Member updates – December 2014

The Visual Arts Alliance meets by teleconference, monthly, to discuss projects and issues of common concern. Twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, members also publish updates on their activities. Follow the links below for a few organizations’ December 2014 update:

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)
The University and College Art Galleries Association of Canada/Association canadienne des galeries d’art collégiales et universitaires (UCAGAC/ACGAUC)
Canadian Art Gallery Educators (CAGE)
Independent Media Arts Alliance/Alliance des arts médiatiques indépendants (IMAA/AAMI)


The Canadian Museums Association’s (CMA) is active in many issues relevant to the visual arts of Canada. We have a new website and many new program offerings to our members.

We have submitted our pre-budget recommendations to the House of Commons Finance Committee. These recommendations will also form the basis of our advocacy during the upcoming Federal Election sometime in 2015.

On Nov 18 CMA hosted its important annual Canadian Museums Day on Parliament Hill.

The key 3 issues are:
• a complete review and updating of all support from the Department of Canadian Heritage and its agencies for museums including galleries throughout Canada. (A motion from Hon. Stéphane Dion has been tabled with the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage).

• introduction of a 5-year program to encourage greater private support by Canadians via a new Matching Donations Program. Museums are not eligible under the existing Endowments Program by PCH. We want a new and separate program valued at $50M per year for 5 yrs to raise private support from on average 9% to 18% of revenues.

• youth engagement. To increase the Young Canada Works program by $5M per year. Demand seriously exceeds available funds and some 90% of all internship applications are turned down as a result.

Other issues are also on the table including Firearms Legislation, Orphan Works (Copyright), and support for International cultural opportunities.

CMA is also hosting some upcoming national meetings of important note:
November 2014: Breaking up is hard to Do: the Ins and Outs of Deaccessioning Symposium.
January 2015: CMA Enterprises Conference, Toronto, ON. Focus is on visitor services and revenue generation.
April 2015: CMA National Conference, Banff, AB.
November 2015: Symposium on Traveling Exhibitions, Ottawa, ON.
January 2016: CMA Enterprises Conference, Toronto, ON.
April 2016: CMA National Conference, Halifax, NS
November 2016: Symposium on Museums and Aboriginal Issues, Ottawa, ON.

John McAvity
CMA Executive Director and CEO

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The Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA) has had a busy fall of work and networking meetings. In addition to the usual fall meetings that take place in Ottawa, and that bring the National Arts Service Organizations (NASOs) together for learning, networking, and advocacy, ARCA was involved in the organization of the 2nd Retreat of Performance art organizations in Canada. Hosted by L’Écart to coincide with the Biennale d’art performatif de Rouyn-Noranda, the meeting was attended by 17 representatives of performance and Live art biennials as well as by representatives of artist-run centres that regularly program performance. The group was proactive leading the discussion toward the production of a draft proposal to submit to CARFAC for the review of the performance art fee schedule. As a disciplinary group, members also discussed its structure without formalizing the group, possible membership in ARCA, and the location of the 2016 retreat to happen either in Calgary or Regina.

ARCA was present at the Vancouver Art Book Fair (Oct. 5-6) to promote Sélection, a catalog of publications (anthologies of critical essays) produced by artist-run centres and Artexte, available for purchase through Formats. The catalog, produced by ARCA in partnership with Formats (RCAAQ) and Artexte will be disseminated to institutions that have a stake in contemporary Canadian art history especially as some of these publications are already out of print and becoming rare. On the topic of art publishing, ARCA was mandated by an ad hoc group of Canadian independent art publishers to organize a networking meeting of publishers, artists and curators which took place in Montréal (Nov. 7-8); the group was proactive and produced a preliminary scan of the environment for the purpose of acknowledging and establishing a few alternative trade routes for the circulation of print media in Canada and beyond.

Last but not least, ARCA is developing its first ever online directory of artist-run centres and collectives… The data has been collected, proofed, and translated and Mat3rial’s information specialist and designer have been working hard on a simple, efficient, elegant platform. We have met several times between now and last June to discuss the online navigational needs of artist researchers, while always keeping in mind our mission: to promote equally our member associations and their member centres. All that is left now is fine-tuning and integration of data. We aim to launch the site in mid-January 2015!

