For the first time in decades, the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum (EAGM) will have an artist in residence for a full year.
Ruth Langwieser, an Estevan woman who has been involved with the local arts community since arriving in the Energy City three years ago, has been chosen to fill the artist in residence role. Her tenure started on June 21.
Over the next year, she will spend time working with the community while furthering her own practice.
A grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board made her residency possible.
“I’m happy to be here and to be the artist in residence for the full year,” said Langwieser, a Swiss-Canadian ceramic artist.
Langwieser had a previous stint as an artist in residence with the EAGM in 2019, alongside Sarah Timewell, but that was only for a couple of weeks. She set up a small studio to work on her ceramics, showed her works and interacted with the community.
“I like the space, I like the place and I like the people (at the EAGM). It’s just a good combination. With art and with education, I love this,” said Langwieser.
Those two weeks went so fast, she wanted to come back.
Amber Andersen, who is the director-curator at the EAGM, said they were fortunate to receive the Arts Board grant to have someone at the EAGM. While it’s been years since the EAGM had a one-year residency, Andersen remembers how great it was when the Estevan Arts Council had Diana Chisholm as their resident artist in 2015-16.
“This is going to be such an exciting year full of events, and something for the community,” said Andersen, who described the support from the arts board as “a major grant.”
Even within the grant application, it’s a bit of a process in terms of previous dealings with the artist. So it helped that Langwieser had the two-week residency in 2019 and she was a local artist.
“It was something that we could proceed with, especially while we’re working with things like Inside-Out and different programming with Woodlawn Regional Park, because we could do social distancing,” said Andersen. “So these are things we’re able to continue doing and into greater capacity.
“I think it was an idea of also being able to have some shiftability in regards to what your programming was going to look like.”
For the EAGM, it’s great to have an artist in residence who is already living here.
Langwieser’s community work, which will consume half of her working time, will include workshops and other events.
“We are planning things, but I like that there is a combination with a structure, and I like work on seasonal things, and also how do people respond for what they would like to do,” said Langwieser. “It’s a dialogue. It’s not the way that I decide everything, and then we do it, and that’s it.”
An art tent will be set up at the Woodlawn Regional Park this summer. Langwieser will be there working on projects every Friday from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Langwieser hopes that newcomers and participants from Estevan Diversified Services can be involved in the arts over the next year.
The other half of her residency will include personal projects.
Langwieser is going to be part of this summer’s Inside-Out exhibit through the EAGM, starting July 6. The previous editions of Inside-Out have been held at the Woodlawn Regional Park’s Souris River campground, but this year it will be throughout the community.
Andersen compared it to a scavenger hunt, and said the work will be inspired by seashell forms. The number of items for Inside-Out has yet to be decided.
Langwieser has had outdoor works before, but never anything like this.
Two basic themes influence her work. One is her affinity for water. That love of water will be reflected through Inside-Out.
“I want to develop some different works with this theme,” said Langwieser.
The other artistic interest at the moment can be tied to a piece of Estevan’s history. When Langwieser came to the community, she looked at the brick houses, and she found them to be wonderful.
“I love this colour and I love this brick. When you have it in this blue sky and in this sun, I love this brick. I love Estevan brick.”
Her husband is originally from Estevan, and when Langwieser expressed her admiration for the houses, he told her about the Estevan Brick Plant that played such an important role in the community.
“I’m on the track of this old brick plant, and this will be a second theme of my research. I don’t know where exactly it will lead me, but this will be another track where I am going.”
At the end of her residency, Langwieser will have the opportunity to showcase her work at the EAGM.
“These are the basic themes and plans for what we are going to do, so if anybody wants to have some more detailed information about what’s going on, I invite them to browse on Facebook (or Instagram), or just drop in or contact the art gallery.”
Langwieser and Andersen are looking forward to the upcoming year, and meeting and interacting with the community through this valuable program.
“We’re just so very excited to have Ruth have this opportunity, not only for her to have the opportunity as a professional artist, not only to focus on her work, but also to get to know more about Ruth as a newcomer to Canada and a newcomer to the community as well.