Artist Capacity Building and Artist Collaboration

Helping Artists Shape Our Cities

STEPS aspires to shift how cities are planned and foster more equitable public spaces. We believe that artists have a critical role to play in shaping cities, and our projects and programs are designed for artist capacity building and artist collaboration.

Public art should reflect the diverse identities and perspectives of the communities that host it. We are particularly interested in amplifying the work of artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, Persons of Colour, female, LGBTTQQIAAP+ and newcomers working in public spaces.

Programs and Artists

From national public art residencies to virtual forums engaging with youth, our artist capacity building programs aim to support the public art journeys of equity-seeking artists within their communities. We frequently engage with artists on our roster and facilitate calls for artists for various projects (such as creative placemaking and main street recovery projects). 
CreateSpace Public Art Residency

CreateSpace Public Art Residency

Artist Capacity Program, National

The CreateSpace Public Art Residency is a virtual program that launched in 2021 and designed in consultation with advisors from coast to coast, to provide emerging Black, Indigenous and racialized artists with the skills, relationships and practical experience needed to take their public art practice to the next level.

CreateSpace Public Art Forum

CreateSpace Public Art Forum

Artist Capacity Program, National

The CreateSpace Public Art Forum virtually convenes participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities to develop public art practices through online workshops, artistic responses, and virtual showcases. 

From Weeds We Grow with Artist Caerina Abrenica

From Weeds We Grow with Artist Caerina Abrenica

Artist Growth, Toronto

Since first being engaged through STEPS’ paid mentorship opportunities, Caerina has continued working with STEPS through her design company Melting Pot Collective for projects including From Weeds We Grow, the web app and Activity Book.

Supporting Artistic Growth

Our current artist supports for artist capacity building and artist collaboration include:

To learn about the latest calls for artists, program applications and other artistic opportunities, visit STEPS news, subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media (@STEPSPublicArt).

Jieun June Kim (artist) jumping in the air and smiling, in front of her new mural of a tiger and a bird

Engage, Design and Inspire with the STEPS Artist Roster

STEPS Public Art is an award-winning Canadian-based national public art and cultural organization that fosters inclusive communities through artist capacity building programs and one-of-a-kind art initiatives.

Hear From STEPS Collaborators!

Suzi Oram, Nova Scotia Mixed Media Artist

We need to get innovative with how we connect with one another during the pandemic. Our STEPS-supported project allowed us to use art to connect with our community and others across the country.

Yasmeen Nematt Alla (2021 CreateSpace Artist-in-Residence, Toronto)

The [CreateSpace Public Art Residency] was really great at allowing people to connect with each other and see work in the country that I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise, and it made space for me to ask questions that I wouldn’t have been able to ask. The workshops gave me space to create and made me think about creating in ways I wouldn’t have thought about in other circumstances

Stephanie Babij (Artist, Ottawa)

“I think it’s great to be able to see more Indigenous artists take up space in public art. I think this residency is important for that because it encourages more participation and it gives access to resources for folks who may be marginalized.”

Whyishnave Suthagar (Installation Artist, Toronto)

“Working with STEPS has helped me create new strategies to continue my practice during pandemic restrictions.”

Heidi Berton (Artist, Toronto)

“It’s so important right now to get your name out there as an artist to attract as many opportunities as possible. The artist [capacity building] opportunities that STEPS generates have really helped ease the financial burden of the pandemic.”


I am an artist and I’m interested in collaborating with STEPS! How can I get started?

Thank you for your interest in STEPS! To participate in our artist capacity building programs (including the CreateSpace Public Art Residency and CreateSpace Public Art Forum) applications are currently open once a year. Follow us on social media and newsletter for the latest announcements, and be sure to visit the program page to learn more. 

To learn about the latest calls for artists and other artistic opportunities (such as workshops and events), we recommend following us on social media (@STEPSPublicArt) on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also subscribe to the STEPS monthly newsletter to get the latest news straight to your inbox. 

How do I join the STEPS artist roster?

Thank you for your interest! We currently do not have an open call for the STEPS artist roster. We still encourage you to introduce yourself by connecting with us through social media and our monthly newsletter to learn about opportunities with STEPS.

I’m an emerging artist looking for new opportunities. Where do I find public art-oriented calls for artists?

STEPS frequently has calls for artists for projects and programs. Announcements are shared on social media (@STEPSPublicArt), the STEPS monthly newsletter, and STEPS News. We suggest following our platforms to hear about the latest opportunities.

We also share external public art opportunities, workshops/events and funding opportunities from other organizations, collaborators, artists and networks through our monthly round-up of opportunities that is frequently updated.

You may also be interested in our Canadian artist capacity building programs designed to support emerging and equity-seeking artists in developing their public art journey! Learn more about the CreateSpace Public Art Residency for emerging and mid-career artists and the CreateSpace Public Art Forum for youth.

Does STEPS work with artists from outside the Greater Toronto Area?

Yes! STEPS is a national cultural organization that has facilitated public art activations across Ontario and in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. We are passionate about artistic collaborations within communities across the country, and our CreateSpace artist capacity building programs (the CreateSpace Public Art Residency and the CreateSpace Public Art Forum) encourage applications from artists working anywhere in Canada.

I am interested in the CreateSpace Public Art Residency. How can I apply?

The CreateSpace Public Art Residency application is open once a year. Visit CreateSpace Public Art Residency for application deadlines and FAQ, and be sure to follow us on social media (@STEPSPublicArt) and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest announcements.

Do you have paid opportunities for artists and youth?

Yes! We believe artists and community members have a critical role in shaping cities and public spaces. It is important to STEPS that our programs and projects foster inclusive public art practices and participants are compensated fairly for their contributions and participation. Information about artist fees, honoraria and other forms of compensation will be provided alongside the opportunity details.

Follow STEPS (@STEPSPublicArt) on social media and subscribe to our monthly newsletter for the latest opportunities.

Contact Us

STEPS Public Art

c/o Art Hub 27
39 Queens Quay E, Suite 100
Toronto, ON, M5E 0A4

P: 1-888-STEPS-80 / 1-888-783-7780

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