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Art in the Workplace, a not-for-profit, has placed $100,000 into the hands of local artists

Based in Hamilton at McMaster Innovation Park, Art in the Workplace (AWP) has carved out a unique setting for local artists – both emerging and established –  to showcase their talents to the community.

AWP, a not-for-profit, mounts three exhibits a year. Each exhibit displays the work of around 130 artists and features over 200 pieces of art. With most of the art exhibited for sale, all of the proceeds go directly into the hands of the artists.

Last month, with the sale of the painting “Muskoka Lake” by Jolanta Stanisz, AWP recorded their 300th work sold. The sale also marked just over $100,000 that has directly benefited artists since AWP started 11 years ago. This is an exciting milestone for the group who celebrate the success and exposure of the artists in the Hamilton arts community.

AWP began in 2009 with the grand opening of the Atrium at McMaster Innovation Park (MIP). MIP has been the home and collaborative partner for AWP, providing financial support and an unconventional yet fitting location for displaying the local talent.

A team of community volunteers and MIP staff work together to mount the exhibits. Funds to cover the costs of the program are provided by MIP, local sponsors, and a few individuals.

The current exhibit also includes the 6,000th work of art that AWP has exhibited. Over the years, the AWP team has automated and fine-tuned their online call for entry, jurying, curating, and art installation, as well as hosting an opening reception for each exhibit.

The roles that make up AWP can be as small as helping for a couple of hours to pick-up and drop-off pieces to dedicated board members continually working to improve the program. Several hundred people have volunteered their time helping out over the years. The core team has become good friends and has been rewarded by getting to know many of the artists and their work.

AWP allocates a portion of the exhibit space for student groups. These “mini exhibits” are jointly curated by the students’ instructors and AWP volunteers. Participating schools regularly include Westdale Secondary School, Glendale High School Arts Program, St. John Henry Newman Catholic Secondary School, and the Compass Collective – Lynwood Charlton Centre.

Typically, AWP hosts an opening reception to mark the beginning of each exhibit. The receptions are a time for the team to celebrate each exhibit and give around 400 guests an opportunity to meet the artists and enjoy their work.

Due to Covid-19, the current exhibit exhibition cycle and its opening reception have been paused. The AWP team looks forward to the time when we can again gather in person.

With limited physical access due to Covid-19 restrictions, the art can be viewed at any time on AWP’s website. You can also find AWP on Facebook and Instagram.

The process for buying a piece of art is very simple. When viewing the artist’s page on the online gallery simply click the “Contact” button to send a message to the artist.

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