This competition is now closed. The Call for proposals: 2024-25 exhibitions at Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery will be announced in March 2023.
Once every two years, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program invites professional artists and curators to propose an exhibition. Proposals are reviewed by a peer assessment committee and selected exhibitions are presented at Karsh-Masson Gallery or City Hall Art Gallery over the following two years.
Due to the temporary postponement of the current exhibition season, successful applicants might experience scheduling delays.
About Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery
Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery are located on the main level at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West. Both galleries are open daily from 9 am to 8 pm and are wheelchair accessible. Admission is free. (Hours of operation are subject to change due to Covid-19 closures.)
Exhibitions at Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery feature the work of professional artists working in all media and include solo, group and curated exhibitions, exhibitions from the diplomatic sector, and circulating exhibitions from other institutions. Both galleries present a combined total of approximately 10 exhibitions annually, each of which lasts approximately eight weeks. Annual programming consists of artist talks and tours and an exhibition featuring the City of Ottawa Art Collection. An exhibition related to the Karsh Award is presented every two years at Karsh-Masson Gallery and the next one will occur in 2022. Although City Hall has 24/7 security, gallery staff are not onsite daily therefore exhibitions must be self-sufficient and cannot require regular maintenance.
A public gallery is a forum for the exploration of diverse ideas. The City of Ottawa exhibits artwork in all media that are of interest and importance to the community, that foster a sense of who we are, and that reflect current artistic practices. These exhibitions are presented in the public domain allowing for an appreciation, understanding and interpretation of our past and present through gallery programming.
The City of Ottawa supports cultural activity that is inclusive of Ottawa's equity-deserving communities, including people from diverse ancestries, abilities, ages, countries of origin, cultures, genders, incomes, languages, races and sexual identities. The City of Ottawa recognizes the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation as Ottawa’s Indigenous Host Nation. The City of Ottawa is committed to supporting cultural activities that respond to the Calls to Action put forward in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. Applications from Algonquin Anishinabe Host Nation, First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists and curators are welcome and encouraged. The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status and privileges.
Personal information in your application is collected under the authority of the City Council approved Public Art Policy. Personal information will only be used for evaluating your application and administering the City of Ottawa Public Art Program. City of Ottawa employees and peer assessment committee members are required to treat both the content of applications and the deliberations of the committee as confidential.
- This call for proposals is open to professional artists and curators working in all media. A professional artist is someone who has specialized training in his or her artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions), who is recognized by his or her peers as such, is committed to his or her artistic activity, and has a history of public presentation.
- National and international applicants are eligible, however priority is given to applicants who live, or have lived, within a 150 km radius of Ottawa or who have a local connection, such as participating in the local arts community. Successful applicants will be responsible for all costs related to shipping artwork to and from the gallery, travel and accommodation.
- Applicants who have exhibited at Corridor 45|75, Karsh-Masson Gallery or City Hall Art Gallery within the last two consecutive years are not eligible to apply.
Only one proposal per applicant will be considered. City of Ottawa employees or elected representatives are not eligible to apply.
Artworks with electrical components:
- Artworks that require electricity must be approved by an accredited certification or evaluation agency prior to being installed at Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery. The object(s) must have an official certification mark or label indicating that the product has been independently assessed for safety. A list of recognized certification marks and labels is available.
- For more information, visit the Electrical Safety Authority or call 1-877-372-7233.
- Any costs associated with meeting the certification requirement are the sole responsibility of the artist.
- Applicants must provide documentation that their artwork(s) meets Electrical Safety Authority standards (i.e. certification mark) in their proposal.
- Exhibiting artists will be paid an exhibition fee in accordance with either the 2022 or the 2023 CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule, Section 1 (Exhibition and Screening Royalty Schedule, Institutional Category I). Curators will receive a professional fee.
- The exhibition fee and the curatorial fee include all professional services related to the preparation, installation, consultation, writing tasks, and production of artwork(s) associated with the exhibition.
- Each exhibition is allotted one presentation fee for an optional talk or tour in accordance with the 2022 or the 2023 CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule, Section 4 (C.2.0 – Presentation and Consultation fees, Flat rate per half day, under 4 hours).
- The City of Ottawa Public Art Program does not cover expenses related to travel, accommodation, per diems and the transportation of artwork(s).
- Complex installations of any kind requiring special equipment or specific support beyond the City of Ottawa Public Art Program’s budget are the sole responsibility of the artist.
Assessment criteria and process
All eligible applications are reviewed by a peer assessment committee based on the following criteria:
- Artistic merit, originality and professionalism
- Cohesiveness of the artwork examples and the written proposal statement
- Appropriateness and suitability of the proposal to the highly public nature of the gallery spaces
- Technical and physical feasibility
Peer assessment committee members first review eligible applications individually then meet to review them together. The composition of each 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. 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 committee change with every competition. City employees are responsible for the selection of peer assessment committee members. If you are interested in participating as a peer assessment committee member, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the peer assessment committee’s deliberations, the selected exhibitions will be announced on ottawa.ca. Members of the public are invited to bring forward, within a 30-day period, any concern that the peer assessment committee did not comply with the publicly-announced criteria and procedures of the selection process.
Public Art Program – newsletter sign up form
By signing up for our newsletter, you will receive calls and announcements regarding the City of Ottawa Art Collection, public art commissions, and exhibitions at Karsh-Masson Gallery, City Hall Art Gallery and Corridor 45|75 all in one place.