In 1973 three women placed an ad on a billboard at a women-artist centred shop/gathering place called The Flaming Apron. This was a call out to women artists who were interested in meeting and discussing the difficulty finding exhibition space for their work. This is how Powerhouse was born. During the first eight months the gallery operated thanks to the hard work of supporters, members, and exhibiting artists. The gallery was two exhibition rooms on the 2nd floor of a four-room apartment at 1210 Greene Avenue. The founding members were: Elizabeth Bertoldi, Leslie Busch, Isobel Dowler-Gow, Margaret Griffin, Clara Gutshe, Billie-Joe Mericle, Stasje Plantenga and Pat Walsh.
The first exhibition was presented from May 20th to June 21st 1973. One year later, on May 24th 1974, the gallery incorporated under the name of Powerhouse Gallery & Studio Galerie et atelier la Centrale Électrique Galerie et atelier la Centrale Électrique Since then, the centre has moved many times, and most recently to a storefront window on the main!
In celebration of our forty years of artistic programming, in celebration of our dear members and the artists who animate our activities, we continue to build towards the goal of making contemporary art in dialogue with feminism more accessible to the public!
La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse is an artist-run centre dedicated to the dissemination and development of multidisciplinary feminist artistic practices. We are committed to supporting projects and artists that are underrepresented in dominant cultural institutions, and artists at various stages of their careers. Our programming dialogues with feminisms and supports intersectionality and social justice.
One of the first artist-run centres in Canada, La Centrale is run as a non-hierarchical organization and our members play a key role in our decision-making processes and in the development of our programming. Devoted to dissemination and creation, the centre also prioritizes experimentation.
In close relationship with its gallery programming, La Centrale develops professional networks for exchange at the local, national and international levels. Through educational activities and mentoring, we are able to share new working knowledge in contemporary art and benefit from constant access to new communities.
The centre participates in developing the history of feminist artistic practices and building an inclusive artistic community that questions the values and hegemonic norms of art.