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We Are Waterloo Portrait Project

City of Waterloo


The exhibit will be installed at the City of Waterloo Museum, located at Conestoga Mall (near the food court), from Jan. 17 to June 9, 2017. There will be a reception with light refreshments for community participants, artists and anyone curious about the project on Thursday, Jan. 26 from 4 to 9 p.m. Please RSVP online to select an entry time. Admission is always free.


The We Are Waterloo Portrait Project began in 2016 as a year-long community art initiative to capture the connections between art, culture, community, and identity. During more than twenty artist-led public workshops and activities, community members challenged themselves to create the self-portraits that comprise this collaborative community artwork - a portrait of Waterloo.

Pieces were scanned as part of the project with originals going back to their creator and with the City of Waterloo retaining rights to reproduce the work as a print for display purposes. 

The more than 500 unique and inspiring self-portraits by individuals who work, play and live in Waterloo not only celebrate the diversity of our community, but illustrate how Waterloo embodies what it means to be Canadian. By timing the project in conjunction with Canada's sesquicentennial, the exhibition offers an opportunity for the community to celebrate its present as well as its past and future.

Program outcomes

  • Connect the community and encourage participation at a local level;
  • Work with a local artists to create connections between arts, culture, and community while promoting the diversity in the community;
  • Curate an exhibit of the pictures showcasing the skill, community support, and engagement of community;
  • Exhibit the project in conjunction with the sesquicentennial.


The workshop and portrait collection phase of the program ran from January - December 2016, with exhibition of the work taking place in 2017.

Public workshops and activities were held throughout 2016, each lead by different local artists. Some workshops were organized in partnership with or independantly by community groups. The dates, locations and artist facilitators of the portrait workshops were as follows:

Jan 23

John M. Harper branch of the Waterloo Public Library

Heather Franklin
Feb 15Button Factory ArtsHeather Franklin
Feb 27

Visitor & Heritage Information Centre/Train Station

10 Father David Bauer Drive

David Okum
March 16Adult Recreation Centre Amy Ferrari
April 21

Visitor & Heritage Information Centre/Train Station

10 Father David Bauer Drive

James Nye
April 29

Visitor & Heritage Information Centre/Train Station

10 Father David Bauer Drive

Michele Braniff
May 16

Waterloo Brownie Unit

Button Factory Arts
May 16

Waterloo City Centre

Council Chambers

May 28Waterloo Public Square as part of Extra CurricularJoanna Wroblewska
June 4

Waterloo Public Library as part of STEAM Heat

Button Factory Arts
June 18

John M. Harper Branch of the Waterloo Public Library 

Nancy Peng and Salome Perez
July 29

Waterloo Public Square

Meaghan Claire Kehoe
Aug 10

Africa Culture camp

Melissa Falconer
Aug 17

Conestoga Mall as part of You Belong Here

Laura Paghal
Sep 6-9

University of Waterloo and Wilfried Laurier University Orientation Weeks

Michele Braniff
Sep 17

Royal Medieval Faire

Dan Holt
Sep 30

Wilfrid Laurier University Library, Waterloo Campus

Pamela Rojas
Oct 15

RIM Park as part of You Belong Here

Jenn Weatherall
Oct 18

Settlement Co.

Jason Panda
Oct 19

City of Waterloo Staff, RIM Park

Angela Grasse and David Caesar
Oct 30

Neighbourhood Group

Neighbourhood Group
Nov 2

Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre

Rene Meshake
Dec 1

Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex

Candice Leyland


More information

The We Are Waterloo Portrait Project is a culture plan initiative that works with artists to create connections between arts, culture, community, and identity while promoting the diversity in Waterloo.