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The model of the artist run centre is more relevant today than ever as an increasing number of artists are emerging from educational institutions or from periods of possible isolation through a self-taught direction. These artists are providing the art appreciative public with more realms of expression, pushing boundaries both personally, and culturally requiring a nurturing environment of supportive peers. The re-emergence of “outsider” art which is gaining more attention also deserves an atmosphere of acceptance and promotion which other fellow member artists are more likely to bestow. Having a network of other like-minded individuals within the same realm to draw inspiration from is not only conducive to creative endeavours but also feeds the emotional and social needs which can be quite devoid in commercial galleries. 

Profit driven galleries and museums tend to be for the most part a closed and restricted culture. They nevertheless try to cater to the public in providing diversity within exhibitions while at the same time not readily accepting any notion of thoughtful creativity outside of their own standard of quality. The late culture critic Edward Said once stated, “we live in a world dominated by experts and narrowly defined fields of knowledge.” This closed culture is more apt to take on the role of preacher to the un-initiated whereas the communal village of an artist run centre is likely to draw upon peer involvement and act as an all-embracing “anthropologist” to bridge this educational gap. Artist run centres are a vital link for people who are culturally aware and wish to view art actively as opposed to those who wish to engage passively within a safe framework. 

This article was published in the book De-Centred by YYZ Aritsts  Outlet

http://www.yyzartistsoutlet.org

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