Creating Meaningful Connections for Artists

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Being a visual artist in Waterloo Region can be a difficult venture. There are numerous museums and galleries that showcase beautiful exhibitions, but it can be challenging for an emerging artist to display their work. Artists are also often asked to work for free, or simply donate their work. Misconceptions surrounding the value of fine art are often difficult to confront, as many artists work alone.

Cathy Farwell, a local artist in the region, and Project Manager for Art$Pay, recognized that these issues were having a negative impact on local artists, so she decided to step up and work to create a positive impact.

“Art$Pay connects artists with opportunity, community, and advocacy for fair pay,” she says. “We’re not looking to replace anyone else’s work; we’re looking to enhance everyone’s work and provide education, and make it easier for artists to earn a living.”

Art$Pay, which began operating in November 2016, addresses many of the issues that plague visual artists across Waterloo Region. It is an online platform filled with job opportunities, event listings, and valuable resources for both artists and the public. Art$Pay also hosts monthly meetups where people can network, holds art critique sessions every four months, and is planning their first annual art show and sale this coming November.

While the Art$Pay website provides a great collection of resources, Cathy also stressed that the monthly meetups are valuable events for people within the arts community. It provides a relaxed atmosphere for people to come together, discuss their work, forge new relationships, and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate the talent in our community,” shares Cathy. Many local artists have won national and international awards, but few people know this. Raising awareness is one of the first steps towards creating more understanding and appreciation for the local arts community.

“It’s very difficult for the public to learn about and to access the visual arts community,” she says. “[Art$Pay] is hoping to strengthen the community and strengthen relationships with the visual arts sector, and with the rest of the region as well.”

On November 10th and 11th, Art$Pay will be hosting an art show and sale at The Walper Terrace Hotel in downtown Kitchener, featuring the work of 48 local artists. Two workshops will be held during the event: one explaining how to purchase and/or rent original art for your home or office, and another on arts appreciation.

Art$Pay received funding from the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce Corporate Challenge Fund and The Keith and Winifred Shantz Fund for the Arts held at The KWCF to help support this inaugural event. To learn more about Art$Pay, please visit