Ellen Peterson | 2023 Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency

Photo: Landscape with Rainbow, Ellen Peterson. 

The Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency provides professional Manitoba artists with time to focus on their work in the beautiful natural setting of Riding Mountain National Park.

The next artist-in-residence for 2023 is Ellen Peterson, a Winnipeg-based writer and visual artist. Ahead of her time in the historic Deep Bay Cabin, Victoria answered a few of our questions about her work and how she’ll be spending her residency.

MAC: Tell us a little about yourself as an artist and your practice.

Ellen Peterson: I am a writer and visual artist. I use the writing to inspire the visual art and vice versa. I write plays, mostly. My visual art is a mixed bag of drawing, paper cutting and paper sculpture, as well as small scale sculpture using found and salvaged materials.

Tell us about your project—what will you be working on in the Deep Bay Cabin? 

I am going to be working on a piece called Dark Ages, which is a play about making sense of the society we’ve built. The play is a series of linked stories, and the visual art component will be art made out of litter and salvaged objects. I hope to get others in the park to participate by “donating” any interesting objects they find on the trails or beaches.

What is your relationship with the park, and what are you most looking forward to exploring?

I have been to Riding Mountain many times and love it. I was lucky enough to be in residence at Deep Bay in 2019. I have also visited it several times on vacations.

How do you hope the park will influence or inspire your project or practice?

Nature is one of my primary inspirations, and I’m excited to spend an extended time in the woods without the usual interruptions.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers and the Riding Mountain National Park community?

Making art is a big part of who I am. It helps me understand the world and my place in it. It gives me a sense of purpose and a means of communicating with others. I see writing as a way to understand and give shape to my experiences and thoughts and not waste them, the same way the visual art allows me to use objects that would otherwise be discarded to make something beautiful.

The Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency is offered in partnership by the Manitoba Arts Council and Riding Mountain National Park.

Interested in the staying in the Deep Bay cabin? Find out how to apply to the Riding Mountain Artists Residency through the Learn – Residencies grant stream. Apply by November 1, 2022 for a residency in the summer of 2023.