Mandate / Vision
Mercer Union, A Centre for Contemporary Art is an artist-run
centre dedicated to the existence of contemporary art. We provide
a forum for the production and exhibition of Canadian and international
conceptually and aesthetically engaging art and related cultural
practices. We pursue our primary concerns through critical activities
that include exhibitions, lectures, screenings, performances,
publications, events and special projects.
Established in 1979, Mercer Union is a not-for-profit Canadian
charitable organization began as an artist-run centre through
the collective efforts of artists who believed in alternative
art production and presentation. Throughout our twenty-six year
history, we have maintained ambitious programming, exhibiting
national and international artists and presenting cultural professionals
both in formative and established stages of their careers.
Artistic Policy and Role
We see ourselves in an on-going and focused conversation
with the artists, writers, curators, and designers with whom
we work. We aim to expand the audience of contemporary art and
further engage those already invested. Mercer Union plays an
important role in contemporary art production, presentation
and reception. In facilitating and delivering our mandate,
we provide a professional physical place for the exhibition of
artwork, while also having policies to accommodate non-exhibition-based
activities such as performative works and projects that respond
to alternative sites or activities.
We work with a diverse group of artists, ranging in genre,
experience, background and locality, and strive to provide an
informative framework to this entire group, to balance diversity
with a cohesion that benefits the artists and the community.
We see our programming as distinctive from other artist-run
centres through a focus on producing new works. One of our main
objectives is to offer artists the opportunity to create new
works - from conception to realization.
In addition to paying artist fees above CAR/FAC standards,
fifteen percent of our programming expenses are allocated to
artists to facilitate the production and creation of exhibitions.
We also provide artists with professional documentation, access
to critical writing about their work in our exhibition brochures,
and targeted promotion.
Entrance to Mercer Union and all event-based activities are
offered free of charge to the public.
Buildings / Facilities
Our current facilities include two main exhibition spaces:
the Front Gallery, which accommodates large-scale work and group
shows (1200 sq. ft.); and the Back Gallery, a light-tight project
room well suited to film, video and more intimate installations
(300 sq. ft.). All gallery walls are dry-walled to a height of
10 ft., and the ceiling height varies between 13-15 ft. We have
ground-level street access and are wheelchair accessible.
Mercer Union, A Centre for Contemporary Art
37 Lisgar Street
Toronto ON Canada M6J 3T3
T. +1 416 536 1519
Contact: Natalie De Vito, Co-Director