Research Fund

  • Andy Yan discusses statistics with Ken Lum's class from UPenn at Pollyanna Library.

221A is seeking your help to cover costs of a new Fellowship program, where 2–3 artists and cultural workers are paid a living wage to have the time and resources to develop new processes to transform society. This year, we launched the fellowships with Josh Gabert-Doyon, a documentary film-maker researching the history of the Woodwards condominium development, and Yu Su, a sound artist conducting field research in Aberdeen mall and Stanley Park to generate a library of social sounds.

Highlight from the upcoming program:
Amy Nugent, The Sculpture Fund

Amy Nugent, is a Vancouver-based cultural worker and resource developer. As the former president of Artspeak’s board, she has been recognized with a 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award in Vancouver. Her own research over the past two years has focused on the history of artists Frances Loring (1887-1968) and Florence Wyle (1881-1968).

The Sculpture Fund

Amy’s research will examine the history of artists Frances Loring (1887-1968) and Florence Wyle (1881-1968). Foundational contributors to Canadian Art, the practice and life of these artists has been unfairly eluded in national art history. Nugent will activate their memoirs, revealing an unconventional and extraordinary legacy through the installation of select archival materials and performances. As a way to fulfill their final wishes in their last wills and testaments, Nugent’s research will develop the “The Sculpture Fund”, a resource available to collecting institutions, from public galleries to universities, for the commissioning and acquisition of sculpture work from emerging and mid-career women artists from Canada.

Frances Loring (1887-1968) and Florence Wyle (1881-1968)

Through the fellowship subsistence, Nugent will be afforded a sabbatical from her role as the Executive Director of Inclusion BC so that she may occupy Pollyanna Library as a research platform broadly inclusive to core publics and artists who will engage and support the livelihood of the fund.


Where will my Support go?
Our goal by the end of 2017 is to have enough private funding to cover 60% ($20,000 per year) of the salary of one year-long Fellowship. While 221A receives funding from the government to cover costs, most funders do not like to pay for subsistence to artists or for research activities! Your help is vital to support critical research led by artists and cultural workers.

  • $32,500 for 1 year of subsistence at Living Wages + health and dental benefits
  • $10,000 for research budget, including purchasing books that will become a browsable collection at the Pollyanna Library and accompanying public programming
  • $3,000 for office space at Pollyanna Library that interfaces with the public
  • $8,125 apportioned salary costs for research assistance and collections development for each Fellowship, Research assistances (Collections Auxiliary & Librarian roles)
  • $2,500 travel and accommodations associated with Research


Background on the Research Fund:
Why Fellowships?
As an artist-led organization, 221A’s singular presence in the city has been built by its abiding commitment to striving for artists’ self-determination—a romantic, if at times anachronistic, ethos passed down from the organization’s established peers and mentors in Canada’s respected artist-run centre (ARC) community.

However, as 221A developed its activities, the organization came to understand how its vision—to support artists in transforming the cultural, political, and economic contexts they emerge from—was constrained by the inherited institutional format of ARC’s. International productions were all too fleeting, with little time for contributors to understand the context of their work; traditional exhibitions struggle to leave impact after their de-installation; the gallery space felt too insular, reaching the same audience each iteration and rehearsing predictable habits of engagement. In short: to better advance 221A’s mission, the institution needed a comprehensive overhaul of how it would allocate space, time, and resources to support artists in realizing their work.

221A’s new fellowship model will invite artists to lead the organization’s artistic activities for extensive tenures, varying between three and twenty-four months. Under the fellow’s direction, the resources and instruments wielded by the arts institution—human capacities, financial assets, communications platforms, and (relative) autonomy over space—will be mobilized to realize flexible, semi-permanent artistic projects that 221A has termed ‘infrastructures’. Stated simply, the fellow will be challenged to use the institution itself as a medium.

What distinguishes the fellowship program is its dedication to supporting artists with generous subsistence funding so that their works can be realized with that most scarce of resources in our millennium: time. The fellow’s extended tenure will allow her to build relationships with collaborators and audiences concurrently through public programming and through informal hours spent learning from the diverse communities the organization lives and works with.

221A sees this ‘institution of a new type’ as both an experiment in advancing artists’ self-determination as well a vehicle best suited for producing more thoroughly-developed, engaging art works for expanded publics and audiences. Where the traditional exhibition prioritizes a strict hierarchy of engagement between artist, artwork, and audience, the fellow’s infrastructures will aim to open spaces for experimental modes of art production and reception.