Artist First is Mercer Union’s commissioning platform and the first of its kind amongst artist-run centres in Canada. Rooted in Mercer Union’s organizational history, Artist First evolves our identity as a space that is uniquely positioned to support the production of new and experimental work.

We invest in the lifecycle of a project from conception to realization with curatorial vision and rigour, establishing Mercer Union as a space where artists can present ambitious new artworks. We have accomplished this as only Mercer Union could: through a commitment to artists at the heart of our operations, and an ethos of collaboration that sustains discovery, risk-taking, and artistic development through long-term support and dialogue.

Artist First emerges from this long-held commitment to building an intimate and supportive space for artists. The platform formalizes our commitment to the commissioning process and sets out to create milestone opportunities for artists to bring their visions to fruition in Toronto.

Artist First commissions are made possible with the generous support of

Kaye & Paul Beeston
Rebecca Carbin
Jane Corkin
Sue & Larry Dime
M. Victoria Foley & Paul Fredricks
Joanna & Meric Gertler
Catriona Jeffries
Popsy & Bob Johnstone
Nancy McCain & Bill Morneau

Margaret McNee
David & Erica Neligan
Nuyten Dime Foundation
Jeanne Parkin & Jennifer Parkin
Donna & Robert Poile
Frances & Tim Price
Victoria Taylor
Morden Yolles


Join our growing community of supporters who share a dedication to putting artists first. To learn more, contact Theresa Wang, Director & Curator at [email protected].