Call for Applications: 2020 Direct Purchase
Installation view: Signal: 2019 Additions to the City of Ottawa Art Collection
, photo: City of Ottawa
Deadline: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 12:00 pm (noon) EDT
Information meeting: A public information meeting for the 2020 Direct Purchase Call for Applications was originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 1, 2020 from 6 to 7pm at Karsh-Masson Gallery. This event has been cancelled.
The City of Ottawa Public Art Program invites professional artists and their representatives to offer existing artworks for purchase. Proposals are reviewed by a peer assessment committee and selected artworks will become part of the City of Ottawa Art Collection. Artwork from this diverse collection is presented at over 170 public sites across Ottawa.
About Direct Purchase
Direct Purchase is a competitive program for participants to offer artwork for purchase to the City of Ottawa. More than 2,500 artworks are reviewed each year. Direct Purchase is a two-stage process:
At the first stage, 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 stage in early 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.
All eligible applications are reviewed by a peer assessment committee based on artistic merit, regional importance, innovation, and conservation and maintenance requirements. Recommendations for purchase are made by a peer assessment committee based on available funds. 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 for every program. 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 contact us.
The City of Ottawa supports cultural activity that is inclusive of Ottawa's diverse community, including people from diverse ancestries, abilities, ages, countries of origin, cultures, genders, incomes, languages, races and sexual orientations. The City of Ottawa recognizes the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation as Ottawa’s Indigenous Host Nation. On February 28, 2018, City Council approved a Reconciliation Plan in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. One of the commitments is to acquire more art from Indigenous artists into the City of Ottawa Art Collection. Applications from artists and representatives of diverse origins, First Nations, Inuit and Métis are welcome and encouraged. The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status and privileges.
Personal information in your submission is collected under the authority of the City Council approved Public Art Policy. Personal information will only be used for evaluating your submission 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 submissions and the deliberations of the committee as confidential.
- Participants must be professional artists or representatives of professional artists such as a gallery or an estate
- Participants must either be the author of the artwork or represent the author of the artwork
- Artists must live, or have lived, within a 150 km radius of Ottawa or the artwork must have a local connection (please indicate this in your Artist Statement or Artistic Resumé)
- 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
Only one submission per artist will be considered. City of Ottawa employees or elected representatives are not eligible to participate.
All eligible applications are reviewed by a peer assessment committee based on the following criteria;
- Artistic Merit
- Regional importance
- Conservation and Maintenance requirements
- A complete application must include the support material listed below
- Support material may be written in English or French
- Files must be saved in a format compatible with Windows 10
- To format a PDF document, utilize “Save As” or “Export” from a Word or similar text-based document
Support material (items 1, 2, and 3 to be saved as one PDF)
- Artist statement (fewer than 500 words)
A brief overview of your artistic practice that can include an explanation of a specific body (or bodies) of work with reference to the works you are including in your application
- Artistic resumé (maximum three pages or 1,500 words)
Include contact information for the artist and for the applicant (if different from the artist): name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address.
- List of ten images
This list is a direct reference to the artwork image files you are including in your application. The image list is an opportunity to add information or additional description of the individual artworks. Use this document to indicate series, edition, or other significant details in point form.
01_Still Life_2019_photograph on paper_80 x 122 cm_$900.jpg
- Polaroid transfer with acrylic and beeswax on paper
- Framed with archival matting in shadow box with spacer
- From the Ottawa-Gatineau series
- Full series of five works is available for $4,000
- Ten images
Save each image as .jpg and number them in order with most recent work first. Each image must be saved at 72 dpi or higher and be no larger than 1 MB. Please adhere to the specific naming convention for image files as described.
Image files must be named with the image number, title, date, material(s), dimensions, and price, each separated by an underscore. Do not leave a space before or after the underscore. File names must not exceed 150 characters.
Format for naming files:
01_Artwork Title_Year_Materials_Dimensions_$ Price.jpg
01_Still Life_2019_photograph on paper_80 x 122 cm_$900.jpg
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 artworks not for sale should be named with a price of $0.
Support material that requires software, plug-ins, extensions, or other executables that need to be downloaded or installed will not be accepted. The City of Ottawa is not responsible for any loss or damage to support material.
How to Apply
NEW! Send all support material electronically using our online application form. Please have your content ready for inputting as the form does not save your information if you leave or refresh the page. Google Chrome is the preferred browser.
Deadline and notification
Applications must be received by 12:00 pm noon EDT on Wednesday April 29, 2020.
Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
The Public Art Program will send you a confirmation email when your application has been received and processed. If you do not receive an email from the Public Art Program two weeks after your submission, please contact us for confirmation.
All participants will be notified of the results of the first stage of the 2020 Direct Purchase by Friday June 5th, 2020.
Results are final. Due to the volume of applications received, artistic feedback will not be provided.
Accessible formats and communication supports are available upon request. If you are unable to view documents or require alternative file formats, please complete an Accessible Formats Document Request Form.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Should artworks be framed for purchase?
No. Unless your artworks are already framed, please do not add frames. If your work is purchased, we will consult with you to determine the framing requirements.
Can I charge HST?
Yes, you can.
What happens if I sell an artwork before the final stage of the 2020 Direct Purchase?
If you have sold an artwork that you included in your application for Direct Purchase, you can offer a substitution of similar work. The substituted artwork should be within a similar price range, similar dimensions and from the same body of work, if possible.
How many applications does this program receive each year?
We receive between 200 – 300 applications each year.
What is the price range of artworks?
It depends, most artworks are between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars.