CIRCA Art Actuel is an artist-run center that supports experimentation and innovation. Its mission is to present the work of contemporary artists of all ages and disciplines who question the notion of space. Inherent to sculpture, installation or performance, this concept is also expressed through other mediums such as drawing, photography or painting.
CIRCA Art Actuel sustains a rich and bold program. Besides offering artists the opportunity to experiment and innovate, it allows artists to further develop their research and projects. The center builds projects that create encounters between artists, the cultural community at large and the public. In this regard, CIRCA Art Actuel offers a variety of conferences, round tables, residencies, exchanges and tours to raise awareness about contemporary art, to mobilize the artistic community, to share knowledge and to contribute to the advancement of research and creative activities.
(Chloë Lum and Yannick Desranleau, « Is It The Sun Or The Asphalt All I See Is Bright Black », photo credit Caroline Cloutier )
In 1988, in collaboration with the Centre de Céramique Bonsecours, Monique Giard, Yves Louis-Seize and Maurice Achard established Circa as an exhibition center. In September of the same year, they opened the gallery with the inaugural exhibition “Dix artistes : la terre”, presenting the works of Marie-France Brière, Catherine Widgery, Charles Daudelin, Bill Vazan, Pierre Leblanc, Gilbert Poissant, White Célanuy David Moore, Yves Louis-Seize and Cozic.
Initially, Circa aimed to promote contemporary ceramics and serve as a place for experimentation, research and dissemination. In 1996, following the creation of the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec and in order to meet the challenges of the artistic community at the time, Circa became an artist-run center while continuing to promote contemporary art, especially sculpture. In 2013, Circa began a new chapter. The exhibition spaces were dramatically reconfigured and the new POPOP gallery was created. The Centre d’exposition Circa became CIRCA Art Actuel. Its new mandate not only addresses sculpture but opens more broadly to the concept of space. Today, CIRCA’s current art team consists of a Board of Administrators, a Director and a Programming Assistant. To ensure the proper functioning of the Centre, several specialized committees have been established that are comprised of members from various sectors.
Since its foundation, the Centre has presented over 250 solo, duo and group exhibitions in its two galleries. It has also participated in traveling exhibitions and in national and international artistic exchanges. It has exhibited the works of some 300 artists, mostly sculptors and installation artists. Painters, photographers, video artists and performers have also shown their work in the gallery spaces. Besides the program of exhibitions as part of its annual programming, the Center has developed many national and international events, often based on exchanges with Germany, Belgium, Mexico, Austria, Spain and France. In Canada, the Centre collaborated with artists-run centers in Calgary and Kelowna. The proliferation of these exchanges is to encourage connections and to maintain plurality, accessibility and the spirit of research and experimentation.