Arts and culture bring people and communities together

Published on
January 8, 2024
Arts, heritage and events

Feature story

This feature story is part of the City of Ottawa Service Reviews: an initiative aimed at ensuring our services are meeting your needs. Visit today.

Falling Star, a 13-foot-high cast aluminum sculpture by Artist Don Maynard at Half Moon Bay Park
(Falling Star, a 13-foot-high cast aluminum sculpture by Artist Don Maynard at Half Moon Bay Park, City of Ottawa Art Collection)

Exploring your creativity can fuel a fresh start this new year. Our city offers many opportunities to energize your creativity through arts, heritage and events.

City art centres, theatres, galleries, museums, and exhibition spaces inspire creativity, and our wide range of programs and services provide opportunities for artists to learn and evolve. We commission public art to enhance and celebrate our unique cultural identity, and our historic sites and museums connect us with history and with each other.

Culture and creativity have been at the heart of the revitalization of some of the world’s most innovative neighbourhoods. A strong cultural scene stimulates other elements of the economy and helps attract, retain and fuel a creative workforce. Arts and culture bring people together and energizes innovation across sectors from tourism and hospitality to science and technology.

Art and culture are good for the brain and the heart

The Spirit of OC Transpo painting by local artist Bhat Boy is part of the City of Ottawa Art Collection
(The Spirit of OC Transpo painting by local artist Bhat Boy is part of the City of Ottawa Art Collection)

Remember the joy of making a gift for someone special or the time you created something wonderful? Creativity is at the heart of the many programs and services we offer to inspire residents of every age.

Examples include the Nepean Visual Arts Centre where specialty arts classes are offered in a creative and dynamic environment to all levels of ability. Students experience a diversity of arts instruction from accomplished artists, and participants can display their creativity at the Centre’s studio gallery.

The Nepean Creative Arts Centre has arts-specific studios available for rent, including music, dance, theatre and visual arts studios. There is also a black box theatre, recital hall, set construction workshop and meeting rooms for you to pursue your artistic aspirations. Young at Art offers exciting opportunities through a professionally assessed art exhibition that brings the work of young visual artists to local art galleries.

Through public art and City of Ottawa Art Collection, we collect, commission and exhibits artwork to create conversations and make art accessible to everyone. Our programs enhance Ottawa's cultural identity while increasing awareness and appreciation of the visual arts.

Your city, your ideas!

This is just a glimpse of our extensive arts and cultural services to ensure a vibrant city that is more liveable for all. Do you have ideas related to this or other City services? Share your ideas at

Did you know?

  • The City of Ottawa owns and operates five museums and historic sites, and supports eight community museums including the Bytown Museum, the Diefenbunker and Vanier Museopark.
  • Performances and much more are on the playbill at Arts Court, the Meridian Theatres at Centrepointe and the Shenkman Arts Centre.
  • In addition to the Barbara Ann Scott Gallery, there are two Public Art Program Galleries at City Hall, and artwork from the City of Ottawa collection is presented at over 170 public sites across the city.
  • Our galleries and exhibition spaces include Gallery 112 at the James K. Bartleman Centre, the Atrium Art Gallery at Ben Franklin Place and the Trinity Art Gallery at the Shenkman Arts Centre.
  • The City of Ottawa has an Artist Studio Program that fosters professional development in the arts and exposes the public to visual art through studio visits, exhibitions, and events.
  • Our professional cultural awards and programs celebrates creative excellence with the Ottawa Book Awards, the Karsh Awards, the Ottawa Poet Laureate Program and the Ottawa Urban Design Awards.
  • The Young at Art program has been held annually since 1996, recognizing the creativity of young artists in our city age 12 to 19 years old. More than 1,000 artworks have been showcased through the program.
  • #ottmusic has three core programs that provide opportunities for local musicians to share their music with Ottawa residents and beyond: Music on Hold, O-Buskers, and City Sounds. Music on Hold has featured 229 musicians while City Sounds has featured 350. 

For more information on City programs and services, visit, call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or 613-580-2400 to contact the City using Canada Video Relay Service. You can also connect with us through Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram.