The Lacey Prize for Artist-Run Centres in Canada | Call for Nominations Now Open

The Lacey Prize for Artist-Run Centres in Canada

  • $90,000 CAD in prize money awarded biennially
  • Nomination deadline, 30 August 2019

OTTAWA, May 30, 2019 – The National Gallery of Canada announced today the call for nominations for Canada’s newest art award. The Lacey Prize, established by Dr. John Lacey in association with the National Gallery of Canada and supported by the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, recognizes artist-run centres and other small arts organizations, and the important work they do in supporting visual arts in Canada. Small art spaces are at the forefront of artistic experimentation and key to the Canadian art ecosystem, and the Lacey Prize will celebrate the accomplishments of these organizations.

Offered on a biennial basis, a cash prize of $50,000 CAD will be awarded to the first place winner, and cash prizes of $20,000 CAD will be awarded to two honourable mentions. Additionally, a contemporary art curator from the National Gallery of Canada will travel to the city of the winning organization for in-person site and studio visits.

The prize is funded by a $1.3 million gift from Dr. John Lacey and his late wife Naomi Lacey. In recognition of the gift, the National Gallery of Canada has named one of its rooms in the Canadian and Indigenous Galleries the Galerie Naomi & John Lacey Family Gallery.

The Gallery will accept nominations for the 2019 Lacey Prize of the National Gallery of Canada until August 30th. The three winners will be selected by an independent jury and announced in late November 2019. To know more about eligibility criteria and to submit a nomination form, visit the web section dedicated to the Lacey Prize.

“The Lacey Prize is based on my belief that a national art conversation begins at the local level. In communities across Canada, artist-run centres and small galleries play a vital role in providing a place for artists and curators to create and present new work and exchange ideas. The Prize we have created in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada also supports the Gallery in its mandate to be the national visual arts institution for all Canadians. I can’t wait to see the impact that the prize will have on the Canadian art scene.” Dr. John Lacey, Philanthropist

“A prize of this magnitude represents an important economic lever for small organizations. It has the real potential to prompt and support organizational development, trigger pilot projects, even allow the exploration of a capital campaign. Without a substantial injection of funds, such as the Lacey Prize, it is extremely challenging for small centres to take action and undertake projects that match their ambitions.” Anne Bertrand, Director of the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference (ARCA), representing more than 180 artist-run centres and collectives across the country.

“Most artists and cultural workers in Canada have a connection to artist-run centres, myself included. These kinds of organizations are such an important part of the visual arts landscape, and the Lacey Prize will allow the National Gallery of Canada to engage directly with the artists and communities working with these centres. We are really excited to better connect with small art spaces across the country and learn from what they are doing.” Nicole Burisch, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada

Dr. John Lacey and his late wife Naomi have a distinguished history of philanthropic leadership in both visual arts and music. Their longstanding support and vision at the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO); their establishment of the Naomi and John Lacey Virtuoso Program; and Dr. Lacey’s deep engagement with the visual arts through the Contemporary Calgary initiative have added immeasurably and profoundly to Calgary’s cultural vibrancy. Dr. Lacey has long advocated for the National Gallery of Canada’s mandate to serve Canadians coast-to-coast-to coast. The Family’s funding of the Lacey Prize is a testament to its support of artistic communities across the country.

The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery of Canada in fulfilling its mandate. By fostering strong philanthropic partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada’s visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy empowers the Gallery to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To learn more about the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, please visit

The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada’s premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st centuries, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. In 2015, the National Gallery of Canada established the Canadian Photography Institute, a global multidisciplinary research centre dedicated to the history, evolution and future of photography. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.


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