The Ottawa School of Art (OSA) is Ottawa’s longest running Independent Art School. As a major charitable visual arts institution in the Ottawa-Gatineau/Eastern Ontario region, the OSA has been teaching art to everyone for over 50 years, and now offers courses at three campuses. Its main location is housed in a heritage building at 35 George Street in the historic ByWard Market of Ottawa. As OSA’s primary campus, the ByWard Market location is in close proximity to several of the National Capital’s major cultural and educational institutions, and to many public/private galleries and artist-run centres. A second campus was established in 2009 at the Shenkman Arts Centre in the suburb of Orleans, while a third campus was recently created through the necessity to pivot to online learning.
The OSA offers a wide range of specialized educational and general interest programming. All programming is studio-based and focuses on hands-on learning. The three-year Fine Arts Diploma leads OSA’s pedagogical program, hosting both Canadian and international students through an intensive studio-based curriculum. The one-year Portfolio Certificate is preparatory in nature and offers students the skills and understanding of what a professional portfolio contains, and how to present one’s ideas in an interview. The OSA also offers a vast selection of general interest courses for adults, children and teens, as well as summer and March Break Camp opportunities. All courses are taught by successful practicing visual artists, and are enriched with the specialized and equipped studio facilities that are available to all students and staff, such as the printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, painting and drawing studios. There is also an on-site Boutique in the ByWard Market campus that offers materials available for purchase by OSA students, as well as a wide selection of artwork by local artists and artisans that is available for purchase for the public.
The OSA’s programs also include the presentation and promotion of contemporary art. The professional galleries at the ByWard and Orleans campuses host solo and group exhibitions by local, national, and international artists that are selected through a peer reviewed jury process, as well as institution-based exhibitions such as the Grad Show and the Annual Holiday Art Sale. The OSA also runs an outreach program on site and in local communities, as well as artist talks and workshops led by visiting artists and artists-in-residence.