Inside The Banff Centre’s Artist Studios

The Banff Centre's residencies are coveted and for good reason. Meet some of the artists who are taking advantage of the program and tour the state-of-the-art creative spaces, where blowtorches, letterpresses and 3D printers are put to use.


Every six weeks or so, a new crop of very talented artists arrives at The Banff Centre to participate in residencies. Some are self-directed (meaning the artists arrive to work on their own specific project), while others are thematic and led by highly respected international artists and curators, where all the participants in the group are making work relating to a particular concept or theme. In both cases, the goal is to immerse the artist completely in a highly creative environment, where all the day-to-day basics, like meals and housekeeping, are taken care of allowing artists to devote all of their energy to their artistic practice.

With top-notch facilities and highly qualified support staff available to artists for the duration of their stay, it’s no wonder that spots are at a premium. For every opening available, there are usually more than a dozen applicants. Only the best get the chance to take part in a residency here, so they arrive ready to make the most of the opportunity. 

Towards the end of each six-week cycle, The Banff Centre invites the public to come visit during Visual + Digital Arts Open Studios. You get the chance to get behind the scenes and tour the studios, see the artists at work, and see what they’ve made during their residency.

The next event is this Friday, October 16th, beginning at 3 p.m. Start at the Walter Phillips Gallery, then visit the studios in Glyde Hall and the Jean and Peter Lougheed Building. Oh, and there’s wine.

photographs by julya hajnoczky

One of the Banff Centre’s current artists-in-residence, Calgary-based artist Svea Ferguson in her studio at The Banff Centre.


Some of Svea’s work installed in her studio, ready for Open Studios visitors. Svea works with industrial materials, such as vinyl flooring, to create elegant, draping sculptural pieces that are evocative of skeletal structures, clothing, or absent bodies.


One of the benefits of a residency at The Banff Centre is that artists can learn about and experiment with media and processes they may not usually have access to. Here, Svea shows a series of pieces she made during a cyanotype workshop.


Carson Tarnasky, in the Sculpture Studio Practicum, applies a patina to a piece of metal using a blowtorch in the metal shop.


Many artists-in-residence take advantage of the huge papermaking studio to make handmade paper to use in their work. A range of fibre types used in papermaking is displayed on the wall for reference.


The ceramics studio has electric, wood, and soda fire kilns, and a whole room for mixing glazes. They also host community classes and ongoing education programs for local schools.


The sleek darkroom allows artists to produce black and white prints that are several feet wide. The chemical baths have a built-in ventilation system, and a specially designed archival print washer ensures a high quality final product.


The printmaking area has an impressive assortment of historic and modern equipment, including large format printers, lithography, and letterpress.


Silkscreens are stored in packed racks in the printmaking studio.


Letterpress materials stored at a worktable in the printmaking studio.


Artist-in-residence Sean Randolph works on a series of artist books on the letterpress.


Some test pieces created using the 3D printer. The Digital Studio at The Banff Centre has state-of-the art computers, projectors and 3D printers.


Artist-in-residence Kelly McCafferty’s studio is home to an eye-popping rainbow of art supplies and books.


Some of Kelly’s collage pieces hang on the wall opposite her worktable.


Cassandra Holden displays her work in The Project Space, a small gallery available for artists-in-residence.


Visual artists aren’t the only residents here. There are a variety of recording studios that accommodate musicians as well.


Shawn Everett (here in the Luscar Control Room) is faculty for The Independent Music Residency.


Cables snake across the floor of the Telus Studio, one of the larger recording studios available to musicians at The Banff Centre.


For more information on The Banff Centre's residencies and its open studio days, visit

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