(Proto ARCA) InFestInternational Artist Run Culture, Vancouver, 2004

Organized by Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres (PAARC) PAARC, coordinated by Keith Wallace. Although this conference precedes the official creation of ARCA, it was following the InFest conference that representatives from centres across the country agreed to form the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference / La Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés (ARCCC/CCCAA), a coalition of regional associations and specific caucuses.

InFest was a large gathering in Canada of representatives from Artist Run Centres around the world. Spanning five days, it included discussion forums, exhibitions, a networking session, Artist Run Centre presentations, public education programs, and an assortment of social events. The focus was on exchanging ideas and strategies to advance artist run culture, generating a sense of community that aimed to transcend national borders, and encourage international collaborations. The goal of InFest was to strengthen the presence of Artist Run Centres within the cultural ecology and public imagination on both local and global levels.

There remains to this day, however, no consensus of what defines an Artist Run Centre. Structures, funding models, modes of criticism, and curatorial practices vary according to differing social, cultural and economic contexts. But central to these initiatives is a stronger role for the artist in determining culture, and the provision of creative spaces that add an alternative to established public or private art institutions. InFest proposed and expanded notions of what Artist Run Centres could be.