About Us

"Artengine - Where technology comes to play."

The success of the creative economy depends on the vision of its artists. At the fringes of mainstream feature films and television commercials, there is video and performance art. At the edges of mainstream music, there are audio-visual festivals taking audiences to their sensory limits. On the margins of engineering, there are do-it-yourself makers and Hackers. And so on.

More than any other sector, at the very heart of the creative economy, media artists engage with new technologies with a sense of play. Inspired by the powerful possibilities afforded by new technologies, media artists open up to new ways of thinking about, of doing technology. The stuff of Media Arts today encompasses online communities, game play, distributed and open source technology development, mixed or augmented reality experience, assistive technologies, cyborg bodies, and other as yet unimagined territories of invention.

From the very small DIY projects, to the spectacular events altering our sensorium, to virtual communities of technologists and creators, the Media Arts today remind us of technology's potential to elicit wonder. They are where technology – and human beings – come to play.

Who We Are

Artengine is an Ottawa-based collective of artists, technologists and interested members of the general public with strong ties to the local, national and international community of technologically-based artists.

1. Our Mission

Our mission at Artengine is to drive your creativity.

2. Our Vision

Our vision is to connect artists, art audiences and the general public locally, nationally and internationally.

We aim to be a highly flexible organization that leverages strategic partnerships to produce ambitious public projects with an international reach, reputation and contribution, combined with responsive, short term programming and the capacity to incubate new artistic ideas and trends through their natural life cycles.

3. Our Values

We value democratic access to our facilities and know-how as well as to our organization as a whole.

We value and facilitate connections between artists and members of the general public with an interest in technology.

What We Do

Artengine presents, promotes and enables technologically based artistic creation.

Artengine is an artist-run media arts production and presentation centre located in Ottawa's Arts Court. A leader in Media Arts development in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, we share our expertise in a number of open-source programming languages of interest to artists, participate in international networks of artist programmers, and provide tools and instruction to interested artists of all disciplines to develop their own work independently. Artists interested in digital media arts production now benefit from Artengine's M70 Lab, offering a flexible workspace, technological tools for use on-site and in the field, as well as professional training in the use of Artengine's technological tools and tool development.

Artengine's many programming events offer sophisticated, intelligent and entertaining programming to the largely professional population of the nation's capital, and extending to youth of all social classes. These events garner enthusiastic media attention, no doubt encouraged by Artengine's inclusive Artlist – an online promotion tool for use by all interested arts organizations, which boasts a 1500 member subscriber list and growing.

In addition, Artengine's critically acclaimed bi-annual media arts festival, Electric Fields/Champs électriques, has grown significantly, reaching larger audiences with local, national and international programming. It's sister event, the Electric Fields symposium which is held in the Festival's off-years, brings together a host of partners from the arts and research communities in Ottawa and Montreal, advancing critical discourse around technologically-based arts creation.

Our Mandate

Artengine is committed to:

  1. The creation, presentation/dissemination and promotion of art concerned with technological experimentation, both online and in physical space.

  2. Ensuring that artists have affordable access to specific technological resources needed for their work. This would include both physical and information based resources. Relevant artistic endeavors include computer programming, custom electronics, network adaptation and many other practices in which the production or presentation technology plays a distinct role in shaping the work.

  3. Carving out artist-run space in the on-line world by owning and operating its own server with the direct goal of providing more accessible services to artists and other art and artist-run organizations. These services include web space for presentation and promotion, email, listservs and other network based services as well as technological support and guidance.

  4. Maintaining a space dedicated to technological experimentation with the recognition of the important role a locally-based community of practice plays in the artistic process. This space functions as a laboratory for production and presentation, and for the exchange of ideas and methods, both formal and informal, as they relate to technological based art.

  5. Actively supporting the open source movement by working with specific software projects that provide artists with distinct and accessible tools for the creation of their work.

Our History

Artengine was created in 1996 to promote the accessibility of technological tools to the local and regional arts community. Artengine serves our membership, local and regional artists and many cultural organizations by providing essential on-line tools such as website/email services, community networking, shared knowledge, and most importantly conceptual and technical assistance in the creation of artworks.

In 1999 Artengine created the Artlist, our most significant point of public access and the oldest cultural mailing list in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Serving many communities, including the Francophone and Anglophone art communities, the Artlist maintains a subscription base of 1800+ email addresses all free of charge. In 2007, the Artlist was incorporated into the new Artengine website. A customizable on-line events calendar was built onto the existing service to expand the networking capacity of this valuable free regional service. With the recent upgrade from multiple text-based emails to a single daily html email-Artlist ONE, Artlist continues its evolution in a way to proactively respond community's fast changing needs.

Over the years, Artengine has engaged in a wide variety of programming including exhibitions, both online and in local galleries, artistic residencies, performance series, workshops, lectures, artist talks and master classes. With a new strategic plan in 2007 we identified "a unified and identifiable programming vision" as key to organizational growth; expanding presentation opportunities for local and national artists in electronic art; increasing professional capacity of the local community, and educating new audiences.

In 2005, Artengine expanded from a solely virtual space into a physical lab as well. This organizational evolution reinforced Artengine's role as a central hub for all artists impacted by the electronic arts in Capital Region. In 2007, Artengine moved into the City of Ottawa's Arts Court facility, further centralizing the organization and securing an important space within the cultural community.

