Deadline: Monday April 4, 2016 at 8 pm
Information meeting: Tuesday, March 15 from 6 to 8 pm at the Studio at Arts Court, 2 Daly Avenue. A short presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

The City of Ottawa collects artwork that demonstrates creativity and innovation. When annual budgets permit, opportunities for purchase are announced by way of the Direct Purchase program. Purchases are based on a peer assessment committee’s recommendation. Artwork purchased through the Direct Purchase program will become part of the City of Ottawa Art Collection.

Are you on the list? Subscribe and receive an email when the Direct Purchase program is announced.

Image: Additions to the City of Ottawa Art Collection at Karsh-Masson Gallery.

About the program

Direct Purchase is a competitive program for participants to offer artwork for sale to the City of Ottawa. More than 2,500 artworks are reviewed each year. Direct Purchase is a two-tiered process: 

At the first tier, all eligible applications are reviewed by a peer assessment committee and a short-list of artworks is recommended. All applicants are informed of the peer assessment committee’s recommendations.

For the second tier in June, applicants with short-listed artworks are asked to deliver artworks to the City of Ottawa for review by the peer assessment committee. A final recommendation of artworks is made at this time. Applicants are responsible for arranging delivery and pick-up and for all related costs.

Framing is not required nor recommended. If the artwork is framed in advance, materials must meet general conservation standards. Participants will be asked to provide technical information on the framing materials. Prints that require dry-mounting must be submitted completely mounted or with an offer to replace the print at cost if a second print is required during the dry-mounting process.

All eligible applications are reviewed by a peer assessment committee based on artistic merit, regional importance and innovation, and conservation and maintenance requirements. Recommendations for purchase are made by a peer assessment committee based on available funds. Each peer assessment committee is made up of three to five art professionals. City employees are responsible for the selection of peer assessment committee members. Peer assessment committee members are chosen based on their knowledge and experience, fair and objective opinions, ability to articulate ideas, and ability to work in a team environment. Members of the peer assessment committee change for every program. The composition of each peer assessment committee aims to balance representation of artistic specialization, practice, style, and philosophy, as well as fair representation of official languages, gender, geographic areas, and culture-specific communities. If you are interested in participating as a peer assessment committee member or nominating a candidate, please contact us.

The City of Ottawa supports cultural activities that are inclusive of Ottawa's diverse community in areas such as gender, official language, disability and ethnicity. Applications from First Nations, Inuit, and Métis participants are welcome and encouraged. The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status, and privileges.

Information provided by participants may be available to City of Ottawa employees and to members of the peer assessment committee. The deliberations of the peer assessment committee and personal information provided by the artist or applicant shall be dealt with on a confidential basis pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. 

Artworks purchased by the City are accessioned into the City of Ottawa Art Collection. The artist retains copyright and moral right to the artwork. Participants are paid the purchase price of the artwork plus a surcharge of 5% of the value of the artwork in exchange for a non-exclusive licence agreement. This licence agreement grants the City permission to display the artwork and to reproduce images of the artwork for non‑commercial purposes.


Am I eligible?

  • Participants must be professional artists or representatives of professional artists such as a gallery or an estate
  • Participants must own the artwork or represent the legal owner of the artwork
  • Artists must live, or have lived, within a 150 km radius of Ottawa or the artwork must have a local connection
  • Artists must have completed specialized training in their artistic field or be recognized by their peers as a professional artist
  • Artists must be committed to their artistic activity
  • Artists must have created a body of work outside of basic training
  • Artists must be Canadian citizens or have permanent residence status

Only one submission per artist will be considered. City of Ottawa employees or elected representatives are not eligible to participate.



Participants must submit a complete application. A complete application contains all support material saved to a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive. Files must be saved in a format compatible with Windows 7. Write your name and contact information on the CD, DVD, or USB flash drive. Write your name and contact information on the envelope and send it to Direct Purchase program at 172 Guigues Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 5H9 by the deadline date: Monday April 4, 2016 at 8 pm. Accessible formats and communication supports are available upon request.

Support material

Items 1, 2, and 3 can be saved as one PDF. To create a PDF document, Save as or Export from Word, or similar text-based document. 
A connection to the Ottawa area must be evident in the support material. 

  1. Artist statement (fewer than 500 words)
    Save a copy of your document as a .pdf.

  2. Artistic resumé (maximum three pages or 1,500 words)
    Save a copy of your document as .pdf. Include contact information for the artist and for the applicant (if different from the artist): name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address.
  3. List of ten images
    Save a copy of your document as .pdf. Provide the image number, title, date, medium and support, dimensions, and price. Use this document to indicate series, edition, or other significant details in point form. Your list of ten images must correspond with item 4. Example:

    01_untitled_2016_oil paint on canvas_85 x 95 cm_$700.jpg
    - From the Ottawa-Gatineau series
    - Full series of five works is available for $3,500
    - Unframed

    02_untitled 2_2015_photograph on paper_206 x 122 cm_$900.tiff
    - Polaroid transfer with acrylic and beeswax on paper
    - Framed with archival matting in shadow box with spacer

  4. Ten images
    Save each image as .jpg .tiff or .bmp and number them in order with most recent work first. Each image must be saved at 72 dpi and be no larger than 2 MB. Use RGB with maximum 1,240 pixels (length or width). Files must be named with the image number, title, date, material, metric dimensions, and price, each separated by an underscore. Do not leave a space before, or after, the underscore. Example:

    01_untitled_2016_oil paint on canvas_85 x 95 cm_$700.jpg     
    02_untitled 2_2015_photograph on paper_206 x 122 cm_$900.tiff
    03_untitled 2 detail_2015_Chromogenic print on paper_0 x 0 cm_$0.tiff
    04_untitled 2 alternate view_2015_Chromogenic print on paper_0 x 0 cm_$0.tiff
    05_untitled 3 not for sale_2015_wood and metal_40 x 60 x 10 cm_$0.tiff
    06_untitled 4_2014_LED and resin_1 x 4.5 x 7 m_$1,250.jpg
    07_untitled 4 view at night_2014_LED and resin_0 x 0 x 0 m_$0.bmp
    08_untitled 5_2014_oil paint on canvas_145 x 95 cm_$600.bmp
    09_untitled 6_2014_oil paint on canvas_85 x 95 cm_$475.jpg
    10_installation at Karsh-Masson Gallery_2012_mixed media_variable dimensions_$0.jpg

    Ten images are required. When ten artworks are not for sale, include detail images, images with alternate points of view, or images of artwork from a similar series. Images of artwork not for sale may be named with a price of $0.

    For video or time-based media, please contact us.

Deadline and notification

Mail or deliver your application by 8 pm on Monday, April 4, 2016. Applications must be received by 8 pm on April 4, 2016 or postmarked on or before April 4, 2016.

Direct Purchase program
172 Guigues Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 5H9 

Applications can be delivered to Routhier Community Centre customer service desk on Floor 1:




8:30 am to 9 pm


8:30 am to 9:30 pm


8:30 am to 9 pm


8:30 am to 10 pm


8:30 am to 7 pm


8:30 am to 5:30 pm



Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Applications submitted by fax or email will not be accepted.  Paper-based support material will not be accepted. Support material that requires software, plug-ins, extensions, or other executables that need to be downloaded or installed will not be accepted. CDs, DVDs, and USB devices will not be returned. The City of Ottawa is not responsible for any loss or damage to support material.

Receipt of your application will be acknowledged by email. All participants will be notified of the results of the first tier of the 2016 Direct Purchase program by May 13, 2016.

Results are final. Due to the volume of applications received for this program, artistic feedback will not be provided.

Contact us