We are updating our website and will be deleting all collection sets on or after March 27, 2019. Please get in touch with us if you have any concerns.

Join us at the Art Bank for Doors Open Ottawa on June 1, 2019

Join us at the Art Bank for
Doors Open Ottawa!


Take a guided tour, explore the collection at your own pace, and ask our expert staff about anything from artworks to art handling.

Meet guest curator, Pansee Atta, organizer of this year’s thematic display. Home/Making is a special selection of artworks related to the creative work we do at home and the creative ways artists reimagine the home.

Feeling inspired by the Art Bank collection? Try our hands-on activity!

Saturday, June 1, 2019
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
921 St. Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa

Share your experience with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #DoorsOpenOttawa and #ArtBank!

This activity is free and open to the public. Limited parking available.

In partnership with


The Art Bank at the Papier Art Fair: Tips for Your Visit

The Canada Council Art Bank will be an exhibitor at the Papier Art Fair in Montréal this year!

This will be our first time at Papier, which coincides with the art fair broadening the range of mediums beyond works on paper, giving visitors the chance to discover and appreciate a wide range of contemporary art practices. Art Bank art consultant for the Montréal Area, Claudio Marzano, will be on site presenting photographs, prints, textiles, sculptures and more from the over 17,000 works in our art rental collection.

Luc Raymond, Art Bank Technician, setting up some of the artworks that will be on display in our Papier booth

To mark the occasion, we’ve come up with a few tips to make the most of your visit to Papier (or any other art fair for that matter):

  • Strike up a conversation. Art fairs bring together many different galleries under one roof, so there’s an abundance of art to look at. The best way to learn about a wide variety of medium, develop your knowledge and train your eye? Speak with gallery representatives and artists in attendance—they want to share their passion and engage you with their knowledge.
  • Look for supplementary events. Art fairs often have a complimentary program of related events, including talks, panel discussions, and guided tours. Look at an art fair’s website prior to your visit and plan ahead based on your interests.

Amy Jenkins at Papier Art Fair in 2018

  • Take photos and notes. This way, you can remember the art works and information you gathered at the event at a later date. It’s particularly useful to snap a photo of labels on the art works that interest you, and of course note interesting websites like artbank.ca!
  • Stay healthy. Wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, and get to the art fair early if you want to avoid the crowd.

And our number one tip?

  • Visit the Canada Council Art Bank booth. Our presence at the Papier Art Fair is a unique occasion to see a cross-section of our collection.

At Papier, we’ll highlight how the Art Bank is a champion of works on paper, and has developed a long-standing relationship with artists using this media. In the early days of the Art Bank, the Canada Council’s Commission Print Programme gave artists carte blanche to create editions for its rental program. This was a great way to acquire works and build the collection—and we want you to see these works.

John Boyle, Blue Mousse (1973)
Vera Frenkel, Big X Window (1975-76)

We look forward to seeing you at Papier. And if you can’t make it out, you can always contact one of our art consultants by email to discuss how you can bring works from our collection to your space.



Embark on a unique journey in Âjagemô!

The Canada Council for the Arts invites you to the opening of Thresholds, its new, highly interactive exhibition created by internationally renowned Canadian artist Michel de Broin.

Made from a dozen former Montreal subway car doors, the exhibition’s central piece provides visitors with an unforgettable experience—as soon they set foot inside, they set off a sequence of movement.

This free exhibition, curated by Nathalie Bachand, will be on display until June 9th, 2019, in the Canada Council for the Art’s Âjagemô Exhibition Space.

Join us for the opening and be among the first to experience this impressive installation in action!

Wednesday, February 20
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

What: Opening of Thresholds

Âjagemô Exhibition Space
Canada Council for the Arts
150 Elgin Street,
ground floor
Ottawa, Ontario
Free admission

Michel de Broin created Thresholds (2017) as part of KM³ with support from the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, the City of Montréal, the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec and the Société de transport de Montréal.

Experience the artwork! Take a selfie and share it on social media!



Happy Holidays from the Art Bank

Happy Holidays from the staff at the Art Bank!

