Visual Arts Week Society

The Visual Arts Week Society (VAWS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public interest in art, making it more enjoyable for people and increasing public knowledge of it. With this focus in mind, VAWS founded the ArtCity Festival 12 years ago.

Held annually in September, the festival provides an exciting and accessible place for the general public to celebrate various aspects of art, design and architecture. Building awareness of Calgary's art scene is the end goal of the festivities that include an opening gala.

Each year, Calgary artists are asked to take part in the ArtCity Festival's events by preparing work fitting with a chosen theme. Last year's subject was ‘spread,' which explored the nature of expansion and the way in which both the tangible and abstract are spread.

Conceptually driven work is then presented alongside lectures following opening night revelry. In the vein of last year's theme, site-specific artwork was exhibited in different parts of the city, drawing diverse crowds that totaled over 20,000 participants.

Artists taking part in the festival benefit by receiving exhibition fees, national and international exposure and the opportunity to situate their creative practices within the larger context of other work being done. By creating heightened awareness, ArtCity expects to make Calgary a destination for those passionate about contemporary visual culture.

Ideally, artists participating in ArtCity will come away from it wanting to actively pursue collaborative and cross-disciplinary work with other creative individuals or organization.

VAWS is not content with maintaining current audiences, and instead hopes to meet its objectives by identifying, educating and cultivating future audiences. The expected outcome is that these individuals will retain a sense of excitement from the festival and stay engaged in active dialogue with the art world.