Friday, February 12, 2016

How can the "Canada Council for the Arts" help support the Visual Arts in your community?

The Canada Council for the Arts

The growth of visual arts in Canada is important to all in the arts community and especially to those who are in the business of supporting the visual arts. To follow is some information from the "Canada Council for the Arts". This a federal Crown corporation that was created by an Act of Parliament in 1957 (Canada Council for the Arts Act) "to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts." 

Interested in the Arts? You might want to bring some of these programs to the attention of artists in your community.

The Canada Council offers a broad range of grants and services to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations in music, theatre, writing and publishing, visual arts, dance, media arts and integrated (multidisciplinary) arts. It also seeks to raise public awareness of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities.

The Canada Council awards prizes and fellowships every year to some 200 artists and scholars. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Public Lending Right Commission operate within the Canada Council. The Canada Council Art Bank contains some 18,000 works of contemporary Canadian art that are rented to the public and private sectors.

The Canada Council is governed by an 11-member Board. The Chair, the members of the Board and the Director of the Canada Council are appointed by the Governor in Council for fixed terms. The Canada Council relies heavily on the advice of artists and arts professionals from all parts of Canada (some 750 serve annually as jurors, or peer assessors, in the awarding of grants) and works in close co-operation with federal, provincial and municipal cultural agencies and departments. The Council reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The annual budget allocation from Parliament is supplemented by endowment income, donations and bequests.

The Visual Arts Section provides creation, production and dissemination support in the fields of architecture, crafts, photography and the visual arts, as well as for the acquisition of works by Canadian artists. In addition to funding the activities of independent artists, museums, artist-run centres and other professional arts organizations, the Council encourages the work of independent critics and curators, and the work of performance artists whose practice is rooted in the critical discourse of the visual arts.
The Project Grants to Visual Artists program supports professional visual artists and collaborations who contribute to contemporary visual arts.
Program Administered By: Visual Arts
1 December
Long-Term Grants provide support over a two-year period to Canadian, professional artists who have made a significant contribution to contemporary visual arts.
Program Administered By: Visual Arts
1 September
The Fine Craft: Grants to Artists and Curators program supports studio-based artistic practices and curatorial research in contemporary fine crafts.
Program Administered By: Visual Arts
1 March

Travel Grants to Professionals in the Visual Arts

This program provides assistance to professional visual and fine craft artists, independent critics and curators, and architecture professionals. Grants are for travel to attend or participate in ...

Program Administered By: Visual Arts
1 February
1 April
1 June

1 September

Project Grants for Organizations in the Visual Arts

This program provides grants to Canadian non-profit visual arts organizations and collectives for projects that advance knowledge and promote public enjoyment of contemporary visual art. 

Program Administered By: Visual Arts
15 April
15 September

For more information contact:

The Canada Council for the Arts
150 Elgin Street, P.O. Box 1047
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5V8
1-800 263-5588 or (613) 566-4414



Friday, January 29, 2016

Dealing with feedback: Six Tips

Collecting feedback on your ideas is an important part of the creative process. But not all feedback is created equal. For every useful observation and insightful suggestion, some comments are just wrong and not helpful.

Dealing with poor feedback can be tricky, especially when you have to be sensitive to the business situation and the position of the reviewer. It can also be difficult to maintain confidence in your own work when faced with negative feedback. 

Here are six tips for dealing with feedback that will help you handle negative comments, while remaining true to your original vision.

1. Who is the reviewer?
If someone gives you feedback with which you find disagreeable, think about who they are? They may have expertise from a different point of view that your skillset does not cover. They may have a proven track record for making things better. Opinions from colleagues like this deserve close consideration, so listen to them closely - they may help you improve your work. For everyone else, be confident and trust your own judgment.

2. Try not to get defensive
Try not to be the first person to respond to a critique on your work. Your first response will probably be defensive. Gather feedback and then let the comments marinate before responding. 24 hours, if you can spare the time, is a good rule of thumb. Things often look different the next day. By taking a little time you will be able to better fully understand their comments and their perspective. While you ponder the feedback, others reviewers may either offer up support for your work or show that the original commenter may have a point.

3. Small issues may be a ruse for bigger problems
Sometimes small things might be brought to your attention - like if someone doesn’t like a certain word you’ve used in a written piece. Ask if the problem is the word or its meaning? Feedback should be questioned to see if it is the root of something that might be more significant.

