The Ayatana Artistic Research Program is a Canadian, artist run, residency program dedicated to encouraging visiting artists to engage in hands on research, adventure and experimentation.  At Ayatana we believe that part of the artist’s job is to see the world from extraordinary points of view. Our initiative is to help artists achieve those points of view by facilitating experiences and research opportunities in unusual places. We achieve this by offering action packed thematic artist research residency programs.

We specialize in science and host regular programs on Biology and Geology where we gain access to laboratories, abandoned mines, private fossil beds, farms and wild life centers. Our artists enjoy visits with scientists, naturalists and aficionados who are eager to share their unusual points of view in ways that are often off limits to ordinary people.

Israeli artist Thea Fridman looks through a petrographic microscope

Alberta Artist Andrew Godsalve peaks over the edge of
Cape Split, NS

English Artist Lottie Smith works on a crop circle in the snow

Although we love science, we are interested in all adventurous research opportunities that might take us to diverse locations and inspirations. 
We host programs on themes of the sky and flight that have lead us to pilot and jump out of air planes. We have hosted programs on winter and cold that have lead us to underground ice formations and dog sledding.

US Artist Elena Thomas free falls from an airplane with instructor David Williamson
Morpeus the Morphos butterfly emerges in the Ayatana Moth and Butterfly Observatory
Polish artist Maria Dmitruk watches an osprey take off over the Ottawa River

The program began in the summer of 2014, when 9 international artists converged in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada to study and have intimate experiences with the natural world.

Week long workshops featured field trips into natural settings and meetings with local experts to share knowledge and passion.

US artists Michael Barraco and Bill Scully visit the K. Irving Botanical Garden Herbarium

In 2015 Ayatana challenged it's residents by daring them to participate in as many field trips and workshops in one week as humanly possible.

In 2016 Ayatana is introducing new research opportunities including Vestiges for artists interested in abandoned buildings, Quench for artists to study water and a series of specialized Biophilia programs for fibres artists, sound artists and night owls.

NYC Artist Adrian E. Rivera takes a scan of
T-rex for 3D printing

Ayatana has run in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and Chelsea, Quebec. We are eager to continue to find new places to study around the world.

We have plans for many more unusual programs, based in science and other realms.


Local artist Carol Howard Donati
at the Andrew Pelling Lab for Biophisycal Manipulation

Montreal artist Marjorie Lemay films a pair of eagles
through binoculars with super 8


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Special thanks to:

Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club






Bioacustic research residency