Early last month, Canadian Art Magazine announced its closure due to financial losses associated with COVID-19 and internal conflict. The board of visual art magazine announced that the shutdown after being in operation for over 37 years. During the pandemic, Canadian Art Magazine saw a steep decline in revenue that was being generated through advertising and fundraising. It has just been a little over six months since they announced the cessation of print publication. During this time frame, they had paused website updates and were terminating the employment contracts too.
Canadian Art Magazine is a quarterly magazine published in Toronto. Established in 1943, they have featured several artists, art news, interviews, editorials, and reviews of modern art exhibitions. Their online platform preeminent platform for journalism and criticism about art and culture in Canada.
“The pandemic has disproportionately affected arts and culture institutions and organizations across Canada and we know that this will leave a hole in the Canadian arts landscape,” Lee Matheson and Dori Tunstall, co-chairs of the Canadian Art Foundation board, and board member Gabe Gonda said in their statement.
Canadian Art Magazine represented several up-and-coming artists, art museums, and commercial galleries, amongst several other art exposure initiatives. Canadian Art was the country’s leading art magazine and in 2019, we saw that David Balzer former Canadian Art Magazine editor had stepped down from his role. This was subsequently followed by Balzer publishing a scathing critique that raised questions about structural racism within the organization. In his article, he spoke about the source of funds, their anti-racist principles, publishing politically challenged content, and continued tension between the donors.
Due to the ongoing conversation about structural racism, especially during the Black lives matter movement, Canadian Art Magazine made a renewed commitment to anti-racism and put the word “interim” in front of the job titles of senior staff. Before they could restructure the organization, the impact of financial losses became more evident and they had to terminate 12 employees in April 2021. As businesses started to get affected by the pandemic, Canadian Art Magazine started losing out on their advertising revenue too. Although in 2020, they received some government grants, this year they failed to and lost out on potential income as well.
In a statement released by the board, they agreed that the windup would preserve the organization’s charitable status. Copies of every published issue were donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario for safekeeping.