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Space ready to be converted to new studios at SSO. Photo: Christos Pantieras.

Studio Space Ottawa: The Funfair is in the Bag

By Mathew Adams on November 6, 2020

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Are you looking for a fun way to support local artists and get treats and some entertainment? Then Studio Space Ottawa has just the thing for you!

Studio Space Ottawa, or SSO, is an organization that converted a large space into studios for Ottawa artists. Established in 2019, the whole building houses 22 art spaces, some single and some shared, for 28 artists. With just around a year under their belt, the SSO has provided artists with the opportunities to grow, create, and experiment both before and during the pandemic.

Space ready to be converted to new studios at SSO. Photo: Christos Pantieras.

“Studio Space Ottawa opened at the perfect time, right as I graduated from my BFA. SSO has become my space of experimentation and production, allowing me to work abroad while keeping my anchor in Ottawa. My studio was essential to me during the spring lockdown as a private space where I could keep my mind and hands focused on my practice,” said local artist Atticus Gordon.

The SSO’s building used to house a Funfair, which was an indoor carnival and play place with bumper cars, candy machines, and arcade games. With that spirit in mind, the SSO has created their Funfair Bag, featuring art by 13 SSO artists: Tiffany April, John Archer, Kathy Bergquist, Ada Brzeski, Bilgin Buberoglu, Willem Deisinger, Julien Delannoy, Atticus Gordon, Victoria Palmer, Jadzia Romaniec, and Vivian Törs. The bag also contains nostalgic delights to bring back memories of the county fair.

In a bag designed and silk screened by artist Willem Deisinger, you will find all these goodies:

  • Two surprise artworks from any two of the 13 participating SSO artists
  • A candy apple, cotton candy, and nostalgic candy
  • Ice cream from Chris’s Ice Cream
  • A lucky ducky for a popcorn draw
  • A Ring to Rule Them All! One Joanna Baxter Mosaic ring (donated by Wall Space Gallery) and 74 plastic rings.
  • School of Photographic Arts Ottawa gift card
  • A future tour of the SSO spaces

The SSO Funfair Bag, designed by Willem Deisinger. Photo: SSO.

Available for purchase through the SSO website for $150 plus HST, sale of the Funfair Bags ends Thursday November 11, 2020. These bags are a limited run, with only 75 being made. Anyone buying the Funfair Bag has the option to pick it up or have it delivered for free between November 14 and 16.

The Funfair Bag also includes a ticket to a live virtual magic show by the unique and friendly Chris Pilsworth. This illusionist extraordinaire has headlined at the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, California. New York Times bestselling author Stephen Dubner said Chris Pilsworth is “better than advertised: a great illusionist, yes, but with a heart and mind that matches it.” The live magic show will take place Saturday, November 21, starting at 7pm. You won’t want to miss it.

The bag also features access to an exclusive pre-recorded musical performance by Ottawa-based singer-songwriter Andrew Parton. He is a co-writer of the songs “Fool,” “Foreign Affairs,” and “Hang on Tight” performed by Toronto artist JACELYN. His 2017 single Control was featured on Live 88.5, and he was a performer at the 2016 Toronto Jazz Festival. Parton’s musical performance will have a date-limited link that will be available to view at your leisure and for your pleasure between November 26 and 29.

All of the proceeds from the sale of the bags will go towards building more art studios for Ottawa artists, which is crucial to help the visual arts community, with or without a pandemic. Finding studio space in Ottawa has been difficult because of a lack of industrial spaces available to convert into studios and the high cost of rent. Initiatives like Studio Space Ottawa help artists, at various stages in their careers, get access to the space needed to develop their craft.

With the proceeds of the SSO Funfair Bags, this empty space could soon become studio space for new artists. Just think of the possibilities! Photo: Christos Pantieras.

“Setting up a pottery studio at Studio Space Ottawa last January was a great move. Many community studios are closed and those that are not are operating at minimal capacity to conform with COVID laws. Our studio is set up so each person has their separate workstation and we are an easy six feet from each other. I have been able to continue my ceramic career and continue to sell work through a gallery. Many other artists are not so lucky and have had to stop working altogether. I hope that Studio Space Ottawa can continue to grow and provide much needed space for artists in Ottawa,” said potter Ada Brzeski.

This is a great way to support local artists, enjoy some music, some magic and get some great loot, all the things needed to brighten a cold Ottawa day.

When it comes to the SSO Funfair Bag, the fun is definitely in the bag.


You can purchase a Funfair Bag for $150+HST in support of Studio Space Ottawa until November 11, 2020. Supplies are limited. 

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