4. Check your Ego
You may be the one who is putting the presentation together but you might not be the final presenter or therefore the final decision maker. If you don’t agree with the decision makers feedback - deal with this. Perhaps have a one on one with the decision maker as opposed to announcing your disapproval within a greater group where egos can clash. However if you are the decision maker on a controversial piece - get a second opinion from someone you trust.

5. Be prepared for criticisms
Before your work is reviewed, try to prepare yourself for possible questions before they come your way. What issues might others may have with your work? Always being prepared and ready to answer any questions that might come up is a great way to deal with potential negative feedback.  Anything "new" will always be met with some fear of the unknown, so be prepared to show examples of how other businesses succeed by taking risks.

6. Don't be afraid to go back to the Drawing Board
Nothing is stopping you from starting over on a new version of your proposal with fresh insights and improvements. A fresh start from a different angle may help the reviewer see that their objections weren't as serious as they once thought.

The review process is really a creative way of making your work better - so don't sweat it.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays to All.........& End of the Year Tips

Happy Holidays to everyone who has taken the time to follow this blog throughout 2015. I am happy to report over 11,000 views on the site. I really appreciate the interest and the following.

If you are interested in contributing content to the site, feel free to reach out to me and we can put something together.



Here are some year-end tips for your business to help make the New Year a prosperous one:

Review and Reflect - Taking stock of your business now will provide you with a good opportunity to improve your chances of prosperity next year. Do a post-mortem of your year. Write out a list of your company’s accomplishments and areas in which expectations were not met.  Which problem areas need refining? Are your procedures and systems efficient, or can they be improved? Would you benefit from adding new hires?

Set Goals for Next Year - Set specific, challenging but achievable goals for your business this year. Set a bar for you and your team to aim for, one that while realistic is still ambitious. Then, create strategies to help your team reach these goals.

Reach Out to your Best Customers – Contact your best customers and thank them for their business over the past year. In addition, ask them for feedback on how you can improve and serve them even better next year. Letting them know they are appreciated is a way to keep them in the fold for future.

Give Employees a Pat on the Back – Share your company’s accomplishments with your employees to help ensure their pride in what they do. Recognition is essential to engaged employees; show your appreciation for their hard work and contributions to your success. Your staff will really appreciate gestures such as gift cards they can use to buy gifts and letting them leave a couple of hours early one day to get some of their shopping done.

Refine Your Online Presence – Review your website and look for areas that are in need of an update. Replace old, stale content with fresh, new material. Update your team’s bios to give them a new look. Make sure all of the links on your site are still active. Are you effectively utilizing your company’s accounts on social media platforms?

The end the year can be a hectic time, but it’s a great opportunity to make sure you start the New Year on the right foot.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Terry Nevins: Office Product Excellence

By John Fullerton,

Last week I attended the annual COPA "Stars Gala" - the Canadian Office Product Associations annual salute to the Canadian OP industry. As usual, COPA provided a great night of camaraderie, as attendees were able to connect with old friends and new acquaintances in a fun and friendly setting.

The event was held at the "Vue", an excellent banquet facility that overlooks the Royal Woodbine Golf Course in Toronto.  COPA provided an excellent setting for networking opportunities for all who attended the Gala in this spacious, informal setting.

The highlight of the night was the tribute paid to long-time OP veteran, Terry Nevins, my friend and former COPA board colleague. Terry was awarded with COPA's highest honour, the "Individual Award of Excellence" for his 40 year career in the Canadian office products industry. Could there be a more deserving recipient for this award?

Peggy and Terry Nevins with the COPA Individual Award of Excellence

"Terry Nevins" - now that is a house-hold name in our industry.

Terry joined TOPS Office Products of Oshawa, Ontario in 1976, - his first role in the industry as a sales person. By 1985, Terry was a full partner in the company, driving sales and marketing initiatives. He left TOPS to work for Canadian Independent Stationers (now Office Plus) to become their general manager and marketing director. In 1988, Terry joined Global Total Office as their director of marketing, until becoming the company’s vice-president of national accounts marketing in 2004. Terry spent 26 years with Global, helping them expand their business and grow their market. Terry retired from Global last year. “Global became the right place to be as the industry reinvented itself many times over the last 40 years,” says Terry. “I was part of that reinvention, driving change and creating products and delivering marketing programs to fit the needs of the day. It was very exciting and satisfying.”

