The Canadian Women Artists History Initiative was inaugurated in 2008. The initiative emerged as an extension of Melinda Reinhart and Janice Anderson's work on a bio-bibliographic database of historical Canadian women artists, and their discussions with faculty at Concordia University about the lack of a national Documentation Centre devoted specifically to these artists.
While such centres exist in other countries (and in Canada for contemporary women artists) scholars seeking to conduct even basic work on historical Canadian women have had to piece together small amounts of information from a variety of widely geographically separate locales.
Our interest in a targeted Documentation Centre coincided with research underway by faculty in the Department of Art History, including that of Kristina Huneault, who holds a Concordia University Research Chair focusing on Canadian women artists. In 2007 Dr. Huneault became a member of the CWAHI team.
Since that time, CWAHI has applied for and received over $125,000 in grant money. Much of this has been used to pay the salaries of the students who have built our two major databases. The work on these two databases continues as our major ongoing commitment to make information about women and art in Canada more readily available to a wider public.