Chase the Space’s case

Ever-resourceful arts organizations come together to discuss the importance of dedicated spaces.

Our city's arts organizations deserve secure spaces
Our city's arts organizations deserve secure spaces

Chase the Space
Monday, November 28 at 7pm
Halifax Central Library, BMO Community Room

HFXARTS@gmail.com

There's a shortage of space for artists in the HRM—and arts groups are getting together at the end of the month to talk about it.

"Halifax has a rich arts community. To help it grow, we have to find a way to work with the city to ensure there are spaces reserved for arts and cultural organizations," says Eryn Foster, who is organizing Chase the Space.

Foster says rising rent costs and city development projects have left too many arts groups without a home, or using a space that doesn't meet their needs. The meeting is a chance for different organizations to update each other on their current requirements and find ways to collaborate and share resources.

The challenge of finding long-term, affordable and sustainable spaces makes it harder for arts groups to do creative work, Foster says. "You can't thrive because you're just trying to deal with the fact that you don't have a home you can depend on. All your energy and resources are going into finding that space."

After 11 moves, Halifax's Eyelevel Gallery switched to a spaceless model in 2013 for financial and artistic reasons. The gallery now chooses the location of their shows based on each project. It has had exhibits everywhere from hiking trails to the back of a hatchback.

"This programming model has really solidified our interest in projects that question accepted modes of presentation," says Eyelevel's executive director Katie Belcher. "Contemporary artwork doesn't only exist within four walls."

Belcher plans on keeping Eyelevel's current creative model, but she will still be attending Chase the Space. She would like the organization to plan its projects out of a shared office or studio to help the gallery maintain a sense of community. "The nature of the arts community—how resilient we are, how creative we are, how engaged we are with questioning the way we do things, ultimately, is a reason to give us space," she says. "If this is what we do when we're struggling, just think what we could do with something secure to lean on."

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