials. We invited students to express through poetry or their own personal thoughts on how we can be good stewards of lands and waters.
Reed Jackson (BFA Film Hons 2017, SFU) is a queer filmmaker/soundmaker/educator on stolen, occupied, unceded səl̓ilwətaɁɬ, Skwxwú7mesh, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm lands. Their work is generated from an endless stream of hungry questions. Recurring themes include ecological intersubjectivity, myth & magic, and the trouble of having and sharing a body.
Kellen takes an experimental approach to materials, drawing from experimental analogue film traditions and a childhood of making potions in the mud. In their teaching, they are working toward models of collaboration that embrace vulnerability, passion, and curiosity, as opposed to emphasizing technical proficiency.
Kellen’s approach to facilitation comes from a background in theatre, nurtured by liberatory problem-solving pedagogy. They fully embrace clown logic -- non-linearity, non-rationality, and taking the art of play very seriously! Kellen works to enable and encourage kids to engage with big questions from exactly where they’re at, emphasizing that there are no “right answers” -- only generative thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and sensations that we can all keep learning from and building on together.
Fiana Kawane is a performance artist and researcher of biracial Japanese-Punjabi descent working on unceded xwməθkwəy̓ əm, Skwxwú7mesh, Stó:lō, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh territories. She specializes in movement practices rooted in Kathak, a South Asian classical dance form known for its powerful storytelling and intimate relationship to rhythm. Fiana has performed independently and with dance companies across India, Pakistan, Canada, Japan, and France. She has an MA in English literature from the University of Toronto and is currently working towards a PhD on lyric poetry and ecology at the University of British Columbia. Her artistic practice informs and is informed by her interdisciplinary research engagements as a fellow with the UBC Centre for Migration and affiliate with the UBC Centre for Climate Justice. Through performance as a mode of inquiry and site-specific sensibilities,
Fiana prioritizes art-research connections and public access to art. To facilitate critical vocabularies of embodied and imaginative relationships between self and the world, her student engagement centres relational, experiential, everyday-life, and process pedagogies. Her commitment to community engaged art, accessibility, and intercultural awareness draws on her formative experience volunteering in Kachchh (India) and dance outreach in Ōfunato (Japan), two disaster affected communities that asked for practices of listening to climate grief as much as hopes for reparative planetary futures.
in an act of rebellion, fanny walked away from nearly a decade as a social worker and headed west to pursue lifelong dreams. fanny fuses her experience as a social worker and lived experiences as a marginalized human to express her artivism through means of poetry, storytelling and community advocacy. in 2021 fanny won the Harold Green theatre monologue competition. they sit on the Curtain Razors arts board. her first book, umi's prayer was released June 2023. fanny is a Black, Sapphic, Jewish settler working towards land & relational justice.
Christine Mackenzie, Kwakiutl Nation, a First Nation Artist and Facilitator. Her mother was born in Bella Coola BC is a part of the Eagle clan. Her mother was part of the Sixties Scoop and because of that Christine hard time trying to find her culture and identity, but through resilient and training she found a way back to her indigenous roots. She find’s inspiration in the natural world and in the eyes of people willing to learn and share cultural ideas. Christine works with traditional/contemporary design and with multiple mediums. She been doing art all her life, but as a professional Artist and Facilitator since 2009 and mentored by Anastasia Hendry, Haida elder, she was an Artist and Facilitator for 30 plus years and has since retired. Christine now helps others in their journey to self-identity and educating others about Indigenous culture, artwork and protocols. Speaking to only my teachings and life experience to support others in better understanding of empathy when learning about Indigenous culture.
Master printmaker, Julie McIntyre studied at the Banff Centre and holds a BFA from Queen's University. She has had solo shows in over 22 public galleries in Canada and participated in over 60 juried exhibitions, including 25 international credits. Julie has taught workshops across Canada for over 30 years and has been a popular Artist in Residence with the Vancouver School Board and ArtStarts for over a decade. Julie’s passion is to revel the magic of printmaking and its serendipitous nature that encourages experimentation. She uses ordinary materials and a wide range of transfer techniques to create professional results. Her goal is to have students delight in the playfulness of the repeated image, develop a greater appreciation for qualities of paper, deepen their appreciation for surface treatment, and above all, surprise themselves.
Maggie Milne Martens is a community engaged artist and long-time art educator. She has a BFA in printmaking, and an MA in Art History. She and has taught both studio art and theory at the post-secondary level and is currently working on a PhD in Arts Education at SFU.
Her passion for art making with children began 30 years ago in Camden New Jersey, running arts programming for risk kids in the inner city. Since then she has created community engaged art projects for elementary schools across the lower mainland and other community groups. Maggie's practice interweaves material expressions with collaborative and embodied processes to create multilayered works that allow students into felt connect with themselves, the stories of other and the beauty and complexity of the natural world. Maggie is co-founder of the Artist in Residence Studio program and continues to support, mentor and hold space for artists to share their art practice with children in schools.