Please note that our offices will be closed starting on December 24, 2018 and they will reopen on January 2, 2019. In our absence, enjoy a special selection of some of our staff’s favourite artworks in the collection.

Billy J. McCarroll, Split Tees (1987)

“This is one of the first paintings from the collection that I installed in my office when I started at the Art Bank. I like the colour and the texture of the work – it is bold and gestural. While I am not a golfer, and I knew very little about the artist at the time, I now know that he wrestled between becoming a professional artist or a professional golfer. This is obviously how he reconciled the two!” Amy

Timootie Pitsiulak, Repairing the Snowmobile (2008)

“Tim Pitsiulak had a good way of depicting the ingenuity required to live in the arctic.” Chris

William Featherston, Fan Tan Alley (1974)

“This work reminds me of graphic novels I’ve read. Certainly, these men have entertaining stories to tell.” Christine

Adad Hannah, Museum Security (2010)

“A milkshake and a book about museum security…my kind of evening.” Claudio

Georget Cournoyer, Beach Bag (1972)

“First of all I am blown away by the artist’s mastery of her material, perfectly creating the illusion of soft textures from the hard ceramic. But most of all, putting so much care and effort into the representation of such a mundane object shows an obsessive love of detail and subtlety I really appreciate!” Dereck

Evlyne appreciating Catharine MacTavish’s Night Scape #2 (1978)

“This is ONE of my favorites. So many to choose from – literally 17 000 works of art. I discovered Night Scape #2 a couple weeks back. For me, it is an amalgam of all the places I lived in. It is the mountains and the lake, the thousand and one memories that I have of those places. It is also a technique that reminds me of pointillism as well as the work of some Indigenous artists I worked with while I lived in Australia. It is the commitment and the devotion of the artist to her art that allows the creation of something wonderful – open to each one’s interpretation.” Evlyne

Katharine Harvey, The Catch (2017)

“I love that this work speaks to the past, leisure time and family time, yet is obscured as memory can do to times in the past. The dissection of colours bring overall cheer and warmth which again I think reminds us of the feelings the past can bring with it.” Lorraine

Laurent Lamarche, Fossile Pétri 10 (2017)

“I like this piece because it makes me feel like I’m looking at something through a microscope; it is both abstract and figurative.” Luc

Sasha Pierce, purple beige (2008)

“The first time I saw this artwork in our database, I thought it was made of knitted wool. I was very surprised to learn it is actually a painting. It is definitely an artwork that makes me stop and take it in.” Martha

Maxwell Bates, Cocktail Party – Three (1967)

“I have an affinity for German Expressionism and I find this work by Maxwell Bates particularly striking. The theme of a social gathering and the style show the influence of Max Beckmann under whom Bates studied at the Brooklyn Museum.” Mike

David Partridge, untitled/sans titre (1959)

“For me this work is calming and reminds me of the sun setting after a beautiful summer day. I loved having this painting in my workspace to admire the rich textures of the mesh and concrete worked into the piece.” Nancy

Ken Singer, Nobody Here But Us (2006)

“The more you look, the more you may see us.” Rick

Steven setting up Michael Snow’s Core (1982-84) in the Art Bank sculpture area

“It was a privilege to install this work for a special installation in the Lieutenant Governor’s Suite at Queen’s Park in 2002. Having to carry the work in its 9 separate crates up numerous stairs and through a gorgeous historic door at the north end of the building was very tricky and a feat to install.

I was pleased to meet Michael Snow again and see his delight in this work being included in the exhibition. I also got to meet people at the opening whom were present at the firing of the large 5 inch plus thickness of Core’s red clay creation. I believe there were 8 or more people to put the largest section into the kiln. An even more incredible feat in making as it would have been even heavier as wet red clay!

An amazing work by one of Canada’s most prestigious multimedia artists.” Steven

The Royal Art Lodge, The Books I’ve Read (2008)

“This artwork brings together two of my passions: Canadian art and books! Over the holidays, I plan to explore galleries and dive into some of the books that have been recommended to me this year.” Tara


The Arts and Wellbeing: Nature Pictures and Cognitive Capacity

What are some of the benefits of renting art from the Canada Council Art Bank? Our Arts and Wellbeing series looks at how the presence of art can have a positive impact on our lives—in the workplace and beyond.