Anne Bertrand
ARCA Director

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Since the Annual General Assembly of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA) last May in Edmonton four more interviews with senior artist members have been recorded for the ongoing Web of Masters project, bringing the total number to nine. These interviews will eventually be made available to the public, and will serve as useful educational tools and addition to Canada’s art historical records.

More Regional Socials have been held since May: the first in Toronto in September, one in Calgary and another in Ottawa in November. These are important opportunities for members to meet and discuss issues of concern to those of us in the visual arts.

Hibernus, an exhibition of member’s works on the theme of winter will take place at the John B. Aird Gallery, located on the main floor at 900 Bay Street in Toronto, from December 9, 2014 to January 9, 2015.

The 135th Annual General Assembly will take place in Montreal, May 13 – 17, 2015.

Please visit the new RCA website for details on the above and to see what our members are up to.

Milly Ristvedt
RCA Advocacy Representative

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L’Association des groupes en arts visuels francophones (AGAVF)
• The contribution of visual arts to the vitality of communities is recognized but…
Last June, the Official Language Secretariat (OLS) of the Department of Canadian Heritage announced they had fully heard the series of clear and consensual messages: “all sectors and disciplines, including the ones not dealing with language, contribute to the vitality of communities and specialization is essential”. This consultation was part of the review process of programs now all managed under the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages. However, the OLS specified that each organization would be responsible for demonstrating its contribution, within the paradigm of the “new logic of investment”! According to what we are hearing from regional offices, it seems the message didn’t really get through. To be continued.

• A forum on the dissemination of visual arts in order to establish a strategy
The Market Access Strategy for Artists from official language minority communities, part of the Roadmap, is managed by the Canada Council for the Arts through its various sections. In 2013-14, out of a joint budget of $250,000 for both languages, two francophone projects in visual arts were supported, for a total of $11,500. For 2014-15, the budget is $500,000. The Visual Arts Section launched a call for projects to its clients in the fall (deadline was November 15). AGAVF is planning to hold a forum on the dissemination of visual arts during its annual meeting, in Montreal, this coming February.

• A series of workshops across the country to encourage writing about visual arts
A second iteration of L’art visuel s’écrit partout au pays will offer a series of writing workshops using the tools developed by artist-curator Serge Murphy, in the context of events that will take place in a dozen of cities across the country.

Lise Leblanc
Directrice de l’AGAVF

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Canadian Artists Representation/Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC)
Following CARFAC and RAAV’s successful result at the Supreme Court of Canada in May, we were pleased to report on November 21st that we have a tentative agreement with the National Gallery of Canada, regarding minimum fees paid to artists. We are proud to have reached this ground-breaking agreement to remunerate living Canadian artists – a historic milestone that will undoubtedly contribute to the long-term sustainability of the visual arts in Canada. The agreement will be presented for a vote to our respective boards of directors as well as the members of CARFAC and RAAV, with the goal of final ratification in February, 2015. In September, we presented our national conference in Toronto, with 100 delegates registered. Topics presented included a discussion on the state of Canadian performance art, as well as new tools and tips currently being used by emerging artists. Our next national AGM will take place in Saskatoon in May, along with a panel on contracts and negotiation skills for visual artists. This topic which will also be co-presented with our regional affiliate organizations in cities across Canada next spring and fall. We continue to advocate for the Artist’s Resale Right – a proposal that would see visual artists receive 5% from secondary sales of their art. Bill C-516 was presented in 2013, and we continue to meet with government on further development of this proposal. The results of our artist fee survey will be released this winter.