Yasaman Moussavi is an artist and educator. She holds an MFA and a BFA and is currently pursuing a PhD in Art Education at the University of British Columbia. Yasaman has lived and worked in various countries, including Iran, the United States, and Canada. Her diverse lived experiences and teaching in different art programs have shaped her artistic vision and pedagogical approach. Yasaman is fascinated by how the immersive and embodied experiences of public spaces and site-specific art can inspire the imagination to overcome the alienation caused by precarity. Through her art-based research project, she aims to reclaim the embodied practices of mapping and placemaking as a means of fostering social bonding. Yasaman is passionate about community art and its potential to raise social awareness. Through her papermaking art practices, she uses recycled paper as a medium for collaborative and creative expression of identities, stories, and values. Her artwork has been exhibited in various venues across the world.
Tami Murray studied Fine Arts at both Red Deer College’s Fine Arts Department and at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design where she received her Bachelors degree in Photography. Tami’s personal work is an ever evolving exploration of techniques and fanciful ideas. Her Art has roots in personal narrative that lean into flights of whimsy and visual poetics
She has exhibited in various groups shows over the last two decades, participated in several Living Room Art in the Heights events in Burnaby and Vancouver as well as the innaugural Stride Art Festival. She has work in a number of private collections.
Originally from Mexico City, filmmaker and digital media artist Yunuen Perez Vertti has over 20yrs of experience in the film and television industry. She has worked in various roles and projects and produced films for many public, private and non-profit organizations. Her short documentary "Aparajita" The undefeated was successfully screened at Tasveer Seattle South Asian Film Festival, Topanga Film Festival and Gulf Coast Film & Video Festival. She has been working as an artist in residency in the schools for the past five years. She is passionate about education through the arts and the importance of the arts as a fundamental tool for education. She believes teaching and introducing kids to all art disciplines as early as possible is essential to a healthy society.
SHAMINA SENARATNE is an interdisciplinary artist and writer, born into mixed cultural realities each asserting particular perspectives, the importance of identity, and finding
a way to feel rooted as a foundation of well being. Throughout her art practice she has been interested in how we tread the space between us, find connection and understanding, find opportunities to share personal realities. Working with textiles and collage, mark-making and found/collected natural materials, allows her to consider encoding texture and form with metaphor and meaning rather than creating linear narratives using full sentences and prose to relate to place, questions of belonging and “notes” on personal observations of beauty. She looks forward to working with students to find new ways of seeing and talking about their experiences of where they live and who they are, through writing and experimenting with a variety of visual art techniques. An interdisciplinary artist, Shamina's textile-based contemporary art has been shown in curated and juried exhibitions in Canada, the US and Europe. She has also written and published poetry and short fiction. Shamina’s approach as a contemporary artist is informed by her BA in Communications, Publishing and History, and Certificate in Public History (SFU).
With her second Master's degree in Art Education from the University
of British Columbia, complementing her BA in Visual Communication and MA in illustration, Sholeh is passionate about the ways in which
we can situate ourselves as active participants living in the world aesthetically and take action to uncouple from the familiar to activate the potentialities of learning and growth. Sholeh explores working with materials as lingering in generative spaces that can inspire wonder and meaning making. Composing the studio practice, Sholeh invites students to explore how their unique ways of making can be shared, borrowed, transformed, and cultivated through reflective participation and also experience the infinite capacities of their attentive presence for thinking, making, and acting differently. Her research interest focuses on the experience of being a maker with a special emphasis on upholding the traditions of craftsmanship.
Kathryn Wadel is an interdisciplinary mixed media artist who works and resides on the traditional and unceded territories of the Katzie First Nation and Kwantlen First Nation peoples. She holds a BFA degree from Emily Carr University, with a major in Visual Arts and a minor in Social Practice and Community Engagement. Her work explores environmental, cultural and social practices that connect communities across disciplines. She utilizes mixed media techniques in her painting, drawing, and sculptural practices that often explore the human condition as it exists within the Anthropocene. In the studio, she facilitates and encourages art-making as a creative process through socially-engaged material play. Kathryn believes that art is an essential human practice that builds meaningful connections across cultures and communities.
The Artist In Residence Studio program is honoured to be working together on the unceded, unsurrendered and traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm|Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh|Squamish & səlilwətaɬ |Tsleil-Waututh people, where we learn, live and work. We humbly acknowledge that we are unlearning and relearning and with this acknowledgement comes the commitment to engage in ongoing acts of reconciliation.
PHONETIC PRONUNCIATION: xʷməθkʷəy̓əm - Musqueam (pronounced Mus-kwee-um) Sḵwxwú7mesh - Squamish Nation (pronounced Skwa-mish) səlilwətaɬ - Tsleil-Waututh (pronounced Slay-wah-tuth)