Karsh-Masson Gallery

Location and hours

Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West
613-580-2424 ext. 14167 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

Open daily 9 am to 8 pm, including holidays.
Free admission. Wheelchair accessible. Parking available. 

While at City Hall, be sure to visit City Hall Art Gallery, featuring contemporary exhibitions by professional artists.

Current exhibition

Andrew Ooi – Anatomy of Resilience

February 8 to April 18, 2018
Thursday, February 8, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Catalogue excerpt

Andrew Ooi has chosen an unpretentious material to work with, even if his paper is Japanese gampi, made by hand from the inner bark of a bush.  He cuts it into strips, then into small rectangles before drawing and painting it; after that comes the folding, gluing, and assembling.  This is patient work, the gradual building occurring over many hours, and there is, I imagine, a playful element here, something of the concentrating child sitting cross-legged on the floor.  This painting and folding seems a simple practice, but what Ooi produces isn’t simple at all.  This is the first of the many contradictions in his work.

-Cary Fagan

an example of Andrew Ooi's work

Andrew Ooi, Matrix 2, 2015, acrylic on gampi paper, 25 (diameter) x 2 cm. Photo: Natalie Shahinian, courtesy of the artist.

an example of Andrew Ooi's work

Andrew Ooi, Trinity, 2015, acrylic and ink on gampi paper, 19 x 35 x 3 cm. Photo: Natalie Shahinian, courtesy of the artist.


Self-taught in matters of art and origami, Andrew Ooi made his debut in the interior design community who quickly took notice of his radiant objects. The works were published in Illuminate: Contemporary Craft Lighting (Bloomsbury Publishing) and 1,000 Product Designs: Form, Function, and Technology from Around the World (Rockport Publishers), after touring at events and exhibits in Ontario, Canada and Jyväskylä, Finland. Exhibiting in galleries introduced him to the potential freedom of pursuing a visual art practice, which has led him to explore paint and paper; colour, and especially pattern. Andrew Ooi’s artworks have been exhibited in group and solo shows in the US and in Canada where he is currently based. His work is represented by L.A. Pai Gallery in Ottawa, ON and by BoxHeart Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA. 

Andrew Ooi gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council.


Upcoming exhibitions

Jennifer Anne Norman – Forest for the trees

April 26 to July 4, 2018
Vernissage: Thursday, April 26, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

This exhibition blurs the lines between the biological and the manufactured, imagining an ecological glimpse at the proverbial forest through its very trees. Transformed into prosthetic memories of the tree limbs they once were, the drawings of fragile, reassembled branches evoke a playful sense of possibility and hope in the face of ecological anxiety. 

An example of Jennifer's artwork

Jennifer Anne Norman, Suspicious, 2017, graphite and mixed media on paper, 48 x 61 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Jennifer Anne Norman gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council.


René Price – The Art of City Building

July 12 to September 4, 2018
Vernissage: Thursday, July 12, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Reacting to the never-ending controversial development plans in Ottawa, satiric artist René Price has built a model utopian city, “OTTOWA” that will be presented on the floor, sprawling out from the middle of the gallery, giving the viewer an overview of it all, zoning and OMB permitting. Profit, growth, gentrification, human foibles and luck, all play a part in mapping out our collective future.

An example of René's work.

René Price, Towers of Power, 2012-2017, mixed media, 300 x 500 cm. Courtesy of the artist.


The Karsh Award 2018

September 14 to October 31, 2018
Vernissage: Thursday, September 13, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

This exhibit features artwork by the recipient of the 2018 Karsh Award, which is presented every two years to an established local artist for outstanding work in a photo-based medium. This award honours the artistic legacy of celebrated Ottawa photographers Yousuf and Malak Karsh. Yousuf Karsh documented history by photographing thousands of celebrated icons. His younger brother Malak Karsh focused on Canadian landscape and architecture, and is especially known for capturing Parliament Hill and its tulips.

Yousuf and Malak Karsh

Yousuf and Malak Karsh. Photographer unknown.


Barbara Brown and Cynthia O’Brien – Life Cycle Conversations

Judith Parker, curatorial collaborator

November 8, 2018 to January 9, 2019
Vernissage: Thursday, November 8, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Brown and O’Brien’s collaborative project entwines ceramic objects and photographic images of plant forms to create an immersive installation. Contrasting the timelessness of white ceramic flowers and leaves against the seasonal colour changes of a cultivated garden or wild forest, it suggests a conversation on dying, human frailty and how gardening is a memento mori, a reminder that death is inevitable. 

An example of Barbara and Cynthia's work.

Barbara Brown and Cynthia O’Brien, Remains of the Day, 2017, inkjet print of clay and compost installation detail, 20 x 30 cm. Courtesy of the artists.

