VAA member mandates and objectives




The Visual Arts Alliance meets monthly by teleconference to discuss projects and issues of common concern. Follow the links below to learn more about the mandates and objectives of these organizations.


The Canadian Museums Association/Association des musées canadiens (CMA/AMC)
Artist-run Centres and Collective Conference/Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés (ARCA)
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts/Académie royale canadienne des arts (RCA/ARC)
L’Association des groupes en arts visuels francophones (AGAVF)
Canadian Artists Representation/Front d’artists Canadiens (CARFAC)
The Canadian Crafts Federation/Fédération canadienne des métiers d’art (CCF/FCMA)
Canadian Art Gallery Educators (CAGE)
Independent Media Arts Alliance/Alliance des arts médiatiques indépendants (IMAA/AAMI)


The Canadian Museums Association’s (CMA) is the national organization for the advancement of the Canadian museum sector, representing Canadian museum professionals both within Canada and internationally. The CMA works for the recognition, growth, and stability of the sector. It was established by a small group of people in Quebec City in 1947. There were 161 museums in Canada in 1951; by 1972 there were 838 museums, galleries and related institutions. As the quantity of Canadian museums increased, so did the need for the CMA.

Today, the CMA has nearly 2,000 members, and supports them with training and professional development programs, conferences, publications, networking opportunities, a body of knowledge, and a dedicated staff.

CMA members include non-profit museums, art galleries, science centres, aquaria, archives, sport halls-of-fame, artist-run centres, zoos and historic sites across Canada. They range from large metropolitan galleries to small community museums. All are dedicated to preserving and presenting Canada’s cultural heritage to the public. Over the past 60 years, Canada’s museums have developed an international reputation for excellent programming, dedicated public service, and high standards of professionalism.

The CMA is governed by an elected Board of Directors and maintains a full-service Secretariat in Ottawa.

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The Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA) is a Canadian organization that represents – by way of the nine artist-run centres’ associations that form its membership – over 180 artist-run centres and collectives in cities and towns across the country. Artist-run centres’ associations – are the recognized non-profit geography, identity and discipline-based artist-run associations which subscribe to the objects of the Corporation and represent its membership.

ARCA’s mission revolves around the following, to :

represent and defend the rights and interests of artist-run centres and collectives at the national level and within national arts associations;

facilitate and promote networking among the different regional and cultural associations that make up its membership;

produce studies and advocacy resources to assist in identifying and managing issues that affect artist-run centres and collectives in the visual arts;

promote the importance of artist-run centres’ role and contribution to the visual arts and to canadian identity.

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The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts is an honourary organization of over 700 established professional artists and designers from all regions of Canada. Members practice in more than thirty visual arts disciplines including but not limited to painting, print-making, architecture, sculpture, design, photography, ceramics, film, video, and digital art.

With members nominated and elected by their peers the RCA has, since 1880, come to represent many of Canada’s most distinguished visual artists and designers. The objectives of the RCA are to encourage, improve, promote, support and cultivate the visual arts through its many activities.

The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts is incorporated federally as a non-profit corporation and has a charitable designation as a national arts organization.

The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts celebrates the achievement of excellence and innovation by Canadian artists and designers across the country.

We encourage new generations of artists through our programs and we facilitate the exchange of ideas about visual culture for the benefit of everyone.

As well as honouring artists and designers with the RCA distinction, members support the organization as it encourages younger generations of artists and designers through mentorships, scholarships and awards, and ensures the collection of works by living Canadian artists through purchase grants to regional public galleries.

The RCA regularly organizes events for the exchange of ideas.

The RCA recognizes individuals who have made invaluable contributions to the visual arts and/or design through the awarding of the RCA Medal.

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L’Association des groupes en arts visuels francophones (AGAVF) is a national arts service organisation that represents visual arts groups active in Francophone communities outside the province of Quebec. Its members are located in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and consist of artists associations, university galleries, artist-run centres, production centres and artists? collectives that are involved in producing, promoting and presenting the work of professional French-Canadian artists. AGAVF accepts individual memberships from artists residing in provinces where there are no Francophone organizations dedicated to the visual arts.

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Canadian Artists Representation/Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC) is incorporated federally as a non-profit corporation that is the national voice of Canada’s professional visual artists. As a non-profit association and a National Art Service Organization, our mandate is to promote the visual arts in Canada, to promote a socio-economic climate that is conducive to the production of visual arts in Canada, and to conduct research and engage in public education for these purposes.

CARFAC was established by artists in 1968 and has been recognized by the Status of the Artist legislation. CARFAC is guided by an active Board, elected by the membership.

We believe that artists, like professionals in other fields, should be paid for their work and share equitably in profits from their work. As the national voice of Canada’s professional visual artists, CARFAC defends artists’ economic and legal rights and educates the public on fair dealing with artists. In doing so, CARFAC promotes a socio-economic climate conducive to the production of visual arts. CARFAC engages actively in advocacy, lobbying, research and public education on behalf of artists in Canada.

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The Canadian Crafts Federation (CCF/FCMA)is the only national arts service organization dedicated to the promotion of Canadian Craft at home and abroad. We work with the Provincial and Territorial Craft Councils across the country to support collaborative projects that benefit the sector, increasing opportunities for craft artists to produce both sculptural and functional objects of art.

One of the main goals of the CCF/FCMA is to act as the voice of Craft in an advocacy capacity. Working with partners in the Visual Arts and Cultural community, we campaign for improved access to cultural funding and programs on behalf of all craftspeople in Canada.

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The Canadian Art Gallery Educators (CAGE) association is Canada’s professional organization for educators and programmers working in the art gallery field. CAGE members also include museum educators and students of art education and museology. CAGE members hail from every corner of Canada, working as front-line staff in both education and programming, and as managers, education curators, and post-secondary instructors and professors.

CAGE’s primary objectives are to:

engage members in meaningful dialogue about the art education field, particularly as it shapes our practice in galleries;

keep members current in ongoing research and investigations in the field;

connect members with each other and the work we do;

advocate the essential role of art in the hearts and minds of Canadians.

CAGE does this through our website, our annual symposium, our newsletter and participation in the Visual Arts Alliance.

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The Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA) is a member-driven non-profit national organization working to advance and strengthen the media arts community in Canada. Representing over 100 independent film, video, audio, and new media production, distribution, and exhibition organizations in all parts of the country, the IMAA serves over 16,000 independent media artists and cultural workers.

IMAA’s objectives are to: 

nurture and strengthen the independent media arts field;

provide a comprehensive suite of services and resources for media arts organizations and practitioners;

to forge international links to create new opportunities;

to create relationships with public funders based on dialogue, trust, and transparency;

to  advocate on subjects of relevance to the media arts;

to develop IMAA’s organizational and membership structure to better fulfil its mandate;

to comply with the requirement of the Canada Council for the Arts that IMAA dramatically diversify its funding sources.

You will find the latest newsletter of the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA/AAMI) by following this link.
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