SYDNEY, N.S. – Kelsie Young has been selected as the 2020 Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design’s artist-in-residence in partnership with Parks Canada. The residency will place Young in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park for six weeks, where she will live and work in the park.
“The residency is like nothing else, it provides me time to be solo and in the deep woods,” said Young.
The 30-year-old is part of the Qalipu First Nation and as an artist weaves together objects that she sees on her meditation walks into dreamcatchers. The objects can include anything from driftwood to seashells and it’s her way of memorializing that place in nature.
“I pride myself on being able to find the beauty in the kind of oddities and patterns and complexities you find in nature,” said Young.
Young began her stay Sept. 15 and her residency runs until Oct. 23 but she’s already found some inspiration in the national park — locations like Franey Mountain and the lighthouse near Neils Harbour have already given her some ideas.
According to a release by Parks Canada, that’s exactly what the artist-in-residence program is for — to inspire artwork from the natural beauty of the landscape.
“Natural spaces such as Cape Breton Highlands National Park have always been sources of inspiration for many people and supporting the creation and enjoyment of art is one more way Parks Canada can encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature,” said the release.
Young also has an undergraduate degree from Saint Mary’s University and studied her dreamcatcher craft from members of the Bear River First Nation. Young is also a young and mediation teacher.
She’s spent about a decade in the Halifax region before moving to the Annapolis Valley. Young runs her business Dream Webs where she sells her work. She’s hoping the residency will help expand her business but also that people begin to take care of the land in a more meaningful way.
“We have a deep and important connection to Mother Nature,” said Young.
She also hoped that more of the land in Canada would be taken care of and protected like the land at the national park. The artist-in-residence program is in its fourth year and the executive director of the Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design was happy to have Young.
“The centre is excited to welcome Kelsie Young to Cape Breton. It is not every day that an artist has the opportunity to live and be inspired by the stunning natural landscapes of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We are thrilled that this program continues to be a success and we look forward to continuing this partnership with Parks Canada,” said Lori Burke in the release.
Parks Canada also offers an artist-in-residence program at other locations throughout the country, including Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, Banff National Park and others.
Oscar Baker III, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post