The Creative Incubator Initiative

cSPACE supports artists amidst the pandemic by launching the Creative Incubator Initiative

This five-week program supported 11 local artists from diverse artistic disciplines, backgrounds and career stages. Painters, dancers, musicians, and multidisciplinary performers participated in the inaugural Creative Incubator Initiative.

The program provided artists with inspiring space, connection to creative community, and entrepreneurial learnings to expand their artistic development during the pandemic.

“We are delighted to support local artists in this difficult time. In providing access to inspiring creative space and peer learning within our cSPACE Creative Hub community, our hope is to enable artists’ imaginations to take flight. We want artists to experiment and expand their creative practice despite the limitations of the pandemic.”

– Deeter Schurig, President & CEO of cSPACE

Artists gained access to our Studio Theatre and received  support from theatre technicians to realize their ideas. The projects and artistic practice of these artists was captured by professional filmmakers, showcasing the story of their re-emergence out of COVID.

The artists were also provided learning in marketing and branding, knowledge sharing within their cohort, and connections to the cSPACE artistic community through performance and exhibition opportunities.

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{ THE ARTISTS OF THE 2021 CREATIVE INCUBATOR }
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Back row, left to right: Deeter Schurig, Branden Boyd, Juan Hurtado, Ximena Ríos, Jocelyn Mah, Lana Skauge, Michael Dargie, James Watson. Front row, left to right: Tauran Wood, Gladzy Kei, Scout, Harvey Nichol, Erin Maclean-Berko, Mackenzie Bedford, Misha Maseka.

“I feel fortunate to work with a fantastic team of filmmakers, business brand guru(s), and a host of artists. We get to journey for five weeks, redefining and fine-tuning our individual approaches to our art forms in this new world of pandemic challenges.”

 – Lana Skauge, Creative Incubator Initiative Artist

About the Creative Incubator Initiative

Selected by an independent external jury, 11 artists-in-residence were selected for the Creative Incubator Initiative at cSPACE. The Incubator provided artists impacted by the pandemic with the opportunity to return to their artistic practice in the creative facilities and Studio Theatre at cSPACE.

The cohort, selected in March 2021 by an independent jury, included:

  • Mackenzie Bedford, illustrator, animator and projection specialist
  • Léda Davies, circus performer
  • Savanna Harvey, interdisciplinary artist
  • Gladzy Kei, cosplay artist and illustrator
  • Jennifer Lee, visual artist
  • Jocelyn Mah, dancer
  • Harvey Nichol, painter and graphic artist
  • Meg Ohsada, dancer
  • Ross Pambrun, aka Memphis and the Grande, musical artist
  • Lana Skauge, storyteller
  • James Watson, violinist

Special thanks go out to cSPACE staff and the following filmmakers and technicians for lending support to this initiative:

  • Misha Maseka, filmmaker
  • Ximena Ríos, filmmaker
  • Ryan Wilkes, filmmaker
  • Branden Boyd – theatre technician
  • Tauran Wood, theatre technician
  • Erin Maclean-Berko, program coordinator
  • Michael Dargie (Make More Creative)
  • Christina Jahn (Coach, Spirit of Inquiry)
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Mackenzie Bedford

Obsessed with colour, movement and light, Mackenzie Bedford uses animation to build other-worldly narratives and environments. These spaces allow her audiences to escape and immerse for a moment. 

Mackenzie’s Incubator project included completing a 3D looping animation and incorporating it into a projection mapping installation. This completed animation will be applied to learn a new, innovative technique of projection mapping using the Blender program. During Mackenzie’s Incubator residency, the Studio Theatre became home base for a prototype 3D projection experience.

Learn more about Mackenzie in her artist documentary film (at left) and our interview with her (link below). 

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Léda Davies

Léda’a practice is driven by a desire to physicalize theatre and reshape definitions of disciplines through blending theatre and circus. By combining the virtuosity of circus with the storytelling power of theatre Leda believes we can activate our thinking processes in new ways. 

Léda’s Incubator project focussed on completing an interdisciplinary show whose progress had been cut short by the circumstances imposed by the global pandemic. An integration of text and aerial circus, it is inspired by the play Fish at the Bottom of the Sea (referred to as Fish), written by Nicole Schafenacker, a story of love and grief. This stage of the project saw Léda and her team incorporate sound design as an integral part of the work. Using the Studio Theatre as a literal jumping off point, Léda’s team was able to practice the aerial components of the show and develop the other technical aspects at the same time. 

For more on the experience, watch Léda’s artist documentary (at left) or read our interview with her (link below).

