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About Propeller Art Gallery

Artists Empowering Artists

Propeller Art Gallery is an artist-run co-operative and exhibition space in Toronto’s Queen West Art + Design District that supports innovative, sustainable programming.

Propeller was established in August 1996 by a small group of Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) recent graduates. Their mission was to create an affordable community art gallery for emerging Canadian artists, offering a professional exhibition venue and necessary support in career building.

Propeller continues to uphold this today, supporting artists from emerging to established, through a dynamic approach to arts programming, a venue to exhibit art, and education through member-assisted learning and collaboration.

Propeller Gallery is part of the cultural community in Toronto’s vibrant Queen West Art & Design district. Propeller actively fosters artists’ creative pursuits by hosting curated, juried, and member exhibitions. Additionally, it provides platforms for networking and learning through lectures, workshops, and artist talks.

Propeller has an active roster of artist members who share their creative spirit, and embrace the local arts community. Propeller continues to garner public interest and critical acclaim as an essential artist-run centre in Toronto.

Propeller’s Guiding Principles

Innovative Programming

Propeller mounts new art exhibitions every three weeks. Our annual programming schedule includes member exhibitions, and Open or Juried Calls.

Since 1997, our annual curated exhibition has been a key component of our programming. We have engaged distinguished guest curators spanning various cultural and professional domains, including Canadian artists, gallerists, writers, and critics.

Diversity

Over the years, Propeller has reached hundreds of artists from multiple ethnic, cultural, and social backgrounds. Our annual programming includes exhibition opportunities for marginalized artists from diverse communities, largely underrepresented in Canadian art galleries.

Mentorships & Internships

In an ongoing efforts to increase diversity, Propeller initiated an Emerging Member Mentorship Program offering a sponsored one-year membership opportunity. This program provides emerging artists who are underrepresented within the collective with valuable gallery experience.

Propeller regularly provides Internship opportunities for students from local Universities and Colleges to gain real-world gallery experience.

Partnerships

Propeller believes that the success of the collective and its members are tied to the success of their local community, and works hard to forge connections and collaborations with local galleries, businesses and organizations.

Several times a year Propeller reaches out to other local galleries and coordinates The West Queen West Art Gallery Crawl. We co-host educational art talks in collaboration with other organizations including the Gardiner Museum, the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA), and the Contemporary Art Committee (Kirkland Lake).

The Board

Propeller operates through a very active volunteer Board of Directors (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Committee Chairs and Members at large) and provides two part-time employed administrative positions, in addition to active participation in the Canada Summer Jobs Program. 

Propeller’s board chairs a number of committees such as: Marketing & Communications, Programming & Scheduling, Membership & Selection, Finance, Partnerships, Fundraising, and Operations. The Board meets every 6 weeks, communicates often, reviews committee reports, makes necessary decisions and informs members.

Propeller sources of revenue include membership and submission fees, gallery rentals, donations, art sales, sponsorships, small grants, and fundraising. Propeller does not receive public operating funds and all revenues are allocated to operating and administrative expenses. 

Propeller is very proud of its achievements as a self-funded artists-run organization. The gallery has worked hard to stay relevant to the community and our members. It continues to be inspired, and to revisit and revise what it offers. Propeller has been, and will continue to be, a group of “Artists Empowering Artists” with a vision that responds to the times we are in.

Since 1996

Propeller Art Gallery is the last remaining artist-run gallery in the Queen Street West Art + Design District. Since 1996, it has thrived as an independently funded space: innovative and self-sustainable.

As one of the earliest galleries to lay its roots in the burgeoning Gallery District, Propeller is excited to continue to expand its innovative programming as it remains an integral part of the neighbourhood art scene over twenty-five years after its inception.  

Special thanks to our community partners, donors, and supporters. 

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