About the artist

Alberta-born, raised and based, international performing artist and award-winning songwriter Joal Kamps is passionate about sharing the inherent value the arts bring to everyday life.

In addition to his primary career in music, Joal is also a:

  • dynamic actor and ACTRA member
  • commissioned visual artist
  • devoted artist mentor
  • arts advocate
Photo of Alberta Artist in Residence Joal Kamps

Joal’s original works often draw upon Alberta's history and rocky mountain folklore for inspiration. Combining storytelling, song-writing and performing, he seeks to connect with audiences in authentic ways, breaking down barriers while encouraging participation and cultivating community throughout his interactive and emotive performances.

Artist activities

Joal Kamps’ artistic work has been long inspired by the diverse peoples, history and folklore of our beloved province. However, during his residency, Joal will endeavour to record, produce and perform an innovative new work that explores the personification of Alberta in a stage and recording artwork: “Wild Rose.”

The full production process and public dissemination of “Wild Rose” will highlight the value of the arts in our province by incorporating the skillful contributions of Alberta-based artists into an original sound recording and live concert performance featuring:

  • music and sound
  • literature
  • dance
  • the visual arts

You can follow the artist’s activities on the Alberta Artist in Residence/Arts Ambassador Instagram page at @ab_artistinresidence.

Artist shortlist

More than 50 applications were received for the 2020 Artist in Residence/Arts Ambassador position, which was open to all artists who live in Alberta. Joal was selected from a shortlist of 7 artists.

Lanre Ajayi – filmmaker and visual artist, Calgary

Lanre Ajayi is a passionate storyteller who believes in using his artistic skills to build and promote Alberta communities as a platform for every member of society to become aware of the happenings around them. His new media storytelling project, called “My City Speaks to Me,” is a collection of short documentary films creating a positive narrative from the lens of an immigrant.

Janita Frantsi – dancer, Edmonton

Janita Frantsi is a contemporary dance artist based in Edmonton. Originally from Finland, she spent her youth training in various styles of dance, such as jazz, street styles, contemporary, modern, ballet technique and flamenco, and then fell in love with contemporary dance. Janita holds a MA in Dance from the University of Alberta.

Yukichi Hattori – dancer, Calgary

Image of Yukichi Hattori

Yukichi Hattori started dancing in Tokyo, Japan. He joined the Hamburg ballet in Germany in 1999 and was promoted to soloist in 2004. He then moved to the Alberta Ballet in 2006, where he danced until 2016. He opened and operates the H/W school of Ballet in Calgary along with his partners, Galien Johnston Hattori and Tara Williamson.

Zack Polis – poet and spoken word performer, St. Albert

Zach Polis was St. Albert’s first poet laureate, acting as a literary and cultural ambassador for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. He has performed in New York City and across Alberta, including the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. His poems have been recognized on Vogue Italia’s PhotoVogue and displayed on public art projects and transit vehicles. Zach holds a BA in Drama and Creative Writing from the University of Alberta.

Natalie Vargas – filmmaker, Calgary

Image of Natalie Vargas

Natalie Vargas is an emerging first generation El Salvadorian-Canadian artist. After completing the 2-year film program at the SAIT, Natalie found her voice in filmmaking using stories of her culture and family's triumphs as her inspiration in her script writing and creativity. She now works in collaboration with local artists, using Super 8mm film as her creative medium for storytelling.

Billie Zizi – musician, Edmonton

Image of Billie Zizi

Edmonton's Billie Zizi deftly combines the groove of classic soul with a flair for contemporary RnB melody, while adding an avant-jazz vibe with her adventurous guitar forays to create a sound as accessible as it is experimental.

Previous artist

Lauren Crazybull

Image of Lauren Crazybull

Alberta’s first Artist in Residence/Arts Ambassador was Lauren Crazybull, a Blackfoot Dene visual artist. During her term, Lauren engaged with communities across Alberta – from Medicine Hat to Fort McKay – and completed an art project, “TSIMA KOHTOTSITAPIIHPA Where are you from?” that premiered at Latitude 53 gallery in Edmonton on January 24, 2020.

Credit: Photo of Lauren Crazybull by Conor McNally

We thank Lauren Crazybull for successfully completing her term as Alberta’s first Artist in Residence.