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1982founders

image: Artcite’s founders in 1982

Artcite opened on May 15th, 1982 after extensive renovations of a nine hundred square foot storefront in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The reception was an overwhelming success with upwards of 300 people crowding into the small space. Working from the fact that Windsor had no alternative art spaces, the sixteen founding members were intent on designing and creating a space which would program contemporary and experimental work by emerging artists in all disciplines.

Along with Artcite’s healthy growth as an exhibition and performance space came its development into an artists’ resource centre for research and information, facilitating new channels of communication between the local and national arts communities (through Artcite’s membership in organizations such as ANNPAC/RACA, and of late, ARN and ARCO/CAAO), and between the arts community and the various levels of government.

From 1982 to 1984 Artcite was directed by its 16-20 member board of voting artist members. In March of 1984 a major change in the organizational structure was instituted to better serve the diverse interests of Artcite’s growing membership. Today, the organization is administered by a twelve-member Board of Directors (elected annually at one of our annual membership meetings), and two staff members.

 

In October of 1985 Artcite moved to Mackenzie Hall, a Community Cultural Centre and Heritage building operated by the City of Windsor’s Parks and Recreation Department. Our re-location to Mackenzie Hall served to actively promote the organization’s public accessibility and to significantly increase our profile in the Windsor-Detroit community. Artcite stayed in Mackenzie Hall for six years. Our second move was to a storefront space in the Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre, a project of the Arts Council Windsor and Region. This move was made for several reasons, and after considerable deliberation by our members. There had always been a significant portion of our membership who were unhappy with the move to the city-owned Mackenzie Hall. It was felt that a downtown location, in a space over which we had more profile and autonomy, was more suitable to Artcite’s needs.

From the time of our inception in 1982 Artcite has experienced tremendous growth in membership and community profile, and is now recognized as an organization of vital importance in Windsor’s cultural life. Membership currently averages over 180, and attendance at exhibitions and events has increased significantly since our relocation to the downtown core. The strong community support for our programs and events is especially important in a city like Windsor, given our close proximity to a major American city, and the attendant focus on Detroit.

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