The Koffler Centre of the Arts was established in 1977, as part of the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre at Bathurst Street and Sheppard Ave., to enrich the cultural life of Toronto through arts education and exhibitions. The Koffler exists to encourage and develop the creative and artistic potential of the diverse community it serves. The Koffler Gallery as a public gallery and member of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries exhibits, interprets and documents works of excellence in the visual arts with a focus on contemporary Canadian art, including the work of visual artists, emerging artists, and programming of special interest in the Jewish Community.
The Koffler has offered an array of programmatic, education and learning programs, including national and international art exhibitions, educational tours and workshops, literary arts programs, art classes, lectures, concerts, film screenings, and theatre performances. The Koffler has also served public and private school students and their teachers through Koffler Gallery exhibition tours and workshops.
The Koffler Centre is governed by an executive board, standing and ad-hoc committees and is funded by endowments, donations and sponsorhips as its primary sources of funding. The Koffler also receives annual operating support from the UJA Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto and all levels of government, including the City of Toronto, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council. The staff consists of an Executive Director, curators, and administrative support staff.
In 2013, after five years of off-site programs, the Koffler Centre of the Arts opened its administrative offices and the new Koffler Gallery at Artscape Youngplace on Shaw Street in downtown Toronto. The Artscape Youngplace facilities showcase Koffler Gallery exhibitions, public programs, expanded school and education programs, as well as Koffler cross-disciplinary programs – literary events, theatre readings and performances, concerts, workshops and more.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the activities and functions of the Koffler Centre of the Arts and its role in bringing Jewish-inspired visual, dance, dramatic and musical arts to the community. Included are records related to its Board of Directors and committees, its former affiliation with the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre and the YM-YWHA, building campaigns, financial operations, art exhibitions, the Jewish Book Fair and Bookmark Project, educational programming, performances and special events. Records include meeting minutes, memoranda, correspondence, committee reports, budget and financial statements, press clippings and reviews, program guides, art exhibition catalogues, artist statements and CVs, promotional material, photographs, architectural drawings, a sound recording and moving images. The fonds is arranged into the following ten series: Board of Directors, Committees, Planning and Development, Financial and Administrative, Public Relations, Educational Programming, Book Fair, Art Exhibitions, Performances and Events and the Bookmark Project.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION NOTE: Includes 672 photographs, 3 architectural drawings, 1 sound recording, and 7 moving images.
Series consists of records documenting the various building campaigns on what is now the Sherman Campus at Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue. Records relate to the planning for the North YM-YWHA, Bathurst Jewish Community Centre, the Koffler Gallery and the Koffler Centre of the Arts. Documents include meeting minutes, projection reports, correspondence, and newspaper clippings.
Series consists of records documenting the financial and administrative functions of the Koffler Centre of the Arts Gallery, the CJC Central Region Archives, the Leah Posluns Theatre, the School of Music and the Bathurst Jewish Communty Centre. Included are bugets, financials, fundraising reports, meeting minutes and agendas, correspondence with Stephen Speisman of the CJC Central Region Archives and the KCOA mission statement.
File consists of records documenting the Koffler Centre School of Music. Included is the budget for the Chamber Orchestra, an event statement for the School of Music and a mailing list for orchestra members.
Series consists of records documenting the educational programming for the Koffler Centre of the Arts. Included are program and educational guides for the School of Music, Theatre, Dance, and Visual Arts. Also included is a program guide for the Kallah, the Gathering lecture series, an education plan, and a guide for Dedication Week highlighting guest speaker Isaac Bashevis Singer and Cantor Louis Danto.
An annual Jewish Book Week had been considered for several years before the completion of the new Jewish Community Centre (formerly the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A) in 1977 made it feasible. After considerable research, and communication with other communities which had sponsored similar programs (such as Detroit), it was agreed that the success of of the projected Fair would be dependent upon the ability to achieve total community sponsorship. An approach to the Federation of Jewish Women's Organization led to their agreement to serve as co-sponsors; they in turn were followed by the Jewish Cultural Council of the Toronto Jewish Congress and the Jewish Public Library. These four organizations were the initial sponsors, and provided the first representatives to the newly formed Board of Directors.
The first Jewish Book Fair was held in 1977 and featured a large book mart with books of Jewish relevance as well as programming for children and adults.
