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ArcPost: A Project of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres

Facts & Figures

Four key characteristics that define the Unique role of ARCs:

1) Self determination and artistic experimentation

2) Collaboration and networking

3) A grounding in larger social movements and

4) A more recent trend towards increasing professional capacity

A distinct contribution of ARCs lies in providing support for artistic experimentation and production, a role not generally played by other visual arts organizations.

ARCs provide a professional entrypoint for emerging artists and arts professionals, providing them with critical opportunities to develop their vision and their professional networks.


Mandates of Canadian ARCs

Programming of Canadian ARCs

Audience of Canadian ARCs

Source: The Distinct Role of Artist-Run Centres in the Canadian Visual Arts Ecology, Report prepared by Marilyn Burgess and Maria De Rosa for the Canada Council for the Arts, 2011.

Artists in Canada

1. The average earnings of artists are very low.

2. A typical artist in Canada earns less than half the typical earnings of all Canadian workers.

3. Artists’ earnings decreased, even before the current recession.

4. There are more female than male artists, yet women artists earn much less than men.

5. Aboriginal and visible minority artists have particularly low earnings.

6. Economic returns to higher education are much lower for artists than for other workers.

7. Many artists are self-employed.

8. There are relatively few opportunities for full-time work in the arts.

9. There has been substantial growth in the number of artists since 1971, but the rate of growth is decreasing.

10. Artists, as a group, are becoming more diverse, older and better educated.


Artists in BC

British Columbia has 25,900 artists, which represents 1.1% of the provincial labour force. British Columbia has the highest concentration of artists among the provinces. Almost one-third of all B.C. artists reside in the City of Vancouver (8,200, or 31%). The concentration of artists in Vancouver (2.3% of the local labour force) is double the provincial average (1.1%) and nearly triple the national average (0.8%).[based on 2006 statistics]


In 2009-10, BC was in last place among the provinces in terms of combined provincial and federal cultural spending, at $206 per capita, versus $309 as the national per capita average, and it was nearly $50 per person behind the next lowest province, Manitoba. (Current statistics not available).


[In Canada] the direct economic impact of cultural industries (including information) has grown from $39 B in 2002 to $45.9 B in 2011, a 2.1% yearly growth.

Creating a job in the arts and culture sector is less costly than in any other sector of the economy: the average cost varies between $20 K and $30K compared to $100K to $300K for jobs in medium and heavy industry sectors.


Between 1992 and 2010, there was a 13% increase in the percentage of British Columbians who visited art galleries.

British Columbians are more likely than other Canadians to participate in many different arts, culture and heritage activities, including: Going to art galleries (40.5% of British Columbians vs. 35.7% of all Canadians).


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