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Artist Call - SubARCCtic V - Snow Castle Exhibit

Posted 2016-08-05
Written by ykarcc



SubARCCtic V (March 2017) - Open Call


YK ARCC is accepting submissions from artists with an interest in developing a site-specific project for the annual Snow Castle.  We are looking for projects that examine and explore themes connected to the Winter Festival itself and/or the surrounding landscape of Great Slave Lake and Yellowknife Bay.  

This is an opportunity for artists to consider how their art practice might respond to some of the environmental, cultural and political factors of Northern Canada. 

Below is a description of the site, as well as details about the application requirements, travel, deadlines, artist schedules, responsibilities of the artist and the YK ARCC, artist fees and resources provided.

Deadline for Submissions isOct 1, 2016. 

Exhibition Date: March 2017 - exact dates to be negotiated with the artist(s). 

Yellowknife Bay

Extreme Climate:

Every November Yellowknife Bay on Great Slave Lake becomes a bleak and frozen field of ice and snow, the gateway to a vast and rugged sub-arctic landscape. The daylight hours diminish to a mere 4 hours a day and temperatures fall to around -25 C, but can snap to an extreme -45. 


Until recently, Yellowknife Bay had been considered federal property and was patrolled and ruled by federal laws. Included in these laws is the “right to moor any registered marine vessel”. The law’s definition of a marine vessel could also include floating homes, and this inspired a houseboat revolution in Yellowknife as a place of refuge for DIY homebuilders. What followed was an experimental, inventive, and sometimes dangerous arrangement of custom built floating homes. Now, over two decades later, there is a vibrant community of nearly 30 houseboats, all of which are completely unique, self-sufficient and off-grid.

The Snow Castle

Every January 1st on Yellowknife Bay, the Snowking’s crew sets to work for 2 months to build a new magnificent Snow Castle. On March 1st it becomes the venue for a month long arts festival featuring music, theatre, film, visual arts and more.

The Snow Castle covers approximately 4000 square feet of space, and holds up to 400 people. The Castle itself is constructed of snow and ice and features winding corridors that lead to ice furnished rooms, a giant slide, a stage, a dance floor, a cafe and a gallery. 

The Snow and Castle Construction:

The Snow in Yellowknife falls only a little at a time, but over months of small flurries, many feet of snow eventually accumulate on Great Slave Lake. With the aid of a bobcat equipped with a powerful auger, thousands of tons of snow can be harvested off the lake’s surface. The snow is broken up before being blown into pre-fabricated wooden moulds that make up the walls of the castle, resulting in a durable structure of packed snow.


The YK ARCC encourages applicants to consider how their project might respond to or utilize the unique architecture of the Snow Castle. The selected artist may use a prefabricated gallery space which measures approximately 16 x 10 feet in size, and has a vaulted arch ceiling and walls made of snow and ice to present their work. 

Opportunities for environmental art or "spacial intervention" within (or outside) the snow castle may be possible with potential collaboration (and approval by) the building crew.

Artist Responsibilities


The exhibition of the project will remain in the Snow Castle for at least one week and up to 2 weeks in March, with dates to be negotiated between the YK ARCC and the artist. 

Artist Talk

The artist is also expected to give an artist talk about their previous work or current project at the Snow Castle.  


YK ARCC can offer the following fees and assistance to the chosen artist:

Exhibit Fee: $1957

Artist Talk Fee: $298

Shipping: $500

Per Diems: $60/day

The YK ARCC will assist in securing funding for travel and other project expenses. 

The YK ARCC can also help the artist to arrange housing for the duration of their stay. 


Application Requirements

Please submit the following on or before the deadline date of October 1, 2016.

1. Project Proposal (maximum 750 words)

2. Artist CV (maximum 2 pages)

3. Images of previous work (maximum 12 jpgs)

4. Description of images of previous work, including: title, medium, year. 

5. Any special technical requirements. 


Please submit applications to:




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