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Contributor Guidelines

As a national non-profit organization, Canadian Art is committed to being the leading Canadian forum for accessible, smart writing and conversations about contemporary art, and to supporting and mentoring the next generation of art writers.

Below, you will find guidelines for pitching to print and digital, as well as a fee scale—based on 50-cents-a-word for digital, and 75-cents-a-word for print. Successful pitches will adhere closely to our editorial submission guidelines. You must include the intended length of your story in your pitch.

All pitches should be sent to pitches@canadianart.ca, with the subject line indicating if the pitch is for print or digital. (If you want to submit a listing to our Agenda section, please visit this link.) Pitches are consensus-vetted by the editorial team. Only writers whose pitches are accepted for publication will be contacted by reply email. Please note that Canadian Art is a general-interest publication, and does not publish academic writing.

PRINT

300-word reviews pay $225; 500-word reviews pay $375.

Front-of-book texts “Keynote,” a 500-word overture on our issue theme, and “Fiction/Poetry,” pay $375 each. “Legacy,” 800–1,000 words, is about a little known aspect of Canadian art history, or is a unique twist on a well-known story or figure; it pays $600.

Two-page essays or features from 1,000 to 1,200 words pay $750; four-page essays or features from 2,000 to 2,500 words pay $1,500.

Investigative features of between 2,500 and 3,500 words pay between $1,875 and $2,500.

Payment is delivered at time of publication.

We encourage you to pitch ideas for more than one issue:

Summer 2019: Femme
Cardi B, Janelle Monae and the Kardashians borrow from and inspire drag culture; Harry Styles wears nail polish. Underneath this is the work, experiences and increased visibility of queer, trans and nonbinary communities—who for years have used the term “femme” to describe their complex relationship with the feminine. How is art helping us to reposition things traditionally understood as “girly”? How can the assertion of a variety of feminine and femme voices help us confront male-dominated culture? What are the dynamics of appropriation around femme? This issue celebrates femme-nisms, going beyond essentialism to explore—with irreverence, provocation, humour and style—the power of femme. We welcome contributions from LGBTQ2S writers and artists, and intend to look at femme as multidisciplinary—in art, fashion, style, performance and more.
Pitch deadline: January 1, 2019
Writing deadline: March 1, 2019

Fall 2019: Undoing Painting
Another painting issue?! Here, we present painting as an issue. Still one of the most marketable art forms out there—and therefore one of the most canonized and institutionalized—painting is a flashpoint for how we think about power, commerce and class in the art world. But what does a painting-focused view of contemporary art leave out—and include? Equally relevant—whom does it leave out and include? Does the market-bound nature of painting restrict its ability to critique? How are painting practices gravitating towards the interdisciplinary and installation-based? Are material-specific practices still valid—and does asking this question elide, say, Indigenous art communities, who have been working with paint across generations? What are all the things that painting can do that remain under-discussed? And how have painting’s histories been received and (mis)understood?
Pitch deadline: April 1, 2019
Writing deadline: June 1, 2019

ONLINE

We have a refreshed visual and navigational experience online, and are looking for exciting, distinct, diverse and expanded critical perspectives from across the country and beyond.

Short reviews, 300–400 words, $150: Quirky or serious, descriptive or polemic, reviews cover the breadth of works, events and exhibitions, nationally and internationally, of interest to our readers. Publishing shorter reviews allows us to cover more—but this format requires focused, pithy, engaging and unique perspectives.

Essays, 800–1200 words, $400: We are committed to voicey, opinionated essays and articles that demonstrate how art is connected to other disciplines—and that take contemporary art as a starting point for broader engagements with society- and culture-at-large. Whether longer reviews or outright manifestos, essays are spaces for writers to share original thinking, tastes, hot takes and critical, curious perspectives on artists, art practices, exhibitions, performances and cultural production of all kinds. Go ahead, send us your wildest proposals.

Investigative Reports and Profiles, 1400–2000 words, $700: We are committed to supporting writers who pursue in-depth stories requiring time and research to complete. We are looking for investigative pieces that uncover or engage with structural, social, economic, educational and aesthetic realities of the art world and beyond. This means hands-on researching, interviewing, and collecting leads and testimony to create full, objective and balanced stories with journalistic integrity. We also want to present close, intimate, well-written portraits of the artists, workers and characters who comprise the fabric of the art world. Tell us in great writing that is wry, sensitive and urgent about those who are outspoken, talented, under-appreciated, overlooked, idiosyncratic and/or outrageous.

For stories that don’t fit into these categories, please send us a pitch with your ideas and an approximate word count and timeline.

EDITORIAL SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

1. Read our magazine and website regularly to get a sense of our tone and style, and become familiar with Canadian Art’s editorial vision.

2. We publish smart, accessible prose, but not academic writing. We are always interested in original thinking, under-told histories and marginalized voices that challenge the status quo (including the art-world status quo).

3. Are you pitching a review? We are interested in unconventional and generous approaches to the form. We would prefer that the review be exciting and stimulating to readers who have not seen the show, and/or have not had beers with the artists/curators. We currently publish both short and long reviews, but will accept a long review pitch only if it contains a strong, provocative, coherent argument.

4. Manage and refine your pitch. You are pitching us an article, not a doctoral thesis or a book. If you are pitching a review, it is not enough to simply say you’re interested in the show. Tell us why.

5. Check to see if we have already published a piece about the artist, exhibition or concept you are pitching before you get in touch. If you are pitching a thinkpiece, check to see if your idea has already been tackled in the same manner by another writer for us, or for another publication.

6. Compose your story outline and angle using the same tone in which you will write your piece. Use your pitch to show us what kind of writer you are.

7. If you have not worked with us before, attach one or two relevant clips or links.

8. Tell us how long it will take you to turn the piece around and let us know if you are pitching your idea to other publications simultaneously so that we can get back to you within an appropriate time frame.

9. Keep it short: limit the length of your pitch so that it fits on one printed page. Ideally, your pitch is no more than five sentences.

10. We do not typically accept pieces on spec, i.e., pieces that have already been written.

11. We do not typically accept pitches from curators wanting to write on exhibitions that they are organizing or that are hosted at their place of employment, or on artists with whom they are professionally affiliated. We also do not typically accept pitches from artists who wish for us to write about their own work; a portfolio is not a pitch. If you want to let us know about an upcoming project or artist, we would love to hear from you, and if interested will assign a writer to cover your project.

Thank you for your time,

The Canadian Art editorial team