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Friday, March 6, 2015

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Koffler Centre gets new downtown home

Koffler Centre of the Arts will soon have a new home

TORONTO — For the first time in four years, the Koffler Centre of the Arts will have its own home.

The centre’s gallery and administrative offices will move into their new downtown location at Artscape Youngplace, at 180 Shaw St., in the former Shaw Street Public School, just north of Queen Street West, on Nov. 19.

Tony Hewer, Koffler’s head of communcations and marketing, said that since the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre closed about four years ago, the centre’s gallery exhibits have been displayed at various locations around the city.

“The gallery closed when the BJCC closed, and we’ve been homeless since then. When the opportunity for a five-year lease was presented to us, we were happy for the chance to have a stable home for at least the next five years.”

Hewer stressed that the centre will continue to offer its instructional programs, such as visual arts and ceramics, at the Prosserman JCC in North York and the Schwartz-Reisman Centre in Vaughan. Multi-disciplinary programs, such as concerts, literary events and artist residencies will continue at off-site locations.

Artscape Youngplace is a community cultural hub project developed and managed by Artscape, which describes itself as “a leading practitioner in multi-tenant space development for the arts and culture sector.”

Other arts-based organizations in the building include SKETCH, the Luminato Festival, the Centre of Indigenous Theatre, the Intergalactic Arts Collective and the Small World Music Society.

The gallery will open its new space, Nov. 19, from 5 to 9 p.m., with the inaugural exhibition We’re in the Library, featuring seven Toronto artists who have created new works in response to the context and history of the Koffler Centre’s new space, which was formerly the school library.

The artists examine the notion of the school library as a place of exploration, intellectual inquiry and social interaction. Projects included print, sculptural, sound  and video installations.

Upcoming exhibitions in the new space include Sigalit Landau’s Moving to Stand Still, Feb. 6 to April 14. The exhibition is a retrospective of Landau’s major video works that offer a poetic investigation of the political and environmental realities of her native Israel.

The Koffler exhibition is the only North American showing on an international tour that includes Moscow, Johannessburg, Be’er Sheva, Rome and Gdansk.

Hewer said that to coincide with its move downtown, the Koffler Centre has refreshed its brand identity with a new quarterly program and exhibition booklet, as well as a redesigned website to be launched next month.

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