Title and statement of responsibility area
Optica Art Gallery fonds
General material designation
- Textual record
- Graphic material
- Moving images
Other title information
Title statements of responsibility
- Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the fonds.
Level of description
Edition statement of responsibility
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Statement of scale (cartographic)
Statement of projection (cartographic)
Statement of coordinates (cartographic)
Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
- Optica Art Gallery
Physical description area
9.33 m of textual documents
ca. 100 posters
ca. 3,300 photographs
16 moving image documents
16 sound recordings
Publisher's series area
Title proper of publisher's series
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Optica Art Gallery was officially founded in January 1972 by William E. Ewing in response to pressure from artists who convinced him of the need for a centre for the public exhibition of photography. The gallery was initially called les Galeries photographiques du Centaur; it was housed in the Centaur Theatre in Old Montreal. Its mandate was the exhibition of contemporary art.
After renovations in 1974, the gallery changed its name to Optica. Although the gallery originally featured only photographic exhibitions, it was not long before the gallery welcomed, with the Camerart exhibition (December 1974-January 1975), other forms of art. It would now consecrate half of its activities to photography, and the other half to other currents in art.
During the 1976-1977 season, internal policy changes meant that the gallery opened its doors to conceptual art, performance, painting, and sculpture. In 1977, the gallery added to its name A Centre for Contemporary Art. At the same time, its programming was modified and an experimental cinema section was added.
The centre is managed by a board of directors, most of whose 15 members come from the cultural milieu. They are encouraged to take an active part in the gallery's activities and to get involved in the associations to which the gallery belongs, including the Regroupement des centres d'artistes autogérés du Québec and la Société des Musées Québécois.
The gallery is subsidized by the Canada Council, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and le Conseil des arts de Montréal.
The fonds was transferred from Concordia University's Records Management and Archives Department to Concordia University Libraries' Special Collections February 18, 2016, February 23-24, 2016, March 24, 2016, April 6, 2016, April 12, 2016, April 19, 2016, April 26-27, 2016, May 10, 2016, and May 18, 2016.
Scope and content
The fonds provides information on the administration and activities of the Optica Gallery from its beginning in 1972 to 1996.
The fonds contains such documents as exhibition programs, artists' curricula vitae and portfolios, audiovisual works from exhibitions, personnel and financial records, grants applications, and correspondence.
The fonds is organized according to the following series :
P056/3 Human resources
P056/5 Exhibitions and activities
Immediate source of acquisition
Materials deposited with Concordia University by Optica.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script note
Most of the textual documents dating from 1972 to 1977 are in English. Most of the textual documents after 1977 are in French.
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
Series 3 is not available for consultation
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Reproduction for research or private study is permitted. Use of material in publications cannot be done without permission of the copyright holder.
Box listings available.
Further accruals are expected.
Copyright belongs to the creator(s).
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