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Artpreneur conference bridges Ottawa art, entrepreneurship and creative industries—05.31.19 at Bayview Yards

By Greggory Clark on May 8, 2019


With a lineup of speakers from local media and art communities, Artpreneur is turning its focus to our city’s creative infrastructure, with an emphasis on technology and innovation. This year, the cross-disciplinary arts conference is inviting folks from creative and entrepreneurial industries to converge on the challenges facing Ottawa artists today.

Presented annually by Arts Network Ottawa and Wallack’s, the Artpreneur conference zeroes in on a new theme every year—but always one which rests on the premise that artists deserve opportunities for income, fulfilling and satisfying careers. A series of brief sessions with Q&As led by participants and guest speakers are like “problem solving workshops… each with a unique challenge within the realms of city spaces, media, and intermediary services—and how these relate to Ottawa’s overall creative infrastructure,” says Alex Maltby, co-organizer. It’s a one-day event on May 31.

“This year’s conference differs from previous years by elevating content beyond basic or entry-level skill sets,” says co-organizer Michael Wallack. “We are diving deeper into the fabric of this city’s creative infrastructure, so attendees see their industries with a bird’s eye view, knowing exactly when, where and how to apply skills developed in previous years.”

The 2019 conference is taking place at Bayview Yards.

The 2019 keynote will be delivered by Bruce Harvey, a former entertainment lawyer and film industry entrepreneur who leads the Ottawa Film Office.

One of Harvey’s most public projects to-date is a collaborative effort with local studios for the construction of Ottawa’s first soundstage campus and creative hub. A press release says the soundstage will generate an estimated $40 million for the local economy and 500 jobs. Harvey’s keynote talk will cover the project and its potential effects to Ottawa’s arts and culture ecosystem.

After years in the east end, hosted at the Shenkman Arts Centre, Artpreneur is relocating to downtown Ottawa. Bayview Yards will host the sixth annual conference. The move to a centralized venue, says Maltby, “is aimed to increase access for creatives based anywhere in the city.” With major partners like the City of Ottawa and Invest Ottawa on board, the move to Bayview seems rather natural.

The RBC Foundry at Bayview Yards.

2019 highlights

  • Amy Ede (NAC Indigenous Theatre) shares her experience closing gaps in existing frameworks to make space for Indigenous communities; and the importance of representation, relationship-building and accountability.
  • Visual artist Elly Smallwood and Remco Volmer (Artengine) discuss arts career paths and what it means to be a “local” artist on globalized digital platforms.
  • Sothea Kham and Bruno Soulière reflect on the journey and highlights of General Assembly, a collaborative, experimental and multi-disciplinary project space.
  • Jamie Hurst (City of Ottawa) and Kwende Kefentse (Timekode/City of Ottawa) explore nighttime spaces and their role in developing careers, resources, economic growth and city brand.
  • Kevin Bourne and Joe Mebrahtu (Shifter) talk about how to navigate media and what it means to “outgrow” the community and grassroots realm.
  • Artpreneur Expo Hall featuring a wide variety of services, suppliers and local businesses.

Visit for the complete lineup of presenters and talks.

Artpreneur 2019 is happening at Bayview Yards (7 Bayview Rd) on Friday May 31, 2019 between 8:30am to 4pm. Registration costs $30–50, includes a networking breakfast and catered lunch. Space is limited to 150 participants.