Thursday, 24 January 2013

What Are They Up To?

imgres.jpgCARFAC Ontario is the association of professional visual and media artists. Founded in 1968, CARFAC (Canadian Artists' Representation/le Front des artistes canadiens) has worked for 40 years on the legal and economic issues facing visual artists. We believe that artists, like professionals in other fields, should be paid for their work and share equitably in profits from their art practice. The work of CARFAC Ontario is to develop policies, publications and services that assist artists, galleries, curators, art patrons, and other stakeholders in creating an economic climate that benefits all visual artists.

So there was a bit of an event in Ottawa at Gallery 101, which for the uninitiated is located at 303 Bank St. Location was not disabled accessible, not really old person accessible, either. Two long, steep flights.

This was brought up as a concern, that any web-based information might want to include parking and accessibility but seemed to be sloughed-off. I don't know what could be more important than ensuring artists and patrons are able to get to where they want to be to put up or see art.

There were several ideas our small groups of seven to ten people were to discuss. Alas, I did not copy these but they are implied in the press release sent out last November that announced this Trillium-funded project.

I wonder how "craft-based" is being defined. Scrap-booking? Snobbish of me, I know, but this is something that needs to be addressed.

In reading some background information, I found this sentence often in place:

"Without accepted industry protocols and standards, Visual Artists and Craft Practitioners have often had to rely on individual experience, knowledge and relationships within the sector to inform their professional practice"1.
National Association for the Visual Arts Ltd (NAVA), 2004,
The Code of Practice for the Australian Visual Arts and
Craft Sector, 2nd Edition, Sydney, pp 7.

Well, I would right off the bat have problems with the language used. Industry. Protocols. Standards. 
Practitioners. Practice. Non of these words would ordinarily be seen within a country mile of the words art or artist. 

Here's the press release from last November announcing the project, and I guess, Trillium funding, although it's not mentioned. Might've been a different press release.

Strengthening the Sector: Resources and Best Practices for the Visual, Media and Craft-Based Arts Sector

Release Date: Nov. 19, 2012
What is This Project About?
CARFAC Ontario is providing leadership on this multi-year project focused on researching and developing resources and tools for the visual, media and craft-based arts sectors. The ultimate goal of the project is establishing a set of best practices to advance industry standards through a consultative, consensus building process. The resulting ethical and practical professional standards and best practices developed will provide guidance in areas where regulation and agreements currently do not exist.
The project is being led by an alliance of CARFAC Ontario, Ontario Crafts Council, Artist-Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO), Media Arts Network of Ontario (MANO) and the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (ACC). 
The project consists of three Phases.
Phase 1 - Mapping the Province: Knowledge Building and Community Engagement this phase of work will:
  • Consolidate pre-existing cultural mapping research related to visual, media and craft-based arts from across the Province of Ontario
  • Undertake new research into areas of the subsector where knowledge is lacking
  • Strengthen relationships and knowledge sharing through province-wide community engagement process
Phase 2 - Guiding the Province:  Best Practice Development this phase of work will:
  • Create best practice documents that form the industry standard by which individual artists and practitioners engage with public and private sector institutions and distributers of their work
Phase 3 - Mobilizing the Province: Implementation and Engagement this final phase of work will:
  • Create the best web-based platform(s) to house the research and industry standards as well as serve as an evolving mechanism to support communication and exchange within and across sectors and related stakeholders
CARFAC Ontario has retained the services of Dr. Greg Baeker, Director of Cultural Development at Millier Dickinson Blais to provide consulting support to Phase 1 of the project. 
How can YOU Participate?
Community engagement and input are critical to the success of the project. There are two ways in which the community can participate.
  • Regional Forums – will be held across the province early in the New Year. Dates and locations will be available shortly. The forums will bring together interested individuals and organizations to learn more about the project and to provide their input into shaping its outcomes
  • A Community Survey – following the Forums, a survey will be widely distributed seeking input on a range of issues critical to the success of the project. 
Examples of Best Practice Work
The past decade has seen growing interest in the development of "Best Practices" with early work emerging in countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom. In 2001, the Australian National Association for the Visual Arts, (NAVA) published the first edition of The Code of Practice for the Professional Australian Visual Arts, Craft and Design Sector. Now in its 3rd edition NAVA has provided leadership internationally in advancing the field. Recently, the International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies (IFACCA) have also begun to document these developments. 
In 2009, CARFAC Saskatchewan launched The Saskatchewan Best Practices Development Project. The project has produced Best Practices for the Visual Arts and Crafts sectors in the following areas. 
  • Commercial Galleries and Artists
  • Public Galleries and Artists
  • Public Art Commissions
  • Organization of Juried Group Exhibitions
  • Use of Artists Work for Fundraising Purposes  
  • Best Practice Standards for Aboriginal Arts. 
The Ontario project will build on this work and experience. 

This project (as in the Sask one which the Ontario one is to be based upon) has been devised based on the "The Code of Practice for the Australian Visual Arts and Craft Sector" Edition 2, developed, commissioned and published by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA). 

And the Sask BP Dev Proj is based on the Australian one. However, Australia has been dumping cash into their arts organizations for decades and, in my opinion, can in no way be compared to what is going on in Canada today. 

And why are Aboriginals being singled out for their own Best Practice Standards? Either you have a standard or standards across the board or you don't