Can natural environments boost our wellbeing? People in the 19th century certainly thought so. That’s why landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted created spaces of respite in urban areas—like New York’s Central Park and Montréal’s Mount Royal Park—to encourage “refreshing rest and invigoration to the whole system.”

A team of researchers at Georgetown University investigated this idea further. They wanted to know whether looking at nature pictures could affect cognitive capacity. Their study¹ focused on older adults between the ages of 64 and 79. An earlier study on young adults had been conclusive and researchers wanted to see if the results would also apply to the older age group.

In this study, participants completed a series of tests that rated mood and working memory as well as an Attention Network Test, which measured alerting attention, orienting attention, and executive attention. The researchers performed the tests in three blocks and in between each block; the participants looked at a series of 50 pictures of either scenes from nature or urban environments. Each picture was viewed for seven seconds, in the same order and for a total viewing time of six minutes.

Researchers found that viewing nature pictures significantly improved executive attention, in older adults, which is essential in managing short-term memory and blocking interfering stimuli when making a decision. Viewing urban pictures on the other hand, did not have any effect on cognitive capacity.

The researchers noted, however, that while participants enjoyed looking at nature pictures more than urban pictures, the nature pictures did not improve nor affect mood.

The effect of viewing nature pictures is comparable, according to the director of the study, to that of caffeine: both enhance cognition by producing a fast but temporary boost in executive attention.

In conclusion, a brief viewing of nature pictures offers an inexpensive and enjoyable way to temporarily boost cognitive function in both young and older adults.

Need something more than a cup of coffee to inspire your workplace? Contact the Art Bank to see how you can bring a view to nature into your space.

Toni Hafkensheid, Train on Trestle (2004)

David Alexander, Middle Boggle Burn (1985)

Suzanne Joubert, L’embarcadère (2000)

See more nature inspired artworks in the Art Bank collection…


About the Author: Sonia Poisson
Sonia Poisson is a lecturer and freelance researcher specialising in the anthropology of art. She received an M.A. in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths College, University of London and an M.A. in Art History from Carleton University. She works on various historical and arts-related projects for television, documentaries and museum exhibitions.

¹Katherine R. Gamble, James H. Howard Jr. & Darlene V. Howard (2014) Not Just Scenery: Viewing Nature Pictures Improves Executive Attention in Older Adults, Experimental Aging Research, 40:5, 513-530, DOI: 10.1080/0361073X.2014.956618


The Art Bank welcomes a new staff member!

The Art Bank welcomes Evlyne Laurin to its team! Evlyne took up the role of Manager, Art Rental on October 9, 2018.

Evlyne holds an MA in Contemporary Art from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, England. Her thesis explored the status of open-sky laboratory for art production and dissemination in Beirut, Lebanon. She also holds a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from the John Molson School of Business and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in print media and photography—both from Concordia University in Montreal.

For the past 13 years, Evlyne has managed her own company—which provides consultation and management services to private art collectors and artists. She’s also worked as a production director for arts and events in Montréal, Quebec and London, England.

Get in touch with Evlyne to discuss your art rental needs!


Thunderstruck – Behind the Scenes

Now that the exhibition has been up for a while, and having had some time to reflect, I find myself thinking about all that went on behind the scenes that made the show possible. Because Thunderstruck’s focus is on dance, and because my background is in dance, I like to think of “behind the scenes” as a “back stage” of sorts. I have always been fascinated by what happens behind the curtain, and have used this interest as a lens in my own dance and film practice. Every exhibition, show, dance (and even every day) has its own untold details and stories. Aspects that are private, hidden, unknown, edited. For Thunderstruck: Physical Landscapes, I want to share a few stories that might otherwise only be known by the few of us who worked closely on the exhibition. Little in-between movements and moments that struck me.

Installation view with Aganetha Dyck’s Close Knit, 1976, seen in the foreground.

