When the Koffler Centre of the Arts lost its North Toronto home five years ago, it made a virtue of necessity. Rather than replace its gallery space at the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre — which closed to make room for a huge new complex — the Koffler launched an ambitious off-site program that took its smart, edgy programming into venues all over Toronto.
Now, the Koffler’s finally settling down, but in a very different milieu. After an intensive competitive process, the Koffler became one of 10 arts and culture organizations to win a space in Artscape Youngplace, a massive “community cultural hub” in a converted century-old former school in the happening West Queen West neighborhood.
“It’s an end to our nomadic period,” said Tony Hewer, the Koffler’s director of communications, and part of the small team leading the transition. “And it’s an incredible chance to get the Koffler brand to new audiences.”
The move downtown also represents a symbolic shift. While the Koffler continues to offer arts instruction at north Toronto’s Prosserman JCC, where audiences tend to favor more traditional programming, the heart of its artistic programs will beat downtown, where tastes tend to the eclectic. (The Koffler’s offsite exhibitions have included “Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women,” which I co-curated.)