Favourite local gallery or artist space

Photo by Keeley Braunstein-Black

1. (F)Artspace
2. Winnipeg Art Gallery
3. TakeHome BIPOC Artist House

COVID restrictions prompted Artspace to redefine their relationship between community and art.

“We were pushing ourselves not to think about the building and what happens inside, but the building and also what happens outside,” Eric Plamondon, executive director of Artspace, says.

To get around the lack of indoor art spaces during COVID-19 lockdowns, Artspace made use of their exterior. This included transforming their two entrances into public-art spaces, as well as adding projections on the side of the building in collaboration with Jazz Winnipeg for Nuit Blanche Winnipeg.

However, the most popular stunt they pulled was also the most simple: adding an F in front of their rooftop sign.

“Art doesn't have to be super in-depth, super full of meaning. Sometimes art is supposed to just allow people to smile and tap back into some very innate instincts. When you see ‘Fartspace,’ you can’t help but sort of chuckle to yourself,” Plamondon says.

Plamondon says everyone needed laughter during the pandemic, and the collective gag of Fartspace was a point of connection in those moments of isolation.

“I’m sure everyone looking up at Fartspace and laughing, you sort of knew that you were not the only one who lived that moment,” he says.

Plamondon says the pandemic shone light on the obstacles people face in accessing art, in terms of art spaces, events and creation.

“Being voted as a favourite space means that spending time making art accessible is crucially important, now more than ever. Hopefully it's a way of allowing more people to know that, yeah, that’s our mandate. That’s our mission. And all are welcome in this building,” he says.

Published in Volume 76, Number 12 of The Uniter (December 2, 2021)

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