History and Vision for the Future
The first Feminist Art Conference (FAC) took place on International Women’s Day, 2013, with one hundred twenty participating artists and one hundred fifty attendees. The event sold out in two days, which indicated a strong need for such programming in Toronto.
A commitment was made by the FAC committee to continue holding conferences. Subsequent gatherings took place at OCAD University in 2014, 2015, and 2017, the most recent of which included a week of events, with two hundred twenty-two participating artists and over nine hundred attendees.
As the main conference grew, partner organizations reached out to FAC to co-present multidisciplinary projects throughout the year. Several community organizations, as well as University of Toronto, Ryerson University and York University all held FAC engagements around feminist discourse in the arts. The wide range of dynamic programming included panel discussions, residencies, theatre productions, fashion shows, spoken word events, dance performances, film nights, exhibitions, and markets for feminist artists to sell their work.
In 2015 FAC became a member of The Feminist Art Project out of Rutgers University, committing to the overall promotion and documentation of feminist art scholarship.
In January 2018, the FAC committee decided that a shift in name was necessary to broaden our reach and reflect our work beyond conference planning. Thus, FAC came to mean Feminist Art Collective.
In March 2020, FAC will present the Feminist Art Festival, four days of programming that include an exhibition, film night, makers market and conference.
The mission for the Feminist Art Collective (FAC) was inspired by attacks on women’s and transgender rights in Canada, the US and abroad. Issues such as rape culture, trans phobia, racism, ableism, violence, media representation, cultural appropriation, environmental degradation and impact on Indigenous lands, missing and murdered Indigenous women, and Islamophobic policies are areas of deep concern. These infringements on our right to agency and independence have been occurring in alarming numbers in our governments, in the media and in our communities. This collective provides an opportunity for these issues to be explored and communicated artistically in a unique and creative space that encourages sharing, creating and discussion. In the centuries old tradition of people organizing we believe that by coming together and communicating about these issues through our artistic practice, that we can initiate progressive change.
We aim to showcase like-minded, multi-disciplinary art including visual art, film, theatre arts, music, dance, design, spoken word and literature. We will create a space that is celebratory, positive, intellectually engaging and provocative. We are committed to this space being trans inclusive, anti-racist, and intersectional. Furthermore, by providing an opportunity for feminist artists to meet and share their work, we believe we can provide opportunities for networking and future artistic collaboration that can inspire social change and empowerment. We have the vision that the ripple effect from this type of artistic sharing and learning can provoke positive transformations in both our communities and our minds.