The days of COVID-19 are turning to weeks, and I find myself in a near-constant state of boredom, dusted with the occasional panic and anxiety. These are times when many of us are turning to art, to lift our spirits, keep our minds occupied, or just to switch things up. Last weekend, my partner and I drew portraits of each other, and because one of us has a strong visual art background and the other hasn’t drawn in years, we were able to entertain ourselves for an entire evening due to this comedic binary.
Art is making a lot of people happy right now, and whether you are an artist or not, you can benefit from it.
In my work life (which currently involves me writing blog posts in bed with coffee and a heated blanket) I am lucky enough to work for a space that is made up of different art organizations, spanning many avenues of art. Artspace holds visual, new media, cinematic, literary, theatre, and musical art organizations, all under one roof. Because we cant currently visit Artspace and see for ourselves, I thought that providing a guided virtual tour of our building might be fun for some of you folks at home, who are bored, and have maybe never stepped foot in Artspace before! As we make stops along the way, consider buying a membership from one of the tenants, or supporting them by ordering products online, or even giving them a follow on instagram, facebook or twitter. Many art organizations are struggling right now, so show some love!
Now, let us begin this imaginary tour!
We are going to pretend that we are walking up to Artspace on the Arthur side of the building. If you need to use the wheelchair lift, you can loop around to the King St. doors!
Now that we are in the lobby, we see Cinematheque and Platform Center for Photographic and Digital Arts. Cinematheque is making the whole building smell like popcorn and offering a variety of film screenings. Take a look at their website here, and plan a movie night with their Cinematheque at Home!
Next, we will pop into Platform, look at some amazing lens-based work they have up in the space, and maybe inquire about getting a membership here: http://platformgallery.org/ which will get you some cool perks throughout the year! Also, ask them about their darkrooms on the fourth floor!
We are going to take the elevator up now to the second floor. We will see the Manitoba Arts Network (https://manitobaartsnetwork.ca/about-us/) offices on our right, where we can find out about art initiatives all over the province, and even get involved. On our left, we see part of Video Pool Media Arts Centre. This floor includes their rentable space, The Output, ideal for organizing and showcasing that experimental sound art piece you have been working on (http://www.videopool.org/venue/), as well as Poolside Gallery, exhibiting some amazing work in the new media arts (http://www.videopool.org/category/poolside/). On this floor, we will also visit Turnstone Press, https://www.turnstonepress.com/ , where you may consider purchasing your next novel or poetry collection. Some of their texts would also make great quarantine gifts!
Up to the third floor, where the Winnipeg Film Group has some of their offices, along with the Black Lodge production studio, editing suits, and rentals for your independent filming needs. See their website for much more information https://www.winnipegfilmgroup.com/production/ . Fun fact about this space; In my first week working at Artspace I was delivering a stack of chairs to WFG and as I walked through the door, all 30 chairs slid off my dollie. This is why to this day I am too embarrassed to visit this part of the building. It was during what seemed to be a very important meeting! Apologies again, Winnipeg Film Group!
On this floor, we also visit Video Pool’s production and rental facility, including an audio suite, motion capture suite, digital labs, and more! Remember to visit them online again, check out their online store, and become a member! http://www.videopool.org/membership/
Going up to the fourth floor, we will see the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers’ office, where you can find information on how to get published and find out what a book publisher does! https://ambp.ca/ . We will then visit the Prairie Fire office, where we can flip through some issues of their new writing magazine! Visit them here to order a few copies, or get a subscription https://www.prairiefire.ca/ . We will also come across the WNDX office, visit their website and get inspired to submit your film and video works for their annual Festival of Moving Image; this year’s deadline is posted as June 30th, 2020! ( https://wndx.org/ ). On this floor, we will also come across the Artspace office where Eric, our ED, Cheryl and Debbie, our bookkeepers and myself (lowly admin assistant), work! If you are lucky, we will give you a kazoo performance, but you must ask nicely. Sometimes this floor also has a canine coworker; who wins employee of the month every single month.
Up now to the fifth floor, where the Manitoba Association of Playwrights hold their office and rentable studio and rehearsal space https://mbplays.ca/ . Here we will also find North Nassau Printshop, where printmaker Allan Geske works and creates ( http://www.allangeske.ca/ ), along with his jeweler studio mate, Bryan Johnson ( https://www.bryanjohnson.ca/ ). Take a look through their websites, and find yourself some more unique gift ideas. I have been lucky enough to tour their studio, and as a printmaker, I was in heaven!
On this floor, we will also find luthier Daryl Perry
( https://www.perryguitars.com/custom-handmade-classical-guitars/), working on some incredibly beautiful guitars, as well as Groundswell Inc, where you can find tickets to some excellent musical performances all over the city. We will all be in need of a good concert once we are allowed out! http://gswell.ca/ . We will now pass the Manitoba Writers Guild, where you can find many programs and services for writers and readers, like mentorships and residencies. You can also visit their website to make a donation! ( https://www.mbwriter.mb.ca/ ). Lastly, on the 5th floor, we will visit Contemporary Verse 2, where you can find their latest issue of this incredible poetry and critical writing journal, or act quickly and enter their 2-Day poem contest!
Up now to the 6th floor, where the air is getting thinner, mostly because here we find the Winnipeg International Writers Festival office. Here you can find out about their festival, and other events they hold through the year that celebrate literary arts from Winnipeg and beyond (https://thinairwinnipeg.ca/ ). We will also come across the Manitoba Library Association, where you can find webinars, a library map, and learn more about the Prison Libraries Committee, and how you can get involved either from a distance, or in the future! ( https://mla.mb.ca/ ). While we are up here, we may peek through a few open doors amongst the CARFAC studios, and see what some of the studio renters are currently working on. Not long ago I was lucky enough to have a studio visit with Kieran Valde who is one of the many renters. He showed us some incredible paintings in progress, and it was not the worst way to spend an afternoon at work.
At this time, if you are physically able to climb stairs, I can take you up to the roof where you can see our iconic ARTSPACE signage, as well as 2 murals by Pat Lazo. I often find excuses to go up to the roof for “work purposes”, so if ever you are in the neighborhood and want a birds-eye view, I urge you to send me an email so I can fulfill some administrative duties by eagerly replying to you, and of course, giving you this tour!
We will travel by elevator all the way down to the basement, to visit the last of our tenants on this tour. Passing On Screen Manitoba, we will learn how to get support in the media production industry, how to apply for funds and programs through the organization, and learn about the benefits of becoming a member ( https://onscreenmanitoba.com/ ). Next, we will pass by more of the Winnipeg Film Group offices, where we can find out more about distribution and programming. And finally, we will end the tour at Jazz Winnipeg, where you can find out about concerts, and keep up to date on Winnipeg’s beloved Jazz Festival and its postponement dates! https://www.jazzwinnipeg.com/ .
That concludes our imaginary tour of Artspace. I hope through this you were able to learn something new about some of our tenants, and where you might source some art during lockdown. I didn’t realize how little I knew about our building, even as an employee, until I started skimming the top of who and what we house in this incredible building for the purpose of this post. Our building truly is unique, incredible, and necessary for the art sector in Manitoba. To conclude, if you want to show Artspace some love, consider donating here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/id/13304/ so that we can continue to house and support all of those whom we are lucky enough to call our tenants.
-Post by Mahri White