Monday, November 7, 2011

The Koffler confirms new downtown home!

BIG things have been happening at the Koffler lately. Our fall classes are in full swing, the Koffler Gallery is open at 80 Spadina (see previous posts here and here for details) and we are eagerly anticipating two fabulous events at the Art Gallery of Ontario in November and December (this one and this one), programmed together with the AGO alongside their amazing Chagall and the Russian avant-garde exhibition.

As if this isn’t enough, last week we announced that the Koffler is officially expanding downtown to Artscape YOUNGplace! Artscape is turning the old Shaw Street School (an already familiar building to those in the art community – Mercer Union held its 2006 Stellar Living fundraiser there) into a 75,000 sq. ft. arts and cultural centre. Located at 180 Shaw Street (just north of Queen Street West), the building is steps from Trinity-Bellwoods Park, and the galleries and restaurants of the West Queen West neighborhood and Ossington strip.

So – what’s the scoop? It means that the Koffler Centre of the Arts will be in several places all at the same time! We are truly going to be GTA-wide with our programs (name another arts org that can claim that!) The Koffler Gallery will be based out of Artscape YOUNGplace for at least 5 years while we wait for our new 40,000 sq. ft. centre to be built on Sherman Campus. The Gallery will have a gorgeous, custom designed space for its four contemporary art exhibitions a year, plus all the affiliated programs that go along with our exhibitions. Our admin offices will also based out of the Artscape building. All our classes in visual art, music, ceramics, literature, theatre and dance will continue at the Prosserman JCC at Bathurst and Sheppard. PLUS, we’ll be launching new classes and programs at the new northern Lebovic Campus. PLUS PLUS, we’ll continue to do other Koffler events and programs all over the city.

Artscape YOUNGplace (named so because of a very generous gift from the Michael Young Family Foundation – the same name behind the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the Distillery District) will be home to a diverse mix of creators working in a variety of disciplines, as well as arts, community and social mission organizations. Joining the Koffler will be the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Inter-Galactic Arts Co-op, Paperhouse Studio, Red Pepper Spectacle Arts, SKETCH, Small World Music Society, York Wilson Foundation for the Visual Arts, and artists Barbara Astman, Eve Egoyan, Gerard Gauci, Sybil Goldstein and Vid Ingelevics. Artscape is also moving its offices into the building on the 3rd floor.

The official groundbreaking was last week – see pics from the event here and a short video embedded below. Artscape YOUNGplace is scheduled to open in fall 2012 - the Koffler Gallery will open its inaugural exhibition in the new space in early 2013. We’ll keep you posted on all the details as we move closer to the date.

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