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Photos by Mathew Adams/Apt613

Capital Pride: Venus Envy’s gallery provides a unique space for less represented artists

By Mathew Adams on August 20, 2018

Venus Envy is an award winning sex shop and bookstore that offers a safe, judgement-free space for people seeking to explore their sexuality. They are committed to education by providing workshops, carrying high-quality products and employing friendly and knowledgeable staff. Inside of Venus Envy is a gallery space for voices that sometimes don’t get the opportunity to show.

“We do prioritize women and trans people as artists in the store just because there is less representation of those voices in mainstream art spaces,” explains Sam Whittle, owner of Venus Envy. “We tend to get art that is a bit more sexual in nature than you might find at your local coffee shop. It’s not an explicit rule, but it tends to be a good fit for the store.”

A piece by July’s featured artist, Christalla Buttle. Photo by Mathew Adams/Apt613

For years, they have offered their wall space to local artists to display and sell their works. They rotate the artist every month, and in July they featured artist Christalla Buttle, and just in time for Pride there will be a vernissage for a new artist Munea Wadud.

Also during Pride this year, Venus Envy is playing host to a number of events:

Sex Toys for Queers (Monday August 20, 7:30-9:30pm)

In this workshop, Fae Johnstone and Agnes will teach you about fun and consensual ways to pleasure your partners or yourself. This will explore safer sex, consent and pleasure and fun for queer and trans individuals.

Going Down on Everyone (Tuesday August 21, 7:30-9:30pm)

Sam Whittle and Mark S will be hosting a session on all things oral sex. They will go over anatomy, safer sex, positions and techniques for all genders and orientations.

Venus Envy Predicts Your Future (Wednesday August 22, 7:30-10:30pm)

Come out for a fun night of queer astrology featuring tarot card readings by Dan and Venus readings by Luka. This is a 19+ event featuring snacks and refreshments and more. Entry is free, but readings are by donation to the Venus Envy Access Fund.

Reading Out Loud featuring Tobi Hill-Meyer (Thursday August 23, 8-10pm) 

In the annual Pride tradition, Venus Envy is hosting its Reading Out Loud event where local queer and trans movers and shakers from Ottawa are invited to read something important to their identity, their self understanding or a favourite passage. This year’s head speaker is Tobi Hill-Meyer, along with other readers to be announced. The event is free, but donations are accepted for the Venus Envy Access Fund.

Trans Bodies, Trans Sexualities (Friday August 24, 8:30-10:30pm)

Tobi Hill-Meyer will be hosting this workshop to talk about bodies, language, behaviours and desires with a trans, genderqueer and gender non-conforming people in mind. There is much missed with mainstream Sex Ed, so here is a chance to learn in a safe and trans positive environment. The ticket cost is a sliding scale between $35 and $5 (if you need assistance with this cost, you can reach out to education@venusenvy.ca to see if they can help).


Venus Envy is always up to something new, so make sure to check out their event page. If you are interested in showing your art at Venus Envy, please contact their Arts Coordinator Danielle (events@venusenvy.ca) with photos of your work.