The Chu Niikwän Artist Residency is a cooperative venture between three visual arts presenters in Whitehorse: Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre (KDCC), the Yukon Arts Centre (YAC) and the Yukon Art Society (YAS). Centered around the shared goals of artistic innovation, collaboration and professional development, this 3-week paid residency, which takes place every August, will invite three visual artists and one emerging curator to Whitehorse to develop an exhibition of new work, which will be displayed at Arts Underground the month following the residency.

Chu Niikwan is the Southern Tutchone name for the Yukon River and chosen for this residency to reflect how this natural landmark impacts our community and way of life. Each of the three artists will be in their own studio, provided by the three residency partners: KDCC Culture Cabins, the Old Fire Hall (Yukon Arts Centre) and Arts Underground (Yukon Art Society). The three dedicated studios allow the artists to have their own space, while close proximity to one another and the many popular meeting places along the Yukon River will encourage collaboration and a sense of community. Participants will work with the curator to develop their exhibition, with a focus that supports the mandate of the host organization.

The curator in residence will have an immersive experience in which they will develop hands-on curatorial and exhibition preparatory skills. Working alongside the three presenters, they will be responsible for developing a curatorial concept fo the group show at Arts Underground, visiting the artists in residence once a week in their studios and preparing a written piece for publication about the exhibition, highlighting the participating artists and their new work.”


The Chu Niikwän Artist Residency is not currently taking applications. Please check back in spring 2019.
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  • All applicants must be residents of the Yukon or Atlin, B.C.
  • Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre (KDCC Culture Cabins): Indigenous visual artists only
  • Yukon Arts Centre (at the Old Fire Hall): Any emerging or established Indigenous or non-Indigenous visual artist
  • Yukon Art Society (at Arts Underground): Indigenous or non-Indigenous emerging visual artists only. Emerging visual artists are defined as being in the early stages of their career with a short exhibition history and a commitment to expanding their practice


  • All applicants must be residents of the Yukon with some experience in curating with a demonstrated desire to expand their skills

  • Accommodations are not provided, but there is affordable housing available to rent in Whitehorse
  • Applicants will be juried by a panel of representatives from the partnering institutions


  • Studio space at one of the three participating venues in August
  • Opportunity to exhibit work created during the residency at Arts Underground in September
  • Artists in Residence receive a $2,500 honorarium CAD (per artist)


  • Working out of the Arts Underground space, there is no office, but wi-fi and a laptop will be provided
  • Curator in Residence receives a $1000 CAD honorarium

FAQ for Visual Artists

What will I need to bring?

Artists will need to bring all materials and items needed to work independently for three weeks.

How many hours a week will I be expected to work?

Artists must spend 20+ hours a week working on their project in the studio. Artists have access to the Studio daily from 10 am to 7 pm.

Is community engagement an obligation as part of the residency?

Yes, artists are required to engage with the community during their three week residency. This takes the form of an open studio day, open to the public. Additionally, artists are expected to attend the opening of the group show at Arts Underground and say a few words about their experience.

What happens to the work completed during the residency?

Artists are expected to have work created during the residency ready for exhibition by early September. One image from each artist will be retained for future promotional purposes.

How will I be working with the curator?

Artists are expected to work with the curator in the development of the curatorial direction for the final exhibition. The visual art residents should expect a minum of one visit per week from the curator in residence.

How will I interact with the other visual art residents?

Artists are expected to meet with each other a minimum of 3 times throughout the duration of the residency. Due to the close proximity of all of the residents there will be many opportunities to interact and have discussions.

FAQ for Emerging Curator

How many hours a week will I be expected to work?

The emerging curator is expected to work 10+ hours a week.

How will I be working with the visual art residents?

The curator is expected to meet with all three artists a minimum of once per week during the three week program. Together, you will develop the curatorial direction for a collaborative arts exhibition that will take place in September at Arts Underground.

Is community engagement an obligation as part of the residency?

Yes, the curator is expected to attend the opening reception for the art exhibition featuring the three artist residents and should be prepared to say a few words about the show and their experience as an emerging curator resident.

Are there other expectations?

During the three week residency, the curator is expected to create an overall direction of the final art exhibition. This includes the following:

  1. Exhibition Catalogue: Create a curatorial essay for publication, investigating the theoretical basis for the exhibition and relating the experience of working with the artists. To be completed and submitted one week prior to the opening of the exhibition.
  2. Exhibition: Work with the Arts Underground preparator to install the show at the beginning of September.

Questions? Please contact us at:


15-305 Main Street

Whitehorse, YT

Y1A 2B4


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