Amber Phelps Bondaroff
Meet downtown’s new artist-in-residence
Artists-in-residences have different responsibilities, depending on their home institution.
The degree of impact the position offers is also dependent on the institution they call home.
But suffice to say, Amber Phelps Bondaroff’s new artist-in-residence post with the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District carries a lot of weight.
“Over the next three months, I’m developing a number of what we’re calling pilot projects – smaller initiatives that will occur in the downtown core, some in partnership with other downtown organizations like the Farmer’s Market,” says Phelps Bondaroff, who applied for the job late last year. “We’re going to partner with other initiatives to come up with art projects or events in the downtown core.”
Art, Phelps Bondaroff says, is both inevitable and very important in a downtown setting, and encompasses everything from street art to large-scale publicly commissioned projects. That being said, she’s very excited to carry on with her term, which officially began earlier this month.
“Art adds a lot of vibrancy to a city,” Phelps Bondaroff says.
“In Regina, I think there are some great initiatives that have been started. And I also think, based on the size and the age of the city, there’s a lot more room for creative expression in the downtown core – all over the city, really. The more instances of visible art and creative expression in the city, I think it brings new life to everyone who’s occupying that space.”
Phelps Bondaroff adds that art encourages people to interact differently than they otherwise would have.
“I think it encourages people to think a little more critically about their environment,” Phelps Bondaroff says.
“It could be everything from enjoying an aesthetic artwork to taking pause to consider how we’re using space, how we’re occupying space, who we’re sharing the space with. And ideally it opens up some dialogue between people who are sharing this vibrant space where there’s a bunch of different people moving about in a downtown setting.”
Phelps Bondaroff’s term runs three months, at which point she expects it will be extended. Before she leaves her post, she has big plans for downtown Queen City.
“I’ve got a lot of ideas, and I think some of them will have to be whittled down so we can accomplish a reasonable amount of things, but there was an initiative last year where art was temporarily displayed in window spaces in the downtown core, and we’re thinking about revisiting that format,” Phelps Bondaroff says.
“I would like to see winter programming. There are skating parks set up in Victoria Park that I would hope to instigate at least one of these programs around, so people are out and being active and enjoying the outdoors in that capacity. There’s also an emphasis on looking at under-utilized spaces in the downtown core, which includes alleyways.
“Those are the ideas, as it stands right now, and I would like to just get as much out there as possible so we can refine it and hopefully create something that’s sustainable, even if the time comes that I may not be in this position in the future.”