The Great Catalogue Giveaway

Free publications at the Owen’s Art Gallery
photo by Upendra Adhikari

In my continuing efforts to help you get as much free stuff as you possibly can, I present another opportunity for you:

The Great Catalogue Giveaway is an event hosted by the Owen’s Art Gallery. The event is a tradition, albeit not a yearly one. According to Rachel Thornton, curator of digital engagement,

“The idea of the event is to give away some of the publications, and magazines, and posters that the Owens Art Gallery receives from other institutions over the years, but also some that we publish ourselves, and we give everything away for free to decorate your residence wall, to find a new coffee table book or maybe discover something new in a magazine.”

The giveaway selection is made up of a combination of publications made by the gallery and those that they receive from other institutions. Included are back issues of Canadian Art magazine, monographs that document an artist’s career, catalogues that accompany art with exhibitions, interviews, and research on artworks.

There is the question of why the gallery would give away so much. When I asked Thornton, she said that “We hold this event to, one, make space in our storage, but that is just the practical side of it, [it is]t also [a way] to put publications in the hands of people and make these publications accessible to anyone that just happens to drop in.”

Thornton also explained that “most of the planning kind of involves gathering the publications, finding some from the Owen’s archive to add into the mix and then promoting the event on social media and newsletter and that sort of thing.”

However, in addition to giving students access to publications, the event draws people to the building. “It is always a slightly busier day at the gallery and it is always nice to have a bit of a buzz in the gallery of people coming through, and friends looking through the stacks of catalogues and finding interesting things and saying to their friends, “did you see this one, you might like this, did you see this poster, I want this poster too.” That sort of thing. It is just a nice event to bring people together and then there is also time to visit the galleries while you are in the building,” Thornton said. From what I could tell, the event was really popular. By the time I got there in the afternoon, the tables were mostly barren, but there were still a few gems to pick through.

Although the next Great Catalogue Giveaway will not be for a while yet (likely a year or more),  keep an eye out for it and other events that the Owen’s Art Gallery may hold.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles