City announces two new Artists in Residence

August 11, 2023

Earlier this year, the City of Fort St. John, with the support of the Fort St. John Arts Council, partnered with STEPS Public Art to support the development of new temporary public artworks through two Public Art Residencies – CreateSpace and RECLAIM.

Ovvian Castrillo Hill was selected as the CreateSpace Public Art Resident, which provides emerging or mid-career Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and racialized artists with the skills, relationships and practical experiences needed to build and advance community-engaged public art practices. Over the next several months, Ovvian will work to bring a unique temporary public art piece to our community.

John Lambert was selected as the RECLAIM Public Art Resident, which supports mid-career artists in their pursuit of public art practices focusing on the use of upcycling art or construction materials in the creation of new work for exhibition. John will lead a small cohort of youth and young adults through completing a 3-dimensional temporary art installation featuring reclaimed and upcycled materials.

"We are thrilled that two incredible local artists have been selected as our new Artists in Residence in partnership with STEPS Public Art. We are excited to watch as they develop temporary art installations for our community to enjoy while growing their skills,” shared Eryn Griffith, Arts and Culture Manager for the City of Fort St. John.

For more information about the Artist in Residence program, visit  

Ovvian Castrillo Hill Biography

Ovvian Castrillo Hill trained as a designer and honed as a design/art writer and consultant when she began sculpting in 2003 under the tutelage of her dad, Eduardo.

Employing familiar materials, she repurposes metals and alters finishes – making for her a distinct Ovvian Castrillo proficiency in her art while undeniably rooted in her sensei’s influence. Each sculpture is personal to her, with a story prodded by emotions culled from her continued evolution as a daughter, a mother, a wife and a woman—and as a Filipino living in Canada.

Ovvian’s work can be found in Metro Manila, Cagayan de Oro, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the USA and Canada.

In Canada, Ovvian Castrillo Hill has been participating and curating the EX SITU Art Exhibit held at the Peace Gallary North, at the North Peace Cultural Center in Fort St. John, BC, since 2019.

She has also entered and was awarded in numerous art competitions, including a public art design and an award trophy design for the City of Fort St. John, as well as an art competition in South Korea.

It is also in Canada that she has embarked on making filmmaking projects – having received 2 grants to create a documentary series for TELUS STORYHIVE.

John Lambert Biography

John Lambert is of Cree, Carrier and Métis descent and a third-generation First Nations Carver, living in Fort St. John, BC, with his amazing children. Over the years, John has been awarded commission projects to represent Indigenous Carvers for North Eastern BC, with his work featured in the head offices of the First Nations Health Authority in Vancouver and Prince George, among many other projects. 

Through the years, John’s life has been greatly impacted by addictions, both in his immediate family as well as his community.  As a result, he has become heavily involved in the recovery process – as the Founder and Chairman of the Non-Profit “Project Thunderbird,” which specializes in the mentorship of at-risk youth. Currently, John runs the Indigenous Carving Program at the Fort St. John Association for Community Living, working with a unique and vibrant group of individuals. 

He has been commissioned to work on public art carvings, such as the mother bear and baby cub in the Fish Creek Community Forest, which honours the memory of Amanda Black, who tragically passed due to domestic violence. It is my passion for recovery and healing that has brought me to participate in the RECLAIM project, which unites young artists and the environment together through community, connection and creativity.     

About STEPS Public Art

STEPS is committed to amplifying the voices of Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), Black, newcomer, LGBTQQIP2SAA+, racialized, disabled & equity-deserving artists. CreateSpace is a suite of programming developed by STEPS in collaboration with our national advisory network aimed at cultivating mentorship, training and paid creation opportunities for equity-deserving artists that simultaneously demonstrates the ability of public artists to reimagine equitably designed cities.


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