Report from the Chair on 2014-2015 activities

In June 2014, Anne Bertrand, director of ARCA is appointed chair of the Visual Arts Alliance, after a year as co-chair with Lise Leblanc, director of AGAVF (and ARCA board member). Emmanuel Madan, director of IMAA was nominated co-chair in December 2014. Alliance members recognize the importance of being at the same table and have actively worked to move some agendas forward. The VAA has renewed Daniel Roy as secretary which greatly facilitates the work of the Alliance.

Every year, the VAA drafts and submits a brief to the standing committee on finance of the House of Commons, focusing on the visual arts while echoing some of the Canadian Arts Coalition messaging. There is also an ongoing commitment to participate in the planning of the annual NASO meeting; last fall’s meeting featured research initiatives (by NASOs, government agencies, and private foundations), providing a great overview of our colleagues and partners’ work, their challenges and solutions in development. It is following these presentations that we were able to connect with Lise Laneville, Director of Planning and Research, Arts Policy Branch, Heritage Canada and agree to meet to examine the Alliance’s research agenda.

The members of the Alliance are also committed to following through some of the recommendations formulated by Guy Bellavance in his literature review titled The Visual Arts in Canada: Synthesis and Critical Analysis in Research as it proposes a coherent plan to fill some of the research gaps identified in the report toward a more complete and integrated portrait of the visual arts sector. Progress has been made in that area following meetings with Lise Laneville, and her suggestion to form a visual & media arts and crafts sector-wide working group to include, VAA members, representatives from Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council’s visual arts and research sections and independent researchers, as part of a longer term monitoring of the sector.

The VAA held two teleconferences with Sylvie Gilbert, Head of Visual Arts at the Canada Council for the Arts, in relation to the sector-wide operating program consultation process and report, allowing for the sharing of information with members as well as discussions (and much speculation) among members about the upcoming changes at the CCA and how the report’s observations will inform the new model. Following the announcement of the new funding model, the VAA followed with a letter to Simon Brault requesting the draft model be submitted to the VAA in advance, allowing for some oversight. In his response, M. Brault is committed to presenting the programs to the arts community for comments and suggestions once this initial phase is completed, at the end of 2015.

About the consultation, some members took part in one of the 11 workshops held across the country in the fall of 2014. Members’ members were encouraged to respond to the online survey. Responses to the online survey were also prepared and submitted in the name of the Alliance, reiterating the desire to cooperate with Council, expressing also our expectations of leadership to better federate the sector.


Produced in 2012 by MASS MoCA, Oh, Canada, was presented in multiple venues across Atlantic Canada from June 26 – September 21, 2014, and moved to Calgary in January 2015. Photo: Anne Bertrand

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