August, 2013

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VAA meeting at the Textile Museum, Toronto, June 14, 2013

The Visual Arts Alliance members met on June 14 at the Textile Museum, located in Toronto and started working on the shared research agenda by examining a preliminary proposal for an art market study submitted by the Research Committee.

Leading up to this, the VAA had organized a series of informal discussions about the Art Economy as a means to collect knowledge from those who have a stake in the visual arts sector’s economic development. Discussions have taken place in Calgary, Kingston and Toronto. The next research planning phase will pursue this further, as per one of the recommendations of the Bellavance report published in 2011. Bellavance recommended that the Alliance promote research in a number of under-examined areas including the art market “a multiplayer system in the era of globalization” [Chapter 4 – The Art Market, of The Visual Arts in Canada by Dr. Guy Bellance] [Read the entire report]). His recommendation reads as follows:

“Initiate the updating of information on private-sector involvement in the visual arts. This step consists of gathering available documentation on the main private stakeholders: art galleries, private collectors (individuals and corporations), private foundations and any other individual or organization involved on a private basis in the valuation of artworks or artists (through a prize, for instance, or some honorary distinction)…This step would in fact be a crucial first gesture towards a more involved study of the contemporary Canadian art market (as outlined in the second approach) by a prospective inter-university consortium.”(p. 133)

In parallel, Alliance members have reached out to the Canadian Public Arts Funders (CPAF) members requesting that they support the Alliance’s research agenda by identifying researchers in the various provinces and territories in order to establish a consortium that could underwrite such an Art Market study, as part of a larger examination of the sector’s economy, including harmonizing relevant data across provinces and territories.


The Visual Arts Alliance thanks the Textile Museum for hosting our day-long face-to-face meeting and, more specifically, art educator Susan Fohr for taking members in attendance on a guided tour of the museum and its collection.

The VAA is a consortium of national visual, media, and craft arts service organizations comprised of artists, curators, art museums, artist-run centres and art dealers, brought together by the Visual Arts Summit in November, 2007. The Alliance’s objective is for many voices to speak simultaneously with a common message around a collective agenda which includes communicating the sector’s needs with a united voice.