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Environment alumna named Kitchener’s 2017 Artist in Residence

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Young female artist posing next to wall of mosaic art pieces

In 1995, the City of Kitchener created the first municipal artist-in-residence program in Canada. Now, they welcome their first mosaic artist, Faculty of Environment alumna Julie Sperling.

As a geographer and environmentalist, Sperling’s work is influenced by both the surrounding landscape and present-day environmental challenges. 

Receiving her undergraduate degree in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability and her masters degree in Geography, Sperling credits her time at Waterloo for informing her current work.

“An important part of my practice as a mosaicist working at the intersection of art, environment, science, and policy is being able to speak confidently about the issues I'm depicting in my mosaics,” she says. “I feel a responsibility as an artist-advocate to explain and teach through my mosaics, and I'm fortunate that my time at Waterloo gave me the knowledge and skills to be able to do so.”

Over the next year, Sperling will be sharing that knowledge and passion with the community, offering workshops and other engagement opportunities throughout the year. Residents will be able to create their own modular mosaic which will later be incorporated into four larger pieces focusing on energy, transportation, food and natural storm-water management.

While the next few weeks will be spent planning, Sperling says the residency will be in full swing by May. To stay up to date, you can follow her blog and for more information about the Artist-in-Residence program, visit