Reclaim Public Art Residency

A partnership between VAC and STEPS Public Art

Lead Artist: Germaine Koh

Participants: Alison Bigg, Laveen Gammie, Mike Glendale, David Martinello, Carollyne Yardley

The VAC is hosting a month-long professional development workshop in August 2023.

Reclaim focuses on the use of upcycling art and/or construction materials in the creation of new work for public spaces. During the course of the month-long program, Koh –an experienced public artist– will lead the cohort of emerging artists as they work together to create a work of public art for temporary display.

Rooted in professional development, peer-to-peer engagement and exploration, with the goal of demystifying the realm of public art (from concept to proposal to presentation), Reclaim acts as a public forum as well as a studio.

Public events as part of Reclaim include:

8 August @ 12PM
City of Victoria’s Art in Public Places with Connor Tice (info-session).
Location: Victoria Arts Council’s Pat Martin Bates Gallery (1800 Store St, wheelchair accessible)

Public art is a vital ingredient in the cultural fabric and streetscape of a creative city. The City of Victoria promotes the creation and inclusion of artworks in its public buildings and spaces through art in public places. Connor Tice, an Arts, Culture and Events Liaison, with the City of Victoria, will discuss how the City approaches public art including an overview of the Public Art Policy, existing and upcoming projects.

8 August from 2PM – 4PM
Anatomy of permanent public art processes with Germaine Koh
Location: Victoria Arts Council’s Pat Martin Bates Gallery (1800 Store St, wheelchair accessible)

Germaine will walk through the stages and typical formats for permanent public art processes. Bring your questions about how to navigate public art calls and what to expect. 

10 August from 11AM – 3PM (approximately)
Public Art Tour @ 11am
Location: We will begin at VAC (1800 Store St) and make our way throughout the City, to Beacon Hill Park and back. [be sure to dress for the weather and bring water and a snack]

Co-lead by City of Victoria Senior Cultural Planner Ammar Mahimwalla and VAC Executive Director Kegan McFadden, this tour will consider a handful of important works placed in the public realm with attention paid to materials, location, and cross-disciplinary approaches.

16 August from 2:30PM – 3:30PM
Intro to alternative & temporary public art processes & opportunities with Germaine Koh
Location: Victoria Arts Council’s Pat Martin Bates Gallery (1800 Store St, wheelchair accessible)
Discussion with Germaine about more accessible public art opportunities and expectations for the materials required in calls for submission. 

25 August @ 11am
Ashley Howe will be our guest speaker in the monthly lecture series Creative Mornings.
Location: 750 Fairfield Road
[If you require a stair-free entrance, there is an accessible entrance at the far left side of the building on Fairfield Rd (closest to Blanshard St). Ring the doorbell for assistance and we will be there shortly to open the door for you.]

Join Ashley Howe, the Executive Director of SUPPLY Victoria Creative Reuse Centre, for an inspiring talk on “pride.” Discover how SUPPLY fosters an inclusive and vibrant community hub, diverting materials from the landfill to support artists, students, and teachers. With a strong focus on inclusion, Ashley will delve into the pivotal role of diverse voices in addressing and engaging in climate action for environmental justice. Explore some of the exciting ways that SUPPLY serves as a resource for creative members of the LGBTQ2IA+ community, providing more affordable and sustainable materials and education. Delve into thought-provoking questions like “What role do artists play in climate action?” and “Is reuse truly better for the environment?” as we celebrate the creativity that shapes our community and drives positive change. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage in a meaningful conversation about the significance of creativity in shaping a more sustainable and inclusive future for Victoria.

30 August from 5PM – 7PM
Reclaim Open House
Location: Victoria Arts Council’s Pat Martin Bates Gallery (1800 Store St, wheelchair accessible)
A chance to meet the Reclaim Public Art residents, lead, and see the proposals worked on over the course of the residency. Refreshments will be served

3-15 October
Reclaim Public Art Culture Days presentation
Location: Rotunda Building (1515 Douglas Street, lobby: wheelchair accessible)


Germaine Koh is an artist and organizer whose work ranges widely across media and has been invited to act as lead artist / mentor for this inaugural Reclaim Public Art Residency . Her work adapts familiar objects, everyday actions, and common spaces to create situations that look at the significance of communal experiences and the connections between people, technology, and natural systems. Her ongoing projects include Home Made Home, an initiative to build and advocate for alternative forms of housing, and League, a participatory project using play as a form of creative practice. In Victoria, she produced the public art for the new Topaz Skatepark.

Koh is a 2023 winner of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts. For the 2023-24 academic year she will be a Shadbolt Fellow at Simon Fraser University. In 2018-2020, she served as the City of Vancouver’s first Engineering Artist in Residence and in 2021 as the Koerner Artist in Residence at the University of British Columbia, Koh has also received the Shadbolt Foundation VIVA Award and been a finalist for the Sobey Art Award. After years without a fixed address, she is now based on the West Coast, in traditional Coast Salish territories.

Alison Bigg is a multidisciplinary artist that uses discarded and found materials in her work. She offers the viewers fresh ways to experience the world by sparking a sense of curiosity using humour and irony.

Laveen Gammie works in sculpture installation; presently with textiles, provisional supports, video, and the photographic image. “I continually incorporate new media as different strategies are called for. My practice playfully investigates cultural symbols, systems and signifiers of consumption, class and identity; uncovering the complexities that maintain their power.”

An emerging artist, writer and producer from the Da’nax’da’xw First Nation, Mike Glendale lives and works in his hometown of Victoria, BC. Currently he produces prints, mixed-media, fiction and fictional podcasts using modern photography tools and technology. Mike is thrilled to be included in the RECLAIM Public Art and will access the same energies that went into his most recent mostly-upcycled mixed media work for the group exhibition, PUNK MEDICINE! “Upcycling and respect for the environment aren’t just Indigenous ideologies but an interesting challenge in a contemporary world that disposes of materials nearly as fast as they can be created. This collaboration offers a chance to highlight how people can collectively work to repurpose objects into something of increased value. There’s an alchemical aspect where you get to turn the discarded into something with more value than the sum of its parts.”

Leveraging the mechanics of meaning between art and craft David Martinello’s practice is motivated by a development of techniques to celebrate wood’s influence and work with its agency. He’s had commissions for public art by the Cowichan Community Centre, the Victoria Park neighbourhood of Calgary and the City of Nanaimo. As part of Reclaim David will be engaging the public through connections with the environment by collating how wood can be found in downtown Victoria to its natural origins.

Carollyne Yardley is an interdisciplinary artist researcher based on the traditional and unceded territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən speaking peoples. Through assemblage, photography, and installation, her artworks incorporate walking, intuition, touch, and chance to investigate the collective consciousness of our relationship with urban “wildlife.” Yardley repurposes both found organic and anthropogenic materials to explore animal-human relations and promote environmental sustainability, while channeling conceptual and material connections between the species. She holds an MFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design and a BA (Double Major) in Art History and Psychology from the University of Victoria.


Thank you to our community partners in the Reclaim Public Art Residency: Supply Victoria and Jawl Properties.

Reclaim is funded by STEPS Public Art, with further support from the City of Victoria’s My Great Neighbourhood Grant.