research labs
Residents are introduced to the K. Irving Botanical Garden research labs

pond life
Artist Barbra Bushey collects specimens from Brewers Pond


Artist Cynthia Farnell inspects a pineapple flower with a pocket microscope

Expedition leader Alyssa Ellis finding Ghost Plants

Residents collect ferns by moonlight for a ritual performance

Residents forage with herbalist Amber Westfal at the Wild Garden.

Residents view specimen at the National Museum of Nature's Herbarium

Residents learn to prepare materials at the bio dynamic Kin Vineyard

Residents visit the Just Food farm to learn about seed saving



Plants and botany for Artists
Gatineau Hills, June, 2021

Germinate is a weeklong program for artists to focus on the plant kingdom. The residency will involve twice daily excursions into forests, wildlife sanctuaries, farms and research labs enriched by various plant specialists. The program is designed to give insight into plant knowledge from a wide range of perspectives.

Ayatana residencies focus on experience and research by visual and conceptual artists. Writers, poets, musicians and dancers are also invited to apply. This residency will host five or six selected international artists. This immersive research residency leaves little time free for making art, but developing ideas out loud and collecting material is encouraged at all times. Although the majority of the activities in this program are scientific, of all the Ayatana residencies, this one evolves the most magic. Artists interested in ritual will be be happy here. No previous experience in biology is necessary but a portfolio showing your creative practice is required to apply.

At least half of Biophilia field trips are spent outdoors. Hikes are gentle.

All activities are subject to change depending on ecological conditions, expert availability and other uncontrollable variables. Outings will go ahead rain or shine.

We invite you to give a private artist talk to share your work with the group.

Guided tour of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden to talk about native species.

Meet with the Ottawa Society of Botanical Illustration or an Agriculture Canada illustrator.

Visit the National Herbarium archives to open drawers, learn about collection and DNA sampling.

Hike the woods with an expert from the Ontario Invasive Species Council.

Lecture on contemporary artists working with live plants.

Hike the Wild Garden to collect edible and medicinal wild plants with a herbalist and learn to process them.

Visit the Arboretum with a tree specialist.

Meet a kirilian photographer for an artist talk and plant EEG demonstration.

Explore shore line plant life with a River Keeper or collect pond samples and examine diatoms and single celled photosynthesizing organisms.

Botanizing with a bryophytologist (searching for moss in the wild)

Visit the Ottawa Seed Library to learn about seed saving and sustainable food farming.

Visit a bio dynamic vineyard to learn about planting by lunar calendar.

Talk on poisonous garden plants from a representative from the Royal Horticultural Society.


Residents will be picked up in Ottawa, Canada and driven to the Ayatana Residency House, near the small town of Chelsea, Quebec. This culturally vibrant town, surrounded by forest and nestled between Gatineau National Park and the Gatineau River, is home to many scientists and artists.


$1300 USD
Residency places are limited to 6 artists. Official invites will be given to accepted applicants to help in the procuration of grants and funding.


What is included:
All activities.
Transportation to all activities.
Supplies, equipment and technical gear.
A comfortable bed in the Ayatana residency house.
Most meals will be provided, cooked by our resident chef. *Residents will be responsible for paying for their own meals from restaurants, which will happen 2 or 3 times during the week.

How to apply: Only applications that follow these guidelines will be considered.
Send the following material to ArtLovesScience@gmail.com
1. Artist CV
2. Artist statement (about 200 words)
4. Portfolio 5 – 10 examples of your work


Disclaimer: Those who do not like the outdoors or to talk about art, need not apply.


For more images of past Ayatana adventures see our face book albums

Germinate June 2019,
Chelsea, Quebec

Germinate July 2018,
Chelsea, Quebec

Germinate Aug 2017
, Chelsea, Quebec