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Fostering and promoting the Visual Arts

throughout Ontario since 1872.

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The OSA and the Government of Ontario

The Ontario Society of Artists and the Government of Ontario share a long and rich history starting with the Society’s founding in 1872.

The Government of Ontario Archives website features a number of fascinating articles about this OSA history. This Archive also holds the physical history of the Ontario Society of Artists including copies of all exhibition catalogues and publications.  Our most recent publication "Breath. Heart. Spirit.  The OSA 150 Years" recounts a selection of the historical events and goings on of the society in the past. 

In 2019, the Government of Ontario Archives  began arranging a juried donation of works by OSA artists. The actual work is distributed for display in government buildings. You may view the 2020 donation here on the Government website.

The province now has in its collection the works of more than two hundred OSA artists from the OSA’s inception in 1872. 

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This body of work chronicles the history of the Society as well as the development of art in Ontario. The most recent donation recognizes this continued partnership with the Ontario Government. Being recognized as significant contributors to the cultural life of our province, it is important to fulfill the mandate laid down for us by our founding members – to educate Ontarians about art and to make it possible for the community to have access to the art produced by OSA members.

Until 1912, the Government bought paintings from OSA exhibitions to build the Government of Ontario Art Collection. Following the opening of the Art Gallery of Toronto (the Grange) and the creation of the the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1912, in the same year, the Government informed the OSA that they would no longer be making purchases at the OSA Annual Exhibition (although further paintings were bought in 1913 and 1914). As you can see, this was not the end of the relationship.

The Government of Ontario Art Collection has received works from OSA members in 2005, 2007, 2012, and 2019-2020.

For more videos and more information about the Government of Ontario Art Collection, including access to the Collection database click here.

 An Interactive Slideshow of the 2020 donation

to the Government of Ontario Art Collection is shown below  (alphabetical by artist name)

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