The Ottawa Society for the Arts and Sciences (OSFAS) was founded to fill an important gap in the cultural life of the National Capital Region.
Ottawa already has an abundance of first class cultural institutions, including the Museum of History, the National Arts Centre and the National Research Council, that foster and showcase, both nationally and internationally, the rich diversity of Canadian culture. Moreover, the National Capital Region is enriched by four thriving universities: Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, Saint Paul University and l’Université du Québec en Outaouais. There are also numerous local institutions serving a variety of specialized interests from physics and astronomy, to history and classics, to the visual and performing arts. Although co-operation can and does, at times, take place among these organizations, most of the time they act as discrete entities, and interconnections take place on a piecemeal basis.
Prior to the creation of OSFAS, Ottawa did not have an organization in which those who work professionally in the arts and sciences or in areas related to them—artists, scientists, scholars, professional researchers, writers, communicators, and community leaders—can interact with one another, exchange ideas and information and explore the potential of co-operative enterprises. OSFAS is designed to fill this gap by providing a milieu in which those in professions relating to the arts and sciences can meet, intermingle, learn from one another and collaborate.
The intention is to provide a venue where members and friends of OSFAS can come together for meetings on a regular basis, three or four times a year. These meetings will serve two primary objectives:
- to allow for formal discussions, in the shape of panel debates or lectures, on topics that straddle areas of current interest to those both in the arts and sciences or which relate to major political, social and cultural questions; and
- to provide a relaxed atmosphere outside of the workplace in which people in the learned and related professions can socialize on a relatively informal basis.
Ottawa, as the National Capital, has one of the most highly educated populations per capital of major urban areas in Canada. As the seat of the Federal Government, as a major centre for the Canadian media and arts and science institutions, and as home to universities, colleges, foreign embassies, and other cultural organizations, Ottawa is in need of a forum to connect these people of varied interests. OSFAS will provide this forum. In doing so, OSFAS will enhance the image of Ottawa as a dynamic place to live, work, and visit.
The committee welcomes suggestions from members of the community about possible subjects, whether for debates or lectures, at future meetings.
The committee invites members of the francophone community of Ottawa to form a parallel French branch of OSFAS.