Megan Spencer – Artist Biography
Megan works primarily as a community engaged artist facilitator and in her private practice as a multi media visual arts with a passion for story telling through puppetry.
Megan’s commitment to community work began shortly after she graduated from the Fine Arts program at Fanshawe College in 1995 when she began doing front line social service work in Toronto. She quickly learned that incorporating opportunities for creative expression as part of her work resulted in a sense of peace and deeper connection with her clients, and better relationships with each other. Since that time she has perused further training in expressive arts including Wild Words with Eleanor Crowder of Bear and Co, and Puppetry workshops with the Old Trout Puppet Workshop and The Toronto School of Puppetry.
Supporting youth continues to be an important part of Megan’s community arts practice. She worked as an OV-COAS artist-in-residence to co-create a youth theatre production called ‘My Flesh and Bones’ which included supporting the youth participants in developing the concept, and performing in the shadow puppet final production. Megan has offered shadow puppet workshops and shows in schools and as part of the Puppets Up! Festival in the Ottawa Valley and puppet making and diorama workshops in the OV-CAOS studio.
In 2017, Megan was the lead artist in creating a mural with youth at the Salvation Army Youth Centre which reflected their experience of the space. Megan introduced the concept of co-creating a design concept by offering a variety of materials to the youth and guided them through the process of what their feelings of being at the centre were, and how to express that experience in an open-ended way in the final design. From that, they co-developed a design for the final mural, and painted it on plywood boards, which were then mounted on a 20ft x 10ft wall in the youth centre.
In 2013, Megan became an artist in residence with the Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio (OC-CAOS), a community arts organization that focuses on access to art creation and experience for residents of the Ottawa Valley. Her work with OV-CAOS has included participation in Train of Thought with Jumblies Theatre on their stop in Killaloe and their project 4 Lands. She offered workshops as part of Salmagundi, a multi arts project in which she partnered with a musician to create improv orchestral pieces. In 2016 Megan worked on Our Histories, Our Stories an OV-CAOS project based on local history stories gathered from local residents. She co-created a table top puppet show based on the stories. Collaboratively Megan and fellow artists in residence hosted a series of ‘Creative Aging’ workshop in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society of Pembroke where she created workshops that supported people with Alzheimers and their caregivers.
Recently Megan was a supporting artist in ‘The Countdown Public Art Project’, a partnership with Red Dress Productions, Women’s Sexual Assault Centre and OV-CAOS, where 4 pebble mosaics around Renfrew County were created with the community to honour victims of sexual violence.
Megan lives in the Ottawa Valley on the Sacred Gardener farm, with her partner Steven, son, Oscar and daughter, Cedar. They grow much of their own food, herbs, keep bees and chickens and run a series of earth wisdom workshops.