Plural public funding and Canada's contemporary art market system

Derrick Chong, Elisabeth Bogdan

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A network of publicly funded institutions with identities tied to cities and provinces – as opposed to centralized activity by the state or an emphasis a singular metropolitan centre – mark the Canadian landscape in supporting contemporary art. Public funding for the arts is direct and plural: it operates at three levels of government – federal, provincial, and municipal – and is distributed by government departments and arts councils. Canadian institutions in receipt of public funding relevant to contemporary art include art schools, artist-run centres, non-collecting exhibition venues, and art museums. There is a suggestion that this creates and maintains a circular system for contemporary art that is coordinated via state funding. However, a suggestion of boundary divide, with state and not-for-profit sector organizations separated from private and commercial ones, is misleading. The role of art market intermediaries, namely contemporary art dealers (or gallerists), who are responsible for representing artists and promoting their work for the first time (on the primary art market) to collectors, is integral. It also represents one measure of the overall health of Canada’s contemporary art market system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-107
JournalCultural Trends
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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