OSA makes a difference

How You Can Help the OSA Continue to Make a Difference

The OSA’s vision is represented through the motto Art for Everyone, as the school continuously endeavors to be a leader in providing innovative educational programming in the visual arts that is accessible and affordable for one and all. Help us continue to do what it is that we do best for the next 130 years to come.


Providing Cultural Enrichment for the National Capital Region
Ensuring sustainability is important, as throughout its rich 130-year history, the OSA has played a key role in the community that it serves. The OSA offers several charitable programs that help to encourage creativity and will continue to develop initiatives that help to make an impact on the community for years to come.


Bursary Program

For over 20 years, the OSA has been providing financial assistance to people of all ages who have displayed a sincere interest in taking a course in either the Children’s or General Program, but are unable to afford the fee. Offering this opportunity is important, as it has been proven that increased access to an arts education helps to build a sense of self, improve problem-solving skills, and better a person’s quality of life. Along with funding set aside in the OSA’s annual budget, several named and anonymous donors help to make this opportunity possible, including:

• The Thomas Westran Memorial Bursary, established in 2004 by Agnes Westran. The goal of this memorial bursary is to remove the financial worries that may act as a barrier for adult art lovers looking to transform themselves from a spectator into a creator.

Potential recipients or referees (i.e. a parent, guardian, or social service agency) are expected to complete and submit an application form to the program prior to the start of registration. A student can only receive one bursary for a course per term and is limited to two (2) bursaries in a twelve-month period. Applications are available to be picked up at the front reception, or can be downloaded from the OSA’s website. The value of each individual bursary given depends on the level of financial assistance indicated on the application form and the availability funds.
During the 2007/08 school year over 160 bursaries were given out to those looking to acquire a new skill and a new means of expression.


Community Collaboration

The OSA works alongside other organizations in order to help leverage the visibility of the visual arts within the National Capital Region through a variety of initiatives.

The signature cultural event entitled ArtBus, held annually in the fall, is one example of this type of cooperation. Working in conjunction with the City of Ottawa, La Ville de Gatineau, public transit companies OC Transpo and STO, ArtBus is a one-day, free shuttle service to over 25 non-profit, public art galleries and artist-run centres. For six (6) years running this event has brought together the Ottawa, ON and Gatineau, QC communities to share their diverse cultural offerings, and highlights the important contributions of public, non-profit visual arts organization to over 1,500 ArtBus riders.

In addition, the OSA not only offers its own programming out of the heritage building conveniently located in the Byward Market (a high traffic area for tourists), but the school generously opens up its facilities to other local groups – either for free or a minimal fee. These organizations include:

• Inuit Art Foundation
• Ottawa Art Association
• Sculptors from the Tungasuvvingat Inuit Family Resource Centre
• Association Pour l’Integration Sociale d’Ottawa (AISO)


Gallery Spaces

The OSA is host to three (3) exhibition spaces open free to the public seven (7) days a week.

• The Lee Matasi Gallery – Established to provide Diploma Program students with an opportunity to show their developing body of work.
• The OSA Boutique – Anyone belonging to the school as a member may display works for sale. Submissions to the boutique are accepted six (6) times throughout the year.
• The OSA Main Professional Exhibitions Gallery (ByWard Market and Orleans Campus)– Highlight the accomplishments of practicing local, provincial, national and international artists. Features a variety of annual and bi-annual shows, such as; the Instructor’s Exhibition, an international Miniature Print Competition, and the Visiting Artist-in-residence Program.

The main objective of the galleries is to promote culture; making contemporary and traditional visual art practices more accessible to everyone regardless of socio-economic status. Analogous to this goal, the exhibition spaces encourage the innovation of contemporary mediums, inspire the production of new work by providing opportunities to study the techniques of professionals, and facilitate the diffusion of ideas.


Outreach Program

The OSA Outreach Program offers barrier free community-based visual art classes to at-risk children and youth throughout the city of Ottawa at no cost. Modeled after the OSA’s high quality programming, classes are taught by professional artist-instructors who are assisted by classroom technicians hired from within the community. In addition, the student-teacher ratio is kept low to ensure each child or youth receives individual attention and guidance.

Providing a safe and nurturing environment, participants are encouraged to develop their creativity and cultural awareness. They are invited to explore different types of media, such as: cartooning, sculpture, photography and painting through various projects; learning that success can be achieved through a variety of means. Many students transfer their desire to try (and succeed) at art to other academic subjects.

Generous donors provide funding to cover the cost of tuition and supplies, including packages of materials that program participants are welcome to take home to continue to build on their newfound skills.



In 2009/10 the OSA Outreach Program reached out to over 750 children and youth in 10 different communities:
Minwaashin Lodge Sacred Child Program
Morrison Gardens Community House
Christie Lake Kids STAR Program (Caldwell Community Centre)
Hintonburg Community Centre (City of Ottawa)
Pallister Court Community House
Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre
Winthrop Court Community House
Overbrook Community Centre
Rochester Heights Community House
Youth Services Bureau

OSA Charitable Registration Number 126510528 RR0001