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 in the visual and media arts, contemporary craft and architecture 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 that form its federated membership.
ARCA works connecting artist-run centres, supporting them through providing communication, development services and advocating for artist-run culture.
- Since 2008, ARCA has co-produced 5 biennial conferences that bring together artist-run centres from across Canada and beyond, most recently Flotilla (Charlottetown, 2017).
- Through L’arca in the loop, a monthly e-newsletter, ARCA distills and shares information with 900+ subscribers from the artist-run community, netting an above-industry-average open rate.
- ARCA produces an online directory of artist-run centres that is consulted 1,500+ times a month, and maintains a master list of email contacts, updated annually and shared with members.
- ARCA helps artist-run centres navigate frequent changes in funding language, criteria, priorities, and
- ARCA collects data to monitor the evolution of the network, and coordinates campaigns to raise the profile of underserved disciplines such as performance and art publishing.
- In 2017, ARCA published The Grey Guide to Artist-Run Publishing and Circulation, as a bi-weekly e-campaign, and book on the role of publishing in artist-run culture and tactics for launching into circulation.
- In spring 2018, ARCA conducted a survey to assess the professional conditions of performance artists in Canada to better inform CARFAC’s widely consulted royalty schedule.
- ARCA, with support from the Digital Strategy Fund, has offered individual digital diagnosis, and group training opportunities in digital literacy.
- Since 2013, ARCA meets regularly with the Arts Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage to explore how the visual and media arts may access their programs, and advocate for better data on the socio-economic conditions of artists and cultural workers.
- ARCA participates in Arts Day on the Hill, a member-driven lobby coordinated by the Canadian Arts Coalition—the organization behind the doubling of the Canada Council for the Arts budget. Based on the Coalition’s material, ARCA adapted their advocacy toolkit for artist-run centres.
- ARCA coordinated three community meetings advocating for artist-run publishing as a distinct sub-category of cultural production, contributing to the creation of a distinct visual arts publisher profile in Canada Council’s New Funding Model.
- ARCA, in partnership with IMAA, is currently documenting and quantifying non-monetary value of goods and services to better represent the philanthropic contribution of artist-run centres.
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!
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, by Cindy Baker, Jonathan Middleton, Bastien Gilbert and Jewell Goodwyn and is now known as ARCA.
To acknowledge its 15th anniversary, ARCA processed its hitorical archives and commissioned a summary of the constitutional deliberations that led to ARCA’s foundation from author Edwin Janzen.
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
Since the introduction of the New Not-for-Profit Act in 2014, ARCA is composed of 27 members representing the 9 artist-run associations, each tasked with forming an electoral college of 3 members appointed during their respective members’ annual meetings.
Association of Artist-Run Centres from the Atlantic (AARCA aka Atlantis)
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 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: Catherine Bodmer (RCAAQ), Manon Tourigny (Clark), and Julie Tremble (Videographe).
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 and in 2015, Artists at the Center: Moving from the Margins to Inclusion, in Toronto. Currently representing ARCCO are Jonathan Middleton (Art Metropole) and Dermot Wilson (NCC) . 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 Chantel Mierau (Aceart inc.).
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: Amber Phelps-Bondaroff (Neutral Ground), Michael Peterson (Void) and David LaRiviere (Paved Arts).
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 Indigenous-led artist-run organizations, predominantly artist collectives.
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).
SPiLL.PROpagation (SPiLL) was founded in 2009 by a group of Deaf and allied not-Deaf artists. SPiLL’s mission is to infuse art practices with signed languages and to produce critical art and creative research. The centre’s work is rooted in a theoretical framework situated in the practice of deconstructing phonocentrism, decentralizing spoken and written languages in favour of signed languages and the visual experience. SPiLL explores intersections between signed languages and artistic practices, and works to advance local, national, and international collaborations that infuse signed languages into the arts landscape within Canada and around the world. As such, SPiLL maintains a multidisciplinary arts focus to maximize the involvement of Deaf artists in critically exploring various arts practices and broadening the overall range of collaboration opportunities.
The Board of Directors
ARCA is led by Clayton Windatt, Director, and a board of directors made up of nine member associations and affiliate member:
- Chair: Eddie Ayoub, representing MARCC, Artistic Director of Art City inc., Winnipeg, MB;
- Secretary: Catherine Bodmer, representing the RCAAQ, Professional development coordinator, RCAAQ, Montreal, QC;
- Treasurer: Lise Leblanc, representing AGAVF, Executive Director of AGAVF in Ottawa, ON.
- Amber Phelps Bondaroff, representating PARCA, Programming Coordinator at Neutral Ground, Regina, SK;
- Ginger Carlson, representating AAARC, Director of Truck Contemporary Art, Calgary, AB;
- Sally Wolchyn-Raab, Interim Atlantis representant, Artistic Director, Eyelevel, Halifax, NS;
- Katrina Orlowski, representating PAARC, Communications Manager, grunt, Vancouver, BC
- Jonathan Middleton, representing ARCCO, Executive Director, Art Metropole, Toronto, ON
- Tiphaine Girault-Bath, member at large, co-director, SPILL, Gatineau, QC
- Daina Warren, Indigenous Consultant, Director, Urban Shaman, Winnipeg, MB
Past directors include: Daniel Roy (2005-2011), Annie Gauthier (2011-2012) and Anne Bertrand (2012-2020).
Past Chairs include : Tarin Dehod, Todd Janes. Cindy Baker, Jonathan Middleton, Michelle Bush, Bastien Gilbert.
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.