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Savanna Harvey

Savanna is an interdisciplinary creator-performer with a special interest in physical/alternative theatre practices  (mask, puppetry, clown, collective creation, immersive, interactive, site-specific, etc.) She creates with a hands-on,  DIY, build it yourself, fix it yourself approach (Makerspace). The changing requirements of spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic made things particularly challenging for theatre artists who were used to performing for real people in seats. Savanna’s Incubator project allowed time to explore the world of digital presentation and livestream. See more about Savanna’s process by watching her artist documentary (at left) or by reading our interview with her (link below).

Gladzy Kei

Gladzy has been practicing the art of cosplay for about ten years. She is also an illustrator who actively redesigns fantasy-themed costumes through her own concept artworks. Designing for Cosplay has Gladzy learn a wide range of skills such as sewing, armor and prop making, molding and casting, make up, and wig styling. 

Gladzy’s Incubator project involved building a new cosplay design inspired by a Southeast Asian animated Princess. Gladzy redesigned the costume, inspired by her Filipino culture and pulled inspiration from the colors of the Filipino flag (red, blue and gold). She also built a “salakot” which is  generally used by farmers to protect their heads from the heat and the sun. “Baybayin”writing is included in the armour design and pays homage to a recently rediscovered form of Philippines’ script, previously lost for centuries. Gladzy learned techniques from Filipino martial arts known as Kali or Eskrima, which she used in the final photo and video shoots in the Studio Theatre. 

Learn more about Gladzy and Cosplay by watching her artist documentary (at left) or reading our interview with her (follow the link below).

Jennifer Lee

Jennifer Jaesung Lee is a first-generation Korean-Canadian visual artist, interested in reimagining male-focussed ideas of queerness through folklore and ritual.

Her Precious Sleeves project for the Incubator involved creating traditional Korean wedding sleeves/veils embroidered with the colours of the “progress” variant pride flag. Embroidered sleeves are used in the paebaek Korean wedding ritual where chestnuts and other treats are tossed by the couple’s parents into the bride’s sleeve, skirt, or veil. This ritual, carried out by family members, signifies the blessings of the family’s elders on the marital union. Jennifer’s reworking of the traditional embroidered sleeves with imagery and colours inspired by queer culture is an invitation to include queer peoples into the blessings and rituals of Korean culture, and ideas of family (chosen or otherwise).

For more on Jennifer’s artistic journey at cSPACE, please watch her artist documentary (at left) or read our interview with her (link below).

Artist Documentary

Meg Ohsada

 “I want to dance. My local dance studio permanently closed due to  COVID-19, and my training opportunities have become very  limited because of the health restrictions.”

For Meg, dance is a vital line for self expression.  Spoken words are not her strength, and she does not  allow Down syndrome to define her.  

Because of the shutdown of available spaces to train, Meg’s mother Noriko had moved the furniture in the living room just so that Meg could continue her practice. The Creative Incubator was an opportunity to train in an inclusive environment and deliver a message  to a diverse community through dance. As an award winning dancer and figure skater, Meg used her time in the Incubator to develop a new dance routine. She used this new routine to represent Canada in the Special Olympics DanceSport event in August 2021 in Austria. During her time in the Studio Theatre, Meg worked with world renowned choreographer Yukichi Hattori. The results will move you. 

“I am a visible minority with developmental disabilities. My presence in public is very meaningful for a diverse, inclusive community. I hope to advocate that people with different challenges have potential when given the right tools and opportunities.” 

For more on Meg’s artistic journey in the Incubator, please watch her artist documentary (at left) and read our interview with her (link below).

Artist Documentary

Jocelyn Mah

Jocelyn Mah is a professional contemporary and vernacular jazz dancer, choreographer and dance teacher based here in Calgary. Her work during the Creative Incubator marked an important shift from choreography for the concert stage, to choreography for the camera. She used her time to gain more confidence and focus in creating dance work intended for filming. This shift towards online performance was a conscious response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jocelyn created a piece for the 2020 Springboard Performance Fluid Fest, Fantasma, which followed a chaotic young woman overcome by grief and despair. The performance featured a live singer and pianist accompanying the dance. Profoundly affected by Lucia (the character she played) Jocelyn was hungry to do more exploration with her. Thus began the journey into “Moonglow.” 

For more on Jocelyn’s artistic journey at cSPACE, please watch her artist documentary (at left) or read our interview with her (link below).

Harvey Nichol

Philipinne-born artist Harvey Nichol believes an artist’s role in society is to start conversations that can promote transformational social change. Harvey uses his voice to uplift and amplify underrepresented communities and their voices. Recently Harvey has been exploring storytelling in his work to call attention to his home country’s war on drugs. His bold subject matter is matched in his art through use of intense, bold colors, lines and forms that create a distinctive neo-expressionist look. Aerosol spray paint, oil sticks, and acrylic paint are his chosen mediums. Harvey’s hope is that by participating in the 2021 Creative Incubator, and documenting his painting process, he will reach a broader audience. Awareness is the first step in starting conversations that can create change you want to see in the world.

