November, 2012

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Press Release: Re-visioning the Visual Arts, September 16-18, 2011, Kingston (Ontario)

Ottawa, August 18, 2011- The Visual Arts Alliance (VAA) will hold a colloquium “Revisioning the Visual Arts” September 16-18th, 2011 in Kingston, Ontario, bringing together 60 invited participants from varied disciplines and sectors to investigate the long term future of the visual arts in Canada. The colloquium, which commemorates the spirit of the Conference of Canadian Artists held in Kingston in 1941, will examine the visual arts today in terms of “public engagement” and explore how the visual arts can be better integrated into both the Canadian economy and society as a whole.

The colloquium will begin with a keynote presentation on “The Evolving Role of the Arts in Canada” by Jeff Melanson, Executive Director and Co-CEO, Canada’s National Ballet School and soon to be President and CEO of The Banff Centre. Panels and discussions will take place throughout the event covering topics such as “What Drives the Visual Arts?” and “Repositioning the Visual Arts: How do we move forward”. The outcome of the colloquium will be to establish a set of common objectives and priorities and a working process to achieve them. A joint statement of conclusions and resolutions will
be disseminated to the public at large.

“Since the Visual Arts Summit of 2007, the VAA has been actively examining the state of the visual arts in Canada. We feel confident that the provocative mix of participants attending Revisioning the Visual Arts will produce visionary strategies for the sector’s future,” says Pat Sullivan, Co-Chair, VAA.

2011 will mark the 70th Anniversary of the Conference of Canadian Artists held in Kingston, Ontario under the auspices of the National Gallery and Queen’s University, and supported by the Carnegie Corporation. The Conference had far-ranging impact leading to the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences popularly known as the Massey Commission and to the eventual founding of the Canada Council for the Arts.

In the seventy years since then, great strides have been made yet certain issues persist. Issues such as the social status and wellbeing of artists, the role of public institutions, the place of art in the education system, how the public understands and engages with art, the impact of new technology and new media and the place of Canadian artists on the international stage.

The Visual Arts Alliance, through this invitational colloquium, will revisit the primary themes of Kingston 1941 and bring into the present its remarkable vision of a more robust, rewarding and sustainable place for artists and the visual arts in Canadian society.

More about the Colloquium and link to report on our Resources page