After six years on Toronto’s booming west end strip, this home for photography is planning a big move into a brand new space.
With a slew of new bars, restaurants, and specialty shops arriving on the strip in recent years, Ossington Avenue has experienced a veritable boom that any up-and-coming neighbourhood would covet. And yet while so many are fighting to get in, one of the area’s stalwarts is making a move for greener pasture.
After six years at its 56 Ossington Ave. storefront, not-for-profit art centre Gallery TPW will be closing up shop, initiating a move that will see them settle into a 30,000 sq. ft. shared facility with five other media organizations (all part of the Toronto Media Arts Cluster) by late 2013 or early 2014.
“We’ve always had the goal of obtaining a long term sustainable space for the gallery—something that’s affordable as a non-profit, and something that’s not pushing us to the periphery of the city, so this is allowing us to keep the culture where we live,” says gallery curator Kim Simon.
Nearly 40 years ago, the gallery was established by 50 artists to raise awareness for photography as an art form in this country (TPW stands for Toronto Photographers Workshop). Since then, the gallery has moved from its original location on the third floor of a midrise at 80 Spadina, to Ossington (a move Simon says was made to help grow their audience), and now it’s changing locations again when its lease expires at the end of July.
“For 15 years we’ve been trying to come up with the model to propose to different developers which would allow us to own a space, and a deal has finally been struck by the members of the Cluster, the developer, and the City of Toronto,” says Simon. Under this deal, the Cluster will move into the second floor of a still unbuilt condo building at Lisgar and Sudbury and own the space through payment of a mortgage. All members of the Cluster will have space to work out of and display their exhibits, and there will also be a 200-seat theatre that will support smaller film fests and be used as an events rental space.
Until the new space is ready to be occupied, however, the gallery is moving to smaller storefront digs at Dundas and Dovercourt in Sept. 2012. It will be running what Simon has termed a research and development centre, which will feature discussions, workshops, and screenings, with some smaller exhibits as well, and allow the gallery to continue expanding its mandate of examining screen-based images through photography, film, and new media.