Natalie Bohrn – 2021 Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency

Singer, songwriter and musician Natalie Bohrn will be working on new songs based on human, plant and animal encounters during her stay in the Deep Bay cabin.

Typically Natalie takes inspiration from the seasons to write her lyrics, and has largely written during the winter and spring. This year’s Deep Bay Residency will give the artist a vibrant opportunity to create songs that reflect summer’s particular energy.

The artist imagines her process during her residency to be like that of a sketchbook artist, who wanders through the townsite or observes on the beach, making quick studies in a handheld notebook before returning to the cabin to refine and work an idea. At the end of her day, however, a narrative song is produced, instead of a piece of visual art.

“I love the idea of creating art in a space where people are living their normal lives – but just slightly removed, so that you can actually hear yourself think, and have some space to make sounds and mistakes,” Natalie explained. “The energy of public life that can be found on a beach – the conversations, the relationships, the efforts to relax and connect and to eat and to maybe make-out, is charged and ready to be drawn upon.”

Originally from Brandon, the artist now lives just minutes away from the Park, in Onanole.

“I love the space, the fresh air, the plants and wildlife, and living outside of the rhythms of traffic and rush hour and more closely with the cycles of seasonal change,” said Natalie. “I feel enormously lucky to get to be able to live out here.”

Living close to the Park has already provided Natalie with many interesting encounters to draw upon:

“From clusters of fir trees being dusted with snow, families of bears ambling up to the water’s edge, rainbows on the horizon after freakishly fast summer thunderstorms, to friends dissecting their latest, tender break-up wounds, grandfathers throwing grandkids overboard on the family yacht, and fathers accidentally eating somebody else’s sandwich in the family picnic basket… there are so many dynamics at play in this space that are worth thinking on, juxtaposing, and setting to melody,” Natalie said.

“As a human artist I plan to use my time here to develop a healthy, focused and productive creative routine that feels doable and sees me getting stuff done. That’s the goal, anyway!”

As a touring and recording singer, a double bass player, and frontperson for indie-rock outfit Slow Spirit, Natalie’s practice has been witness to many musical universes. From working with folk musicians from across the globe to touring and recording with psychedelic and indie bands, Natalie feels now is the time to stay in one place and devote a block of time to thoughtfully develop her songs.

The Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency is offered in partnership by the Manitoba Arts Council and Riding Mountain National Park. The residency takes place in the Deep Bay cabin, a recognized federal heritage building originally used as a base for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s floatplane forest fire patrols.

Since its restoration in 2006, the cabin has welcomed over 100 artists in dance, music, theatre, literary, visual and media arts, who create and share their work with audiences in the park and surrounding area.

Interested in the staying in the Deep Bay cabin? Find out how to apply to the Riding Mountain Artists Residency through the Manitoba Arts Council’s Learn – Residencies program. Apply by November 1, 2021 for a residency in the summer of 2022.