CAFKA was founded in 2001 (incorporated 2005) by local artists in the spirit of an artist-run initiative. It has produced eleven major exhibitions and 206 art installations, interventions, projections and performances by 192 artists from every continent. CAFKA has developed strong partnerships with the Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound; University of Waterloo Art Gallery; Critical Media Lab; Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery; Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery; and the Idea Exchange Art and Design who in turn produce public art and performance art projects as part of the CAFKA biennial exhibition.
In 2007 CAFKA pioneered podcasting, producing over 177 videos since 2007. In the same year CAFKA also began working with Christie Digital, developing projects using the latest in digital projection technology and in 2012 CAFKA entered into a 2-year artist in residence program with Christie, helping artists to develop technologically advanced art projects using resources unique to this community.
In 2009 CAFKA initiated the Big Ideas in Art and Culture Lecture Series. Shortly thereafter the Musagetes organization became a joint sponsor of the program, building awareness of CAFKA‚Äôs focus on new ideas in contemporary art in public spaces. In 2014 CAFKA relocated its biennial event to June and lengthened the exhibition to 30 days to make possible larger projects, to take advantage of the spring travel season, and to collaborate with other cultural organizations and events in the Region.