Keely O’Brien

Residency: August 8 – October 4, 2022

Keely O’Brien is an interdisciplinary artist and co-artistic director of experimental theatre company Popcorn Galaxies. Her practice incorporates intricately crafted objects with immersive, innovative theatre creation. Devoted to a thoroughly handmade, DIY process, Keely’s work includes immersive installations, imaginative ephemera, and interactive experiences. As a community engaged arts facilitator and educator, Keely creates collaborative artwork with community members and organizations. Frequently site-responsive and engaged with questions of place, home, and belonging, Keely’s work aims to celebrate the potential for creativity and community in the place and people around her.

Keely’s residency project will use mischief and magical thinking to respond to the increasingly challenging circumstances of B.C.’s housing crisis. During her residency at the Blue Cabin, Keely will develop the “Dream Home Manifestation Program,” a participatory public art experience intended to explore both the optimism and the hopelessness encountered by many community members in attempting to find secure and affordable housing. The Blue Cabin offers an important context for the creation of this work, as the structure of the cabin itself holds a history of housing displacement, dreams, and longing.

Keely’s residency will include an interactive installation during the Maritime Festival (August 20 & 21), inviting community members to contribute to a Dream Home Shrine inside the Blue Cabin, co-created with Marina Szijarto. She will also have a call for community submissions via the “Dream Home Hotline” and host open studio days during the final week of her residency.

Photo of Keely O’Brien. Courtesy of the artist.