FOUNDER JULIE HODGSON
I’ve been devoted to the visual arts for most of my life and the Ottawa Art Society Fund is my way of giving back.
My love affair with art began when I was nine. Our family was living in Paris for a year for my Dad’s work and he and I would go for walks on Sundays, exploring the City of Light, often ending up at le Musée du Louvre. I got to know the museum and the collection pretty well, and whenever we had visitors, I would be their tour guide, showing our guests my favourite works. We spent just over a year in Europe, and travelled to several countries around the continent, visiting galleries, museums, cathedrals, and cultural sites. I was enthralled!
My exploration continued when we returned to Ottawa. I started visiting the National Gallery of Canada at its new location in the Lorne Building on Elgin Street, attending lectures and tours, and taking in the exhibitions. There were also a few commercial galleries in Ottawa in the 1960s, including Robertson Galleries, Wells Gallery, the Snow Goose, and the Lofthouse Gallery, and I was a regular visitor at those galleries as well.
I studied Art History and English Literature at Mount Allison University and later took the Management Development Program for Women at Carleton University. These fields of study combined my interest in, and love of, fine art with my more pragmatic side as an organizer.
Over the years, I worked in various capacities as a project manager, writer, editor, arts officer, curator, and gallery guide at numerous cultural institutions including:
- National Gallery of Canada
- Coalition of New Canadians for Arts and Culture
- Portrait Gallery of Canada
- Canadian Museum of History
- National Capital Commission
- Canada Council for the Arts
- Canadian Centre for Architecture
- Inuit Art Section of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
- Owens Art Gallery
- Confederation Centre Art Gallery
I’ve always been committed to my community, and volunteering has given me the opportunity to learn about many fields outside my profession. I have volunteered as a teacher, hot-line operator, host, project manager, juror, and mentor with:
- AIDS Committee of Ottawa
- Ottawa Blues Festival
- Festival X: Ottawa’s Photography Festival
- Canadian Museums Association
- Mentoring InSchool Program
As a volunteer, I’ve been on the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Arts Council and the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization, and was also on the founding Board of the Coalition of New Canadians for Arts and Culture.
I organized Humanitarianism through the Arts, a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders in 2009 and 2010 at La Petite Mort Gallery, and was Guest Curator for an exhibition in 2012 at the Ottawa Arts Council entitled, A Gallery of Portraits, which featured the work of four local artists between the ages of 13 and 17.
When I retired from the National Gallery of Canada in 2010, I worked at La Petite Mort Gallery, and it was there I began the LPM Collectors’ Group. I organized tours once a month of public and private collections as well as talks by artists, directors, curators, conservators, designers, and other arts professionals. It was a great experience, which I enjoyed very much.
After five years, I decided to wind down the LPM Collectors’ Group and was thinking about what I might like to do next. I heard about a philanthropic group in Toronto that supports the visual arts and I thought, “We could do that in Ottawa.” I consulted with a number of people and was directed to the Ottawa Community Foundation, where I set up the Ottawa Art Society Fund. The Ottawa Community Foundation, a public, non-profit organization created by and for the people of Ottawa, pools the charitable gifts of many donors into an income-earning endowment that benefits the community at large.
I established the Ottawa Art Society Fund as a legacy and a thank you to Ottawa for providing so many opportunities to me to work in the field I love.
I would like to encourage everyone who is interested in the arts, regardless of age or financial means, to become involved. The Ottawa Art Society Fund is founded in the belief that the arts have transformative power, both for individuals and for the community as a whole. I have experienced this transformation in my own life and know the arts can effect positive social change.