Spiritual and Liturgical Arts Collective


Call to Artists

Writers, Musicians, Dramatists, Dancers, Videographers and Artists for artist-in-residence program.

The artist-in-residence program at Robertson-Wesley United Church is offered through the Spiritual Arts Collective, an outreach program that started in 2013. Its objectives are to connect members of the community with arts in an expressive way while discussing and exploring spiritual themes. Each artist will work with a spiritual art collective and have a determined time to develop an art project. The project must incorporate the various talents of the participants who make up the collective. During the collective process the artist guides the participants in various artistic exercises, which he or she chooses. "The collective process is what encourages people to come out of their shells. Participants will share stories while taking part in artistic exercises, whether painting, writing, dancing, singing and more" says Karen Bridges, minister at RWUC. Following an initial gathering meeting, the artist will coordinate and facilitate the collective in their art project and find an appropriate form of expression for the collective. This could be a community event, whether private or public, and can also be highlighted within a worship service.

As many as 6 artists will be chosen for the year, from September 2014 to June 2015. Chosen artists will have access to space and equipment at RWUC as well as support from the Program Curator and artistic staff. Katherine Restoueix, a past artists-in-residence says: "The spiritual arts collective was a wonderful program for me. It helped me develop and master some of my skills and the support I received from RWUC helped me gain confidence in my work as an artist." This is the second year that RWUC is offering this program and its inaugural year saw 5 artists take part.

This year we will not only have 3 spiritual art collectives but we will also have 3 liturgical art collectives. Liturgical art collectives will focus on incorporating the arts within the act of worship. The liturgical art collective participants will work on art project following a theme as determined by the church liturgical calendar: Advent, Season of Pentecost and Lent. The artist will work closely with the ministerial team to include the collective art project in worship services.

Artists interested in applying should submit a proposal online through our website detailing what kind of project or idea they would like to work on.

For more information regarding the program or the different collectives, please contact Casey Edmunds, the program curator at spiritualcollective@rwuc.org. or 780-482-1587.

The artistic team at RWUC includes Casey Edmunds, program curator, Karen Bridges, Minister of Community Development and Tammy-Jo Mortensen, Music Director. Together along with staff and volunteers at RWUC, they support artists in the creation and development of their work through the spiritual arts collectives. This program was funded through the AB Northwest Conference of the United Church of Canada and developed with the help of the Congregations Project, offered by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University.


Why a Spiritual Arts Collective?


Our hope is that when the collective meets, they will explore a life forming and/or spiritual question or theme and this will enable the group to create something that can be shared with others. It would be up to the group to determine where they will share their creation: at a community event, a stand-alone creation in a public space, or a Sunday morning or alternative worship time. We want to provide an empowering and safe place for participants to share their spiritual journey through any of the arts including visual arts, drama, dance, music, writing, community initiatives or political commentaries. The collective process has the power to create strong relationships and build trust.

God's Spirit at Work

In the United Church one of our statements of faith says, "We believe in God who has created and is creating, who works in us and others by the Spirit." The collective process builds deep relationships and would be an accessible way for people to express themselves and see God's spirit at work.

Arts and Spirituality

Creating and appreciating beauty in our midst is one of the things that draws people together. In her article The Relationship Between Spirituality and Artistic Expression: Cultivating the Capacity for Imagining, author Christine Valters Paintner, says "In art-making we have the freedom to reclaim our feelings, voice, and truth and give meaningful expression to our commitments, values, and ideas." We see our role at Robertson-Wesley United Church as enabling this kind of artistic creation that can shape people's lives, help them reflect on their stories, and project who we are today as we continue to grow together in hope.


There will be no monetary cost to the participants of the spiritual arts collective. The only participant cost is the commitment that you bring to the collective process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be an artist to be a part of the Spiritual Arts Collective?
No, this is your opportunity to try a variety of artistic methods and see what you like to do. All you have to be is willing to try!
Do I have to be or become a member of the church?
No, this is open to anyone who is interested with no strings attached. It doesn't matter how old or young you are, it doesn't matter if you are religious or not, all we ask is that you come with an open mind and heart. Bring your questions, your stories and your passion and be willing to share these respectfully with others.
Does this cost money?
No, all we ask is your commitment to engaged the process and share your energy with others.


To apply to be an Artist in Residence, please click on the link below to access our on-line application form.

Application Form

Application Deadline: 2014 Aug 18

Team and Staff

Casey Edmunds
Program Curator
Rev. Karen Bridges
Spiritual Advisor
Tammy-Jo Mortensen
Music Director

Contact Us:

eMail: Spiritual Arts Collective

Tammy-Jo, Casey, and Karen
Tammy-Jo, Casey, Karen



R-W Thoughts (2013 Apr)
Spiritual Collective: The Yale Project

R-W Thoughts (2013 Jul)
Karen's experience at Yale

R-W Thoughts (2014 Jan)
Mary on CommuKNITy

News Media

CBC Edmonton (2014 Jun 20)
Knitting "bomb" creates commuknitty
Interview with Mary Holdgrafer on yarn-bombing

CTV News (Edmonton, 2014 June)
Interview: update on the Oliver Little Library project

Global Edmonton (2013 Dec 13)
"Oliver neighbourhood taking novel approach to community-building"

Yale Institute of Sacred Music

Congregations Project
"Robertson-Wesley and our project"

Casey dancing