Arsenal Contemporary Art is a private art center and cultural initiative. Founded in Montreal in 2011 by patrons Pierre and Anne-Marie Trahan, Arsenal Contemporary Art is devoted to the support, promotion and development of Canadian contemporary art through diverse endeavours.
Arsenal Contemporary Art is currently the largest private art center in Canada. To date, the center is housed in three locations, Montreal (founded in 2011), Toronto (founded in 2013), and most recently, New York City (founded in 2017).
Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal
The epicenter of Arsenal Contemporary Art is housed inside a repurposed shipyard located in Montreal’s Griffintown neighbourhood.
Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal has been credited with helping the regeneration of Griffintown through its consistent output of cultural programming and public engagement.
A former 19th-century shipyard, Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal has 80,000 square feet of exhibition space which has been used to showcase an extensive list of contemporary art exhibitions featuring Canadian and international artists.
Parallel to its exhibition programming, Arsenal Contemporary Montreal hosts several private philanthropic events year-round for organizations, such as the Canadian Breast Cancer foundation.
In terms of programming, Arsenal Contemporary Montreal has promoted various activities to help broaden the contemporary art audience, including TD Cultural Tuesdays. Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal also offers a residency program for both Canadian and international artists. Exhibitions that result from the residencies often travel to be exhibited at the other Arsenal Contemporary Art sites in Toronto and/or New York City.
Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto
Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto opened in 2013. It is an 8,000 square foot refurbished former industrial building in the Junction neighbourhood. Many cultural venues have grown in this neighbourhood in the last few years, including the new site of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCCA), which opened in 2018.
Like the other Arsenal Contemporary Art locations, Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto also welcomes cultural and philanthropic events, for example by hosting lectures and gatherings, and housing vibrant guest projects.
Arsenal Contemporary Art New York
In 2017, Arsenal Contemporary Art opened its newest satellite space in the Bowery Historic District of New York City. Located opposite the New Museum, Arsenal Contemporary Art New York embraces a hybrid format. While Arsenal Contemporary Art Canadian spaces operate as non-commercial art centers, its New York City faction presents commercial exhibitions and artist projects.
Through invited collaborative projects with independent curators, museums, biennials, and commercial galleries, Arsenal Contemporary Art New York focuses on the presentation of Canadian contemporary artists, both emerging and established, alongside international artists. The art center offers artists the opportunity to have a first solo or group exhibition in New York City, thus creating a platform for new dialogues in the rich artistic environment of the city.
Arsenal Contemporary Art New York also has a residency program, which offers artists lodging and a studio space to develop their practice.