Sculpting Community

Alma Louise Visscher reflects on her work as a multi-disciplinary artist and recipient of the 2020 Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund

Alma Visscher creates fabric-based installations, soft sculptures, and drawings that examine, through a feminist lens, material culture, soft architecture, and the language of abstraction. Living in Amiskwacîwâskahikan for more than 10 years, she is grateful for the Edmonton arts community.

“There’s a beautiful art created in this city; the artists here are inspired to make improvements and launch projects to make it a welcoming place for all,” Visscher says.

Her current practice focuses predominantly on using textiles: soft sculptural paintings, fabric-based installations, and watercolours of fabric-like forms. Visscher’s is involved in points of intersection of material and its relationship to a wide variety of socio-political issues. Visscher’s most notable exhibitions include the 2020 Fibreworks, a biennial of contemporary Canadian fibre art, the 2015 Alberta Biennial of Art, and Abstract Answers in 2019 at the University of Anchorage’s Kimura Gallery. She has also attended residencies nationally and internationally, including the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, also the PILOTENKUECHE International Artist Residency in Leipzig, Germany, and at the Icelandic Textile Centre.

Visscher’s contribution to the Edmonton arts scene involves previous roles at the Scott Gallery and as a sessional lecturer at MacEwan University. She has also partnered with non-profit organizations such as the Art Mentorship Society of Alberta (AMSA) to help those who use art as part of their mental health and wellbeing journeys. Recently, she collaborated with the Trinity Youth Project (TYP) as part of the Community Arts program funded by the Edmonton Arts Council, to engage youth in confronting the brutal realities at the Edmonton Young Offenders Centre.

Visscher is a recipient of the Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund (EATF), a joint initiative of the Edmonton Arts Council and Edmonton Community Foundation. The Fund was founded in 1997 by John and Barbara Poole and the Clifford E. Lee Foundation and was intended to invest in Edmonton’s artistic professionals. The award honours the artist’s work and commitment to their artform and provides financial stability for renewal, production, creation, or exploration. Over the last 22 years, the EATF has invested in more than 100 digital, literary, music, dance, animation, theatre, and visual artists and contributed more than $800,000 to the arts economy.

Leslie Sharpe is an Associate Professor in Fine Art in the Department of Art and Design at MacEwan University. The university recently nominated Visscher for the EATF because of her genuine commitment to the community through her generous mentorship of youth and emerging artists in Edmonton and nearby communities. When speaking on Visscher’s work and dedication, Leslie says, “I know that every work Alma produces from EATF funding will intrigue and challenge us and will be massive no matter what the scale.”

Visscher is excited and thankful to be part of the art scene and is grateful for the contributions of the Edmonton Arts Council and Edmonton Community Foundation. With this award’s support, she will spend a few months working on a new work series as well as taking professional development classes, and collaborating on upcoming projects with visual artist Taryn Kneteman.

Learn more about the EATF