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Can Craft? Craft Can!

Art Gallery of Burlington and Craft Ontario to host first Canadian Craft Biennial

The Art Gallery of Burlington and Craft Ontario are pleased to announce that the official website for the inaugural Canadian Craft Biennial has been launched: This national event, taking place between August 19 and October 29, 2017, will showcase provincial, national, and international craft artists through exhibitions, a two-day symposium, two ten-day residencies, and additional programming that can all be found on the Biennial website. Denis Longchamps, Artistic Director and Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington, addresses the need for a national celebration of craft:

“The Biennial is a dream that started to develop a few years ago to bring together makers, scholars, collectors and craft aficionados together to discuss contemporary Canadian craft within a larger discourse.”

Today, this dream is a reality, with the inaugural Biennial being presented under the theme Can Craft? Craft Can!, which will explore historical contexts and offer critical insights into the future of craft in Canada.

The Art Gallery of Burlington will be hosting four exhibitions made up of international, national, and provincial makers. The grand opening for all exhibitions is on Friday, September 15th, 6:00 pm, at the Art Gallery of Burlington (1333 Lakeshore Rd., Burlington). The AGB will be welcoming Dutch ceramist Anton Reijnders for the International Ceramic Exhibition. Anton is internationally renowned for his site-specific ceramic installations. For the Biennial’s national exhibition, Can Craft? Craft Can!, the AGB will be showcasing seventy makers from across Canada with a focus on the themes of identity, sustainability and materiality.

The AGB provincial exhibition, Setting Ontario’s Table: Once Upon a Time, will explore functional ware from Ontario ceramists, and juxtapose each artist’s early work with their recent work to explore the progression in their practice. The Craft Ontario provincial exhibition, Nothing is Newer than Tradition, will highlight emerging Ontario artists and reflect the way in which craft materials, tools and processes of creativity are reiterated through the hands of a new generation of makers.

The Canadian Craft Biennial will also include two residencies at the Art Gallery of Burlington. Over ten days, six makers will share studio space to exchange and explore the act of creation in different media. The writer’s residency, hosted by Studio Magazine, will offer six writers the opportunity to develop scholarship around Canadian material culture and craft discourse.

An integral component of the Biennial is the two-day symposium, where scholars and enthusiasts alike will come together to discuss a wide variety of topics related to the exhibition. The Canadian Craft Biennial is hosting fifty-three national and international experts on craft arts. Over two days and eleven sessions, split between the Holiday Inn in Burlington on Friday September 15th, and OCAD University in Toronto on Saturday, September 16th, participants will have the chance to learn, discover, and gain insight into the past and future of Canadian craft. Sessions will engage in dialogue around critical issues in contemporary craft culture, such as Indigenous cultural appropriation and commercialization, as well as discussions on the role of education and technology in the future of craft making. Registration and hotel information can be found on our Eventbrite page. The deadline to reserve hotel rooms at the Holiday Inn discounted rate is July 31st, 2017.

The Canadian Craft Biennial is a chance to unite those who make, appreciate, and study Canadian craft. For the first time, Burlington will host a national celebration of craft on the international stage, shining a spotlight on the immense creative spirit of our country.

Generously funded by:


This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

About the AGB: The Art Gallery of Burlington is an award winning gallery located in the heart of Burlington, Ontario. We stage as many as 10 regional, national and international exhibitions a year, and are home to the world’s largest acclaimed collection of Canadian contemporary ceramics and seven fine craft guilds. An interactive and creative space, we provide art education programs and public tours for people of all ages. Spanning over 44,000 square feet, our space boasts seven equipped art studios, three galleries, a one of a kind gift shop, an exhibition courtyard and year-round conservatory. For more information visit, the Art Gallery of Burlington is located at 1333 Lakeshore Rd, Burlington, ON, L7S 1A9.

About Craft Ontario: Craft Ontario is the province’s only not-for-profit, multidisciplinary, member-based arts service organization devoted to the support and promotion of professional craft practice. Craft Ontario exists to grow recognition and appreciation of craft and craftspeople by building a strong, talented and distinct craft community. We value handcrafted objects, their makers and the particularities of place, material and skill. Craft Ontario is dedicated to providing its 1,400 members with opportunities that help foster and promote their work including addressing personal business needs and providing promotional space in the arts and culture community. For more information, please visit or contact us at, 416-925-4222.





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