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Photo: DARC.

SAW Video goes DARC: Ottawa artist hub rebrands as the Digital Arts Resource Centre

By Maryam Sayid and Digital Arts Resource Centre on October 7, 2020

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For almost 40 years, you have known us as SAW Video Co-op, SAW Video Media Arts Centre, or just SAW Video. You got us mixed up with SAW Gallery, you stopped wondering what “SAW” actually stands for. And if you were not privy to what we actually do, you have mistaken us for a video rental store. You have.

Coming out of hiding from our end-of-dark-corridor basement location into bright open space for all the world to see, we think it is time to let the world know what we do: We are now known as Ottawa’s Digital Arts Resource Centre, or DARC.

We remain a non-profit, charitable, artist-run space of joyful creativity, inspiration, and collaboration. We will continue to foster the growth and development of artists through access to equipment, training, mentorship, and programming, support a diverse community of media artists empowered by technology, programming and the exchange of ideas.

SAW Video was initiated in 1981 as a project of the Sussex Annex Works (S.A.W.) located in Ottawa’s ByWard Market. We were and are a not-for-profit, artist-run media art centre that fosters the growth and development of artists through access to equipment, training, mentorship, and programming. We achieve our mission of supporting a diverse community of media artists through sharing of knowledge with their workshops, educating artists on professional media technologies, and the exchange of ideas.

Our facilities include the Knot project space (Ottawa’s first and only media arts-designated presentation space); a state-of-the-art surround sound audio suite and recording studio; and The Loop, a collaborative and experimental learning and work space. SAW Video is the largest media arts centre in Eastern Ontario and one of the largest in the country. So let me take you on a walk down memory lane to showcase some of the work SAW has done for and with the Ottawa arts community:

1985: The JumpstART grant was created to assist artists new to video and continues to this day, having supported over 100 productions.

1988: SAW Video and SAW Gallery moved together to Arts Court, forming the multidisciplinary centre Galerie-SAW-Video.

1990s: Stability in Arts Court resulted in significant growth for SAW Video in the 1990s, growing membership and enhancing our facilities.

1997–2006: The introduction of a youth training program, which brought a new generation of video makers to the centre.

2001: SAW Video officially separated from SAW Gallery, forming SAW Video Association.

2003: Launch of Mediathèque, an online streaming platform (that beat YouTube by two years, just saying) featuring 500 films/videos by Canadian independent media artists.

2007–present: Far Out Locations has brought video workshops to priority neighbourhoods across Ottawa.

2009–2010: Public Domain, a national commissioning project in collaboration with Library and Archives Canada.

2017: Spark Lab, a video training/creation program for Deaf and disabled artists.

2018: SAW Video expands, opening new spaces following major renovations at Arts Court.

2019: Knot Projections: Imagining Publics – a large-scale public projection series that took place throughout Ottawa.


Digital Arts Resource Centre aims to be an accessible, affordable resource for media artists in the Ottawa community and most importantly, they pay their artists. Learn more about their diverse programming.

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SAW Video is changing! For almost 40 years, you have known us as SAW Video Co-op, SAW Video Media Arts Centre or just SAW Video. You got us mixed up with SAW Gallery, you stopped wondering what “SAW” actually stands for. And if you were not privy to what we actually do, you have mistaken us for a video rental store. You have. Coming out of hiding from our end-of-dark-corridor basement location into bright open space for all the world to see, we think it is time to let the world know what we do – we are Ottawa’s DIGITAL ARTS RESOURCE CENTRE, in short: DARC. We still are non-profit, charitable and artist-run space of joyful creativity and inspiration and collaboration. We will continue to foster the growth and development of artists through access to equipment, training, mentorship, and programming, support a diverse community of media artists empowered by technology, programming and the exchange of ideas. Be with us as we grow! Over the next few days our social media handles will be changing, our newsletter will look a little different, and to kick things off right, we even have a new website (link in bio). #ottarts #myottawa #canadianartcentre #mediaarts

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