News / Edmonton

City offers chance for artist to work at Edmonton cemetery

Applications are open for an unusual artist-in-residence opportunity

Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Edmonton.

Kurt Bauschardt / Flickr

Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Edmonton.

Here's an eerily good opportunity: The City of Edmonton will give one artist the chance of a lifetime, to work among the dead.

The Edmonton Arts Council has put out a call for applications to be the first artist-in-residence hosted by City of Edmonton Cemeteries.

The chosen artist will get to work on art in local cemeteries as a full-time job for six months, with a primary studio space on the second floor of a building at Mount Pleasant.

While some might find the space unnerving, Teena Changarathil, supervisor of cemetery sales and operations with the city, said it could be inspiring.

“It’s very historic. A lot of what we do with cemeteries is we have beautiful parkland, and it’s really a warm and inviting place,” Changarathil said.

“Once you get past the initial cemetery part of it and actually focus in on the area and the work that we do and our staff and the customers that we work with on a regular basis, the somberness kind of fades away and the comfort and connections and history comes to light.”

Some bodies buried in Mount Pleasant cemetery, at 54 Avenue and 106 Street, date back to the 1800s.

The building that houses the studio space sits on one of the city's highest geographical points, and also holds administrative offices and niches for cremated remains.

The selected artist will develop a body of work throughout their residency and will showcase their final products with an exhibition at an undetermined location.

They will also engage with staff by offering art workshops and other interactive projects.

Feb. 1 is the application deadline.

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