April Britski
CARFAC Executive Director
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The Canadian Crafts Federation (CCF/FCMA) hosted our 2014 Annual Conference in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island at the end of September. Our most well attended conference in the nine-year history of our annual event, the conference featured forums on publicity and exposure, awards, public art and engagement, international activity and organizational marketing. We also worked with our provincial partner, the Prince Edward Island Crafts Council, to host a provincial contemporary craft exhibition, and opening and welcome reception, a provincial craft bus tour and most importantly: a national craft symposium, with speakers from across the country. The theme of Heirloom struck a chord, with over 75 attendees at the symposium, discussing the influence of tradition on contemporary craft activity.

Aside from this major event, we have worked towards the launch of Craft Year 2015, with 57 events currently listed on our website, and many more to come. Toolkits for community engagement, advocacy and media partnership have been shared and our social media campaign will launch December 15th, 2014.

Work with our regional partners has continued, with CCF/FCMA Director, Maegen Black, participating in meetings, workshops and conferences in Ottawa, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Edmonton, and Fredericton. We also worked closely with our Maritime partner, the Craft Alliance, to run a partner booth at SOFA Chicago, arguably the largest contemporary craft gallery showcase in North America. Promoting STUDIO magazine, Canada’s premiere publication on contemporary craft practice, we made connections with publication companies, educational institutions, galleries, artist run centres and craft associations in all craft media from across the United States, Scotland, Belgium and Australia.

Maegen Black
CCF Director

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The University and College Art Galleries Association of Canada (UCAGAC) held its Fall meeting on Sunday 9 November hosted by the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University in Montréal. In our ‘cross-country check up’ with our members, key topics of discussion included reports about the consultation process with representatives of the Visual Arts Section at Canada Council and an analysis of the meaning of ‘social engagement’ as it relates to gallery programming. Three other university-specific conversations emerged about gallery and staff relationships with post secondary governing bodies, faculty colleagues in visual art departments, and with risk managers and insurance providers.

As an organization, the most significant task accomplished in the past few months was the translation into French of the Executive Summary of the 2012 Membership Survey as well as the Vision Statement of UCAGAC/ACGAUC. The next stage is the launch of a modest website with the above texts in both official languages as well profiles and links of the member galleries.

As President of UCAGAC/ACGAUC, Peter Dykhuis attended the same meeting in Montréal on November 7 and 8 that colleague Anne Bertrand attended on behalf of ARCA regarding the topic of art publishing. As previously reported by her, “the group was proactive and produced a preliminary scan of the environment for the purpose of acknowledging and establishing a few alternative trade routes for the circulation of discursive and print media in Canada and beyond.”

Peter Dykhuis
Director/Curator of the Dalhousie Art Gallery and President of UCAGAC/ACGAUC

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The Canadian Art Gallery Educators (CAGE) executive has been busy planning a dynamic 2015 conference titled Re-Examining Interpretive Models, hosted at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, SK, March 26-29, 2015.

Our conference theme arrived in response to one of our members asking the question: When is the last time you paused to consider the effectiveness of your museum’s interpretive model? Many of us have been using the same model for decades, no questions asked. This year CAGE is offering the opportunity to workshop and review interpretive models we are all familiar with as well as absorb new research and thinking in this field, all in the context of a vibrant and contemporary cultural and artistic landscape.

During the conference, we will explore a current example of re-examining models at the MacKenzie Art Gallery through the groundbreaking exhibition Moving Forward; Never Forgetting, co-curated by guest curator David Garneau and MacKenzie Art Gallery Associate Curator Michelle LaVallee. Moving Forward; Never Forgetting is an exhibition, a series of three specially commissioned performances, art workshops, and a symposium celebrating Indigenous continuance, resistance and adaptation through the visual arts. The 2015 CAGE National Conference will include a keynote presentation by Jane Sillis, Director of engage, practical workshops related to interpretive models, case study presentations by national colleagues, access to the Moving Forward; Never Forgetting symposium and MacKenzie Art Gallery programs, and site visits to leading Regina cultural institutions.

We look forward to meeting national colleagues in Regina and to collectively examining contemporary gallery education practice. We are also in the process of developing a new website, launching early in the New Year.

Nicolle Nugent
Educator-Community Programs, MacKenzie Art Gallery

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