Craft Ontario was founded in 1976 through the merger of the Canadian Guild of Crafts (Ontario, 1931) and the Ontario Craft Foundation (1966), and is registered with Revenue Canada as a charitable organization under the corporate name Ontario Crafts Council (charitable tax number: 11887 8511 RR 0001).
Programs and activities are supported through earned revenues from membership, proceeds from the Craft Ontario Shop (formerly The Guild Shop), advertising, the Volunteer Committee, as well as government, individual, corporate, and foundation financial support.
Craft Ontario aims to achieve its vision and mission by offering the public opportunities to engage with craft through exhibitions, retail programming, publications such as Studio Magazine, and by partnering with other art-based organizations, institutions, and trade shows.
As a member-based organization, Craft Ontario offers many benefits and service to its members. Craftspeople are eligible to apply to the Craft Awards program, to our retail shop, as well as to juried exhibitions. Members also receive discounted rates on Craft Ontario workshops, seminars, and conferences as well as complimentary admission to various galleries throughout Ontario. In addition to these discounts, members pay a reduced rate to advertise in our publications and on purchases at our Craft Ontario Shop. Members also receive regular communications and invitations, including a monthly copy of our e-newsletter Craftfl@sh and two issues of Studio Magazine per year.
Overall, Craft Ontario works to provide opportunities for craftspeople that range from addressing business needs to providing promotional space in the arts and culture community. These services are crucial to craftspeople across the province, and Craft Ontario is committed to maintaining and developing this unique role.
While questions and definitions of craft abound, it is safe to say that most people understand the craft object to be something made by hand, that is aesthetically powerful and can contribute to the enhancement of life and place. As a way of making, craft, as a category of objects and activities, contributes to the economic well-being of individuals and communities. As a type of communication, craft is about materials being transformed, about problems being solved and tasks being met. Craft is about creativity and exchange. It is about the history and the unfolding of time and it is about engaging with and existing in the world.
Craft Ontario has been reinvigorated; guided by an extensive strategic visioning process and brand initiative, Craft Ontario is now positioned to situate itself as Ontario’s visible leader and champion for Craft – locally, provincially, nationally, and internationally.
Craft Ontario will take hold of its leadership role in supporting the livelihood of craft makers in Ontario, while at the same time take a leading role as craft advocate; empowering, educating, and engaging audiences.
Over the last decade, there has been a new focus on the creative sector. Silos and boundaries have been broken, new definitions of visual culture have emerged, and a collaborative spirit has emerged – the culmination of these changes will pave the way for cultural industries to prosper and Craft Ontario will ensure craft is visibly situated.