Community Initiatives


Community-arts project “The future awaits”

Claudia Salguero, Edgar Hernandez, and students from Viscount Alexander Public School. The future awaits (2021), mixed media installation.

The Ottawa Art Gallery is delighted to host a special display of the community-arts project “The future awaits” created by MASC artist Claudia Salguero in collaboration with MASC intern Edgar Hernandez and grade three and four students (ages 9 to 10) at Viscount Alexander Public School, as part of MASC’s Awesome Arts program.

For the Awesome Arts “Mini Series” this spring, Claudia and Edgar led a guided series of virtual workshops, with art supplies included. Each student worked on individual paintings that Claudia then combined to create a large mural. This fall, the mural will be installed in an exterior, public location in Strathcona Heights. 

The Awesome Arts ‘Mini Series’ was supported by Neighbourhood Arts Ottawa, a program presented by Arts Network Ottawa and Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ottawa Community Foundation. MASC is also grateful for funding from the Cajole Inn Foundation.

About the artists:

Claudia Salguero is a Colombian-Canadian multidisciplinary artist who believes in art as a tool for a better society. Working in collaboration with different social institutions, she has created more than 40 community murals in Ottawa since 2014. Her murals are created with the participation of people from all backgrounds and corners of the city.

Edgar Hernandez is a media artist based in Ottawa. An Aguacateco-speaking Mayan from Guatemala, he works in sculpture, film, media projection, and digital technologies in order to ask difficult questions related to habitat renewal, conservation and restoration. He is an active community volunteer and a member of the Eagle and Condor collective.

Artist’s Statement:

We travel together through time and space creating our own history. Hope, endurance, beauty and freedom are represented in this intrepid butterfly leading us towards the future with determination consciousness and grace. These are some of the energy forces that guide us in our journey as human beings. We are one. We are all connected. Through our awareness of this unity, we create limitless possibilities for generations to come. 

-Claudia Salguero

MASC is an Ottawa-based community arts organization that brings the arts and culture alive for over 120,000 children, youth, teachers, and seniors each year. MASC’s Awesome Arts program allows participants of all ages to explore issues important to their community through the arts.


Create: Herongate

Photo: Daniel Effah

In partnership with OAG, the Herongate Tenant Coalition (HTC) and artist Daniel Effah are organising a community arts project entitled Create: HerongateMembers of the Herongate Tenant Coalition and Daniel Effah will be conducting interviews with residents of the neighborhood for this purpose.

[Read an interview with Daniel Effah about the Create: Herongate project in Nosy Mag, an online platform highlighting local arts and culture.]

Amid the historic urban mass eviction of upwards of 500 people in the Herongate neighbourhood, the Herongate Tenant Coalition was formed to organize to fight the evictions. Different mediums of visual art were utilized to convey the magnitude of the situation on a multitude of different platforms. The HTC was connected with accomplished photographer Effah, who completed a series of portraits of tenants in the Herongate neighbourhood who faced eviction. This series, entitled Dispossession, was initiated by the HTC as they were looking to raise awareness about the situation and build power, strength and solidarity amongst working class people living in the neighbourhood. This project aims to educate and arm engaged youth with varying art skills, to create a community-oriented vision of the Herongate neighbourhood.

Combining the interests and the advocacy of the HTC with the skill sets of Effah, the main goal for the project is to create a bottom-up, community-oriented vision of the Heron Gate neighbourhood as imagined by existing residents. Our project fosters a community-oriented design methodology that will incorporate the wishes of existing residents, and maintain a vibrant, culturally diverse, connected community.

For more information, or to get involved, please email or


Daniel Effah is a Ghanaian visual artist and photographer currently residing in Ottawa. Inspired by the works of both past and contemporary masters, his work amalgamates both his Ghanaian culture with the contemporary, to render stylized images that evoke the duality of the past and present. He experiments with various styles within artistic mediums with hopes to create conversations about African diaspora.

Herongate Tenant Coalition is a tenant-led movement that emerged to fight the mass evictions and destruction of our neighbourhood in Ottawa. Formed to build power, strength and solidarity amongst working class people in Herongate, the HTC exists to defend our neighbourhood from the development, speculative and political forces that want us out of here.

OAG would like to thank the Ontario Arts Council for funding support of this project.

HTC’s website:
Daniel Effah’s website, the Art of Effah:
The Dispossession project:


Sanctuary Matters is a public learning series co-presented by the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) and the Ottawa Sanctuary City Network (OSCN). Recognizing the need for social action and political change amid a global crisis of human displacement, OAG and OSCN are collaborating to present a program of talks, workshops, and other events with an aim to build public awareness and foster a culture of support for newcomers with precarious immigration status in Ottawa and beyond. Sanctuary Matters is funded in part by a grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation.

Although The Sanctuary Matters lecture series, hosted at the OAG, and organized by the Ottawa Sanctuary City Network, is on pause during the temporary closure of the Gallery, we look forward to resuming the series in the future. In the meantime, we would like to share an audio recording of the most recent lecture and its timely reflections.


On March 11, 2020, Dr. Angela Joya presented a talk entitled, The Global Migrant Crisis: Climate Catastrophe, Globalization and the Securitization of Borders. Undeniably one of the most pressing issues of our time, the migrant crisis demands attention from policy makers and citizens alike. The response to the crisis will shape the circumstances of lives of millions. An open discussion followed the talk.

Angela Joya is an Adjunct Research Professor at the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University. Her forthcoming book is The Roots of Revolt: A Political Economy of Egypt from Nasser to Mubarak (Cambridge University Press). Her current research project explores grass roots responses to failures of development strategies in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

Sanctuary Matters is funded in part by a grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation.