For more on Harvey’s artistic journey at cSPACE, please watch his artist documentary (at left) or read our interview with him (link below).

Lana Skauge

“Change the world with a story. I stand on the sacred ground of my prairie roots and watch the sky get bigger as I weave metaphors/meditations/music in a unique performance style of ritualized gesture, role-play and commentary. Accessible collective work (all ages) with hoops, cascading cloths, masks, shields and sticks illustrate the worthy journey for others. I thrive as a guide, confidante and weaver of tales. New worlds reveal themselves to my maturing artist voice as generous poets, playwrights, painters and a four-legged pup mentor me. I seek without fear. I must. I will. I can.” – Lana Skauge, Artist, Storyteller, Maverick.

For more on Lana’s artistic journey at cSPACE, please watch her artist documentary (at left) or read our interview with her (link below).

Memphis and the Grande

Combining personal stories, Métis identity and musicianship into his artistry, Ross “Memphis” Pambrun is a cultural connector in the shape of a singer-songwriter-musician. He shows commitment to cultural representation through his music, and through his video podcast, The Squeaky Wheel. The ultimate performer package, Ross recognizes that he is also part of the audience. “I have always stood by the philosophy that if I’m having a good time, the audience will share that energy.” Ross knows how important storytelling is in the artistry of music. He understands the impact that music has on the lives of Métis people. Sharing artistry, heritage, and knowledge of culture, he hopes to reach all audiences from youth to elders and seniors with his music. The Creative Incubator at cSPACE was an opportunity for Ross and his band to generate excitement and energy, and spread the message, by networking with other professionals in all disciplines.

For more on Ross’ artistic journey at cSPACE, please watch the artist documentary (at left) or read our interview with him (link below).

James Watson

A classically trained violinist, and runner-up for the Kamloops Mayor’s Emerging Artist Award, James is a performer/collaborative artist who emphasizes exploration and fusion in his work. His immense curiosity as an artist has led to branching out into celtic, jazz, and avant-garde musics. As a performer he aims to make every musical performance a memorable, immersive and engaging experience. James took full advantage of the personal and professional development available through the Creative Incubator to advance his practice. During James’ time in the Studio Theatre, he was able to experiment with Steve Reich’s Violin Fase, a kaleidoscopic piece of minimalist music, and advance his technological abilities in music production. This experience allowed him the time and space to grow and diversify his skills through play and experimentation.

For more on James’ artistic journey at cSPACE, please watch the artist documentary (at left) or read our interview with him (link below).

Misha’s Incubator Films

Misha Maseka

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Misha Maseka is a writer, filmmaker, opera singer and musician who has seen much of the world and its people. Born in eSwatini to Zambian parents, Misha grew up in South Africa and Australia, finally settling in Canada. Alway inquisitive about the world around her, she identifies as a multidisciplinary artist and has many expressions of her talents. When not editing childrens’ books or making documentaries, Misha makes time to write and perform music under the stage name, Lemba. 

As part of this year’s Creative Incubator, Misha welcomed the opportunity to further refine her extensive skills and develop her technique in cinematography. Her lived experience as a westernized African artist gives her strength in her vision. As an ongoing student of storytelling, she deeply appreciated the opportunities for collaboration provided by working alongside all this year’s Incubator Artists.

Ximena’s Incubator Films

Ximena Ríos

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Ximena graduated from Sandi Somers’ Herland Workshop for Independent Female Filmmakers in 2018-19 and has since pursued a career in independent filmmaking. This path has led her to winning nominations and awards for web-series and editing on various projects. Ximena felt an immediate connection to the Creative Incubator Initiative because of the desire to tell the story of artists behind the scenes of their work. She finds as much beauty in the way art is created as in the final product. As a filmmaker, she respects artists because she is one herself. She was eager to capture the unseen beauty that lays in the artists’ creative process.

Ryan’s Incubator films

Ryan Wilkes

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Ryan came to the Creative Incubator with 4 years of commercial filmmaking experience under his belt with the travel, tourism, and events industries overseas. Since returning to Canada in 2020, he has focussed on his true passion, documentary storytelling. His films have been shown at adventure films festivals around the world. Looking for opportunities to become more involved in the local arts community, and ncreasingly interested in the stories, practices and motivations of other artists, the Creative Incubator offered an opportunity to work and connect with other local artists while capturing subject matter he is passionate about.

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