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Onsite Gallery’s 5th anniversary: celebrating impact, dialogue and creativity

Four colourful pillars against a black background in a criss cross design. Each pillar includes selected artworks from various exhibitions.

Five years ago, when OCAD U’s Onsite Gallery opened its doors to the public for the first time at its new location at 199 Richmond St. W., more than 1,000 visitors toured the gallery and celebrated at the outdoor street party.

Community members and the public were invited to visit two inaugural exhibitions: raise a flag: works from the Indigenous Art Collection (2000 - 2015), curated by Ryan Rice, who is now Onsite Gallery’s Executive Director and Curator, Indigenous Art and For This Land: Inside Elemental, presented with community partner imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.

Since then, 46,226 people have passed through the University’s flagship professional gallery at 199 Richmond St. W. Visitors and members of the OCAD U community have seen a diverse, compelling range of sixteen exhibitions aimed at stimulating conversations on the urgent issues of our time.

Onsite Gallery employs up to 15 students per exhibition cycle – all who gain valuable experience working in the arts and culture sector.

The Gallery has offered an average of 30 classes and public tours per exhibition (480 in total), accompanied by five public programs per exhibition (80 in total) to engage the community. Our live online programming and YouTube channels have welcomed 5,765 visitors since Fall 2017.

In addition, Onsite Gallery has hosted curated Nuit Blanche projects every year since 2017.

The Gallery has also won prestigious awards and received numerous accolades for its captivating exhibitions:

Innovative programming

Over the last five years, Onsite Gallery has showcased innovative programming that has stimulated art, design and digital media research, creation, exhibition and dialogue that has activated the wider public and university communities and has earned accolades within the arts and culture sector.

This includes the stunning large-scale outdoor mural, pi'tawita'iek: we go up river, by Mi’kmaq visual artist Jordan Bennett unveiled in June 2022. Curated by Lisa Deanne Smith, Onsite Gallery’s Senior Curator and Manager of the OCAD U Galleries System, the mural is on the south wall of the University’s main campus building at 100 McCaul St. 

Bennett’s solo exhibition, Souvenir, curated by Rice, includes nine site-specific murals that celebrate the design, symbolism and history of the intricate art form of quillwork of the Mi’kmaq culture, on display at Onsite Gallery until December 10.

Partnership with the IAF

Onsite Gallery is currently partnering with the Inuit Art Foundation on a series of commissioned digital murals titled Up Front: Inuit Public Art at Onsite Gallery. Artist Kyle Natkusiak Aleekuk’s Northern Flash, 2022, is the second mural on display now until March 2023, on the exterior façade of the gallery.

Come celebrate on December 2

To mark its fifth anniversary, Onsite Gallery is inviting students, faculty, staff and the public to celebrate on Friday, December 2 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 199 Richmond St. W. Read more: