On Being An Artist

CreateSpace Public Art Forum 2022

An artistic response to the 2022 CreateSpace Public Art Forum, a national forum virtually convening participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. Participants were presented with online talks themed around public art practices, studio tours by artist facilitators, a Keynote Event by artist Lori Blondeau, and opportunities to engage with fellow peers to inspire their final creations.

Project at a Glance

Location: Brampton, Ontario

Artist: Chawntay Barret

Year: 2022

Program: Artist Capacity Building


CreateSpace participants


artist facilitators


keynote speaker

Artist Statement

I always find myself questioning – What is an artist? How is the term defined? Can anyone really be an artist? Queue existential crisis. For the majority of January 2022, I had the privilege of participating in the CreateSpace Public Art Forum with several other artists across Canada, courtesy of STEPS Public Art. We engaged with lectures led by a diverse group of established creators with experience creating in a public capacity. Participating in this forum provided me with a fresh perspective  of what it means to be an artist and this piece that I’ve created in response to the workshops highlights five things that I took away from this experience.

About the Artist

Chawntay Barret

Chawntay Barret

Chawntay Barrett (she/her) is an emerging artist and designer based in the Greater Toronto Area. She recently completed a Bachelor’s degree with a specialization in Studio Art at the University of Guelph. Community is an important aspect in Chawntay’s creative practice, she is a recent alumni of the ArtworksTO Next Stream program, and is currently on the Vibe Arts emerging artist roster. Chawntay works primarily with oil and acrylic paint on canvas as well as with digital media for illustrations and design. As a woman of afro-Caribbean descent, Caribbean culture is a vital underlying theme in many of her artworks; the majority of her work explores womanhood and the overall black experience in the modern era.

@artbychawny | www.chawntaybarret.com

CreateSpace Public Art Forum

STEPS Public Art believes public art has the ability to challenge the systemic inequities that exist in public space. In support of this important work, we facilitate artist capacity building programs that foster inclusive public art practices, build the capacity of underrepresented artists, and demonstrate how public art can help reimagine equitably designed cities.

CreateSpace Public Art Forum is a digital forum that virtually convenes participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. This forum fosters connections, builds understanding across geographies and cultures, as well as provide emerging equity-seeking artists with the skills, relationships and support needed to develop public art practices. Visit the online gallery to view all artistic responses by the 2022 forum participants.

CreateSpace Public Art Forum is supported by Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts and CIBC.

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