Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference

In 2004, after the international conference InFest held in Vancouver, representatives of forty-eight artist-run centres from across Canada joined forces to create a new national association, ARCA, the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference/Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés. The overarching goal to formalize the National ARC Arts Service Organization was to create an organization that is recognized by government and funders, which can effectively advocate on behalf of our constituents with funders and government, and increase awareness and need for increased public funding to the arts

The ARCA (Governing Council) communicate extensively throughout the year, deliberating upon a range of issues from governance to advocacy initiatives.

Founding member of ARCA, ARCCO, secured funding for the new national organization and organized the first meeting with the ARCA Governing Council Members in Ottawa.

Key successes:

• Agreement to rotate the ARC conferences annually, providing each regional association with the opportunity to organize and host a national/international conference.
• Recognition and acknowledgement for PD activities specifically geared to the ARC community with funding support to organize conferences and strategic travel subsidies.
• Recognition among the regional associations and Canada Council for the need of an effective national network to advocate the government – and support from council for the formalization of a national ARC ASO.
• ARCA is gaining recognition for its own actions, but more importantly is working quite successfully at improving the recognition of Canadian ARCs within the country and abroad.
• Study on artist fees in artist-run centres: the results of this study were the benchmark for negotiations between CARFAC/RAAV and CMA/CAMDO, ensuring artists would get fair payment for the exhibition of their work in every institution across Canada.
• Visual Arts Summit: ARCA was actively involved in the preparation of this Summit, ensuring that artist-run centres’ issues and concerns would be addressed during this historical event and that their representatives would be heard.
• Visual Arts Alliance: ARCA is a founding member of this new Alliance grouping eleven associations and representing the whole ecosystem of visual arts in Canada: artists, art dealers, curators, museums, new media, crafts, etc. This Alliance is committed to advancing the status of visual artists and institutions across the country.
• Representation: ARCA is present where concerns and vitality of artist-run centres need to be expressed: Canada Council’s consultation on its strategic and action plan; conferences, meetings and AGM of peers’ associations; international artist-run culture events such as Super Market Art Fair in Stockholm; collaboration to publications such as decentre on artist-run culture.