Announcing the Micro Grant Recipients!
Hamilton Artists Inc. and Factory Media Centre are pleased to announce the recipients of our 2022 Micro Grants! The Micro Grants contribute funds to support various creative projects from artists working in any medium, and include six $500 cash grants and two media equipment rental grants. Congratulations Olivia Brouwer, Cait Gautron, Taras Hemon, Clairandean Humphrey, K. MacNeil, Ignazio Colt Nicastro, Steven Schmid and Abigail Whitney! Find out more about each artist and their works below.
Olivia Brouwer is a partially blind, emerging artist based in Cambridge, Ontario. In 2016, she graduated from the Art and Art History joint program, specializing in painting and printmaking, at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College. She has exhibited at the Blackwood Gallery, the Robert Kananaj Gallery in collaboration with Emerging Young Artists, and the Idea Exchange. In 2021, Brouwer was the recipient of the City of Hamilton Creator Award, the Salt Spring National Art Prize, and a finalist for the JRG Emerging Artist Award.
Brouwer’s current work addresses inclusivity and accessibility to non-visual audiences by activating the senses of touch and hearing. Soft-Spoken is a painting series of Braille-translated interviews from seven visually impaired folks describing their perception of the world through the lens of their unique experience with blindness in hopes of bringing awareness to the accessibility needs of this community.
Oliva Brouwer, Soft Spoken (an interview with Tim Peters), 2021. Acrylic on canvas, a touch board, speaker, and conductive paint. Image courtesy of the artist.
Cait Gautron, a Military Brat, was deeply influenced by the time she spent in European galleries as a child. Before receiving her BFA from McMaster, Cait studied performing arts, a discipline which developed and heightened her interest in physicality and theatrics. Her work explores the intersections of physiology and psychology, where the lines exist between our perceptions of the body and its base existence. In referencing therapeutic practices and anatomical specimens she creates a framework with which to marry artistic and scientific approaches to the body, cultivating a clinical/non-judgmental remove while underlining the bodies intrinsic beauty.
Cait Gautron, Antithesis A (work in progress), 2020. Silicone, polyurethane foam, oil paint, human and animal hair. Image courtesy of the artist.
Taras Hemon (he/him) is a Hamilton based filmmaker and artist, working primarily with documentary film. His work is centered on supporting human rights struggles, focusing on how we can affect change and resist capitalist hegemony. He recently completed his MFA degree in Documentary Studies at X University, where as a part of his thesis he made a short documentary film, “Thanks for Nothing.” This film follows tenant Sharon Miller as she fights back against transit-based gentrification, housing inaccessibility and a city that sees her as disposable. Hemon plans on expanding this film into a longer project and should begin filming in April. He is developing a documentary series called “Steel City Climate Change,” where he explore causes, effects of and solutions to climate change on an extremely local, Hamilton based level.
Taras Hemon, Thanks for Nothing, 2021. Film still. Image courtesy of the artist.
Clairandean Humphrey is Black Trans Non-Binary Artist, Tarot Reader, Movement Instructor and Videographer based in Hamilton, ON. They have finished GOODBODYFEEL 200hrTT in 2018 and remain an instructor at the studio. They completed their Certificate with New Leaf Foundation, with the Reaching In, Reaching out program. Deepening their education in trauma informed movement practices, gender inclusive language and anti-oppressive frameworks.
They are also currently finishing Diane Bondy’s 300hrYTT program deepening their education in Decolonized Yoga and Justice Work. Clairandean continues to collaborate with both established and emerging creatives around the City of Hamilton.
In 2020 they independently released a lofi EP entitled Moving In the Dark. This EP features an acoustic guitar, ethereal harmonies that express grief and longing. They consider singing and songwriting their most vulnerable practice.
Their various practices continue to examine and discover the visual/audio language of Queerness, chronic pain, isolation, intimacy and togetherness.
Clairandean Humphrey, Queer Intamacy Moving, 2021. Film still. Image courtesy of the artist.
K. MacNeil (they/them) is a genderqueer artist, educator and curator who was born and raised in the US. They maintain an interdisciplinary practice that encompasses printmaking, video, performance, and drawing.
MacNeil’s work has exhibited internationally in Paris, France; Beijing, China; Canada, and throughout numerous institutions across the US including the International Print Center New York, the Western New York Book Arts Center, and CEPA Gallery. They were recently awarded an Ontario Arts Council Visual Artists Creation Project grant, awarded the Awagami Paper Award by the Print Center in Philadelphia, and are currently the Hexagon Mid Career Artist in Residence at Open Studio in Toronto.
MacNeil holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University at Buffalo and a BA in Studio Art from the College of Charleston. They currently serve on the executive board of SGCInternational, work as the College Printer at Massey College, and reside in Toronto, ON.
K. MacNeil, Vicious Cycle, 2018. Performance documentation. Image: Julia Rose Sutherland.
Ignazio Colt Nicastro is a contemporary fine art curator and writer with over four years of professional experience curating digital and physical exhibitions. More recently, Nicastro founded IC Contemporary, an online digital art gallery dedicated to serving emerging artists, and has also published his debut novel: The Trials of Salahan.
From left to right: Eva Birhanu, hair heaving (2), 2019. Cotton, linen, hemp yarn, and synthetic hair; Eva Birhanu, disentangle, 2020. Cotton and hair; Eva Birhanu, hair weaving (1), 2019. Cotton, linen, hemp yarn, and synthetic hair; Eva Birhanu, Wisdom is worth more than gold, 2022. Cotton and metallic gold thread. Intricacies of the Gaze, curated by Ignazio Colt Nicastro. Installation view at The Riverdale Gallery, February - April, 2022. Image by Nicole Helena.
Steven Schmid is a Bahamian interdisciplinary artist whose practice utilizes drawing, painting and collage to explore themes of nostalgia, masculinity and otherness. Using the figure as a central point of exploration, Schmid reimagines personal narratives to create unique stories that illustrate the intricacies and malleability of the Bahamian and wider Caribbean diaspora. Schmid received his BFA in Film, Video and Integrated Media from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2016 and is currently pursuing an Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design at OCAD University.
Steven Schmid, Off Guard, 2022. Digital assemblage, colouring pencils, crayola markers on paper. Image courtesy of the artist.
Abigail Whitney (she/her) is an award-winning theatre director, an internationally awarded filmmaker, producer and writer. Abigail is listed as “100 Black Artists to support this Juneteenth” by New York’s Gritty Vibes Magazine. Abigail is on the cover of Ark Magazine's 002 "The Reset" Issue, with a full spread interview as a 'Game Changer,' an "innovative and fearless force, changing the arts as we know it." University of Toronto’s The Varsity newspaper published a personal essay about her acclaimed career and interviewed her on the front-page of The Varsity's paper in a 2nd article titled: "UofT student, model, and director-how does Abigail Whitney do it all?" She is named a “quadruple threat” by UofT News “UofT students who crushed it.” She has been interviewed and featured on CBC’s q, ByBlacks, CBC’s OurToronto, Eboss Canada and Broadway World for her work.
Abigail Whitney, Seule, 2021. Poster. Image courtesy of the artist.