The Directory is published by the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference / Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés (ARCCC-CCCAA, aka ARCA), a national arts service organization (NASO) whose mission is to position, promote and defend artist-run culture in Canada.

ARCA represents—by way of nine artist-run associations that form its membership—190 artist-run centres and collectives in cities and towns across Canada. ARCA is structured as a federation of the following nine geography, identity and discipline-based artist-run associations: Alberta Association of Artist-Run Centres (AAARC), Association of Artist-Run Centres from the Atlantic (AARCA), The Aboriginal Region (ABO), Artist-Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO), l’Association des groupes en arts visuels francophones (AGAVF), Manitoba Artist-Run Centres Coalition (MARCC), Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres (PAARC), Plains Association of Artist-Run Centres (PARCA) and Le Regroupement des centres d’artistes autogérés du Québec (RCAAQ). The respect of members’ autonomy remains a core value in the organization and ensures that agency stays rooted in local communities.

ARCA was founded in 2005, following a string of conferences organized by regional artist-run associations and held in Ottawa, Quebec City, and Vancouver. The former national association for artist-run centres, ANNPAC, was dissolved in the 1990s. The 2015 edition of the national conference will be organized by ARCCO and will take place November 12–14 in Toronto. The 2017 edition will be hosted for the first time by the Association of Artist-Run-Centres from the Atlantic (AARCA).

ARCA is an active member of the Visual Arts Alliance, a consortium of national visual, media, and craft arts service organizations. The relationships forged among members allow the group to shed light on how artists learn, practice and earn a living, how the art market functions, how audiences connect with contemporary art and how this knowledge can inform policy.

About Artist-Run Centres

Since their inception in the late 1960s, ARCs have played a defining role in the development of contemporary art practices in Canada. ARCs are non-profit organizations governed by a majority of artists, dedicated to the support of living artistic culture. ARCs are flexible structures that enable the production of new and innovative artistic forms and methods, in continuity with the traditions and skills of the visual and media arts, craft, design and architecture. ARCs in Canada exist as a network of many kinds of spaces including: galleries, off-site spaces, artists’ studios and specialized production facilities, collectives, archives, publishers, magazines, bookstores, and festivals. Services are offered in the form of peer-to-peer networking and learning activities, competitive access to formal exhibition or publishing spaces and, in some cases, privileged access to project rooms and equipment.

In 2011–2012, ARCs had more than 7,300 members. With a network of some 190 centres in nearly 60 localities across the country, ARCs represent 40 years of investment in the best Canadian artists. Many of Canada’s internationally recognized contemporary visual artists have come out of the artist-run movement, including Jamelie Hassan, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Marie Chouinard, and General Idea, while established artists often return to artist-run centres for pilot projects. The Canadian artist-run network is now an integral part of Canadian heritage.



Editor: Anne Bertrand
Council: Mariane Bourcheix Laporte, Jamie Wright, Mary MacDonald, Su Ying Strang, John Latour, Michel Boutin, Michelle Lacombe
Form development: Daniel Roy
Production coordinator: Nadège Grebmeier Forget
Proofreading and translation: Edwin Janzen, Louise Ashcroft
Design & Development: Mat3rial (Antonia Hernandez & Corina MacDonald)