In 2008, Artengine took over the primary direction of the biennial Electric Fields festival from SAW Video. It has developed the festival project into a significant programming venture drawing on extensive collaborations across the city and into Montréal and Toronto. The collaborative nature of the festival has strengthened the organization's access to resources while increasing the exposure and awareness of the electronic arts across all disciplines.

Artengine has a strong historical connection to the Open Source movement. We have contributed custom scripting and programming to the open source projects PureData and GridFlow, playing a key role in the internationally networked community including co-hosting the 2007 International PD Convention in Montréal. In more recent history, we have fostered significant relationships with the maker community developing networks of exchange for both open software and hardware platforms.

Our Board of Directors

We recognize that shaping the organization requires a holistic approach, combining all of our resources in terms of programming, technological infrastructure, and human resources. Artengine's Board of Directors is also in place to help shape our future vision. True to its identity as an artist-run centre, Artengine is governed by a six-member Board of practicing artists.

Diana Cantu


Diana Cantu, President, is a specialist in the intersection of art and new technology. She is a career technology evangelist and professional whose background features a mix of tech and the arts including: pioneer satellite broadband networks (for digital broadcasting, IPTV, digital cinema, and distance learning), a 3D technology company in Montreal, running a small arts-oriented graphic design practice in NYC, commercial and non-profit art galleries, and a small opera company. She is President Emeritus of the Ottawa School of Art Board of Directors. As an enthusiastic longtime social media netizen, she is found blogging, tweeting, networking and hanging out online in a variety of places cataloged here: Her passion spans around geek culture, street & graffiti art, travel, hacking (the creative/good kind), languages, food, art, wine, technology, dance, social media, 3D, social justice, mentoring, all things nerdy, and art.

Jason Cobill

Vice President

Jason Cobill is an art nerd exploring the fringes of the creative and technical communities in Ottawa. By day he works as a web developer at the University of Ottawa, and by night he explores and lectures on art projects using technology. He's been a celebrated visual effects wizard in hollywood, and an award-winning mobile developer. More recently he can be found tinkering in Makerspaces, collaborating with contemporary dancers, producing generative art, and building moustache projection systems.

Jesse Johal


Jesse Johal earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus) and an M.A. in Economics from the University of Waterloo. Jesse began his career at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and spent five years there, working in various roles in housing finance policy and financial risk management. Since 2016 he has worked at the Bank of Canada as an economist focusing on issues relating to financial market structure and regulation.

Claudia Gutierrez

Claudia Gutierrez is an artist and arts administrator from British Columbia. Specializing in painting and printmaking, Claudia's work ranges from large scale public mural work to small scale textile pieces often influenced by her Mexican and Uruguayan heritage. Her portfolio in arts administration includes working with organizations such as the Ottawa School of Art, Artengine, Farm Radio International and the Ottawa Art Gallery. She has also sat on various arts funding and scholarship juries including the Ontario Arts Council, City of Ottawa, and the Ottawa School of Art.

Cory Haggart

Cory is a professional communicator. He studied biology and cognitive psychology at the University of California, Berkeley before studying at the School of International Business and Economics in Maastricht, Netherlands. While in school, he wrote plays and short stories before deciding he'd rather help other people tell their stories. Along the way, he's earned 20 years of in marketing and advertising for technology and medical companies as well as hotels, universities, non-profits, member associations, national governments, and startups. He's had the most fun helping art and technology organizations tell their stories, from local battle bot competitions and German improv festivals (yes, really) to Ottawa's WestFest, Fringe Festival, and now ArtEngine and MakerFaire. He's the founder of Herald, a boutique communications firm based in Ottawa.

Anthony Scavarelli

Anthony is a full-time Professor in the Algonquin College School of Media and Design, teaching creative programming and sensor-based interaction. He has a degree in Interactive Multimedia and Design from Carleton University; as well as a MASc in Human-Computer Interaction where he focused on multi-user interactions. Currently Anthony is pursuing a Phd in the development of socio-educational VR.

Anthony also works with various technologies to create interactive and immersive social art that engage communities via participation, presentations, and workshops. Anthony’s previous works include interactive projections and public installations for the Electric Fields festival, the City of Ottawa, Invest Ottawa, the Cinekid Children’s Festival in Amsterdam, Nuit Blanche Ottawa, and the Ottawa International Children’s Festival.

Alexandra Williams

Alexandra Williams is a local fundraiser, arts manager, teacher and creator. A graduate from the University of Ottawa, Alexandra has begun to work with several charitable organizations in the city. Specializing in working with not-for-profit companies with over 8 years of experience, Alexandra joined Artengine in 2018.

Alexandra can also be found teaching in the Telfer Executive Masters in Complex Project Leadership, forging new and creative ways to challenge and encourage Ottawa's prominent leaders.

When she is not busy stewarding donors or teaching she is creating theatre at IdleSpice, a company she started in 2016. Specializing in puppetry and object theatre, Alexandra creates original shows, often featuring puppets built from recycled materials. Fascinated by storytelling and creation, Alexandra strives to infuse all her work with unrestricted exploration.