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Announcing The Power Plant – Refresh
New project will upgrade visitor services and refresh visual identity

Toronto, ON (Dec. 6, 2010)The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre is pleased to announce The Power Plant – Refresh, a project that will upgrade its visitor services and rejuvenate its visual identity. The Gallery will reopen on the weekend of March 20, 2011 with a refreshed look and improved visitor services, including a new lobby, reception area and retail space. Construction will begin on Jan. 3 for the new lobby, which is the cornerstone of a number of improvements to visitor services at the gallery, both onsite and online.

The Power Plant – Refresh is the name the gallery has given to a project that aims to improve access for existing and new visitors. It will strengthen the gallery’s identity as a leading contemporary art venue, enhance outreach efforts and increase accessibility onsite, online and in all communications. The Power Plant – Refresh will help support and grow the gallery’s reputation as a leader in the presentation of contemporary art, here in Toronto and around the world.

Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke says: “I commend the commitment and skill of Bruce Kuwabara and Taewook Eum of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, who have designed a striking and elegant new lobby for The Power Plant. The new open, multi-functional and friendly space will significantly enhance our ability to welcome visitors and tour groups and provide them with excellent visitor and retail services. It provides a platform for us to acknowledge the past and outline our future vision. The new lobby will lead a number of improvements that will increase our ability to engage audiences in the rich and rewarding work of contemporary artists.”

President of The Board of Directors Shanitha Kachan adds, “The Power Plant – Refresh project sets a benchmark for our future aspirations. The new lobby and the renewal of all printed and online communications signal the ongoing aim of The Power Plant to respond to the needs of the gallery’s communities onsite and at a distance with excellent programs and communications.”

The Power Plant is very pleased to have Bruce Kuwabara of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects leading the redesign of the gallery’s lobby space. KPMB is a firm that has made a major contribution to the design of other prominent museum buildings such as the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa; Canada’s National Ballet School, Toronto; Gardiner Museum, Toronto; and more recently, the Bell Lightbox for Toronto International Film Festival Group.

This redesign of the lobby space builds on Peter Smith’s original design for the renovation project by Lett/Smith Architects, when the building was first converted to an art gallery and opened to the public on May 1, 1987. Bruce Kuwabara comments: “The new lobby will provide a very flexible, neutral space for welcoming visitors. It will maintain the inherent character of the original 1920s brick powerhouse building, but it will do so by expanding and upgrading these architectural assets to encourage a renewed, deeper visitor engagement with the institution, whose history and future will be reflected in the new space.”

Over the years, The Power Plant has strengthened its reputation as a leading international centre for contemporary art. Renowned for its global vision and special commitment to groundbreaking contemporary Canadian art, it is supported as essential to the cultural infrastructure in Toronto, Ontario and Canada. The Power Plant – Refresh is an important project made possible by major grants from The Ontario Trillium Foundation and from Canada Cultural Spaces Fund through the Department of Canadian Heritage. Additional support has been provided by Harbourfront Centre and the many corporate and individual supporters of The Power Plant.

“We offer our utmost appreciation on behalf of the people of Toronto for the major support of The Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Department of Canadian Heritage. These partners, along with Harbourfront Centre, are helping us to strengthen Toronto’s position as a leader in the international world of art,” exclaims Burke.

The gallery will be closed from Jan. 3 through March 12, 2011 to allow for this exciting construction project. During that time, The Power Plant will offer outstanding programs offsite. A further release will be issued shortly with complete information about all offsite programs.

The Power Plant looks forward to a new lobby space and a redesigned visual identity to accompany a series of new exhibitions at the grand reopening party.
The Power Plant - Refresh: the countdown begins.

Background: More about The Power Plant

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre connects the regional, national and global art worlds through a diverse program of exhibitions, education programs, the commissioning of new work and community collaborations. The gallery’s international standing is a distinguishing feature, bringing the best Canadian and international contemporary art to audiences and equally advocating for Canadian contemporary art practices on the world stage. This two-way bridging between Canadian and international positions is one of the most important issues facing the development of contemporary art in Canada.

As a result, The Power Plant enjoys international brand recognition and respect as Canada’s leading contemporary art gallery. Established in 1976 as the Art Gallery at Harbourfront, the gallery moved in 1987 into a newly renovated former powerhouse located on Toronto’s waterfront, thus becoming The Power Plant. A subsidiary of Harbourfront Centre, The Power Plant is one of its major attractions. For some of the millions of visitors to Harbourfront Centre, their first experience with contemporary art happens at The Power Plant.

More about The Power Plant – Refresh

In 2006, the Board of Directors initiated a process aimed at developing a five-year strategic plan that would guide future development for the gallery. The process involved wide-ranging consultation with Canadian and international stakeholders and found a pressing need for institutions that have the history, sufficient resources and the intellectual capacity to expand access to contemporary art for Canadian audiences and tourists. Canadian and international opinion was united in the view that The Power Plant is the foremost institution in Canada with the potential to realize such goals.

The Power Plant – Refresh responds to the needs of the community by ensuring that the gallery is able to provide excellent visitor service, both onsite, externally and at a distance. By launching this project, the gallery aims to strengthen its identity as a leading visitor-focused contemporary art venue, significantly increase participation in programmes, enhance all communications and outreach, and increase revenue generation for long-term sustainability.


On view at The Power Plant through Jan. 2, 2011

Ian Wallace: The Economy of the Image, featuring the commissioned series Abstract Paintings I-XII (The Financial District).

Pae White: Material Mutters, featuring the commission Sea Beast.


For more information on exhibitions and all public programs at The Power Plant, call 416-973-4949 or visit

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre
231 Queens Quay West, Toronto

FREE Members
$6 Adults
$3 Students / Seniors
FREE Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m.

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 12-6 p.m.
Wednesday 12-8 p.m.
Open Holiday Mondays

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, all within a collection of distinctive venues on a 10-acre site in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront.

Media Contact:
Robin Boyko
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
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