Jennifer Lee

#CouncilSpotlight – Jennifer Lee

Jennifer Clark

Jennifer Lee: Earning a Seat at the Table

The Ottawa Arts Council supports artists and arts organizations through leadership, guidance and the provision of opportunities to advance our local creative potential.

Our series #CouncilSpotlight presents stories and experiences of Arts Council members and art award recipients.

Jennifer received the Young Artist Award in 2017.

Jennifer Lee

Where are you from? Are you from the Ottawa area?

I am from the Hunt Club/Ottawa South area.

How did you get involved in the Ottawa arts community?

In attending Canterbury High School for Visual Arts, I’ve had many opportunities to get involved in the Ottawa arts community through volunteering. I heard about the Ottawa Arts Council only last year when Council representatives came to our school and introduced the Young Artist Award. Ever since, I have been connected to Cara Tierney, my mentor artist, and other artists and members of the Ottawa Arts Council.

How would you describe your artistic practice/discipline?

I am a student artist still experimenting with media and style. Eating disorder, mental illness, and the role of mental illness in women are themes I often go back to. I highly enjoyed mix-media painting, installation work, and conceptual art. I hope to further refine these skills in post-secondary by studying Fine Art and Art Therapy.

What impact has your involvement with the arts/the Ottawa arts community had on your life?

My involvement with the arts/the Ottawa arts community has made me realize that I thoroughly enjoy working with other artists, as well as getting involved in the community. Being part of the Ottawa Arts Council is like having an art family or cooperative. It makes me strive to do more community and volunteer work in the arts in the future, whether it be with the Ottawa Arts Council and/or other community art organizations.

Is there a specific moment/situation in your art career that you remember fondly?

A specific moment in my art career I remember fondly was receiving my acceptance letter to Arts Canterbury [a specialized Program of the Arts in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and entry is by audition only]. This moment was particularly important for me as it became the catalyst for the artist and person I am today. Arts Canterbury has opened up many doors for me in terms of personal and artistic exploration and involvement. I’m pretty sure I would not have much of an art career if I weren’t in the Arts Canterbury program.

Do you have any advice for young artists in the Ottawa community or artists in general?

Advice I would give to young artists in the Ottawa area would be to get involved in the art community! Ottawa has many art galleries, organizations, and opportunities to get involved. Young artists should take advantage of the opportunities living in Canada’s capital gives us. This could be getting involved with the National Gallery, Carleton University Art Gallery, SAW Gallery, the Ottawa School of Art, Shenkman Arts Centre, Young at Art, the Ottawa Arts Council, the Canada Arts Council, and more.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on refining the final piece of my Young Artist Award project. It will be an interactive dinner table installation with a projection of me, at the head of the table performing my eulogy for my eating disorder. In school, I am working on a final Grade 12 mural project of different versions of myself all coming together for a dinner party.

What was it like to receive an award from the Ottawa Arts Council? How did it impact your career?

Receiving the Young Artist Award from the Ottawa Arts Council felt unreal, but also confirmed my place as a student artist in the community. It was a huge encouragement that helped me realize that, yes, art is a viable career and that there are many financial supports out there to help you realize your vision, if you reach out.

It has had a significant impact on my art career, because in working with Cara Tierney, my mentor artist, I’m able to get a deeper understanding of what it’s really like to be an artist. The award has introduced me the real art world, involvement with the Ottawa Arts Council and the community, and has become a defining moment in my art career. I cannot thank the Ottawa Arts Council enough for their support, and I really hope young artists will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

Want to learn more about Jennifer? Follow @thesktchbook on Instagram.


The Young Artist Award is accepting applications until April 6, 2018.

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