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Artist Guillermo Trejo pondering Allyson Rousseau's textiles at the "Unholy Objects" vernissage. Photo by Ming Wu.

Studio Sixty Six holiday party & fundraiser supports Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa

By Danuta Sierhuis on December 1, 2016



Every year, as part of their mandate, Ottawa emerging artist gallery Studio Sixty Six supports a local charity that is near and dear to their hearts with a fundraiser in the weeks leading up to the holidays.

This year, gallery Director Carrie Colton, and Gallery Manager and Curator Rose Ekins have chosen to support the vitally important Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa (SASC) at their holiday party and fundraiser on Friday, December 8, 2016 from 5-9pm.

"Unholy Objects" vernissage, photo by Ming Wu.

“Unholy Objects” vernissage, photo by Ming Wu.

SASC is a non-profit community-driven organization within Ottawa that provides free, confidential support services and programs to survivors of sexual assault and violence.

Founded in 1983 by three survivors with a pager who were taking calls in their basement, SASC now has a small permanent staff and anywhere from 13 to 20 volunteer support workers who are extensively trained to provide counselling to sexual assault survivors, including a 24/7 helpline (which saw over 4000 hours of use in 2015-2016) and individual/group counselling.

Coming from a peer-support model, SASC’s services are based on the idea of survivors helping other survivors to heal, while also advocating for public awareness of sexual assault and its roots in the oppression and marginalization of “all those who identify as womyn, including immigrants, indigenous, lgbtq+, diversely abled, womyn of colour, trans womyn, and survivors of war and torture”.

Artist Guillermo Trejo looking at Bill Staubis' found object art at the "Unholy Objects" vernissage. Photo by Ming Wu.

Artist Guillermo Trejo looking at William Staubi’s found object art at the “Unholy Objects” vernissage. Photo by Ming Wu.

Ekins, a strong supporter of sexual assault survivors and a survivor herself, says, “This is an organization that I really, really believe in, and I think that they are doing really wonderful work – and they have been for over 30 years. I think that awareness of their organization should rise… What they do is incredibly needed, and I am so pleased that the gallery is working with them.”

Studio Sixty Six will be donating 10% of all art sales to SASC throughout the month of December. The gallery’s roster features emerging Canadian artists, and their current exhibition UNHOLY OBJECTS (November 10 – December 31, 2016) presents new object-based work by artists from Ottawa and Montreal, including Lea Hamilton, Kelsey McGruer, Susan Roston, Allyson Rousseau, Kathryn Shriver, and William Staubi. Artworks in the exhibition range from sculpture, photography, abstracted beadwork, woven textiles, found-object art, and painting – each questioning and taking an unusual, if not unholy approach to the sacred notion of the “art object.”


Amanda Graham, SASC’s Fundraising Coordinator and a Support Worker says, “It is not often that we get to coordinate with an art gallery to combine social justice and social work with the art world. We are so excited to bring our two communities together so that everyone will get a chance to learn about what SASC does and about the gallery and their artists as well.”

The funds raised via the gallery’s art sales during the month-long fundraiser and at the holiday party will be donated and used where it is most needed to support SASC’s activities, which include specialized programs such as Women and War and Young Women at Risk. The event will also have a donation table for those wishing to make an outright donation to SASC.

Working collaboratively, both Studio Sixty Six and SASC hope that their supporters and interested people within the Ottawa community will choose to attend the event and purchase artworks, whose sale will also support emerging Canadian artists and an important organization working to help survivors of sexual assault. The event promises to be a fun night celebrating and supporting the arts and awareness of a fantastic social justice organization over delicious locally sourced food and wine – a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

The Holiday Party and Fundraiser takes place on December 8th, 5-9pm at Studio Sixty Six (#202-66 Muriel Street). Admission is free and all are welcome! More information about the event can be found on the Facebook event page.

For more information on the services and programs of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa or to seek help, please see their website or call the helpline at 613-234-2266.