Winter Island 2020


Artscape Gibraltar Point is proud to announce the official recipients of the Winter Island 2020 artist project residencies.

After receiving a great deal of strong applications, our jury selected three artists for month long residencies and awarded a special Juror’s Emerging Artist prize to the following applicants:  Rhonda Weppler, sarah koekkoek, Mikiki and Studio Rat.

You can read on learn more about our selections for Winter Island 2020 below and find out how you can be a part of the unique and wonderful self-directed residency opportunities during Winter Island 2019.

Winter Island Artists 2020

January 6 – February 3, 2020
Rhonda Weppler -Sculpture/Installation 

Toronto / New York City

For the inaugural Winter Island Residency, artist Rhonda Weppler will work with island residents to make a series of models of island homes in an effort to explore relationships between public and private space and interrogate ideas of “homey-ness”. The resulting models will be incorporated into a photo-mural and light-based installation.

A home is a private space within a public community, and from this perspective, any home can be seen as an island. The homes gathered together on Toronto Island have an amplified “homey” quality by virtue of being on an actual island set against the city background of downtown Toronto. Collectively they comprise a village within a city, existing simultaneously within, and at a distance from, Toronto.

Rhonda Weppler is a Canadian artist living and working in Toronto and New York City. Her work, both solo and collaborative with Trevor Mahovsky, has been exhibited in galleries and museums institutions internationally, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Vancouver Art Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Dos de Mayo in Madrid, the Power Plant in Toronto, Musée d’art Contemporain in Montreal, Tokyo Wonder Site, loop-raum in Berlin, Palazzo delle Papesse in Siena, and COCA in Seattle. For the past 15 years she has led numerous art workshops in Canada, England, Scotland, San Francisco, Boston, and New York. Her work is represented in public collections including the Musée d’art Contemporain de Montreal, Vancouver Art Gallery, and the National Gallery of Canada. She received her Masters of Fine Art degree from the University of British Columbia in 1999.

February 3 – March 2, 2020
sarah koekkoek – Dance/Movement
Toronto, ON

During the Winter Island Residency sarah koekkoek will lead a series of dance and movement workshops for participants of all experience levels exploring “human/human and human/non-human relationships” – specifically with respect to the natural world – “through a process of movement-based offerings.” These workshops will [in]form koekkoek’s ongoing research the nature of such relationships and ask questions such as “How can we nurture these relationships and hold them in high priority within ourselves and communities?”

The results of these work shops will be incorporated into a movement score

This work is intended as an offering to the natural world, using movement as a language of gratitude, care, relation, and compassion.

sarah koekkoek is an independent dance artist, choreographer and trauma informed educator based in Toronto/Tkarón:to. Her research and choreography examines movement as a language that can help nourish greater understanding and compassion with our relationship to self, others and the earth. Currently her work is exploring our punctured relationship and existence within the abused and exploited natural world, developing an environment of (physical) emotions surrounding climate change and the anthropocene.

After receiving classical ballet training from The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School sarah went on to perform with some of Canada’s largest ballet companies (Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Ballet Jorgen and The Royal Winnipeg Ballet). sarah continues to study movement and choreography through experimental movement exploration and participating in residencies at Banning Bouldins Nashville company New Dialect, and The Banff Centre of the Arts where she worked with Gabrielle Lamb, Eric Beauchesne (Kidd Pivot), Toer Von Schayk, Merrill Ashley, and dancers from Sharon Eyals L.E.V.. In Toronto working as a dancer for Jasmyn Fyffe in the New Blue Festival, Valance Movement (Jamee Valin), IO Movement (Lauren Runions), The Chimera Project, collaborating with Nyda Kwasowsy for Anda_2 Residency as well as visual artists Maryanne Casasanta and Camille Rojas.

At the core of my practice is the recognition that I am an uninvited guest on the territory lands of the Wendat, The Haudenosaunee and The Mississaugas of The Credit First Nations. This informs how I move through the creation process as well as daily life. It is imperative that we do all we can to be respectful to indigenous communities, uphold treaties and remain open to learning and evolving together.

February 25 – March 23, 2020
Mikiki– Experimental Drag/Video
Toronto, ON

During their residency experimental drag performer Mikiki will further investigate ideas around manifestations of notional gender in the natural environment and explore death, decay, fermentation and rot from a queer perspective as “phenomena [that] offer possibilities for reproduction that rely on death and decomposition rather than normative procreation”

Mikiki will bring together fellow drag practitioners to discuss the aesthetics of decaying matter, their relationship to “our own physicality and appearances, and the current complexities within ideas of gender.”

In addition Mikiki will also host a series of public skill shares that further investigate these topics, such as a death café, winter vegetable preservation methods, drag ethics and aesthetics discussion, and a vanitas drawing session.

