> may 17, 2016

Are art works and cultural products destined only to be consumed? Are they not instead intended for indefinite circulation from person to person? [1]

The economic activity of non-commercial operators,
or the Sudbury model

From May 3 to 7, 2016, the Galerie du Nouvel Ontario (GNO) invited some 30 artists from the francophone minority communities and indigenous collectives to the 5th edition of the Fair of Alternative Arts of Sudbury (FAAS5) titled « Abricadabri ». The FAAS is one of the two components of the Sudbury Biennial, the other being the Salon du livre du Grand Sudbury (a French book fair). The GNO received some funds from the Market Access Strategy for Official Language Minority Artists and Arts Organizations (funds managed by the Canada Council) an initiative in the context of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages, to invite a delegation of performance art presenters from Québec and Canada (Moncton, Montréal, Rouyn-Noranda, Gatineau, Saguenay, North-Bay, Calgary, Regina and Vancouver).

A meeting of performance art presenters focused on the various marketing strategies used to attract and renew audiences in the specific context of public intervention art. The discussion led the group to a few sub-questions: who is the audience of the FAAS? Is it a laboratory or an exhibition, or both?

The issue of market access discussed by the performance art presenters played itself out, in the field, as relations were forged between the invited artists challenged to complete new works over the course of the festival – in this case, a temporary shelter occupying a parking space – and the presenters. The economic action of artist-run centres occurs precisely in these sites of experimentation and networking, or, to adopt the lingo of performing arts, in this “showcase”.

Temporary communities created during events such as the FAAS offer the unique conditions needed for the professional development of artists of all generations in an ambiance conducive to the ongoing formation of identity, through peer exchange, and the validation of new practices, via the commission of critical essays; these dimensions of artistic creation appear to be consistent with the priorities of Canada Council’s Strategic plan for 2016-2021 including striving for equity in support for indigenous and official language minority community artists across all regions, experimentation, stimulating new operating models, and promoting national and international market access.

Anne Bertrand, Director


[1] Guy Bellavance et al., Introduction to « La participation culturelle en mutation : Cosmopolitisme, jeunesse et nouvel environnement numérique » colloquium, Culture Montréal, 2011.
> interviews, videos, quotes

The Fair of Alternative Art of Sudbury is a key element in Franco-Ontarian culture. It helps to show how a cultural milieu that takes charge of itself can innovate, invent and serve as a hotbed for an entire community of professional artists, who have no reason to envy their colleagues in larger metropolitan centres. The FAAS is a flagship cultural event and, in our opinion, should serve as a model for all minority communities who are active in literature, visual arts, dance or film.

Serge Murphy, Rien à vendre, retrospective publication of FAAS 4.
> what's happening in our network?

Future meetings in the network

The Regroupement des centres d'artistes autogérés du Québec (RCAAQ) is hosting its annual members’ forum June 3rd at Action art actuel, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu; this year’s forum will feature a presentation by Amber Berson titled « Feminism, Administrative Practices and Utopian Methodology in Artist-Run Centres » followed by a discussion.

The Association of Artist Run Centres from the Atlantic (AARCA) annual members’ assembly will take place at Memorial University in Corner Brook, NFLD from 22 to 24 June.

The Regroupement artistique francophone de l’Alberta (RAFA) is holding a meeting focusing on the visual arts from 8 to 10 June as part of their annual Forum.

The Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA) is holding its next face-to-face board meeting in Montréal on June 17, followed by a reception at Formats bookstore; the meeting continues for a second day on the 18th.

Meetings in the sector

The Independant Media Arts Alliance (IMAA) is hosting Impulsion/Impulse, the
Pan-Canadian Media Arts Summit from May 31 to June 4 juin 2016 in Québec city.

Register here.

Canadian Artists Representation and le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (CARFAC/RAAV) are presenting a Pan Canadian conversation and AGM about the economics of being an artist. First event begins a broad ranging conversation about income sources and artistic practices. On June 4, 2016 – Centre St. Pierre, 1212 rue Panet Montreal, Quebec.

Register here.

Aboriginal Curatorial Collective
will take place on the traditional Territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council in Whitehorse, Yukon at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, from September 28 – 30. The focus of this event is on North and South coming together to share and exchange ideas about Indigenous curatorial practices, cultural production and art-making.

Register here.

> selection from the e-artexte digital repository

  • Barney, Natalie Clifford and Cocteau, Jean and Genet, Jean and Bronson, A A and Gonzales-Torres, Felix and Oiticica, Hélio and Riggs, Marlon T. and Corinne, Tee and Fury, Gran. Queer. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; London, England: Whitechapel Art Gallery, 2016.
  • Barbu, Adam. The Florida Highwaymen. Ottawa, Ont.: SAW Gallery, 2016.
  • Chagnon, Katrie. Reading Exercices. Montreal, Qc: Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, 2016.
  • Côté, Réjean-F.. Circulaire 132 : Nos 01-10. Québec, Qc: Côté, Réjean-F., 2007.
  • Endrejat, Birte and Landgraff, Amber and Lorey, Isabell and Nemerofsky Ramsay, Beny and Pires, Catarina and Schwebel, Shoshana and Vishmidt, Marina and Tarsia in Curia, Livia. Subsidy. Berlin, Germany: Künstlerhaus Bethanien; Berlin, Germany: Archive Books, 2016.
> studies, stats, letters
Canadian arts data (CADAC)
In the spirit of better representing the financial and statistical evolution of artist-run centres, ARCA will take advantage of CADAC’s first ever offer to share its (our) data for free, by requesting an Excel report of aggregated data according to a few key indicators dating back to 2008. ARCA will make the report available this fall.

New Chapter, 2017 and Beyond
What did you always want to do but just didn’t have the dough? Application deadlines : July 4 and October 31, 2016. Info here.


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© 2016, Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference / Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés.

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Anne Bertrand
Director / Directrice
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Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference wishes to thank the Canada Council for the Arts for its support. / La Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés reconnaît l'appui financier du Conseil des arts du Canada.