The Story of Canada Arts Connect

Hi, CAC friends!

It’s Desirée here to tell you (a bit) of the story of Canada Arts Connect…

It all started in 2008. After nearly ten years of successfully pursuing my artistic career (I began to work professionally around 2000 right after finishing high school), closing my first small business (Babble, a button company), and with two small children to look after, I decided to start a blog and name it Canada Arts Connect. It was a simple Blogger site that I would update daily with posts filled with links to jobs, calls for submissions, auditions, and all of the great opportunities for artists in Canada that I came across each day while working on my own creative career.

I’m a multi-disciplinary artist who has a flair for networking and staying connected. I know how and where to find the things that people need, especially opportunities. I also like to help fellow creative professionals and support the artistic world that I care so much for. On top of all that, I love being online, and the ways in which the Internet and social media is changing the art world fascinates me. The idea of Canada Arts Connect was a perfect fit.

The name Canada Arts Connect came from my knack and passion for helping those around me connect with who and what they need. I also wanted a place where Canadian artists could come together, share ideas and resources, as well as network. Before I knew it, I had gained a loyal readership that was not only visiting the CAC site daily, but were also spreading the word about my blog across the country’s creative community.

Suddenly my little blog was a full-time gig…

Not long after creating CAC, it was obvious the blog had grown beyond the simple pastime that I had meant it to be, and was becoming a larger workload than I could manage alone. After a lot of thought, I shut it down. I deleted the blog as well as our Twitter account (which had already gained over 5,000 followers in just a few months).

Immediately I began to receive a flood of emails from readers who wanted Canada Arts Connect back. I decided to give it another go and a second blog was created.

The bumps in the road weren’t over…

In May 2010, the second blog became corrupted and it again looked like CAC was done. However, yet again, the community came to the rescue with multiple readers offering to help set up a proper website.

With the incredible support of Beth Smith, my good friend who is now our Webmaster, CAC was moved to a domain I had previously purchased and a new website was created. With my long-time creative partner, Ryan Drew Hayward, handling the business needs of CAC, we were ready to solidify Canada Arts Connect as a professional entity.

I knew we had more to offer…

At the end of February 2011, I created Canada Arts Connect Magazine in an effort to present CAC’s voice (as well as the voices of the CAC community) to the Canadian arts scene and beyond. With a talented editorial team, including our Managing Editor, Natalie Zina Walschots, and Editor, Chloe Vice, the magazine features a cross-country team of writers, whose unique columns, interviews, and reviews touch on all areas of the arts in Canada, such as music, literature, dance, fashion, crafts, design, as well as the business side of our careers.

And there was still more to come…

In February 2012, we launched a brand new website that included our very own social networking area and CAC Memberships. Hundreds of our readers signed up in the very first week and in just six months over 1,200 members had registered.

2013 & 2014 brought more big changes…

2013 marked CAC’s 5th anniversary and it was a year that also marked big changes. During 2013 and 2014, we streamlined our content into one main website making it easier for our readers to find everything they need in one central online location. We also had staff move on with Natalie, Chloe, and Beth taking on new projects.

And today…

With thousands of readers across the country, an online presence that has established CAC as a “social media influencer”* in the Canadian arts, a growing list of services, as well as working with some of Canada’s largest and most respected arts organizations, Canada Arts Connect continues to establish itself as one of the fastest growing and most active creative communities in the country.

In order to simplify things, I’m back to running CAC on my own these days, concentrating on our content and connections. I look forward to all of the upcoming opportunities as I continue to build and nurture CAC and embark on endless possibilities as well as focusing on Canada Arts Connect becoming “a powerful voice on the Canadian arts scene.”† 

Thank you for connecting!

Desirée Ossandon
Founder, CEO, Writer/Editor, Community Manager


* Quote from World Stage.
† Quote from a member of the CAC community in the 2012 CAC Reader Survey.