Here are some Frequently Asked Questions for the Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op. If there is something that you are wondering about but you don’t find your answer here, please feel welcome to drop us a line — we would love to hear from you! General inquiries can be emailed to [email protected].
How do artists become members?
The Co-op is operated by artists who live in Grey and Bruce Counties, in Southern Ontario. When an artist applies for membership, he or she brings some examples to the store and the Co-op Board of Directors discuss the work at their monthly meeting. If they think that the work would fit in well with the mix of artworks already in the store, the artist is invited to show his or her work at the store for a month as a Guest Artist. If the artist and the store are happy with the way the trial month worked out, the artist is added to a list of potential members. Our membership is limited to a certain number, so new members are not chosen in a first come, first serve basis, but rather by the need to represent a certain medium.
What duties do artists have as members?
Each artist works a four hour shift in the store each month, plus an extra shift in December. There is an annual membership fee, a monthly rent fee, and a percentage of sales goes towards the operations of the store. As a co-op, all members take part, to some degree, in the management of the store. They can become board or committee members, or perhaps there is some other sort of way they like to help out. One of the nicest aspects of being involved with the Artists’ Co-op is the chance to meet and work with other artists in the region. The day to day business operation of the Artists’ Co-op is overseen by our store manager.
Along with running the store, what else does the Co-op do?
The original mandate of the Artists’ Co-op was to promote and facilitate the exhibition and sale of artwork and high end crafts by members in a retail setting. Over the years our activities have expanded to include other important contributions to the growing arts community in Grey and Bruce Counties. The Artists’ Co-op has also become a major source of information to the public about the activities of many other arts groups in the area. We have formed working relations with many of these organizations. We also maintain a reference directory and carry information about many art related topics, plus the names and numbers of artists both within and outside our organization. For several years, with the help of a Trillium Grant, we were able to actively support emerging young artists with a dedicated gallery space, and facilitate workshops and exhibitions for high school students. We hope to continue this in the future once we seek alternative funding. We have a program, ARTSLINK, that allows us to house used and unwanted art supplies, that we can pass on to students, teachers or groups in need. We also offer feedback to individuals wishing to start or improve their art related business in such areas as packaging, display and marketing. In general, we take an active role in the community at large as advocates for the arts.