AN INTENSIVE AND COLLABORATIVE EXPERIENCE IN PHOTOGRAPHIC VISUAL ARTS SPAO is an independent, charitable, not-for-profit photographic visual arts institution and a registered private career college. Our mandate is to provide an intensive and collaborative learning experience and to enrich the photographic and visual arts culture of Ottawa and beyond. SPAO’s activities include classes and workshops, community collaborations as well as exhibitions and outreach. We aim to offer our community the knowledge, resources, and environment necessary for the advancement of photographic artistry, visual literacy, and personal vision.
In our full-time diploma program and our part-time studies stream, SPAO draws on traditional and contemporary photographic technologies and ideas. Educational opportunities are available to novice and advanced students alike. We place special emphasis on advancing individual style, on conceptual development, and on the acquisition of knowledge about photographic theory and history.
Our objective is to advance the school’s motto: Vision, Content, Craft.
SPAO’S VISION: To be an internationally recognized photographic school of thought.
SPAO’S MISSION: SPAO cultivates a community of distinct artistic vision, critical dialogue and technical expertise in the photographic arts through exhibition, partnerships and education.
WHAT MAKES SPAO UNIQUE: SPAO is one of Canada’s only photographic arts centres. It houses the only two year photographic arts diploma in Canada, the Ottawa region’s only critical and independent photographic art gallery, a unique 6-month International Artist Residency, and a broad range of educational and recreational photographic opportunities utilizing both contemporary and historic processes.
The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa was established in 2005 as an alternative for study in the photographic visual arts.
After several years of part-time instruction at a local college, Michael Tardioli and a group of dedicated students began to pursue the idea of building a school that would expand upon Tardioli’s teaching methodology. Khalia Scott joined Tardioli as founding Co-Director of SPAO (2005-2012) and 43 days after signing a lease, the team of students and instructors had designed, built and equipped an entire photography school. For 12 years, we were located at 168 Dalhousie Street in the Byward Market, offering programming in our studio, darkroom and computer lab.
Today, we offer a diverse photographic visual arts experience to hundreds of full-time and part-time students every year. Encouraging individual exploration in photographic arts remains central to SPAO’s mandate.
THE NEW SPAO CENTRE
SPAO is excited to have relocated to the heart of Little Italy after 12 years in the Byward Market. Little Italy is a exciting urban village, located nearby Ottawa’s new Light Rail Transit system, Dow’s Lake, and the beautiful Arboretum. SPAO is a short walk from other arts hubs, small businesses, museums, restaurants, nightlife and entertainment.
Our facility includes a multi-station, multi-format darkroom for both silver gelatin and alternative printmaking. Our media lab is equipped with inkjet printmaking capabilities including large format printers, a drum scanner and flatbed scanners. Our ground level and wheelchair-accessible space is comprised of a large studio/lecture space and gallery, perfect for hosting events of many types; our studio is equipped with industry standard lighting, camera and support equipment for shooting in a large studio and a selection of 35mm, medium and large format cameras available to full-time students.
Only ten days left to submit to the 2020 edition of A+! 📸✨ Have you taken a part-time class or workshop at SPAO? You’re eligible to submit to A+, our contest and exhibition of selected images representing work from our SPAO’s continuing education community. This image is by Celeste Marten and was exhibited as a part of last year’s A+. Point your browser here to find out more and submit: spao.ca/a-plus ... See MoreSee Less
MEET OUR A+ JURY! #APLUS2020 We're so excited to welcome this incredible group of arts & culture professionals in Ottawa who will judge our A+ exhibition. This is Jeff Thomas, an urban-based Iroquois, self-taught photo-based story teller, writer, public speaker, and curator, living in Ottawa, Ontario. He has works in major collections in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Jeff's most recent solo shows were Birdman Rising at University of Southern Illinois, and A Necessary Fiction: My Conversation with Edward S. Curtis at the Art Gallery of Mississauga In 1998, he was awarded the Canada Council's Duke and Duchess of York Award in Photography, Royal Canadian Academy of Art (2008), The Karsh Award in photography (2008), the REVAL Indigenous Art Award (2017), and the Canada Council Governor General Award in the Visual and Digital Arts (2019). 🍎 Have you taken a part-time class at SPAO? You’re invited to submit work to the A+ Exhibition, our annual contest and exhibition of selected images from SPAO’s continuing education community. Deadline is FEBRUARY 28! click here to submit: spao.ca/a-plus. ... See MoreSee Less
MEET OUR A+ JURY! #APLUS2020 We're so excited to welcome this incredible group of arts & culture professionals in Ottawa who will judge our A+ exhibition. This is Chantal Gervais, whose photo and video works deal with representation, identity, human condition and mortality. Her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions in Canada and abroad. In 2014, she was awarded the Karsh Award by the City of Ottawa and the Canada Council for the Arts’ Duke and Duchess of York Prize in Photography in 2002. Gervais’ photographs are part of the collections of the Global Affairs Canada and the Ottawa Art Gallery. She has been a board member at local artist-run centres including Daimon and Gallery 101 as well as teaching at University of Ottawa and Ottawa School of Art. 🍎 Have you taken a part-time class at SPAO? You’re invited to submit work to the A+ Exhibition, our annual contest and exhibition of selected images from SPAO’s continuing education community. Deadline is FEBRUARY 28! Click here to find out more and to begin your submission: spao.ca/a-plus... See MoreSee Less