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Della Burford

Discipline: Visual Arts
Homebase: Nanaimo
Languages: English
Grant Eligibility: Eligible to apply for AIC

Della is an artist, author, storyteller and immersive environment creator. She taught Design at Humber College for 6 years, but decided instead she wanted to work with children and taught for many years in the Inner City Angel program in Toronto and in a Art Residency program in Vancouver and in Nanaimo. Her work "Journey to Dodoland" (1977) which told the story becoming your dreams was performed with for over seven years to over 100,000 children in New York and told and many of her books have workshopped in many schools across Canada. Her latest book "Earth Action" has many activities to show our love for the Earth and "Star Galaxy for the World" is an adventure to meet 5 storytellers who share words of wisdom to give us strength and elevation during difficult times. Both books have been part of the Buckminister Fuller Institute's Design Science program this year and are presently being made into immersive alternative realities. Della would like to share how this has been done and can include project including story, art, making books to creating alternative reality.


Della has been a designer, artist and storyteller for two immersive art websites. One is around the Dodoland story which also has a website which has had 21 million hits by 2 million people in 26 years. The immersive sites are in Topia - https://www.topia.io/dodoland and https://www.topia.io/stargalaxyfortheworld. Star Galaxy for the World is also being made into an short animation for the New Art City showcase Regenera for 2022.

Classroom Residency(ies)

Contact Me: (250) 751-2877, Email

Creative Picture Books

School Year: 22-23

Using Della's picture Books as inspiration, students develop their own story and art using characters, setting, story development, conflict resolution and cover design. I often divide this project in three sessions or more. The first is an inspiration session seeing my work and developing characters and setting. The next is developing the story further and the last session is for cover design. I often leave time in between sessions for the teacher to develop, as beautiful books take time. Enthusiastic teachers are important in this project. The culmination is often a sharing with another class in the school and even with parents or community.

Fun Art Together

School Year: 22-23

Creative Fun Art encourages imagination and creativity. Because Della has many picture books, we can choose one and work around a theme. "Dodoland" encourages self-confidence and art projects that can be done, including painting life-size "body rainbows" or making an angel inspired by the "Miracle Galaxy" story. Della's book "Dream Wheels" and Dream Gifts for the Planet Earth inspires "dream paintings." We will start with a short story and then let's have fun doing art together! Can be 1, 2 or 3 days.

Storytelling for Creativity

School Year: 22-23

Author Della Burford can share the book Dodoland, Dream Wheels, Miracle Galaxy or Dream Gifts for the Planet Earth. Since Della is also the painter of her books she will tell the story with background visual images. Della's stories are told and then act as inspiration for many writing and art activities.


Testimonials & Reviews

Della is one of our original interdisciplinary artists in residence in dozens of schools where she combined art and writing and storytelling, often utilizing her own publications that have been shared. She has worked with young people and teachers all over the world. Della brings immense artistic talent and skill in art. Della incorporates mythology, poetry and real life environmental problems and moral values for healing into her work with young people and finding one's own personal myth. Jane Howard Baker, Executive Director, Inner City Angels
The story of Dodoland helped the children create their own imaginary world in which anything can happen. Each child wrote of their own world. These stories were typed and published. As a result of your visit we have spent a good four weeks developing and working on our own writing and art activities. Phoebe Rankin, Board of Education
Your efforts and interest in improving the quality of life for so many thousands of handicapped children have been fruitful. Office of the President of Guatemala

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