Try not to cry on the art

As it was being installed, I almost couldn’t look at the many small, monochromatic, shrunken sweaters of the work titled Close Knit by Aganetha Dyck without my eyes welling with tears. The vulnerability of each individual sweater, contrasted with the collective support of the group, really moved me. One of the Art Bank’s technicians, Steven Allen, also said it was moving for him as he worked with each sweater, one by one. Each item has its own character, history, style, and presence. Each seemed singular, significant, and tender. The work has a kind of sadness to it: these are empty tiny sweaters…whose are they? Where have they gone? Yet there is also something incredibly hopeful in the work. I thought of this work as the spine of the exhibition. It reflects the idea of members of the dance community (or any community for that matter), leaning on each other, holding each other up, without much fuss, just power and strength and togetherness in the doing. The artist’s installation instructions don’t specify where each sweater should go, so the installer and curator are left with the lovely job of deciding which leans against which (or who leans upon whom). Steven did this with great care, sweater by sweater, as I looked on, trying not to cry on the art.

Art Bank technician Steven Allen arranging one of the sweaters as part of the Close Knit installation.

Click here for more behind-the-scenes moments.

Thunderstruck: Physical Landscapes, presented by the Canada Council for the Arts, is curated by Jenn Goodwin. The exhibition is on view in Âjagemô, the Council’s exhibition space at 150 Elgin Street, Ottawa, until January 27, 2019.

About the Author: Jenn Goodwin
Jenn Goodwin is a dance artist, curator, producer, and filmmaker. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Visual Studies in Curatorial Studies program at the University of Toronto, and prior to that she received a BFA from Concordia University in contemporary dance with a minor in video. Over the last 20 years, her dance work and short films have been shown across Canada and internationally.


The Arts and Wellbeing: Art and Successful Aging

What are some of the benefits of renting art from the Canada Council Art Bank? Our Arts and Wellbeing series looks at how the presence of art can have a positive impact on our lives—in the workplace and beyond.

In recent years, the term “successful aging” has been widely used by those working with elderly individuals. How can successful aging be achieved? Research indicates activity and meaningful participation in social life seem to contribute the most—and the visual arts may have a vital role to play.

A team of researchers in Sweden wanted to examine whether the visual arts could be used to foster social interactions amongst older women and lead them out of isolation. The study¹ was conducted with 40 women living in a facility for semi-independent seniors. The average age of the participants was 82.6. The group was matched to a control group of women with similar profiles. The participants noted and reported all of their social activities, interactions and habits, including watching television alone, before, during and after the study.

Researchers spent time with the participants looking at art and asked the women to describe the paintings, to pretend they were the artists and give some insight or make associations such as memories, feelings or thoughts. Researchers used 84 reproductions of well-known paintings by artists such as Klee, Monet, and van Gogh. The control group spent the same time with the researchers, but discussed current topics, programs on television and the hobbies of the women.

Claude Monet, Les Nymphéas (1904) from the Musée d’art moderne André Malraux in Le Havre, France

The researchers found an increase in social interaction in the group that took part in the visual art discussions compared to no increase in the control group. The effect continued for four months after the end of the art discussions. The researchers do not understand which aspects of visual arts stimulate a desire for more social interaction in older women, but they suspect it has to do with reminiscence—which, in older adults, has been proven to be a healthy way to process the past and adapt to actual and anticipated changes in life.

Do you have a workplace where older adults could benefit from the presence of art? Contact the Art Bank to discuss how you can bring works from the collection into your space.

Molly Bobak, Shediac Beach (N.B.) (1972)

Alex Colville, Running Dog (1968)

William Kurelek, A Roofing Bee (1976)

About the Author: Sonia Poisson
Sonia Poisson is a lecturer and freelance researcher specialising in the anthropology of art. She received an M.A. in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths College, University of London and an M.A. in Art History from Carleton University. She works on various historical and arts-related projects for television, documentaries and museum exhibitions.


¹Wikström, B. -M, Hälsohögskolan, Högskolan i Jönköping, and Avd för omvårdnad HHJ. “Social Interaction Associated with Visual Art Discussions: A Controlled Intervention Study.” Aging & Mental Health 6, no. 1 (2002): 82-87.


Weaving together a history of textiles in the Art Bank collection

This past spring I was invited to speak at the Ottawa Valley Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild about the Art Bank textile collection. This prompted me to explore how the Art Bank has collected textiles over its 45 year history—and led me to many fascinating discoveries along the way.

