2019 King Family Bursary winners

Posted on April 18, 2019

Congratulations to the 2019 winners of the King Family Bursary: Art Tent and Elora Grahame! We’re excited to follow their projects as they promote knowledge and appreciation of the Georgian Bay environment.

Thank you to Wally and Marilyn King for making these projects possible through their funding of the King Family Bursary. We’d also like to thank our volunteer jurors for contributing their time and insights, and all the wonderful applicants who made our choice extremely difficult!

Art Tent – Jesse Matas & Kyle Scheurmann

Art Tent, formed by musician, Jesse Matas and painter, Kyle Scheurmann, began with a shared curiosity and passion for creatively documenting the Canadian woods. In the last 3 years, it has grown into an extended collaborative research project, spanning multiple continents and exhibitions. Art Tent’s main initiative is to develop a shared understanding of ecological knowledge, translated across disciplines, bridging visual art, science, music, poetry and story telling. This is done by initiating collaboration between these modes of thinking, enabling hybrid research to be shared in each discipline. Through this process, Art Tent seeks to create new collective knowledge about the environment.

The Georgian Bay iteration of Art Tent will include two trips to the region in order to record a wider range of ecological information, influenced by the change in season. Together, Jesse and Kyle will create a new series of field studies: research taking the form of watercolour paintings, poems and guitar riffs. This work will document the lived experience of Georgian Bay’s most remote and diverse natural areas, providing creative fuel for studio oil paintings and songs.

As we move into new cultural and environmental realities outside what has historically been considered normal for our earth, it is more important now than ever to reflect on and to document the discourse happening between the environment and humans. Painting and songwriting are the ideal vehicles to bring that knowledge to a broader audience, and the Eastern shore of Georgian Bay is the ideal setting to collect it.

Red Leaves, Kyle Scheurmann

“It is an incredible honour to receive the support and encouragement of the Georgian Bay Land Trust in creating new paintings and songs about this unique region. The opportunity ahead of us holds a great responsibility to the residents and ecology of the area, as we set out to showcase the land with all of its majesty in full colour and sound. We are excited to present our research to the community, and look forward to sharing a generative dialogue about creativity and the environment.”

– Art Tent

Elora Grahame

Elora Grahame is a Ph.D. student at the University of Guelph whose research is driven by her passion for migratory birds. Though she spent her childhood exploring the natural landscapes of Massachusetts, her ornithological fieldwork brought her to Georgian Bay in the spring and summer of 2018. She quickly became enthralled by the unique combination of open forests, wetlands, and rock barrens characteristic of the region.

This year, Elora is continuing her research project on Common Nighthawks and Eastern Whip-poor-wills, two nocturnal migratory birds that breed in Georgian Bay. These insect-eating species have mostly vanished from southern Ontario, and given their secretive natures, the causes behind their staggering range-wide declines remain unknown. With support from the Georgian Bay Land Trust, Elora is unravelling mysteries about nest success and migration for these charismatic nightjars with the goal of improving strategies for their conservation.

A Common Nighthawk in flight

An Eastern Whip-poor-will nestling

“I’m incredibly honoured to receive the King Family Bursary in support of my research on Canada’s eastern nightjars, and I look forward to sharing my passion for these species with the Georgian Bay community. It is my hope that studying Common Nighthawks and Eastern Whip-poor-wills on their breeding grounds will shed light on the causes behind their diminishing numbers, allowing us to remedy their declines and ensure the continued presence of these charming birds in Georgian Bay for generations to come.”

– Elora Grahame