How are we doing at the Art Gallery of Mississauga?

Monday, December 17, 2007

What's the difference?

Often people who visit or call the Art Gallery of Mississauga are confused about who we are and how the arts organizations in Mississauga are distinguished.

The organizations listed below are all in Mississauga but are separate and distinct. Here is a handy little guide for your reference. For more information visit their websites or call.

Visual Arts Mississauga (aka VAM)
Location: Visual Arts Mississauga is located at Riverwood, 1475 Burnhamthorpe Road West, corner of Credit Woodlands and Burnhamthorpe.

Contact Info:
Tel: 905 277 4313

"Visual Arts Mississauga is committed to enriching the lives of the citizens of the City of Mississauga by encouraging the appreciation in the visual arts through the provision of affordable educational programs, exhibitions, sales, meetings and workshop facilities"
What does that really mean? Traditional arts and craft classes for all ages, summer craft type camps and rental gallery space. Think of it as a place to go if you wish to try your hand at painting or develop a hobby, find programmes to keep kids occupied, try selling and exhibiting some of your work locally without the professional rigour which is demanded in other more formal settings. The context is local rather than reflective of the larger art world.
Why it gets confusing... People confuse Visual Arts Mississauga and the Art Gallery of Mississauga because VAM provides an annual opportunity for local artists to show through a juried exhibition. The exhibition is housed/hosted by the Art Gallery of Mississauga not at Riverwood/Visual Arts Mississauga. This means that these two distinctly separate organizations partner to deliver this one event. Also VAM's location is slightly hidden on the grounds of Riverwood park. This lovely property is well worth the visit.

Mississauga Arts Council (aka MAC)
Location: Mississauga Civic Centre, 300 City Centre Drive, Suite 1055
Contact info:
Tel: 905 615 4278

Purpose: MAC is a non-profit registered charity governed by a Board of Directors. Our mission is “to foster and develop, support and champion a vibrant, dynamic arts community in the city of Mississauga through services, to enrich the lives of its citizens.”
What does that really mean? Working on a smaller scale, the Mississauga Arts Council does not provide funding opportunities like the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council For the Arts do. The primary funding or recognition opportunity provided through MAC is via the Mississauga Arts Awards. Nominations are accepted in performing, literary, media and visual arts annually. Recipients receive a cash award and trophy at a gala diner with entertainment. MAC also publishes information about local activities in weekly listing in The Mississauga News, 'Arts Scene' column; MACtivities – weekly e-mail newsletter;
It's Here in Arts and Entertainment Calendar – a quarterly publication of members’ events, exhibitions, sales, performances, workshops, meetings and festivals. There are also various other networking and development opportunities through MAC, consult their website or call to find out the schedule of events.
Why it gets confusing...The Mississauga Arts Council and the Art Gallery of Mississauga are separate organizations. Both are located in the same building, the Mississauga Civic Centre, but, they do not share the same space.

The Living Arts Centre (aka LAC)
Location: 4141 Living Arts Drive, Mississauga ON L5B 4B8
Contact info:
General Information/Reception 905 306 6100
Box Office & Registrations 905 306 6000
toll-free 1 888 805 8888
Purpose: The Living Arts Centre is a 225,000 square foot multi-use facility. The facility houses performance theatres, an exhibition gallery, eight professional art studios, corporate meeting facilities and a restaurant. The Centre is a registered not-for-profit organization, governed by an active 18-person community based Board of Directors, and managed by a team of arts and hospitality industry professionals. Each year the Centre programs a range of performing arts events, multi-disciplinary workshops, camps and courses offering hands-on arts experiences, and fine art & craft exhibitions. The Living Arts Centre also serves as home to dozens of community and professional arts organizations; and as a venue where numerous grassroots community theatre, dance, music and ethno-cultural organizations can showcase their work. What does that really mean? LAC offers residency opportunities for artists working in wood, sculpture, textiles, photography, ceramics, painting, drawing and flamework. There are school workshops, camps, youth and adult classes in a range of mediums which include dance and photography. Laidlaw Hall is the Gallery at LAC. Opportunities to exhibit are offered to community groups, resident artists and on a rental basis. Artist's fees are not paid. The Living Arts Centre is a place where you can go to see live entertainment without the hassle of going to Toronto and the parking is free.