There are over 150 fibre based works in the Art Bank collection valued at more than a million dollars. Our first textile works were acquired in 1972—including works by Isolde Savage, An Whitlock and Guerite Steinbacher—and we have consistently acquired textile based works since then.

My presentation to the Guild focused on 42 artworks by 24 artists. I chose these artists to demonstrate changes in style and sophistication over the Bank’s 46 year collecting history. Many of the artists in the collection participated in the prestigious International Biennial of Tapestry in Lausanne, Switzerland, an important Biennial that took place between 1962 and 1995. The Biennial chronicled the evolution of textile art in the context of the history of modern and contemporary art.

Here are some of my favorite textile artists, and their works, in the Art Bank collection:

  • Charlotte Lindgren. Lindgren creates woven sculptural and architectural pieces such as Black Cylinder Series and Tambaran. Her work was also featured in Expo 67’s Canadian Fine Crafts exhibition.

Charlotte Lindgren, Black Cylinder Series (1970)

  • Micheline Beauchemin. Beauchemin is the recipient of many important awards, including the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas, the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and an Officer of the Order of Canada. The Art Bank owns only one work by Beauchemin: Ailes No. 4, which is woven with reflective silver threads that change according to the light.

Micheline Beauchemin, Ailes No.4 (1968)

  • Karen Chapnick. I’ve always enjoyed Chapnick’s work—particularly the dyed sisal pieces in our collection including Colour Puzzle and Forest Light. The individual pieces of sisal are hand dyed and then a variety of colours are braided together to create customized variations throughout. The work creates soft patterning that can be appreciated for long periods of intense visual investigation—perfect for an office setting where you’re in need of quiet contemplation.

Karen Chapnick, Colour Puzzle (1977)

There are also a number of tapestries in the collection that were produced in collaboration between Inuit artists and weavers of the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts in Pangnirtung. I particularly enjoy the collaborative work by artist Elisapee Ishulutaq and weaver Igah Etoangat that depicts a mother and daughter in an igloo from 1992.

The Canada Council Art Bank textiles are part of a rich history. Explore these and other textile works in our collection online—or contact one of our consultants to talk about how you can bring a part of this history into your work space.

About the Author:  Amy Jenkins

Amy Jenkins is the Head of the Canada Council Art Bank. She is responsible for the management of the Art Bank’s operations and delivery of its programs including: art rental, loans, exhibitions and outreach activities.



The Art Bank’s Summer Student finds Inspiration in the Collection

This summer I joined the Canada Council Art Bank as their summer student, and was tasked with updating digital images of over 1000 artworks from the collection. Having just completed my first year in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Mount Allison University, this job furthered my awareness of artists working in Canada and inspired me to try new approaches in my own creative work.

In particular, some of the artists in the Art Bank collection I think you should check out include:

• Annie Kilabuk
• Marianne Nicolson
• Michael Belmore
• Eliza Griffiths
• Kelly Palmer
• Rafael Goldchain

In particular, three works in the Art Bank collection stood out to me:

Donald Reichert’s Untitled # 2 (1971-72): With his work, Reichert achieves an almost watercolour like appearance with acrylic, something I have attempted before but never achieved.
Kelly Palmer’s Toward North (2003): In this piece, Palmer brightens a dark and stormy day with a flash of colour. It reminds me of how powerful colour is and how it can strengthen a composition when used in the right way.
Mary Pratt’s Pears on a Green Glass Plate (1998): Mary Pratt is someone I look up to as an artist. She was a true master—not only in painting, but also printmaking. The way the colours blend together and how she builds the composition is incredible.

Donald Reichert, Untitled #2 (1971-72)

Kelly Palmer, Toward North (2003)

Mary Pratt, Pears on a Green Glass Plate (1998)

In addition to exploring the Art Bank collection this summer, I also learned about framing, conservation, and the handling of works. I look forward to drawing on everything I’ve learned in my studies this year and beyond.


About the Author: Megan Glauser

Megan Glauser just completed her first year in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. Megan worked as a summer student at the Art Bank updating digital images of over 1000 artworks.

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