Mikiki is a performance and video artist and queer community health activist of Acadian/Mi’kmaq and Irish descent from Newfoundland, Canada. They attended NSCAD and Concordia before returning to St. John’s to work as Programming Coordinator at Eastern Edge Gallery. They later moved to Calgary to work as the Director of TRUCK Gallery. Their work has been presented throughout Canada and internationally in self-produced interventions, artist-run centres and public galleries. Their identity as an artist is informed and intrinsically linked to their history of work as a sexual health educator and harm reduction worker. Mikiki’s creative themes often address safe­r sex negotiations, identity construction, attitudes about drug use, disclosure of sexual identity and health status, community building through skills sharing, testimonial and story­telling. Mikiki has worked as a Sexuality Educator in Calgary’s public schools, a Bathhouse Attendant in Saskatoon, Drag Queen Karaoke Hostess in St. John’s. Mikiki has worked in various capacities in the Gay Men’s Health and HIV response in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, recently focusing on Harm Reduction outreach & organizational capacity building and HIV testing. Mikiki is now dedicated to their practice full time when not hosting their weekly Golden Girls screening and queer cultural studies lecture series Rose Beef.

April 6 – May 4, 2020
Studio Rat
Emily Allan & Dominique DiLibero
Sculpture & Installation  
Toronto, ON 

During their April 2020 Winter Island residency Emily Allan and Dominique Di Libero of Studio Rat invite members of the public and artistic community to learn about pneumatic design and related fabrication practices.

Studio Rat interprets inflated spaces as an accessible architecture of simple fabrication, paired with an almost immediate production of new spatial experiences. Through the making of an open-source publication and hands-on workshopping sessions they hope to dialogue with the community about the importance of circular design practices.

Their time spent at Gibraltar Point will include the programming of two community workshops which focus on the material life cycle of plastic through the creation and subsequent low-tech recycling of a pneumatic winter pavilion. Concluding their workshopping series Studio Rat plans for their pavilion to find new form, as a series of recycled community built art-objects.

Studio Rat is a growing creative practice focused on installation work and experimental design fabrication looking to establish research and dialogue within the city of Toronto. Presently Studio Rat is exploring how fabricated pneumatic environments can create common space within a variety of contexts.

Studio Rat grew from founders Emily Allan and Dominique DiLibero shared interest in the history and identity of pneumatic architecture and it’s adaptability within a variety of spatial frameworks. Since its founding in May 2018, Studio Rat has operated in a production period; developing a series of inflated installations for varied commissions and collaborators, most notably Design TO. Their educational background in design prompts an interior-focused perspective to artistic installation and links Studio Rat as a creative practice within a larger understanding of interior design, architecture, and art.

Emily Allan is a designer and artist from Toronto, ON. Her work spans visual and installation mediums with an emphasized interest in small-space living and applications of sustainability within art and design-making.

Dominique DiLibero is a hands-on designer that is interested in how the practice of design can be pushed forwards through exploring forms of making and craft. Her work focuses on 3D objects and installation. Dominique and Emily are both recent graduates of Ryerson University’s School of Interior Design (B.des) and together they make up the freelance collective Studio Rat.

Get Involved

Want the unique opportunity of working in close proximity with our award winners? Interested in participating in the unique projects they are creating?

Apply for your stay during the Winter Island 2020 stay of the artist of your choosing.

Simply fill out an application at  and indicate your desired dates of residency .

Pursue your own work while participating in studio visits, socialization and interactive art projects.

About Winter Islands 2020

Now in its fifth year, Winter Island is a unique, juried, artist-in-residence program aimed at emerging, established and, mid career artists, working in community engaged practice and hosted at Artscape Gibraltar Point, an artist residency located on the picturesque Toronto Islands.   The aim of the Winter Islands program is to recognize three – five artists annually who have demonstrated a strong and unique artistic voice while working in Canada’s visual arts community and provide them with a month of distraction-free studio time to create and/or develop a new and exciting community-engaged work, or body of work, that seeks to collaborate with and/or activate the artist community at Artscape Gibraltar Point and the Toronto Islands.   Selected artists will  present these works/projects to the public, both during their residency and as a part of a Winter Islands Group Exhibition to take place at the conclusion of the residency series at Artscape Youngplace in July 2020.

About Artscape Gibraltar Point  

Located in the former Toronto Island Public and Natural Science School, Artscape Gibraltar Point offers 35,000 square feet of affordable retreat space, artist studios and accommodations for artists and creative thinkers. The tranquil, idyllic setting is world-renowned as a centre for members of the artistic and non-profit communities to think, experiment, collaborate and share ideas.  More than 700 artists a year from across the globe experiment and create art through self-directed artist retreats and thematic residencies hosted in our overnight accommodations. In addition to hosting a maximum of 20 visiting artists at any given time, fifteen long-term artist work studios provide space for a range of painters, sculptors, musicians, filmmakers and a recording studio – all of whom contribute to the unique and collaborative atmosphere at Artscape Gibraltar Point.  

About Artscape  

Artscape is a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities. Artscape is the operator of Artscape Gibraltar Point. Our work involves clustering creative people together in real estate projects that serve the needs of the arts and cultural community and advance multiple public policy objectives, private development interests, community and neighbourhood aspirations and philanthropic missions. For more information visit