Who we are: Visual Arts Alberta Association’s Artistic Goals and Mandate
Visual Arts Alberta Association (common name: CARFAC Alberta) is a non-profit provincial cultural organization representing the visual arts sector in Alberta. As a provincial arts service organization (PASO) we inform and promote artists, provide professional development opportunities for both members and the general public, and advocate on behalf of members. As the provincial affiliate for Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des Artistes Canadiens (CARFAC) in the province of Alberta, Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC advocates, educates and innovates. We work to improve the socio-economic conditions of all artists. CARFAC believes that artists, like professionals in other fields, should be paid for their work and share equitably in profits from their work. CARFAC defends artists’ economic and legal rights, and educates the public on fair dealings with artists, providing a vitally important perspective on issues affecting the making of art, artist’s rights, intellectual property rights, and the status of the artist within our society.
CARFAC Alberta’s goals are to advocate:
- By improving socio-economic conditions for artists
- By raising the status of professional artists
- By promoting new and emerging practices for artists
CARFAC Alberta’s goals are to educate:
- By informing artists, the general public, and government
- By explaining the role and profession of artists
- By promoting art-making as a profession
CARFAC Alberta’s goals are to innovate:
- By using a cooperative model with province-wide scope
- By actively seeking opportunities for under-represented voices
- By responding to the changing needs of visual artists
Alberta artists need an organization that can respond to the changing needs of visual artists and this role is being fulfilled by CARFAC Alberta. An organization is needed to provide information, advice, and professional development opportunities so that the visual arts sector in Alberta can continue to grow and prosper.
Alberta is a vibrant province with a population that is expanding rapidly. Living in such a province has many advantages for workers but the boom-and-bust cycle of an industry-based economy have a direct impact on visual artists’ ability to sell their work, find other employment and housing, afford health and life insurance, and find affordable studio space.
The resources CARFAC Alberta offers to visual artists can help them weather the variability of Alberta’s economy, and allow them to grow their practice (and their income) here and elsewhere. CARFAC Alberta is focused on providing information and resources to individual visual artists and to organizations that deal with visual artists and their work.
CARFAC Alberta serves Alberta visual artists at all points in their careers: young emerging artists who have just completed training, and need guidance in beginning their professional practice; artists of any age who are interested in moving from a part-time to full-time creative practice and need tools and resources to assist them in that shift; established artists who need assistance with particular aspects of their work life, such as negotiating contracts, or advice on sending work abroad, and artists at any stage of their careers who are living in smaller centres, who do not have easy access to professional advice and resources, and who may feel isolated from the larger visual arts community, which is concentrated in larger cities.
CARFAC Alberta also serves as a resource for a diverse range of organizations in communities throughout the province: galleries of any sort (commercial, public, or artist-run) who want information on appropriate fee structures, contract formats, or similar information for their work with visual artists; community groups and art organizations in smaller centres who wish to provide professional development opportunities for the artists in their region; and post-secondary institutions who wish to provide professional practice information to their students in the field of visual arts.
CARFAC Alberta has a province-wide membership composed of individual members and groups. As a membership driven non-profit organization, Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC’s mission is to serve all Alberta visual artists (we consider non-members to be future members), so while we provide some membership benefits, we believe it is necessary to have programs that can serve every visual artist in Alberta.
In addition to providing a provincial resource office with a paid executive director and paid staff that is accessible to all, CARFAC Alberta also maintains a small public gallery space on the same site, called the CARFAC Alberta Project Space. The project space operates as a community hub, bringing artists and the public together, in a space where dialogue about the visual arts is encouraged. To this end, the project space provides members, potential members, and the general public access to a range of Alberta artists’ work, and serves as a contact point to raise awareness about the programs and services we offer as a provincial arts service organization and as the provincial affiliate for CARFAC. CARFAC Alberta Project Space hosts 4 -5 exhibitions showcasing the works of approximately 100 Alberta artists, including student, emerging and established/professional Alberta artists. The projects selected for exhibition do not duplicate what other public galleries and artist run centres program. CARFAC artist fees are paid. The CARFAC Alberta Project Space is a voice and venue for art and ideas that offers visitors fresh insight into the diverse media and art forms in use today by Alberta artists. CARFAC AlbertaProject Space is unique in that it exhibits only work by Alberta artists and advocates and those with strong ties to Alberta. We believe that there is untapped talent in Alberta that needs to be celebrated.