There is an opening reception at 7 p.m. on August 18.
  • Marshall Ward is a local freelance writer and artist.

In 1999, when I was the City of Kitchener’s Artist in Residence, the program helped launch my artistic career, as it has for many other artists in various disciplines.

Each year over the past quarter century a different artist has held the position, and I am grateful to have had this formative experience early in my career.

During the residency, an artist creates public works of art and sparks discussion and cultural engagement in the Region of Waterloo.

A number of my works hang permanently inside Kitchener City Hall, and a bronze monument I made with two other artists, “The Millennium Thumbprints,” spans the facade. front of the building.

I am therefore delighted to have contributed some of my work to an upcoming exhibition celebrating 25 years of the programme, which will take place at the Homer Watson House and Gallery from August 12 to November 6.

There’s an opening reception at 7 p.m. on August 18, and I look forward to chatting with the many talented artists whose work will be on display.

I have created a new work especially for this exhibition in an entirely new medium for me: fabric. Specifically, my new work is a series of “infinity scarves” – soft, comfortable scarves that form an endless loop, each adorned with written words.

The Words are transcripts of conversations I recorded for the Bonn Park Podcast, a weekly showcase of interesting local people that I co-host with photographer and filmmaker Sara Geidlinger.

The transcript on each scarf is one episode in a series of episodes we’ve hosted to celebrate Waterloo Region women in tech.

For the women featured in this series, scarves represent a tangible talisman of a conversation at an important time in their lives. One episode featured Ellen Brisley, a 10th grade student from Cameron Heights who learned to code a disaster relief mobile app with her friend Leya Oommen. Another featured an elementary school teacher at KW Bilingue, Maya Elkibbi, who holds a doctorate in geophysics and is the recipient of the University of Waterloo’s Excellence in Mathematics Teaching Award.

A scarf bears the transcript of the conversation Sara and I recorded with Sandy Currie, the STEM Program Manager for Google Canada (the scarves were created with the sponsorship of Google).

Each conversation is screen printed on an infinity scarf to signify the connectedness the podcast aims to inspire.

For me, scarves represent the connective tissue between the ways I’ve connected the community over the years: through the written word (including this weekly column), through artwork, and now at through podcasting.

The scarves are a tactile and inviting expression of the written word, the spoken word, and the spontaneous interactions that emerge from authentic conversations between curious and creative residents. Following the exhibition, the women who shared their stories on the series on women in tech will each receive the scarf bearing the transcription of their story.

The scarves are an expression of my gratitude for a career based on creativity and conversation – a career that was launched more than two decades ago by Kitchener’s Artist-in-Residence program.

Marshall Ward is a freelance writer and artist. Check out his award-winning podcast at bonnpark.com.

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