The Toronto Photographers Workshop was founded in 1977 when a group of fifty artists came together to address the lack of support for photography as an art form in Canada. The group established a vision for an artist-run centre offering a comprehensive range of programs supporting and promoting exhibitions of photographic art and functioning as a dynamic catalyst within the art community. This vision continues to guide the growth and development of the organization.
TPW began its program of continuous exhibitions in 1980 when it opened the Photography Gallery at Harbourfront. By negotiating a rent-free agreement, TPW not only created a unique public venue with an extremely large audience — it also enabled payment of artist fees in accordance with the CARFAC fee schedule beginning with the very first exhibition.
The catalogue Public Exposures: One Decade of Canadian Photography (1990) celebrates and documents the ten-year history of exhibitions programmed in the TPW venue that continues to this day to be a forum for contemporary photography.
In 1986, Gallery TPW was opened at 80 Spadina Avenue, the first building in Toronto to bring together numerous galleries within one renovated warehouse. At this location, the gallery established a high profile within the art community and further explored the broadening definition of photography.
After 20 years at 80 Spadina, the Fall 2006 season was launched in a new location, at 56 Ossington Avenue. Exhibitions are now taking place in the gallery and online, while new events offer members additional opportunities to connect with each other. With greater accessibility, visibility, and an expanded mandate, Gallery TPW is well situated to address the vital role that both still and moving images play in contemporary culture and explores the exchange between photography, new technologies, and time-based media.
As of July 31, 2012, Gallery TPW will be closing its Ossington Avenue space in preparation for our future move into a permanent facility shared with members of the Toronto Media Arts Cluster. In the interim, in September 2012 we will be launching TPW R&D, a transitional and flexible storefront space for shared research and the development of critical discourse.