Why it gets confusing...The Living Arts Centre is across the street from the Mississauga Civic Centre where the Art Gallery of Mississauga is housed. LAC does have a gallery but, is differentiated from the Art Gallery of Mississauga by both exhibitions and purpose

Blackwood Gallery
Location: On the grounds of the University of Toronto at Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Rd. North, Mississauga ON L5L 1C6

Purpose: The Blackwood Gallery started in 1969 as the Erindale College Art Gallery which was the first public art gallery in Peel. On May 15, 1992, it was reopened as the Blackwood Gallery in the present gallery space in the Kaneff Centre. It was named in honour of Canadian artist, David Blackwood, who was an artist in residence at Erindale College from 1967-71.
What does that really mean? The Blackwood Gallery is a not for profit, University Gallery. When curator of contemporary art, Barbara Fischer took over she brought with her curatorial rigour, critical theory and exhibitions which reflected the practices of contemporary artists. Since then, the Gallery has grown to include an E-gallery and video wall. To see exhibitions of work from a larger context which address contemporary issues, visit the Blackwood Gallery. The current curator is
Seamus Kealy.

Artists exhibited at the Blackwood likely have nationally or internationally recognized practices in contemporary art. Artists who are exhibited at the Blackwood have likely been sought out through curatorial research and investigations rather than culled from general submissions. However, submissions are accepted. To have your work considered, submit a professional quality proposal with images in digital or slide format with image list, proposal, artist statement and cv. The Gallery does not sell work or provide rental space.

The Blackwood Gallery does offer day summer camps for children. The camp engages children through a fun programme of activities that stimulate creative and critical thinking and relate to art creation through concept. Offering a valuable experience beyond craft and child care, this approach inspires creative thinking and problem solving skills which are useful in all facets of life.

Why it gets confusing...With so few not for profit art galleries/institutions in Mississauga, the Blackwood Gallery is confused with the Art Gallery of Mississauga. In addition, the two galleries have partnered to present outreach programming including the Mississauga Film Series. The Blackwood Gallery is on the campus of the University of Toronto at Mississauga which may be difficult for the general public to find.

Art Gallery of Mississauga (aka AGM)
Location: Mississauga Civic Centre, 300 City Centre Drive, Ground Floor, South East Corner, Mississauga, Ontario L5B 3C1

"The Mission of the Art Gallery of Mississauga is to promote awareness and the appreciation of the visual arts through the operation, development and growth of a public, not-for-profit art gallery."

Mandate: Through the efforts of its volunteers and staff, the Gallery will achieve this mission by providing leadership and expertise in matters related to the visual arts; and by exhibiting historical and contemporary works of art from local to international sources; and by encouraging the development of artists with special emphasis on those residing in the city of Mississauga;
and by organizing educational programmes to stimulate knowledge and interest in the visual arts; and by acquiring, managing and caring for a Permanent Collection.The Gallery will carry out its mandate in accordance with professional museum standards and practice. What does that really mean? As a public, not for profit gallery, the AGM's primary purpose is to exhibit art and educate the public by bringing exhibitions of work that reflect important issues and practices both contemporary and historic. Regional galleries generally exist to bring culture to a region and to serve the cultural and educational needs of that region rather than represent, soley, the artists of the region. However, most regional galleries wish to develop a relationship with the community which will foster understanding of visual art and encourage the growth and development of a local audience and artists. The AGM strives to be the community's window to art practices nationally and internationally. The Gallery serves the community by providing access to art in a number of ways including the Mississauga Film Series, exhibitions performances and events both in and outside the gallery, tours, artists' talks, panel discussions, professional development workshops and publications. The AGM does not have rental gallery space and with a few exceptions, does not sell work. To have your work considered for exhibition at the Art Gallery of Mississauga artists must submit professional quality proposals with digital or slide images, image list, proposal, artist's statement and cv.

Stay tuned for a blog entry on the difference between public galleries, artist run centres, art foundations and commercial galleries.

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