Artist in Residence

The City of Port Coquitlam Artist-in-Residence program is a self-directed residency offering artists the opportunity to research, develop and produce new or ongoing bodies of work, with dedicated studio time. The Artist-in-Residence program offers opportunities for artists to work in the community, develop arts-based engagement activities, and deliver creative projects that generate meaningful connections. The program sees artists work collaboratively with community members in initiatives where the participants take a central role as creators, producers, and performers or as active audiences for the project. With a goal of contributing to the growing vibrancy of our neighbourhoods, the Artist-in-Residence program seeks to inspire participation and relationship-building where art (the process of creating together) acts as a catalyst for individual and community engagement. Residencies are for artists or artist collectives working in the visual, performance, literary, and musical arts.


Artist-in-Residence | Jennie Johnston

Jennie Johnston will be the City of Port Coquitlam Artist-in-Residence at the Outlet in Leigh Square from September 2021 to December 2021.

Jennie grew up in rural Quebec and has a Fine Arts Degree from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. Her work studies the human condition as it relates to nature, social justice and ancestry.On the journey to find her artistic voice she began combining traditional craft techniques like embroidery and quilting with painting and fabric

design. Over the course of the 2017-2018 school year Jennie was Artist-In-Residence at Forest Grove Elementary school in Burnaby. During the residency over 300 students worked to create 4 unique quilts and learn traditional and artistic textile skills. Her work is featured alongside other Western Canadian artists in the beautiful Imago Mundi Oh West Canada! Book and has been shown in group shows in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, the U.S. and Italy. Jennie recently participated in the first Burnaby Heights Art Crawl and the RAW Artists Showcase in downtown Vancouver.


Jennie successfully offered two engaging activities as part of our Culture Days celebration this year: ‘Gimme Shelter Blanket Fort ExperienceandSew-In Mix & Mingle

Culture Days is a national celebration of arts and culture. At the end of each September, millions of people attend thousands of free participatory arts and culture events across the country. Culture Days programs invite the public to get hands-on and behind-the-scenes to highlight the importance of arts and culture in our communities.

Read through the Culture Days page to find out more about this year’s festivities.


Sew-In Mix & Mingle – Tuesday Dec 14, 2021 – 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM


Artist-in-Residence | Dolores Altin & Elvira Monteforte

Dolores Altin

Meet Port Coquitlam’s new Artist in Residence in Lions Park, Dolores Altin. Dolores is an emerging public artist with a deep appreciation for placemaking and environmental art. For over 20 years, her career has covered various facets of landscape design, community planning, and public participation. Geography, history, and learning through nature have inspired her to explore our human relationship to the natural world and our perceived reality of it. “I like to reveal the hidden processes in nature and to communicates messages of environmental responsibility through narrative and environmental art.”


Elvira Monteforte

Meet Port Coquitlam’s new Artist in Residence in Lions Park, Elvira Monteforte. Elvira is a happy ‘Canexican” multi-media visual artist who was born, and raised in Mexico City and is now living in Canada since 2006. Since the 1990s, she has been transforming a variety of objects into art expressions, from murals to clothes, sculptures, and pianos. “I’m curious about how recycled and discarded materials can be combined and up-cycled into ‘trash art’ treasures; original artworks of infinite possibility.” Throughout her work, she has inferred various messages that challenge our cultural notions of purpose, dispensability, beauty, and time.


“The Social Connection” is an artistic installation inspired by scientific discoveries popularized in recent years through the book “The Secret Life of Trees” and most recently released NYT Bestseller “Finding the Mother Tree; Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest”. The latter describes the lifelong work of UBC Forestry researcher Suzanne Simard who has been key to scientific discovery. Her work reveals that the forest is a social network that functions as a cohesive society of individual trees who communicate with each other through chemical signals in their root systems. Over the summer of 2021, Lions Park will become an enchanted forest where the trees reveal their secret social society to us by drawing attention to themselves. Their new costumes bring to life their individual personalities, making us even more aware of their majestic beauty and unique structures.

The forest is now seen as having fun, celebrating their friendships and symbiotic relationships. Through this art piece, we celebrate the beauty of the forest and the invaluable benefits that trees provide us with. The message makes us think of the notion that social connectivity and collaboration are the keys to both a thriving forest and a resilient community of citizens. After all, we are all “a Part of Nature”.

Within this residency, a certain number of trees will be selected to have their trunks adorned with colourful materials. The intention is to attract visitors towards the picnic area of the park, where the trees take center stage and become highly visible. Members of the community are invited to participate in the making of the colourful “dresses” under the guidance of the artists. Several mesh panels would be woven with colourful materials; assembled into lightweight sculptures and installed onto the tree trunks by the artists.

Please note: All materials have all been approved through our Parks Department and consist of plastic mesh panels that will be woven with colourful materials, assembled into lightweight sculptures, and installed onto the tree trunks by the artists. No nails will be used to secure the adornments, and there will be no punctures, damage to bark or branches, and no toxic paints will be applied.


Click here to watch an inspiring virtual artist talk with Dolores Altin & Elvira Monteforte where they walk us through a visual tour of their art practice and residency project.


Read more about the artists and their practice: Tree ‘party’ will go above ground at this Port Coquitlam park for the summer



Lesley Perrie 
Public Art & Engagement Specialist
Tel 604.927.8442