Introducing the Talented, Hunter Barron!

As we approached the completion of the recording for the Songs of Kitchener album, we realized there was one thing missing…album art! 

I contacted with the amazing folks I worked with at the City of Kitchener throughout my residency and they connected me with the Kitchener Public Library. We had one meeting and it sent in motion our Songs of Kitchener Album Art Youth Competition, which ran March and April 2021.

We had some great submissions from very talented young artists.

Ultimately, we chose the above design created by 17-year old Hunter Barron! 

Hunter is currently a Grade 11 Honour student at Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Born and raised in the Waterloo Region, Hunter has always had a close relationship with her family who support her in her artistic endeavours. As long as she can remember, Hunter’s passion for art has existed. She enjoys creating original characters for friends, family and teachers as a side business. Upon graduating high school her intent is to attend Sheridan College in Oakville, ON to take Bachelor of Illustration. Her long term goals are to graduate college and work in a graphic studio in the field of concept design.

Let's get to know a bit about Hunter...

When did you realize that you were interested in art and graphic design? How did you get into this field?

I realized that I was interested and had a passion for art since I can remember. I had taken a liking to art at a very young age and now it drives me to the point where it’s almost all I think about. I really got into this field from doodling a lot, to be honest, if I wasn’t doing something then I was doodling so that is what got me into art.

What was your vision and concept for the artwork for the Songs of Kitchener album?

My concept was listening to the songs and taking bits and pieces from each song and incorporating it into the artwork while also using the main theme of “community”. I almost always use bright colours when I do my art so that worked well in the drawing for what I was going to do.

What kind of music do you listen to or what kind of music inspires you when you are designing a piece of art?

I listen to a lot of different music from electro-swing to dubstep, EDM to dark-pop, and even soundtracks from video games. If you name it, I more than likely listen to it, except country. The music that inspires me to do a drawing is more often times than not is EDM music that has little to no vocals or like I said, video game soundtracks.

Just for fun: What is your favourite potato chip flavour and why?

I’d say my favourite chip flavour is either plain original or sour cream and onion. I’m usually a very bold person but when it comes to food I’m as basic as basic can get.

What are your aspirations for your art in the future?

My aspirations for the future are to go to college for illustration, get the degree and either open my own studio or create character concept designs for a company like Disney, Dreamworks or Pixar.

Congratulations Hunter!

Listen to the album on your favourite streaming platform now!

Reminiscing on my Residency: Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time was the very last song created as part of my time as the City of Kitchener Artist in Residence. And, of course, being the last one, we had to end it on a twist! Every other song we created was done in a 1.5 hour workshop where the participants developed the music and the lyrics. At the end, we performed it in a public setting.

Not this time!

This song was created during the 2019 Belmont Village Bestival where the lyrics were inspired by participants of Bestival Reads on the Friday night, who wrote their thoughts about meeting various authors and learning about their books.

Those thoughts were taken (in the form of post-it notes) to Gildner Green in Belmont Village on Saturday afternoon to a group of complete different people where we created music and lyrics based on the experience of those that attended Friday night.

And this is what we came up with:

Once Upon a Time

Open your eyes
Look at the sunrise
Open your eyes
Hope is in disguise

Lead with your heart
Let the journey take part
Lead with your heart
Pick a book to start

The End

It is only fitting that the last song of my residency and the last song of the album ends with “The End”.

Album Art By Hunter Barron

Listen now on your favourite streaming platform!

Reminiscing on my Residency: Yo He Ganado

A couple months into my residency and I had a steady groove going. I had several workshops scheduled and the process (after a few tweaks) was going well. Workshops were taking place in schools, community centres, libraries…you name it. I even started booking workshops for the summer in outdoor settings and with local festivals and porch parties. 

The process was very engaging and produced a wide range of “community compositions”, as I call them. All you need is post-it notes, a wall, a whiteboard, some dice, and a keyboard. Within an hour you had an entire song written by a community! And, for the fun and sustainability of it, we use instruments made out of junk to accompany our musical accomplishments.

Most of my workshops were with kids or families, and they had all been in English. Seems a little odd to single out these combination of facts, doesn’t it? But in July 2019, I was approached by someone from the Downtown Community Centre in Kitchener asking if I would consider coming to a group of 50+ seniors who came together as a group as a social Spanish speaking community, the group was called The Amigos.  She assured me an interpreter would be present.

Even though I was challenging myself with these workshops already, I was always up for a new experience to expand my repertoire. I arrived to such a warm welcome from The Amigos. The interpreter was there, but promptly informed me that she had to leave after the first 20 minutes of the 1.5 hour workshop. I got a bit nervous at that bit of news, but set out to do what we can together.

A few of The Amigos who were more fluent in English jumped in to help me out and, before I knew it, the whole group was running their own show! They loudly discussed which Spanish words make sense to use based on rhythm and number of syllables, they took over the whiteboard and negotiated their own lyrics (in Spanish and English), they were dancing and singing their own song. And I had a blast watching this all unfold before my eyes.

And the best part…we got the whole process on video:


Come together
Good company
Our happiness

Yo he ganado
muchos amigos x2

Estamos juntos
En compania
Con felicidad


Come relax
Eat with us
In harmony
In family


En armonia
Comiend juntos
En familia


Come speak with us
In Spanish
We learn together
Good memories


Ven con nostros
Y en espanol
Haremos juntos
Buenos recuerdos

I was so inspired by this experience that I started an entire project around celebrating our growing diversity in the Region of Waterloo through music

Album Art by Hunter Barron

Listen now on your favourite streaming platform!

Reminiscing on my Residency: Be Resilient

May 6, 2020 was my very first event as part of my tenure as the City of Kitchener Artist in Residence. It was Music Monday and two groups of elementary students at Trillium Public School in Kitchener eagerly awaited a junk music, songwriting workshop.

I’ll admit…I was a bit nervous.

I dreamed up this residency project where I would tour around Kitchener engaging residents through various community events and creating music that spoke about identity, neighbourhoods, placemaking, and other similar topics. Although I had tried the process out a few times – they were with people who had musical background. Here, I planned to go into the community advertising NO MUSICAL EXPERIENCE NECESSARY, just come and let’s write a song about your lived experience!

As we rolled out the process, the children were so engaged and excited to be creating music. It was the best first go I could have asked for. We decided to create a song with each group based on the trait of the month, which was resiliency. The students shared all the things they had learned about being resilient, including strategies to stay resilient in the moment of challenges in our life. They had a lot of very good advice and ideas. 

Here is one of the classes practicing their song before the performance at a school assembly later that day…

Play Video


I’m on a roller coaster ride
And I’m counting to ten
Gonna walk away, Distract myself, then talk it out

Do something that makes you happy,
Calm down!
Your HERO trait is to be resilient

This song, Be Resilient, is the first single off the album, Songs of Kitchener which features all the songs created in community during my residency.

Album Art By Hunter Barron

Listen now on your favourite streaming platform!