Gallery A and The Art Lab @ The RMG

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Gallery A & The Art Lab

The goal of Gallery A and The Art Lab is to foster and support a thriving arts community. Programs provide accessible opportunities for artists and arts communities to present and discuss artwork, collaborate, share ideas and be inspired. They are designed to be artist-driven, self-guided and flexible.

Unlike the rest of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, these spaces are not curated - instead artists may apply to use these spaces through a competitive process and applications are selected by a committee of artists from the Durham Region. Priority is given to underrepresented artists and projects that encourage experimentation, collaboration and align with the RMG’s Statement of Purpose.

Programs are divided into three main categories: Learn, Explore, and Present

Learn: Professional Development

Artists have access to self-guided professional development opportunities throughout the year. Workshops include support in artistic development, documentation of works, information about arts funding and more. We encourage artists to develop their practice by providing time for peer-to-peer critiques, access to library and archives and opportunities for artist talks. Workshops are ongoing and more information is available through the RMG website and the newsletter.

Explore: The Art Lab Artist Residency

Artist residencies are important opportunities for artists to produce new work, engage the public and explore new ideas. The Art Lab residency program is unique in that it is only offered to artists who propose to experiment with new ideas, take risks and make dramatic departures from work they have done in the past. For example, artists may want to consider working in a new medium, with a collaborator, integrating another artistic discipline (i.e. performance, music etc..) or pursuing a community collaboration with outside partners. There are no expectations in terms of producing a completed work or body of work, but instead, artists are encouraged to make mistakes, try something new and explore.

Selected artists have access to the Art Lab artist’s studio during their residency. For exceptional projects artists may also request use of Gallery A if they are proposing large-scale installations or projects that require additional space. In this context, Gallery A is not used as a formal exhibition space, but rather an open studio that the public may wander into and engage with the artist while they are on site. Residencies are artist-driven, self-guided and flexible so artists work independently but may request support from staff at any point. Residencies typically span 6-8weeks. Depending on availability, artists may also be invited to give workshops or artists talks.

Present: Gallery A Exhibitions and Events

Artists, collectives, curators, arts professionals and researchers  may apply to use Gallery A to present exhibitions and events. We encourage a wide range of project proposals including solo, group and curated exhibitions; artist and community collaborations, special events, film screenings, symposiums, and community art projects. Exhibitions that have been presented  elsewhere in Durham Region in the last 3 years are strongly discouraged. Exhibitions typically span 3-4weeks, and events are proposed as needed. Depending on availability, artists may also be invited to give workshops or artists talks.

General Guidelines

  • Photography is permitted by visitors for personal use only or by RMG staff for promotional purposes
  • Gallery A cannot be used for fundraising nor can admission be charged for events. Artists may however sell artworks.
  • All food or beverages must be arranged through the RMG special events coordinator and its caterers
  • All print or online publications must use the design template provided by the RMG
  • Gallery A  may be used for meetings, screenings, symposiums or gatherings during your exhibition, and may not always be available for public viewing during opening hours
  • All artists are responsible for leaving the space as they found it. Staff and artists work together to repair and paint walls, and keep floors from being damaged
  • There is no storage available
  • There is no internet access
  • There is no ventilation in the Art Lab so processes with toxic fumes (i.e. encaustics, aerosols, oils, etc…) are not permitted.
  • The Art Lab studio is highly visible to the public. Artists are asked to use discretion if working with nudity or explicit materials.

What is included?

  • Installation and lighting assistance
  • E-vite, print invitation and wall label template
  • The production of didactic panels and labels
  • Limited promotion through RMG newsletter and social media
  • Insurance and security monitoring
  • Designated time and space for an opening reception, artist talk and peer-peer feedback session
  • Assistance and access accommodations for artists with disabilities
  • Free access to professional development workshops

What is not included?

  • The cost of printing invitations
  • Food, beverages or liquor licenses
  • Artist  or reproduction fees
  • Catalogues or publications
  • Framing and Art materials
  • Art sales - all purchase enquiries are directed to the artist(s)
  • Transportation, living accommodations or per diem

Who can apply?

Professional artists and curators who have
  • specialized training in their artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions)
  • produced an independent body of work
  • maintained an independent professional practice for at least three years following the completion of specialized training in the field.
  • not exhibited at the RMG / Gallery A in the past 3 years.
Artist collectives with one or more professional artist or curator.

Community groups led by one or more professional artist or curator.

Arts professionals and researchers pursuing topics related to the RMG’s Statement of Purpose, Core Values, and priority criteria

Post-secondary students, pursuing education in fine arts or related field

Priority Criteria

We welcome project proposals from all eligible applicants. In alignment with the RMG’s core values to provide a platform for creative thinking and ideas while fostering an environment of inclusivity and collaboration, priority is given to projects that:

  • Engage artists residing in the Durham Region;
  • Align with the RMG’s statement of purpose, specifically to share, explore and engage communities through the continuing story of modern and contemporary Canadian art; and/or
  • Share multiple perspectives and engage underrepresented or marginalized artists. This includes, but is not limited to artists, art practices and communities that are Aboriginal, Culturally Diverse (POC), Deaf, Disabled or LGBT2Q.

How are projects selected?

A peer committee comprised of members of the Durham Region arts community review proposals and select projects. Assessment criterion is based on the artistic merit of the artist(s), the merit of the proposal and priority criteria.


It’s Free. This space provides accessible opportunities for local artists to display their work and engage in community projects. As such, the use of this space is free of charge. While artist fees are not paid, participating artists will have access to professional development opportunities, hands-on workshops and peer critiques. Some artists may also be engaged to give artist talks, teach art classes and provide workshops, based on their experience and availability.

How do I apply?

Complete and submit this application form, prior to the deadline. Please Contact the Gallery A Coordinator and Technician if this format is not accessible to you.  


October 15, 2015 - Projects taking place from March 1, 2016 – Sept 4, 2016

March 15, 2016 - Projects taking place from October 5, 2016 – February 26, 2017

Gallery A and The Art Lab @ The RMG