Art Building Community

Suzie Smith & Kristin Nelson

After completing her B.F.A. with distinction in the Interdisciplinary Fine Arts program at Concordia University in Montreal, Suzie Smith returned to Winnipeg to continue her art practice. Suzie uses a variety of different media, including silkscreen, textiles, drawing, and collage to explore oppositional ideas such as fine art/ craft, public/ personal, and the fascination/critique of popular culture. Her work has been featured in various alternative gallery spaces and magazines such as Nylon (USA) and Biba (France).

Originally from Ajax, Ontario, Kristin Sara Nelson received her BFA in Visual Arts from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2003. She is an inter-media artist whose recent bodies of work have focused upon valourizing communities who are often made invisible. These include a series of figurative painting that examine "butch" through portraiture and an ambitious photographic drag king trading card project documenting 119 kings from around the world. Kristin has exhibited work at Centre A, Gallery Gachet and The Lowercase Gallery (all in Vancouver), and at the Lyndon Center (Austin, Texas).

Read a response to Suzie Smith & Kristin Nelson's
piece by Courtney Slobogian


The Vacated Spaces of Central Winnipeg Research Association (artists Suzie Smith and Kristin Nelson) combines historical fact with urban legend in the creation of a guided walking tour of empty spaces of Winnipeg's downtown and West End neighborhoods. Each "site of interest" is identified by a marker placed on the property, playing with ideas of historical and heritage demarcation. A self-guided tour is also available through a brochure. The project highlights 10 vacant lots, derelict buildings, and houses located between the current residences of Smith and Nelson. Residents along the route of the tour have been asked to participate, giving their own version of events. This combination of VSCWRA research and the residents' oral history has built a well-rounded historical investigation of often forgotten and neglected urban spaces.


We are interested in both the mythology and the factual history of urban spaces. Further, what meanings are contained in "empty" spaces? There are negative aspects of certain empty spaces in our neighborhoods, but also positive histories and potentials as our communities change, grow and redevelop.



Vacated Spaces of Central Winnipeg, 2008
Vacated Spaces of Central Winnipeg, 2008

Vacated Spaces of Central Winnipeg, 2008
Vacated Spaces of Central Winnipeg, 2008


Kristin Nelson, Julie 'oil on canvas' 2003

Kristin Nelson, Christopher Noel's Left Ear in a Box 'oil on panel' 2007

Kristin Nelson, Pat Riarch, Drag King Trading Cards 'trading card project' 2007 2. Kristin Nelson, Christopher Noel's Left Ear in a Box 'oil on panel' 2007

Suzie Smith, 'Action Figure: Guerrilla Girls', Silkscreen on cotton, 2004

Suzie Smith, 'Forest', Pen and Ink drawings, 2007

Suzie Smith, 'Second Hand Records', Silkscreen on record covers, 2007

Suzie Smith, 'Second Hand Records (Dark Thoughts)', Silkscreen on record covers, 2007