Every four years, in honor of the enduring legacy of Yousuf and Malak Karsh, the City of Ottawa recognizes a local mid-career or established artist for their outstanding body of work and their significant contribution to the artistic discipline in a photo/lens-based medium.
Laureate – Award, Exhibition, Mentorship
The Karsh laureate will:
- receive an award of $7,500
- be invited to exhibit their work in early 2020 at the Karsh-Masson Gallery located in City Hall. The laureate will be paid an exhibition fee, as outlined in the 2020 CARFAC fee schedule, and have the opportunity to either:
- select an independent curator for their exhibition; or
- increase the size and scope of their exhibition catalogue
- be invited, for the new 2022 Karsh Continuum exhibition, to either:
- select up to 3 local photo/lens-based artists to exhibit their work; or
- curate an exhibition celebrating local photographic and/or lens-based art/artists; or
- select an independent curator to mount an exhibition celebrating local photographic and/or lens-based art/artists
- be invited to participate as a paid mentor to:
- mentor the selected exhibiting artists of the 2022 Karsh Continuum exhibition; or
- mentor and/or engage the local photographic/lens-based community by leading one or more activities, such as a workshop, portfolio evaluations, lecture, etc.
2022 Karsh Continuum Exhibition
In 2017, to acknowledge Canada’s sesquicentennial, the City of Ottawa presented the exhibition, Continuum: Karsh Award artists welcome a new generation. Emerging Ottawa artists were selected by past Karsh Award laureates to participate in this special exhibition celebrating the future of artistic achievement in a photo-based medium.
To continue to foster an ongoing dialogue around photo/lens-based work, the City of Ottawa will invite future Karsh Awards laureates to participate in this new exhibition by either curating, selecting local photo/lens-based artists or selecting an independent curator for the 2022 Karsh Continuum exhibition.
Artists selected to participate in the exhibition will receive $2,000 each and associated CARFAC exhibition fees.
Eligibility for the Karsh Award Nominee
To be eligible, a nominated candidate must be a mid-career or established, professional photo/lens-based artist who:
- is an Ottawa resident* and has lived in Ottawa for at least 12 months at the time of the submission or be Algonquin Anishinabe and living within 150 km radius of Ottawa (those who do not have a status card must include a letter of acknowledgement from their Band Council)
- has made a significant contribution to the contemporary practices of fine art photography, lens-based and/or digital imagery
- has produced an outstanding body of independent work in the discipline
- has a history of exhibitions in public galleries where selection was carried out by a professional arm’s length body such as a jury or a curator
- has received recognition from peers, critics and/or curators in the discipline
City of Ottawa employees and elected representatives are ineligible for this award.
Past laureates cannot be re-considered for the award for a period of 10 years.
* City staff reserve the right to ask for proof of Ottawa residency, which is established by providing a CRA Notice of Assessment (the statement you are sent after filing an annual income tax return) for the previous year, indicating a current residential address in Ottawa.
Nomination Process for the Karsh Award
Award candidates must be nominated by a recognized art professional such as:
- an established curator or art critic
- a director, curator or board member of a public gallery or artist-run centre
- a professional staff or board member of a professional arts organization
- a professor, chair or dean of visual arts
- an established professional visual artist
- a private gallery owner
The assessment criteria used in selecting a laureate for this award are:
- Artistic excellence and innovation
- Strong artistic vision
- High technical standards
- Contribution to the artistic discipline
- Strength of body of work
The nominator is responsible for gathering the materials listed and for submitting them to the Cultural Funding Support Section by the deadline date.
From the Nominator
- A completed and signed Nominator Form
- A one-page covering letter, written by the nominator, outlining artistic achievements and reasons for nomination
From the Nominee
- A completed and signed Artist Declaration of Acceptance Form
- A current professional artist CV (maximum five pages), with emphasis on artistic achievements
- An artist’s statement
- Support material
Support material is intended to provide the evaluation committee with an overview of the artistic merit of the nominated candidate’s work and provide a history of his/her development in an independent, non-commercial photo/lens-based art practice.
To demonstrate the nominee’s range of work, with emphasis on more recent imagery, a maximum of 20 examples in digital image format must be provided.
For details on supported digital submission formats please refer to the submission requirements as stated in the Nominee Form: Support Material – Image List.
You may also submit up to five additional documents that provide evidence of the candidate’s achievements, including:
- exhibition catalogues and invitations
- art books
- magazine articles and/or critical reviews
Submissions will be assessed through an arm’s length peer evaluation process. A jury composed of professional artists, curators and/or arts professionals will review each submission based on the assessment criteria of the Karsh Award program and select a winning laureate.
Jury members are selected by the Cultural Funding Support Section for their expertise, knowledge and engagement within photo/lens-based arts practices.
The City of Ottawa adheres to Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality policies in the selection of peer assessors. For more details, please contact the Cultural Funding Support Section.
The laureate and nominator will be notified of the results approximately four months after the deadline date.
The laureate and nominator must agree to keep the results confidential until the date of the public announcement, which will take place in early 2020.
Please note that results cannot be released over the telephone.
Deadline for submission entries is Monday, January 7, 2019 at 4 pm. All nominations must be received by the deadline date, postmarked on that date, or earlier. Late submissions will not be accepted.
Please submit one copy of the completed application form including support material to:
City of Ottawa (26 – 49)
Cultural Funding Support Section, Karsh Award
100 Constellation Drive, 9th Floor West
Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8
If you wish to have support material returned, please enclose a self-addressed envelope with the required postage. Do not send originals.
The artist agrees that the City of Ottawa is not responsible for the loss or damage of applications and/or support material.