Public consultation: 2018 exhibitions

Posted August 31, 2017

The 30 day consultation period is now closed. The final exhibition schedule for the Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery 2018 exhibition season will be announced in November 2017. More information about the 30 day public consultation process is included in section 4.2 of the Public Art Policy. Thank you for your participation in this review process.

Call for proposals: 2019 exhibitions

Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery

Images of City Hall Art Gallery and Karsh-Masson Gallery
(left) Ben Globerman – Call to Prayer, City Hall Art Gallery / Galerie d’art de l’hôtel de ville
(right) Mana Rouholamini – … de patience, Karsh-Masson Gallery / Galerie Karsh-Masson

Deadline: Thursday, May 3, 2018

Information meeting: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 7 pm
Karsh-Masson Gallery, 110 Laurier Avenue West
A short presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

The City of Ottawa invites professional artists and curators to propose an exhibition. Proposals will be reviewed by a peer assessment committee and selected exhibitions will be presented at Karsh-Masson Gallery or City Hall Art Gallery in 2019.

About Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery

Exhibitions at Karsh-Masson and City Hall art galleries feature the work of professional artists working in visual art, media art and fine craft and include solo, two-person and group exhibitions; curated exhibitions; exhibitions from the diplomatic sector, and circulating exhibitions from other institutions. Annual programming consists of artist talks, tours and panel discussions as well as one exhibition of the City of Ottawa Art Collection and one exhibition of artwork by a graduating student from the University of Ottawa MFA program.

Karsh-Masson and City Hall art galleries 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. Admission is free.

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 practice. These exhibitions are presented in the public domain allowing for an appreciation, understanding and interpretation of our past and present through gallery programming.

Gallery Floor Plans


  • This call for proposals is open to professional visual artists and curators who are emerging, mid-career or established, and working in visual art, media art, fine craft, design and other new art forms. 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.
  • Applicants who have exhibited at Karsh-Masson Gallery or City Hall Art Gallery within the last two consecutive years are not eligible to apply. City of Ottawa employees or elected representatives are not eligible to apply.
  • Only one proposal per applicant will be considered
  • Artwork exhibited at Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery that requires electrical components must be approved and inspected in accordance with the rules defined in the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC), as well as Canadian Standards Association (CSA) prior to acceptance by or installation at the Gallery. For more information, visit the Electrical Safety Authority at www.esasafe.com or call 1-977-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).

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. 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 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.

Assessment criteria and process

All eligible applications are reviewed by a peer assessment committee based on the following criteria:

  • artistic merit and professionalism
  • regional importance and innovation
  • quality and cohesiveness of the artwork examples and the written proposal statement
  • appropriateness of the proposal to the public nature of the gallery space

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 publicartprogram@ottawa.ca.

New this year!

Combine your proposal statement, artistic resume and image/media list documents into one PDF (see Guidelines & requirements section for details).

Guidelines and requirements

  • A complete application must include the support material listed below
  • Applications are considered for both galleries. Requests to exhibit in one specific gallery must be explained in the Proposal statement.
  • Support material may be written in English or French
  • Files must be saved in a format compatible with Windows 7
  • To format a PDF document, utilize “Save as” or “Export” from a Word or similar text-based document

Support material (items 2, 3 and 4 to be saved as one PDF)

  1. Proposal synopsis
    Summarize the proposal statement. The peer assessment committee will refer to the synopsis as a quick reference during deliberations. 80 words maximum.

  2. Proposal statement
    Describe the proposed exhibition’s content and theme, and how you will situate your artwork within the gallery space. Elaborate on how your work relates aesthetically and conceptually to contemporary art discourse. Two-person and group exhibitions must have a cohesive theme and rationale that is clearly outlined. Two pages or 800 words maximum.

  3. Artistic resume
    Include contact information for the artist or for the applicant (if different from the artist): name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. If multiple artists are involved, include each artist’s resume and indicate one contact person. Three pages maximum (per artist).
  4. Image/media list
    Include the following information about each image/media file included in your application: artist’s name, artwork title, date, material and support, dimensions, and duration of artwork (if applicable). This list may also include additional information about the image and/or media files in point form. Two pages maximum.
  5. Digital images and/or video or time-based media files
    Send ten digital image files or ten minutes total of video/media content that support the proposal statement and follow the guidelines listed below.
  • At least half of the images/media files submitted must be artwork that will be included in your final exhibition should your application be successful.
  • Curated, two-person and group exhibitions: send ten files maximum
  • Applicants who wish to include a combination of digital images and video/new media files: send ten files maximum with no more than ten minutes of content total. For each minute of video/media content, remove one digital image
  • Strict adherence to naming convention is necessary for images to be successfully viewed during the peer assessment committee meeting

Image files must be:

  • Saved as JPG
  • 72 dpi, no larger than 2 MB each. RGB colour mode with a maximum of 1240 pixels (length or width).
  • Named with the corresponding image list number, title, date, medium and support, and metric dimensions, each separated by an underscore. Do not leave a space before or after the underscore. File names must not exceed 150 characters. For example:
    01_Xylophage_2014_wood and paint_20 x 30 x 40 cm.jpg            
    02_The Mountain_2014_graphite, acrylic and metal_96 x 106 inches.jpg
    03_Untitled 2_2013_chromogenic print on paper_206 x 122 cm.jpg
    04_Untitled 2 detail_2013_chromogenic print on paper_206 x 122 cm.jpg
    05_Untitled 2 alternate view_2013_chromogenic print on paper_206 x 122 cm. jpg
    06_Untitled 3_2010_LED and resin_1 x 4 x 7 m.jpg
    07_Untitled 3 view at night_2010_LED and resin_1 x 4 x 7 m.jpg
    08_Untitled 4 framed_ 2006_oil paint on canvas_85 x 95 inches.jpg
    09_Installation at Karsh-Masson Gallery_2005_mixed media_variable dimensions.jpg
    10_Reason Over Passion_1968_quilted cloth assemblage_257 x 302 cm.jpg

Video/time-based media files must be:

  • Saved as MP4, MOV, AVI or WMV
  • Viewable in Windows Media Player or QuickTime
  • No larger than 500 MB each
  • Cued to the excerpt you want viewed (or provide detailed cue instructions in your media list)
  • Named with the corresponding media list number, title, date, medium, and duration, each separated by an underscore. Do not leave a space before or after the underscore. For example:
    01_Memorial_2012_looped video_2 min.mp4
    02_Echelles_2014_video_4 min 30 sec.mov
    03_Diaries_2014_video_6 min.avi

Support material that requires specialized software, plug-ins, extensions, or other executables that need to be downloaded or installed (eg. website hyperlinks or presentations such as PowerPoint) will not be reviewed. Applicants are responsible for testing support materials to ensure readability. The City of Ottawa is not responsible for any loss or damage to support material. CDs, DVDs and USB devices will not be returned. Please retain a copy for your records.

How to apply

Send your support materials by WeTransfer or by mail:

  • WeTransfer
    Send all support material electronically using WeTransfer to publicartprogram@ottawa.ca

    Open WeTransfer at wetransfer.com (no account required) and enter the email address publicartprogram@ottawa.ca. Attach your support material files utilizing the required naming convention (see Guidelines & requirements section for details). WeTransfer will confirm your application was sent and will send you a separate email stating the recipient has downloaded your application. The Public Art Program will also send you a confirmation email. If you do not receive an email from the Public Art Program three weeks after sending your application using WeTransfer, contact us for confirmation.


  • Mail
    Send a CD, DVD or USB device containing your support materials to the mailing address below. Include your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address on or with the CD, DVD or USB device.

    Call for proposals: 2019 exhibitions
    City of Ottawa Public Art Program
    172 Guigues Avenue
    Ottawa, Ontario K1N 5H9

Applications can also be delivered in person to the Routhier Community Centre (172 Guigues Avenue) customer service desk on Floor 1. Call the community centre directly to confirm hours of operation: 613-244-4470.

Do not deliver your application directly to Karsh-Masson Gallery or to City Hall Art Gallery.

Copyright and moral rights

The artist shall retain the copyright of the artworks. Moral rights also remain with the artist. The City of Ottawa will seek copyright permission to reproduce images of the artwork for non-commercial purposes.

Confidentiality of information

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. Committee members turn in their copies of materials for shredding and delete their computer files at the end of the peer assessment meeting.


Exhibiting artists will be paid an exhibition fee as outlined by the 2019 CARFAC Fee Schedule. Curators will receive a professional curatorial fee.

The City of Ottawa Public Art Program does not reimburse expenses related to travel, transportation of artwork and accommodation, nor are per diem fees paid.

Deadline and notification

Applications must be received by Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST for electronic applications, or be postmarked on or before this date. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Public Art Program staff will contact applicants by email to confirm receipt of support materials. This email does not confirm that your application is eligible.

Applicants will be notified of the peer assessment committee’s decisions by email within three months of the deadline date. Due to the volume of applications received for this competition, artistic feedback will not be provided.

Public consultation

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 follow the publicly announced criteria and procedures.

Contact us

Karsh-Masson and City Hall Art galleries are operated by the City of Ottawa Public Art Program. For inquiries or assistance, please email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca or call 613-244-6852.

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 Documents Request Form.

Are you on the list? Email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca with the subject line “subscribe” and receive emails about gallery programming, the Direct Purchase and Public Art commissions.