The Canadian Jewish Book Awards was founded in 1988 by Adam Fuerstenberg whose ambition was to celebrate excellence in Canadian Jewish writing. The Koffler Centre of the Arts was approached to manage the Awards in 1994 and has been administering the Awards program ever since. The name was eventually changed to the Canadian Jewish Book Awards and then again in 2004 to the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards following a 10-year donation from Lillian and Norman Glowinsky. In 2015, the Koffler Centre of the Arts put the Awards on hiatus for one year in order to reframe the program. It was relaunched in 2016 as The Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature.
In 2012, the annual event evolved into Toronto Jewish Book Festival, combining the Book Fair and the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards into one week-long event. In 2013 its name was changed to the Toronto Jewish Literary Festival.
Scope and Content
Series consists of records documenting the Jewish Book Fair. Included in the files are meeting minutes, correspondence, press releases, award ceremony program guides, book award submissions and award winner lists, jury citations, financial statements, committee member lists, sales reports, book evaluation and submission criteria, mission statement, the 25th anniversary tribute book, an architectural drawing of the Lipa Green building, a letter from the Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association addressing the participation of Edward Greenspan, lawyer for Ernst Zundel, at the Jewish Book Fair and a contract letter outlining the details of the donation made by Mr. and Mrs. Norman Glowinsky to the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto and the subsequent renaming of the Canadian Jewish Book Awards to the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book awards for a period of ten years commencing May 2005-June 2014.
File consists of records documenting the Jewish Book Fair. Included is a list of award winners for 2010, meeting minutes, financials, correspondence, welcoming remarks, timelines, to do lists, a special occasion permit application and event guides.
56 photographs : col. (20 slides) : 21 x 6 cm or smaller
Scope and Content
Series consists of records documenting the Koffler Centre art exhibitions. Included are catalogues highlighting works by the artist, artist statements, bios and CVs, promotional material for Koffler Gallery and off-site exhibits, press releases and clippings, art reviews, exhibit program guides, exhibit proposals, program overviews, correspondence, legal contracts with artists, photographs and slides of works by the artist.
File consists of an exhibit catalogue entitled Spin Off: Contemparary Art Circling Mandala. Exhibiting artists included Aya Ben Ron, Mircea Cantor, Vandana Jain, Gary James Joynes/Clinker, Melissa Shiff and Jennifer Zackin.
Series consists of records documenting the Koffler Centre of the Arts' performances and events. Included are program guides, promotional material highlighting visiting Israeli artists and Koffler Centre of the Arts fundraisers, Stars of the 21st Century Galas and off-site performances, correspondence, administrative material, legal contracts, perfomance videos and photographs, media releases, press clippings and reviews.
File consists of promotional material for Israeli jazz artist Avishai Cohen's CD launch Aurora held off-site at the Elizabeth Bader Theatre. Also included is correspondence, a Jewish Tribune review, license agreements, an artist bio, and Aurora lyrics.
File consists of a schedule of events for Downtown Tikkun Leil Shavuot, a copy of a presentation by Sara Feldman Tauben entitled "Shuln and Shulelach; Here and There, Large and Small Synagogues Europe and Montreal; Late 19th and Early 20th centuries" and a brief bio of Les Klein, Architect and event speaker.
File consists of promotional material for Wanted, a fundraising concert performed by Kinky Friedman in support of the Koffler Centre of the Arts, a license agreement, an introduction to the event by Lori Starr, Executive Director of the Koffler Centre, and administrative material pertaining to the event
File consists of promotional material and an invitation to an evening of live music and stories celebrating Jewish creativity in pop, rock, jazz and R&B. Concert performers include Randy Bachman, the Sadies and Melanie Fiona.
The Bookmark Project was a part of FLEX, an ongoing program of site-works and interventions at the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre, organized by the Koffler Gallery and coinciding with the annual book fair at the BJCC.
Scope and Content
Series consists of records documenting the Koffler Centre of the Arts Bookmark Project. Included are Bookmark Project guidelines, submissions by individual artists with written statements identifying the relationship of their bookmark to the project theme, CVs, media releases, press clippings, slides and correspondence.
File consists of records documenting the Koffler Centre of the Arts Bookmark Project entitled Amulet. Included in the file are submissions by the artist including an artist statement, CV and bookmark description.