Centre is a non-profit organization located in Hamilton, Ontario that is committed to providing artists with assistance across various aspects of their work, such as creating, producing, presenting, and distributing artistic materials.
Mission and Purpose
Centre  is an artist-run organization that integrates social practice with artistic practice. The organization not only supports local artists in creating their works, but also promotes arts education across the wider community. By setting up various educational programs for youth and seniors, Centre creates an inclusive and accessible space where art can drive social change within Hamilton.
Origins and Development
Before its rebranding in 2012, Centre was known as The Print Studio, a space dedicated to providing accessible and affordable printmaking services for Hamilton’s local artists. Between its creation in 2003 and its rebranding in 2012, The Print Studio’s mission evolved from a sole focus on printmaking to encompass community education and art activities. With this shift in priorities came a change in the organization’s name and identity. Thus, in 2012, Centre was born.
The studio currently features top-notch traditional printmaking facilities and a high-tech digital media studio. Pieces from emerging and established artists, both local and international, are exhibited in Centre ’s main gallery. This studio also has a separate area where exclusive local works are displayed for their members.
In addition to their in-studio offerings, Centre’s staff use educational and outreach initiatives to connect with Hamilton Wentworth communities. To date, the organization’s innovative approach to teaching has helped thousands of children and youth in Hamilton.
Highlights through the years:
- 2004: incorporated and received charitable status
- 2005: gallery and printmaking studio became available to the public
- 2008: opened a digital studio to members
- 2011: expanded the number of studios/editing spaces available to members
- 2012: developed Nu Steel, a social enterprise program for at-risk youth
- 2013: partnered with Hamilton Wentworth District School Board to run parallel program entitled Nu Steel
2014 onwards: expanded media arts centre, presented at Function Keys2, piloted new professional development program with McMaster
Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding
Organizational Structure of Centre
Centre is run by a dedicated board of directors who each bring a unique perspective and skillset to the team. To view detailed descriptions of those sitting on Centre ’s board, click here.
To view the names and contact information of Centre’s staff (studio managers, printer technicians, membership and social practice coordinators, etc.), click here.
Becoming a Member
The annual fee to become a member is $35 CAD for students and $50 CAD for all other patrons. To learn more about the benefits of becoming a member, see the Membership section under the Specializations, Methods, and Tools header.
Funding for Centre
Centre has had the support of many public and private organizations in Hamilton and beyond. A full list of these partners can be accessed here.
- As part of their Emerging Artists Project, The Royal Bank of Canada has contributed over $25,000 to Centre and its programs. They are a notable contributor to Centre’s YouthCAN program, which aims to reduce the NEET rate in Hamilton by 15% by 2025.
- The Ontario Trillium Foundation has worked with Centre since the organization’s inception in 2003. With over $25,000 in grants, The Trillium Foundation has supported Centre in many endeavours. These include, but are not limited to: the Sitelines Community Arts Project, the [Nu]Links Community Arts Project, the 2018-2019 Art Education and Community Arts Exhibition and the YouthCAN program.
Other major contributors: Laidlaw Foundation, ArcelorMittal, Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, Turkstra Lumber, City of Hamilton, Hamilton Community Foundation, and GWD Foundation For Kids.
Specializations, Methods and Tools
Centre has two major areas of focus: Artistic Practice and Social Practice
- Artistic Practice
‘Artistic Practice’ encompasses the work that Centre does to support artists in creating, producing, presenting, and distributing artistic materials. This focus area can be divided into seven key offerings: exhibitions, membership, studios & facilities, workshops, projects, art residencies, and submissions.
Centre boasts several gallery spaces displaying art pieces to the general public and their members. Their month-long exhibitions highlight different artists’ stories and techniques to create a space for inspiration and learning.
Currently, two exhibitions are being offered at Centre:
- Nichol Marsch: Subjects (March 3 - April 14, 2023)
- Venus Underhill: Conversations within the void of myself (March 3 - April 7, 2023)
A membership with Centre includes
- access to the organization’s specialized equipment for creating and producing print/media arts
- one-on-one support from studio technicians
- The opportunity to display art in the Member’s Gallery
- Access to professional development workshops
- Discounted pricing on Centre’s workshops and classes
- Discounts on framing and in-house digital print orders
- Employment opportunities within Centre as an instructor, print technician, or a community arts practitioner
For more details about the benefits of membership and the process of becoming a member, click here.
iii. Studios and Facilities
Centre has three studios where members and guests can work independently or alongside a technician to bring their artistic ideas to life.
- Makerspace & Digital Studio: provides access to traditional print services (archival printing), as well as digital services (archival scanning)
- Print Studio: offers much of the necessary equipment to do screen printing, t-shirt printing, lithography, intaglio printing, and relief printing.
