Artist Janice Lee's Folk Myths of Kitchener to be made into zine

Though Kitchener's Janice Lee has folded up her tripod and has officially finished her year as 2015's artist in residence, city staff have recommended a project to turn the singer-songwriter-poet's work into a small publication.
Janice Lee, Kitchener's 2015 artist in residence, asked local artists, such as Lydia Mainville, to illustrate her poetry. Now the City of Kitchener is interested in having some of Lee's work turned into a zine. (Artwork by Lydia Mainville)

Though Kitchener's Janice Lee has officially finished her term as the city's 2015 artist in residence, the city has decided to fund one last project from the singer-songwriter-poet.

The final commission will be a six-page zine, paid for by the Public Arts Trust Fund.

Over the past year, Lee worked on Folk Myths of Kitchener, a video collection of stories told by residents who live around local landmarks such as the Kitchener Public Library, the Iron Horse Trail and the Kitchener Market. 

Lee then wrote poetry and produced videos inspired by those conversations. 

Adults 'forget to see magic'

"It was great fun for me to turn everyday people into spoken word actors in the five minutes I had with each person," wrote Lee on her website. 

"It was fascinating to hear the different tones and cadences in each person's voice. Children held lots of energy and confidence when speaking their lines whereas adults were more tentative," she wrote.

"I felt that the appreciation we hold for stories fades away as we age and forget to see magic. I hope that this project brings back the storytelling tradition that is so easy to leave behind."

Here's what she came up with:

Lee also turned her work into "poetry posters," illustrated by local artists.

On Monday, staff recommended Kitchener's Community and Infrastructure Services Committee approve a subsequent art commission by Lee. 

Her zine will feature some of the stories she collected from residents during her residency, but didn't make it into her videos. 

A city staff report said the zine would be made available all over the city, distributed at events and published online. The commission fee for that project is $2,000.


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