Onsite Gallery wins two prestigious OAAG awards

Eight people in group portrait
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Onsite Gallery took home two awards at the Ontario Association of Art Galleries gala on November 19. These juried awards recognize artistic merit and excellence in exhibitions, publications, programs, and community partnerships produced by Ontario's art galleries.

Onsite Gallery won in the following categories:

Innovation in a Collections-Based Exhibition
raise a flag: works from the Indigenous Art Collection (2000-2015)

Education Award
raise a flag: works from the Indigenous Art Collection (2000-2015) Education Guide

Congratulations to exhibition curator Ryan Rice, Associate Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Francisco Alvarez, Dorene & Peter Milligan Executive Director, OCAD U galleries, and the team at Onsite Gallery for their tremendous work in bringing the exhibition to life.

raise a flag encompassed works from a national heritage collection representing First Nations, Inuit and Métis art. Housed in Ottawa, managed by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, the Indigenous Art Collection is one of the most important and comprehensive art collections of contemporary Indigenous art in Canada and beyond. The exhibition focused on recent acquisitions to the collection, obtained from 2000 to 2015, which chronicle recent significant national narratives reflecting upon Canadian heritage, diversity and collective memory.

OAAG received 177 nominations from 34 galleries and art institutions. This is the 41st edition of the awards program highlighting the key achievements of the year among OAAG members, curators, art professionals, collectors, and the entire visual arts community.

Onsite Gallery is OCAD University’s professional gallery and experimental curatorial platform for art, design and digital media. Serving the OCAD U community and the general public, Onsite Gallery aims to foster social and cultural transformations. 


Robert Sangster (designer), Lisa Deanne Smith (Curator, Onsite Gallery) Linda Columbus (Programs Coordinator, Onsite Gallery), Jason Baerg (artist and faculty member), Caroline Langill (interim Vice-President, Academic), Farah Yusuf (writer), Francisco Alvarez (Executive Director, Galleries System), Ryan Rice (Curator, raise a flag)



NOW Magazine calls raise a flag one of 2017’s 10 best art shows

Woman looking at a photo of a woman lying down with fringes on her back
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The inaugural exhibition in Onsite Gallery’s luminous new space at 199 Richmond St. W. has been declared one of Toronto’s top ten exhibitions this year:

“Raise A Flag: Works From The Indigenous Art Collection (2000-2015), Onsite Gallery at OCADU (September 16-December 10) In the refurbished gallery, OCADU Indigenous visual culture chair Ryan Rice brought together selections from the federal government’s Indigenous art collection, a 50-year-old program at Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development that hires First Nations curators to acquire artworks that are rarely exhibited. The show highlighted the ongoing cultural strategies Indigenous artists have used in a variety of media to insert their stories into the colonial narrative and keep their creative spirits alive.”

– Fran Schechter, NOW Magazine







Francisco Alvarez named Executive & Artistic Director, Galleries System

Portrait of Francisco Alvarez, photo by Michael Kushnir
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 4:00am

OCAD University has appointed Francisco Alvarez as Executive & Artistic Director, Galleries System beginning September 26, 2016.

Alvarez has extensive experience in the arts, heritage and cultural sectors, most recently as Executive Director with Heritage Toronto, where he developed and implemented a new strategic plan with the goal of transforming programming to attract more diverse audiences. Prior to this role, he was Managing Director of the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum, where he oversaw the production of more than 25 exhibitions, including David Hockney and El Anatsui.

“With his personal passion for contemporary art and design, profound commitment to diversity and significant museum and heritage management experience, Mr. Alvarez will be instrumental in strengthening OCAD U's national and international reputation as an innovative cultural hub in downtown Toronto. He will also help to foster a deep culture of stakeholder engagement, including among students and faculty,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University.

OCAD U’s growing Galleries System is made up of a number of spaces on and off-campus, including the Student Gallery, the Ada Slaight Gallery, the Graduate Gallery and Onsite Gallery, OCAD U's experimental curatorial platform and professional gallery. Through innovative programming, Onsite Gallery stimulates art, design and digital media research, creation, exhibition and dialogue that brings together and activates the wider public and university communities.

With support from the De Gasperis Family and the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund at Canadian Heritage, Onsite Gallery is moving into a new location at 199 Richmond St. W. where it will exhibit a curated selection of the university’s permanent collection of paintings, drawings and prints by faculty and students. Among its key works are significant canvases by G.A. Reid, J.W. Beatty, J.E.H. Macdonald, Fred Haines, Jack Bush, and David Bolduc.

OCAD U offers undergraduate and graduate programs in curatorial studies and a Tier One Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture & Curatorial Practice.

"I'm very excited to join OCAD U as Director of the Galleries System. I look forward to working with the university's outstanding faculty and students, and the national art, design and new media communities, to create compelling exhibitions and events that celebrate innovation and creativity. My first priority will be preparing for a successful opening of the new Onsite Gallery in June 2017."

This past year, Mr. Alvarez served as a member of the Advisory Group for Ontario's first Culture Strategy. He holds BFA and MBA degrees from York University.

The university is grateful to Peter Milligan and Dorene Mccaulay for their generous support of the Galleries System at OCAD U.