Two months ago, Apartment613 broke the news that Hintonburg’s General Assembly would cease operations. Owners of the neighbourhood’s beloved DIY art and music venue, Sothea Kham and Bruno Soulière, said they are saving to buy land outside of the city—instead of renting downtown—which they hope will evolve into an arts residency destination.
That same day, it was announced to the audience at Artpreneur that Black Squirrel Books had plans to take over the lease at 5 Fairmont Avenue and operate a satellite event venue. Their flagship café bookstore on Bank Street already hosts so many concerts, comedy nights and art shows; more than enough to program two spaces across town. They are partnering with Ottawa Showbox to make it happen—so Showbox will program and operate the space from day to day, with Black Squirrel popping in for the occasional book sale and storage.
While there haven’t been public updates since May 31, except for this cryptic IG post, Apartment613 caught wind of a group art show that will be in the space on August 30 and 31, 2019. You can be sure we’ll check it out. Join us at the new Cinqhole event space for a first look at the renovations taking place.
A Dizziness of Things I Have Not Said is a group exhibition of photography, painting, installation and sculpture, with live ambient music and experimental house djs. Working with themes of “memory, melancholy and nostalgia,” the artists Florence Morissette, Melissa NG, Erin Besseau and Yuli Sato met working at Wallack’s in Centretown and bonded over similarities in their artist statements.
“We are four emerging artists who share the same desire of presenting our work outside of the mainstream galleries,” says Florence Morissette. “We wanted to build [an exhibition] that would embrace local artists, share and connect with the local community.
All four are interesting artists in their own right. Besseau is a recent graduate of NSCAD University, she works with a combination of abstract organic forms over geometric designs. Florence Morissette’s materials are found objects and images. Yuli Sato is a film photographer via Montreal, Calgary and New Zealand; now living and working in Ottawa. Melissa NG’s creative art on identities takes the form of acrylic paintings on canvas or wood, watercolour and ink illustrations, and embroidery.
We’re volunteering to present their opening (August 30) and by way of a cash bar, Apartment613 is fundraising to pay the rent at 5 Fairmont, so Apt613 and others can host more meet-ups, workshops, parties and shows in the venue this fall.
“Although [Anthony Cardozo, Black Squirrel’s booker] and I are most active as promoters in the music scene,” says Ottawa Showbox’s Matias Muñoz, “we have a strong appreciation and love for so many artists that live in our city—Florence Morissette, Melissa NG, Erin Besseau and Yuli Sato are exemplary creative minds to that point. Artists like them will be who defines the character and uniqueness of the space.”
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Ottawa Showbox intends to announce a grand opening at Cinqhole in fall 2019. “We’re treating this as a soft launch,” says Muñoz. “It’s a perfect fit for how we envision Cinqhole. We’re not just a gallery, studio or music venue. Our goal is to be a multidisciplinary facility that helps foster strong connections among various artistic communities. We aim to provide a safe, inclusive environment for everyone to experience what is happening under the surface here in Ottawa.”
“We feel extremely humbled by the work our predecessors Bruno and Sothea did to build a community in and around this space with General Assembly. Those are huge shoes to fill,” adds Muñoz.
A Dizziness of Things I Have Not Said is showing for two days only at 5 Fairmont Avenue (formerly General Assembly) on August 30–31, 2019. The opening event is Friday, August 30 from 6pm to midnight. The party is for all ages. Admission is free. There will be a cash bar and live music performances beginning at 8pm. RSVP on Facebook. The exhibition will remain open to visitors from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, August 31.
Accessibility notes: There is a wheelchair ramp to the entrance. The venue has an accessible, gender-neutral washroom.