Curatorial purchase

The AFA sets aside funding annually to strategically purchase works of art that address specific gaps in the collection that could not otherwise be acquired through other acquisitions programs.

Examples of reasons why desirable artworks could be ineligible for acquisition through application for purchase programs include:

  • ineligibility due to artist residency requirements
  • the age of the works (historical or produced more than five years ago)
  • the artist is deceased

If these artworks still meet AFA collection criteria, however, they can be considered for curatorial purchase.

Deciding on artwork to purchase

Annually, the AFA Acquisition Working Group can present a listing of priorities for approval to the AFA Board. This allows our staff to target and acquire works of art that address prioritized gaps of artwork by specific senior, indigenous and historical artists, or artworks that fill a gap in medium, such as time-based media arts.

We have worked with internal and external curatorial experts to determine underrepresented areas of the collection which should be prioritized for acquisition.

Department staff is highly knowledgeable in both art history and contemporary visual art trends and movements, and we also work directly with other experts (such as the Alberta Media Arts Alliance Society, Alberta Craft Council, and others) to increase our understanding in specific media to help us target specific works. 

Learn more about AFA curatorial criteria and development policies.

Dr. Joane Cardinal-Schubert Fellowship for Indigenous Curators

In 2018, the AFA announced a one-time fellowship designed to support the growth and development of curatorial talent and enhance representation of Indigenous artists in the AFA collection. This fellowship will provide an opportunity for the recipient to research and work with Indigenous artists and potentially increase representation in the AFA collection through curatorial acquisition. 

Learn more about the fellowship.

How much do you pay for artwork?

The AFA only acquires artwork at fair market value. Fair market value is established by the record of sales of the artwork of the specific artist and comparable artwork by other artists who are peers working in similar media. 

If a record of recent sales is not available to verify fair market value, an appraisal may be made in writing by an independent, qualified appraiser. The appraiser must not be in a position to realize any financial gain resulting from the purchase of the artwork.

How can I sell artwork to the AFA?

The best way to have the AFA assess your artwork for purchase (or artwork by an artist that you or your gallery represents) is to submit through the art acquisition by application program.

This is an annual program open to Albertan artists and our staff will assess artwork using the same strategic collections priorities as for curatorial purchase. 

Artists ineligible for art acquisition by application

Please contact the Art Collections Consultant - Acquisitions to discuss your specific situation.

If your artwork is eligible under current criteria for curatorial purchase, you will be asked to submit the following for consideration by the Acquisitions Working Group:

  • an Artist CV, which includes information on formal and informal training, exhibitions, awards and any collections (private and public) holding artworks
  • a listing of artworks to be considered (include title, date, medium, technique, dimensions and proposed value)
  • digital images of all artworks to be considered (labeled to correspond with your list)
  • an artist’s statement
  • any additional information as requested by staff

Please note that consideration by the Acquisitions Working Group does not guarantee artwork purchase.