In a series of short profiles, Capital Current introduces some of the people working hard to improve life in Ottawa.

Who is Alexandra Badzak?

Alexandra Badzak has been the director and CEO of the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) since. She has focused on expanding the gallery physically and culturally to create an inclusive, innovative space for artists in Ottawa.

What is her background?

Badzak grew up in Regina, where she attended the University of Saskatchewan, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Continuing Education.

Before landing at the OAG, she was the head of public and professional programs at the Mendel Art Gallery, as well as the first executive director of the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum.

What is she known for in Ottawa?

Badzak is recognized for her contributions to the OAG expansion project of 2017. “It was very clear that I was hired to make the expansion happen,” she told Centretown News.

The expansion features new art labs and studios and 5,000 square metres of new exhibition space. Badzak recently celebrated the five-year anniversary of the expansion with three exhibitions featuring multimedia pieces created by new and established artists. Among them was Norman Takeuchi, who proudly represented his Japanese heritage and Canadian culture through a retrospective.

Badzak is credited with a notable growth in public outreach and social media participation, according to the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization (CAMDO).

What do people say about her?

The expansion has been recognized by artists and the Ottawa community, with more than 20,000 visitors attending the OAG during the first month after opening its expanded facility. Badzak recalled a comment made by an attendee at the 2017 OAG opening gala to Luxe Magazine Ottawa: “We think it’s the best thing to happen to Ottawa in a generation.”

Among staff, she is known for her passion for community development and cultural advocacy. “She is a vibrant person with an interesting dynamic,” said Susan Mok, the chief financial officer of the OAG. “She is caring for her staff.”

What is a lesser known fact about her?

Badzak began developing her love of art as a child in Regina, where she would often doodle under the dining room table

Today, in her spare time, she enjoys giving homemade jewelry and knitted scarves to her OAG co-workers.