A Look Inside Guelph Arts Council

Who is Guelph Arts Council? 

If you haven’t heard of Guelph Arts Council (GAC), or you have but you’re not really sure who we are, here’s a primer. There are three hard-working staff: one full-time executive director and two part-time managers of programs and operations along with many volunteers doing everything from helping with Art on the Street to leading historical walking tours. Since GAC is a charity, there is also a volunteer Board of Directors that serve on hands-on committees including fundraising, communications and governance. Non-board members also volunteer on these committees which is a great way to get involved with GAC. (Hint, hint.)

What do we do?

GAC’s role is to champion and grow opportunities for Guelph’s creative community through communications, resources for learning and cultural programs and partnerships. It has quite a record of doing that in its 45-year history, including assisting with the development of new organizations such as the Art Gallery of Guelph, Guelph Chamber Choir, Guelph Civic Museum, Guelph Youth Orchestra, Royal City Musical Productions, River Run Centre and many more. GAC also hosts the popular annual art show Art on the Street (this year called Art on the (Virtual) Street launching June 19, 2021) with the Downtown Guelph Business Association and Doors Open Guelph in partnership with the City of Guelph.

In 2021 GAC is excited to be rebuilding its online presence to become the Digital Cultural Hub for Guelph-Wellington, with funding from Canada Council for the Arts and WIL Digital and expertise from Guelph’s Barking Dog Studios. The new guelpharts.ca website will launch in spring 2021. GAC welcomes input and involvement from other organizations that may want to be a part of the Digital Cultural Hub.

Pictured here: physically distanced summer staff meeting (2020). From left to right Communications & Events Assistant (contract staff) Ahmri Vandeborne,Co-Managers of Programs & Operations Fan-Ling Suen and Preetam Sengupta, and Executive Director Patti Broughton.

How do we do it?

GAC gets its operating funds from multiple sources. Major funders include the City of Guelph, The Guelph Community Foundation, Ontario Arts Council and the RBC Emerging Artists Project. Individual donors and corporate sponsors are also vital contributors. Other revenue comes from events, such as the annual Collector’s Dilemma fundraising auction, some programming and from membership fees.

What do GAC members get?

Any individual artist or arts organization involved in music, theatre, dance, literary arts, visual arts or any other art form can become a member. GAC extends a special invitation to BIPOC, newcomers, Deaf, disabled, youth and/or 2SLGBTQ+ artists to sign up. As a member you can:

  • Include your news, events, workshops, exhibitions and calls in the monthly e-news
  • Directly access the online events calendar to share your events
  • Create an Artist Member profile page on guelpharts.ca with links to your website and social media
  • Book consultations with GAC staff for help with your artistic or business goals
  • Receive free access or discounts on GAC workshops, webinars and other programs
  • Be eligible to enter submissions to GAC-sponsored arts exhibitions and events

The new Digital Cultural Hub will also provide members with a platform to share digital content including live streaming, an online forum to connect with other artists and enhanced opportunities to sell their work online.

While membership fees help GAC, we never want them to be a barrier to access. Please contact GAC staff at administration@guelpharts.ca, executivedirector@guelpharts.ca or 519-836-3280 if you face any kind of barrier to accessing membership services or if you need support.

To learn more sign up for the twice-monthly e-newsletters or visit guelpharts.ca


Original Content courtesy of Guelph Arts Council, available via Guelpharts.ca. Guelph Arts Council is a collaborative content partner of artsUNITE/UNITÉ des arts, as they provide a link and share information between artists and arts organizations and the community of Guelph, Ontario.

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About the Author: Sarah Bobak

Sarah is a content contributor for artsUNITE/UNITÉ des arts. She enjoys travelling, learning new languages and tossing a frisbee.

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