Visual art may well be the common cultural language of Hamilton. Grassroots and international caliber galleries, incredible educational facilities, an active public art program, practicing individual artists and curators, and a craft community that ranges from classical to contemporary means that living in Hamilton, means living amongst visual art.
The recently renovated Art Gallery of Hamilton was founded in 1914 and is Ontario’s third largest public gallery. Their diverse programming ranges from an International Film Festival and contemporary installation works, to an incredible collection of historical European and Canadian works and the Irving Zucker Sculpture Court.
Hamilton’s craft community has been rooted in the historic heart of Dundas for over 100 years. As a result Hamilton is home to the Dundas Valley School of the Arts which offers programs focused on the traditional arts, the Hamilton and Region Potters Guild which has more than 300 members, and the Carnegie Gallery which exhibits primarily craft based works and is home to the Designer Craft juried fine craft show.
As noted in the introduction, the creative sector has the ability to transform communities. Nowhere else can this be seen more clearly than the revitalization of James Street in downtown Hamilton. Over the past decade James Street North and South has become home to leading visual arts organizations such as the Hamilton Artists’ Inc., The Print Studio, Factory Media Arts, Community Centre for Media Arts, and Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts. Joined by a number of commercial galleries, studio facilities such as the Mixed Media Complex and Studios at Hotel Hamilton, restaurants, arts-retail and dozens of individual artist studios James Street has come alive with a core of visual art.
Hamilton as a Creative Magnet
The growth of Hamilton’s creative cluster has been a noticeable trend over the past few years. Beyond local press coverage, it has caught the eye of the regional and national press a number of times and has garnered strong support in the community. The Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Toronto Life, CBC Radio, among others, have focused new interest on the growing arts and culture scene in Hamilton: