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Projects of the Visual Arts Alliance, including published reports.


CSARN 2018 : Entering the “mystical age of ageism”

Addressing challenges that face senior artists

Earl Miller recently attended the CSARN 2018 Annual Conference in Toronto on behlf of the VAAAAV. Here’s his report.

CSARN (Canadian Senior Artists’ Resource Network) is a non-profit organization established to help professional artists “keep active and creative as they age”. It held its 2018 annual conference Maintaining Creativity 3: Relevance on April 19th at Toronto’s Metro Reference Library. The 2018 conference was divided into three sections: a panel titled Relevance, a talk on the effect of the arts on memory by the neurologist Luis Fornazzari, and a panel on “housing options.”

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First of its kind “research map” charts the strengths and weaknesses in our understanding of the visual arts sector in Canada.

Ottawa, June 15, 2011 – The Visual Arts Alliance is pleased to announce the release of a new research study: “The Visual Arts in Canada: A Synthesis and Critical Analysis of Recent Research”.

Commissioned by the Visual Arts Alliance, the study was conducted by Professor Guy Bellavance of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Centre – Urbanisation Culture Société, Montréal. It documents over 550 Canadian studies and a further 315 studies done abroad, identifying the biggest shortcomings in the available research on the visual arts , and proposing strategies to fill those gaps.

Among the study’s important findings are that the value to Canadian culture of this sector is underestimated economically because of a lack of study of the arts education systems, that research is thin in many areas because universities give precedence to the study of art history over study of visual arts policies, that much more needs to be done on the provincial level to address regional specificity, and that of five sub-sectors studied, the most poorly understood is the art market – how art reaches its audiences.

The study was made possible by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. The report and an executive summary are available in English and French, on the VAA website:

The Visual Arts Alliance is an umbrella organization of national visual, media, and craft arts service organizations that represent artists, art museums, artist-run centres, arts professionals and art dealers in Canada that came together during the Visual Arts Summit held in November, 2007.

More about the study and a link to the final report on our Resources page.

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