VISION    CONTENT    CRAFT

        Photos by SPAO alumni (left to right) Josh Hotz, Sarah Anderson, Whitney Lewis-Smith

        Photos by SPAO alumni (left to right) Josh Hotz, Sarah Anderson, Whitney Lewis-Smith

AN INTENSIVE AND COLLABORATIVE EXPERIENCE IN PHOTOGRAPHIC VISUAL ARTS

SPAO is an independent, not-for-profit photographic visual arts school 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 community collaborations, classes and workshops, exhibitions and outreach. We aim to offer our students the knowledge, resources, and environment necessary for the advancement of their 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. 


FACILITIES AND LOCATION

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.

SPAO is also home to the Redwall Gallery, the Ottawa region's only independent and critical gallery space dedicated to photographic and video art.


HISTORY

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. 

SPAO_Photo-1.jpeg

SPAO POLICIES

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa benefits from the professional skills, expertise and associations, and oversight of its board members. Appointments are for two years and meetings are monthly. If you wish to be considered for membership on the Board of Directors, please send an expression of interest and your credentials to admin@spao.ca.

TERRY BLAKE - Interim President / Treasurer

GENEVIÈVE LABBÉ - Secretary

SANDRA K. LEDUC

PETER SIMPSON

JOANNE RYCAJ GUILLEMETTE

JONATHAN HOBIN - Ex-Officio