Hello, I’m Lisa Benschop
I moved to Creston in 2013, with my husband and our then two-month old baby. We moved here from Calgary, where we were both active in the art scene; I’d been working as Gallery Director at STRIDE, one of Calgary’s oldest Artist Run Centres, and he was working as a gallery technician at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery on the AUArts Campus (it was still ACAD back then though). I was born and raised in Edmonton, and spent many childhood summers in Riondel with my grandparents. I completed a BA with Honours in English (literature) at the UofA before moving to Toronto, where I took extension courses in darkroom photography and developed my own creative pursuits, which at the time included creative writing, street photography, drawing and cut paper collage. I moved from Toronto to Calgary to begin my studies at ACAD in 2004. I graduated with a BFA in 2008, having done a major in sculpture and an unofficial minor in painting. During my time at ACAD I was also deeply involved in student government andparticipated in many diverse exhibition and public performance events both as an artist and as a coordinator/administrator.
My creative interests started with writing and photography when I was a young kid. In my first degree at the UofA I focused on literature and honed my writing skills. In the years between my English degree and when I went back to school to pursue my BFA, I continued with creative writing, and explored photography more deeply, while also indulging a deep enjoyment of cut-paper collage and various forms of drawing. In my studies at ACAD (now AUArts), I focused on drawing, sculpture, and painting, with side explorations in performance and installation art and community organization.
My practice now happens inside a container that I’ve built over the last 15 years or so, named the L. S. Benschop Institute for the Preservation & Veneration of Imagination & Nostalgia. Within this framework, I make found-object installation and sculptural, altered found-object works, I make watercolour and mixed-media paintings, and I am engaged in an ongoing land-based process with the property that I live on just south of the town of Creston. I also continue to write both creatively and for local/regional art publications, galleries, and fellow artists.
Alongside the more traditional and recognizable art forms I pursue, I am also an avid plant nerd, with a special focus on plants that can be used for folk medicine and traditional crafts (dyeing,fibre-making and etc.). I also work part time at the Creston Valley Public Library where I have just begun coordinating adult programs again, after the Library’s hiatus of in-person programming during the peak of the pandemic. I also continue my passion for community organizing and arts administration by participating on the Board of the Tilted Brick Gallery Association.
I am proud of my time as Gallery Director at STRIDE, and the skills and perspectives that experience gave me. I am proud of the solo exhibitions I’ve shared, the first of which was at a major Artist Run Centre in Calgary while I was still a BFA student, and the most recent was at Tilted Brick when it was still a brand new ARC in the upper floor of Casey’s here in Creston. I am proud of these 15+ years I have spent coalescing work, theories, and future plans within the L.S. Benschop Institute, and I am proud to be maintaining a creative practice even while also being fully occupied with parenting and subsisting in a challenging economy and cultural moment. I am also proud, and very grateful, to be a part of this thriving creative community that’s growing here at TBGA & ArtSpace.