Who are we?

The Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference 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.

Our full name – ARCCC-CCCAA – is difficult to remember and the acronym, with its multiple C s and A s, hard to pronounce. So we have dropped the repeated letters to keep only “arca”. The balloon frame illustrates our objective of “giving a voice” to artist-run centres and, at the same time, it indicates how to pronounce our name… without breaking your jaw. As it is a nickname and not a legal change of name, we will have to use the full name and the official acronym when necessary. Nevertheless, we hope that this familiar name will help you remember us!

  1. Origins
  2. Mission
  3. Board of Directors and Membership
  4. Guidelines for partnerships between ARCA and its members

ARCA’s Origins

Back in April 2002, during the Convergence conference that brought many artist-run centres to Ottawa, emerged once again the idea of a national organization capable of defending the common interests of the different regional associations at the federal level.

On March 1st, 2004, following the InFest conference in Vancouver, 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), that was officially incorporated in May 2005, and is now known as ARCA.

Today, through its seven regional associations of artist-run centres and two nation-wide cultural associations (The Aboriginal Region and the Association des groupes en arts visuels francophones), ARCA represents more than 170 artist-run centres and collectives across Canada.

ARCA’s Mission

ARCA’s mission revolves around the following :

  • 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.

ARCA’s Board of Directors and Membership

Members of the Conference

Association of Artist-Run Centres from the Atlantic (AARCA)

Incorporated in 2005, AARCA represents a dozen artist-run centres in Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Being spread over four provinces makes communication difficult, but the association is making good progress in establishing links with other arts advocacy groups to improve funding in the region. Current members from this region are : Todd Fraser (Faucet), Sally Raab (CFAT)  and Tori Fleming (CFAT).

Le Regroupement des centres d’artistes autogérés du Québec (RCAAQ)

RCAAQ is the oldest and largest regional association, having celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011 and boasting more than 72 members across Québec. The organization is very active in promoting the interests of artist-run centres and in expanding its network internationally; the association offers a professional development program as well as services for the promotion of its members’ and other partners’ publications. The RCAAQ is the editor of the Québec & Canada Directory of Artist-Run Centres and is also an important partner in the Mouvement pour les arts et lettres (MAL) coalition to improve arts funding in Quebec and Canada. Current members from this region are: Manon Tourigny (Clark), Bastien Gilbert (RCAAQ).

Artist-Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO)

Active since 1988, ARCCO represents over 40 artist-run centres and collectives across Ontario. In November 2008, ARCCO hosted the national conference for artist-run centres hot buttons / points chauds in Ottawa. Current members from this region are: Dermot Wilson (NCC), Andrew Harwood (Consulting Director).
ARCCO Facebook Page

Manitoba Artist-Run Centres Coalition (MARCC)

MARCC is made up of Manitoba artist-run centres and other not-for-profit visual arts organizations.
MARCC’s members promote the growth and development of artist-directed organizations engaged in contemporary visual and media arts. Members commit to meet regularly to share information, coordinate events, and work towards strengthening the visual arts in Winnipeg and Manitoba through advocacy, networking and public engagement. MARCC’s current executive committee members are co-chairs Eddie Ayoub (Art City), Mariana Munoz Gomez (Martha Street Studio), treasurer Shawna Dempsey (MAWA), and secretary Loricia Matheson (Arts Accessibility Network Manitoba).

Plains Association of Artist-Run Centres (PARCA)

Saskatchewan-based PARCA represents eight centres located in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. Its chief mission is to advocate for the priorities of artist-run centres in the province and to facilitate communications and networking. Current members from this region are: Michel Boutin (IPAC), Amber Phelps-Bondaroff (Neutral Ground)

Alberta Association of Artist-Run Centres (AAARC)

AAARC facilitates advocacy, networking, and development for eight artist-run centres in Alberta. Its activities aim to enhance awareness of artist-run culture within Alberta in order to provide more effective advocacy in the long term. Current members from this region are: Su Ying Strang (The New Gallery), April Dean (SNAP), Ginger Carlson (Truck).

Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres (PAARC)

British Columbia-based PAARC has been active since 1988, and, with limited financial means, has been able to advocate very efficiently for its members as well as raise the profile of artist-run activities within the province. PAARC now has a membership of nearly twenty centres, including the addition of new centres from Vancouver and the BC interior. Current members from this region are:  Michelle Fu (221A), Zandi Dandizette (The James Black Gallery),  Katrina Orlowski (grunt)


The Aboriginal Region

The Aboriginal region is a non-geographical caucus. Its membership is a loose knit alliance of artist-run organizations, predominantly artist collectives. It currently consists of six organizations spread out over four provinces, Urban Shaman, Winnipeg, Man., Tribe Inc. Saskatoon, Sask., Sakawewak, Regina, Sask., IPAC, Prince Albert, Sask., Indigeneity,  Calgary, Alberta and most recently the Arbor Collective, Kamloops, B.C.  (Evolving)

L’Association des groupes en arts visuels francophones (AGAVF)

Active since 1998, AGAVF advocates for the interests of francophone groups and collectives, mostly artist-run centres, in linguistic minority situations. Its membership currently comprises centres and collectives in Nova Scotia, New-Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba. Current members from this region are: Nisk Imbeault (Galerie d’art Louise-et-Reuben-Cohen), Tam-ca Vo-Van (SAW Gallery), Lise Leblanc (AGAVF).

The Board of Directors

ARCA is led by Anne Bertrand, Director, and a board of directors made up of nine member associations:

  • Chair: Eddie Ayoub, representative of MARCC, Artistic Director of Art City inc., Winnipeg, MB;
  • Secretary: Bastien Gilbert, representative of RCAAQ, Executive Director of RCAAQ in Montreal, QC;
  • Treasurer: Lise Leblanc, representative of AGAVF, Executive Director of AGAVF in Ottawa, ON.


  • Amber Phelps Bondaroff, representative of PARCA, Programming Coordinator at Neutral Ground, Regina, SK;
  • Ginger Carlson, representative of AAARC, Director of Truck Contemporary Art, Calgary, AB;
  • Tori Fleming, representative of Atlantis, Programming Director of CFAT, Halifax, NS;
  • Katrina Orlowski, Communications Manager, grunt, representative of PAARC;
  • Andrew Harwood, Consulting Director, ARCCO.

Past directors include: Daniel Roy (2005-2011) and Annie Gauthier (2011-2012).
Past Chairs include : Tarin Dehod, Cindy Baker, Jonathan Middleton, Michelle Bush, Bastien Gilbert, Todd Janes.

Guidelines for partnerships between ARCA and its members

Collaborations and co-productions are defined as initiatives, including and not limited to conventions, conferences, workshops, symposiums, publications, whether in printed or digital form, or any other form of production, undertaken by one or more members of ARCA with financial or other forms of support approved of by ARCA’s board of directors.

Historically, ARCA has supported a practice of rotating proposals from regional associations who come forward on a voluntary basis to express interest in producing a conference (or other activity).

Member artist-run associations are responsible for determining the internal process used to generate a topic and format for the activity (i.e. with the support of a programming committee, advisory board, curators etc.) so that it reflects the interests and needs of the wider artist-run community. Once mandated by their membership, the association submits a proposal (or call for topics) and a preliminary budget to the ARCA board for discussion and approval of sums to be allocated in support.

In the event that more than one member express interest to engage in a partnership, the board will make great attempts to satisfy all requests, over time, and suggest an order of priority, in light of ARCA’s stated objectives and action plan.

The Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference is a member of the following associations