While it is difficult to predict exactly what office environments will look like in five or 10 years, Terry says there are a few givens; people will always require digital or physical writing instruments, coffee, and places to sit and work. Thinking like your customer and moving with technology trends are important aspects for success in the office of the future. “You need to be aware of all technologies and how they will impact your own market niche and your own personal life,” says Terry. “These technology revolutions will become evolutions and the office products industry is best at evolutions — evolving product categories.”

Glen Jackson, Mark Weiler, Steve Murphy, Peggy and Terry Nevins of the Global Group

Terry is an industry visionary who was always there for his customers and colleagues with a helping hand, a kind word and straight-forward advice. For myself, I am glad that I got to know Terry during my time on the COPA board and consider him a true friend. The Canadian Office Product industry will miss Terry Nevins.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Does The Type Of Printer Paper You Use Matter?

By Brad Steeves,

Copier paper is what you would use at your place of employment to mass produce originals that you may need to distribute or file. Copier paper is usually very thin and lucid.

The quality of paper is determined by how bright it is, or to put it another way, how much light passes through it. For mass production of work documents to be filed or distributed, quality is not that important. You can use recycled copier paper, which is approximately eight to ten percent of the total paper used today.

There are primarily two types of computer printer paper, matted or glossy. Matted paper has a “very bright” outside layer. Glossy paper, on the other hand, has a shiny finish. So what type of paper should you use for your inkjet or laser printers? If you are printing draft copies, quality will not matter too much, so plain copier paper is good enough. However, if you are printing a final draft or color presentations, etc., a thicker coated paper, matted paper, is recommended because it allows for sharper colors and a better resolution image. For photos, a glossy finish is desirable, or in some cases necessary. Why? Because the ink dries faster on a glossy surface which, in turn, produces sharper images. A 4x6 size is the most popular for printing photos from your computer printer.

In addition to the types of paper, it is important to know its characteristics. The first one is weight. The higher the paper weight, the thicker the sheet of paper. Higher paper weight is also stronger and has a substantial feel to it. In addition, less light will pass through it. Heavier paper should be used for presentations and final drafts, whereas standard weighted paper is used for everyday printing and copying.

The second characteristic is brightness. Most paper will have a brightness rating between 80 and 100, where 100 is the brightest. The brighter the paper, the better your printed result will be. The third is texture. The type of paper texture you use for laser printers will be different from that of an inkjet printer by nature of how the ink is distributed to the paper. A laser needs a flat paper for sharp results. Inkjet printers will require the use of a rougher surface. This will produce a clear result, as it will not scatter on the surface of the paper, but rather cling to it for a sharper image.

There you have it! The type and characteristics of paper vary, but knowing each will yield the result you want to obtain.

Brad Steeves is the Manager of Merchandising and Marketing at Beatties Basics Office Products in Saint Catharines, Ontario.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Scriptus - Toronto Pen & Writing Show

By: John Fullerton

On Sunday afternoon, I attended "Scriptus 2015" - Toronto's Pen and Writing show which was held at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, at the Toronto Reference Library on Yonge St. in the Yorkville area of Toronto.

Philip Akin - Director of Scriptus
"Scriptus" celebrates the art of "hand-writing" and at the show I found:
  • many fine pens, including fountain pens old and new;
  • several lines of luxurious stationery from all over the world;
  • a wide variety of vibrant inks, in all the colours of the rainbow;
  • an active community of lovers of all things INK;
The main focus of the over 60 vendor tables was fine pens - from rollerballs to fountain pens, exquisitely crafted pens were the stars of the show. This was not a show  about $0.99 stick pens. Scriptus estimates that there were 1,300 attendees for this years show. The large crowd on hand were acutely interested in fine-penmanship. In this age of smart phones and laptops, there clearly is still a segment of the marketplace who craves the hand-written word displayed on fine stationery through the use of a beautiful pen.

David Armstrong, Scriptus's communication director had this to say about this year's show: "Scriptus is a huge success not because it is converting people to the use of old-fashioned writing tools and materials. We are convinced that many people of all ages have always been interested in this vital form of communication, and will continue to be. We are just giving them a place to connect, and helping them to see that they aren't alone, or really even a minority. A vital part of the show's success is accessibility for everyone. Free admission, a central location, and a spirit of fun are the most important facets of the show for us, and will continue to be hallmarks of Scriptus in the future."

Toronto's "B. Sleuth & Statesman"
"Refine Mark Print Design" from Victoria

"House of Fine Writing" booth - on Queen St. West in Toronto
"Phidon Pens" - Cambridge Ontario

Pen World Magazine