- Media Arts Studio: set up to support various media arts projects. Areas of focus include film production, film equipment rental, production & post-production tech support, video enhancement support, and audio booth.
Centre routinely hosts workshops for members and guests to participate in where experienced instructors are brought in to teach specialized skills. The skills taught in these workshops range, including but not limited to, various types of printwork, creative writing, and even some skills within the realm of performance arts.
Listed below are some of the workshops held by Centre:
- Critical Art Writing with Saelan Twerdy (December 12, 2022)
- Podcasting with Rebecca Casalino (November 5, 2022)
- T-Shirt Printing Workshop (October 5, October 19, November 9, November 23, 2022)
Centre has developed two major projects over the past few years. The first, entitled Stitching a Line Thru Media, was a three-part project that spanned the years 2019-2022, and it involved artists from across North America and Europe. The project focused on ways themes such as nostalgia, identity, and culture can be displayed and discussed through textiles and media art.
The project was broken down into three major exhibitions listed below:
- Year 1: Interweavings (2019)- This exhibit explored themes surrounding the ways in which handmade and mechanized textile production intersect. It also brought together topics such as cultural practice and the widespread impact of technology in our lives.
- Year 2: Remediations (2021)- This exhibit discussed the development and transformation of technology through textile art. Some artists chose to focus on more contemporary forms of technology, such as e-commerce sites and dating apps, whereas others focused on earlier technological developments, such as the television. Overall, the exhibit discussed how technology is created and designed by those who are impacted by it.
- Year 3: Transpositions (2022)- This final exhibit of the project exhibited different forms of textile production using elements of technology, such as wires and cords, as the mediums for textile production. In this exhibit, artists communicated using technological materials that hold cultural importance through their chosen medium of textile design.
The second major project from Centre is entitled Steal this Poster Exchange 2022. This project originated in Winnipeg at the Martha Street Studio as a marketing strategy and has expanded and been adopted by other art collectives. For Centre’s interpretation, they commission ‘non-partisan protest posters’ that are then hung in various neighborhoods throughout Hamilton, and community members are encouraged to “steal” the posters. This project is a creative take on art dissemination and helps spread the causes and solutions highlighted in the poster artists’ work.
vi. Arts Residencies
There are four different arts residencies Centre members can apply to.
- Incite Foundation Residency- 12-week self-directed residency. It gives multidisciplinary artists access to studio time and support to use a variety of different facilities and tools within the centre. The residency ends with an exhibition in the main gallery.
- Emerging Artist Residency- 12-week self-directed residency. Provides studio time and access to a variety of facilities to artists with under 5 years of exhibition experience.
- Hamilton-Based Residency- 12-week self-directed residency. Open to all artists in Hamilton, provides access to facilities at the centre. Finishes with an exhibition in a gallery.
- Centre x Martha Street Studio Residency Exchange- Yearly exchange program with Martha Street Studi in Winnipeg. The artist is sent for two weeks for a residency and access to their studio.
Artists can submit their work to multiple shows and galleries at the centre and are also welcome to apply to the above-mentioned residencies.
2. Social Practice
i. Community arts
Centre runs several programs as well that are focused on social impact; however, their four programs of focus are listed and explained in greater detail down below.
- YouthCAN- Centre and the other involved organizations work to directly support NEET youth by building programming that helps them navigate the job market. Specifically, they provide mentoring and job search training to help NEET youth obtain jobs. This program also provides networking opportunities for participants to meet with hiring companies and peers.
- 360  Youth- This program offers youth ages 15-30 a paid work placement and teaches them digitally-based skills to make them more employable. Skills taught in the workshop include but are not limited to; MS office, social media training, and various soft skills.
- Direct [Message]- This project is research-based and is aimed at increasing the accessibility of technology for aging individuals in Hamilton, Guelph and London, ON. Through the application of interview-style research, prototype design and the creation of an online community for aging populations, this program is attempting to promote artistic creativity and the use of technology in aging populations in the area
- [D]irect [M]essage- Community-based art project that aims to share stories from aging individuals who live on Hamilton’s Barton Street. The project shares recordings of these folks’ stories to convey this area's history and cultural richness.
ii. Arts education
Through a number of projects, Centre partners with local school boards to run programming in schools, including NuSteel, their alternative education program. Additionally, they also run several educational programs and run co-op programs that are open to artists so that they may develop their skills.
Major Projects and Events
The more recent major projects, exhibitions, and events are listed above in their respective sections of the Specializations, Methods, and Tools section.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
A brief analysis of this organization and its impacts can be accessed here.
All information included in this article was sourced from the Centre website.
Centre. (n.d.). Centre for Artistic + Social Practice. Retrieved March 31, 2023,