For more information visit

Sanctuary Matters is funded in part by a grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation.


This studio program is designed for youth and adults carrying experiences of mental illness. Developed collaboratively by the Ottawa Art Gallery and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, the program aims to foster holistic wellness by providing multidisciplinary creative exploration in an open and supportive environment.

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Youth councils from Capital pride and OAG have been collaborating for a few years hosting hands-on workshops and youth art showcases for Pride and Winterpride.


Kind has been funding monthly OAG youth council events IN STUDIO/TON STUDIO. These events are led by under-represented youth artists who are paid to share their skills with local youth. Safe space, free, all materials and snacks provided.


OAG offers free hands-on creative workshops for children in collaboration with the Ottawa Public Library. Look for us over the March break and during the summer holidays at a branch near you.



MINE THE GAP 2018-19

Mine the Gap riffs off Britain’s transit warning « Mind the Gap » referring to the gap between the train and the platform. The Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) uses it to refer to the generation gap between seniors and youth. By mining this gap through creative exchange between seniors and youth, we are all enriched in a meaningful way!
Mine the Gap  was a monthly programming series developed by the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) that explored the potential for creative exchange and learning between older adults and youth in the Ottawa/Gatineau region. OAG’s Artwise; a group that creates OAG programming that promotes intergenerational engagement with the arts teamed up with OAG’s youth council and co-created
(with local senior and youth groups) a new series of monthly intergenerational activities at the Gallery from September 2018 through March 2019.

Music and Portraits
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The first event brought members of the PAL Ottawa Community, the Ottawa
Chinese Community Service Centre, and visual arts students from Canterbury
High School to the Ottawa Art Gallery. Students and senior members of
Ottawa’s Chinese community collaborated on creating dynamic works of Art.
Traditional musical and dance performances were incorporated into interactive
sketches. Creativity provided a rich medium for communication between the
generations, despite the language barriers.

Meditating on Art
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Seniors with 4Churches and students of The Ottawa School of Art, as well as
members of The Canadian Council of the Blind participated in a tactile and
interactive tour of The Ottawa Art Gallery’s exhibitions. Through techniques
of visual description, touch and physical embodiment, OAG’s staff invited
individuals with low or no vision to experience and meditate on artworks in a
new way. The event highlighted the importance of inclusivity and accessibility
within artistic practices and institutions.

Trading Stories
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Members of L’association des femmes immigrantes de l’Outaouais (AFIO)
and students from L’Outaouais CEGEP had the opportunity to cross the river
to Ottawa and perhaps visit the Ottawa Art Gallery for the first time. The
Gallery tour focused on the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, the work
of Egyptian/Canadian designer Karim Rashid and Metis Acadian artist Eric
Walker’s commissioned tactile work: Comment j’m’ai rendu icitte à Ottawa /
How I came to Ottawa. Seniors and youth participated in a creative workshop
inspired by Eric Walker’s practice that encouraged story-telling about their
own immigration experiences. A communal lunch was an important part of
this exchange.

Postcards from the Heart
Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tours in Arabic, English and French greeted seniors from the South Nepean
Muslim Community, the Catholic Centre for Immigration as well as families
and youth from Refugee 613 at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Participants were
encouraged to share their experiences with friends and family through the
creation of exhibition-inspired postcards. After a tasty communal meal people
lined up to talk about their creations to rounds of enthusiastic applause.

Sankofa Drumming Circle for all Seven Generations
Saturday, January 19, 2019

An intergenerational exchange between Ottawa’s Indigenous and Black
Communities was organized with the help of Young Leaders Advisory Council
(YLAC). Elders from the respective communities opened the event with an
Open Prayer and Libation Ceremony, bringing together a sense of mutual
respect within a shared space. The history and the power of Drums in Indigenous
and African, Caribbean, and Black Culture were featured in an everwidened
community drumming and storytelling circle with A7, Gen Cultural Arts
Studio of Afro-Caribbean Dance, Flo’s Seniors and Black Speculative Arts Movement
(BSAM). Young and old learned the basics of drumming and the significance
of preserving the tradition. We enjoyed cultural snacks and together
sounds were recorded to create a collaborative community piece, reflective of
our shared vibrations.

Queer Human Library
Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Queer Human Library had members from Ottawa Capital Pride’s Youth
Council and members from Ottawa Senior Pride Network come together as
open books to the public. This event happened during the first ever Winterpride
and folks were stationed throughout the Ottawa Art Gallery, sharing
stories and answering questions about their lived experiences as members
of the LGTBQ2+ community. A broad cross-section of youth and seniors were
included. Various publics interacted with them including CEGEP students and
adult gallery-goers.


OAG also offers subsidized creative workshops and other programming for community groups across Ottawa-Gatineau, such as:

  • The Ottawa Mission
  • St. Joe’s Women’s Centre
  • OASIS Harm Reduction Program at the Sandy Hill Community Health Center 
  • Youth Now |Talitha House: serving young women in open custody
  • Options Bytown: subsidized housing 
  • City of Ottawa: Acquired Brain Injury/ Post Stroke Day Program
  • Ottawa Innercity Ministries
  • Mouvement d'implication francophone d'Orléans
  • YWCA
  • Girl Guides of Canada

For more information, please contact us by email or call 613-233-8699 +245.


The Canada Life OAG Art Tent is a mobile art studio that travels to festivals and community events during the warmer months. The tent provides a fun, friendly and bilingual space for adults and kids of all ages to explore their creativity.

Art tent activities are always free!

This is an all-ages activity. Children must be accompanied by an adult

For more information
613-233-8699 +245

Sponsored by Canada Life

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