The Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres (PAARC) is a nonprofit organization that represents the collective interests and development of Artist-governed organizations based on the Unceded Indigenous territories known as British Columbia through advocacy initiatives, actions of solidarity, mutual accountability and resource-sharing.

Membership Principles

  • Decentering colonial legacy
  • Indigenization
  • Practicing equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Paying livable incomes to Artists and cultural workers
  • Being accountable to the communities they serve
  • Supporting artistic self-determination and risk-taking in artistic practices


PAARC was established in 1988 as an association representing Artist-run centres (ARCs) in British Columbia. With a rich history that spans over fifty years, ARCs have had a significant impact on the cultural eco-system in Canada and around the world. Many of Canada’s best known and internationally recognized Artists, Curators and cultural workers have come from the Artist-run centre movement. During the first three decades of the movement, ARCs played a role as a parallel gallery system that offered Artists an alternative to government museums and commercial art galleries. With challenges brought on by stagnant funding conditions between 1990 and 2015, the advent of new telecommunications technologies, increasing costs of living in BC as a result of rampant real estate development, and demands brought by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour within PAARCs member organizations and across the sector, the ARC movement has departed from its initial work of a parallel gallery system into an interdisciplinary network of values-based organizations that centres on the work of the Artist.

Membership Requirements

PAARC Members must be non-profit Artist-controlled organizations. Artistic control is measured as a minimum 50% Artists composition of their Board of Directors. PAARC Members are required to commit to the principles as listed above, maintain the majority of its operations in the Unceded Territories known as British Columbia, and to attend and participate in the quarterly membership meetings.

Members attending from outside of Vancouver may be reimbursed for travel expenses. Benefits PAARC offers its members include opportunities to share resources on values-based organizational practices, partake in collective advocacy, gain exposure to funding opportunities, and collectively hold cultural organizations accountable, including peer institutions, sectoral actors and funders inside and outside of PAARC.

Membership Dues

Membership dues are calculated at 0.1% of your annual operating budget or minimum $50/year. Members who do not receive operating funds from any of the three levels of governments may elect to pay a nominal annual fee of $1/year. Make cheques payable to: Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres.

Membership Application Process

To apply for as a PAARC member please submit a letter that includes a statement declaring that your organization acknowledges the principles of PAARC as defined above; the history, location(s), purposes and activities of your organization; and articulate the reasons your organization is interested in becoming a member of PAARC.

Your letter will be reviewed by the PAARC Membership Secretary to ensure each of the above points are adequately addressed. Adjustments or clarification may be requested. At the next available meeting Members of PAARC will make a formal motion for or against the applicant. Applicants will become official members once all dues are paid.

For questions about membership or to apply for membership, please email Julia Prudhomme, Membership Secretary at info@paarc.ca.