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News / July 25, 2019

News Roundup: Art Studios Destroyed in Huge Winnipeg Fire

A view of the fire at 274 Jarvis Avenue in Winnipeg while it was in progress. The fire started around 12:45 a.m. on July 22, 2019. Image: City of Winnipeg / Twitter. A view of the fire at 274 Jarvis Avenue in Winnipeg while it was in progress. The fire started around 12:45 a.m. on July 22, 2019. Image: City of Winnipeg / Twitter.
A view of the fire at 274 Jarvis Avenue in Winnipeg while it was in progress. The fire started around 12:45 a.m. on July 22, 2019. Image: City of Winnipeg / Twitter. A view of the fire at 274 Jarvis Avenue in Winnipeg while it was in progress. The fire started around 12:45 a.m. on July 22, 2019. Image: City of Winnipeg / Twitter.

It’s estimated that 27 artists had studios in the building, including ones known nationally and internationally. Fundraisers are now ongoing to help the artists recover. Plus: Documenta 14 curator-at-large Bonaventure Ndikung is the first appointee in a new curatorial residency program at OCAD U, 30 artists were nominated for the Kingston Prize, 52 selected for consideration of the Salt Spring National Art Prize, the announcement of art-related world premieres at TIFF and the launch of a significant exhibition of Canadian Impressionism in Munich, with plans for a tour.

Winnipeg Warehouse Fire

On Monday, July 21, a major art-studios building in Winnipeg burned to the ground. No one was harmed, but in some cases, 40 years’ worth of artwork was lost. The three-storey, 83,000-square-foot warehouse at 274 Jarvis was completely destroyed. Among the affected artists are Lorri Millan and Shawna Dempsey—the latter said there were 27 artists with studios in the building. (CBC News)

Supporters in Winnipeg and elsewhere are now diligently raising funds for the artists affected. One GoFundMe account (organized by Border Crossings magazine in partnership with the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art) is looking to raise $250,000. Border Crossings editor Meeka Walsh told the CBC, “The need is immediate… The loss is so profound and the implications of the loss, to the individual artists, is so overwhelming as to be almost unspeakable.” (CBC)

In total, Fire Services were on the scene for 32 hours before the massive fire was completely put out. The cause of the fire is being investigated. (CTV)

The GoFundMe campaign to help artists affected by the fire is still ongoing. As of the evening of July 24, roughly $75,000 of a total goal of $250,000 had been raised. The campaign notes that “all the funds raised will go directly to the affected artists to help them re-establish their studios and practices, and provide general financial support.” (GoFundMe)

Indigenous Art

THIS PLACE on Treaty 1 Territory & the homeland of the Métis Nation is a new public art project in Treaty 1. A just-announced slate of programs related to the project include performances by Jaime Black and Lori Blondeau, and a video program curated by Jennifer Smith. These events join four public artworks installed last fall by Kenneth Lavallee, Julie Nagam, Rolande Souliere, Rebecca Belmore and Osvaldo Yero. (Website)

“Indigenous petroglyphs have been found for first time in Newfoundland.” The rock carvings, of human and animal-like figures near Conception Bay North, were first noted in 2017. Research on them has since progressed, revealing that the carvings may be from the 1600s to 1800s, and that they “contain similar motifs to those observed in petroglyphs found in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Maine, attributed to Algonquian peoples like the Mi’kmaq.” (CBC)

Almost 100 years after being seized and sold, a Kwakwaka’wakw sun mask returns to B.C. “Seized during an infamous raid on a potlatch in remote British Columbia, then improperly sold, the mask spent time in New York, and ended up in Paris in the possession of one of the world’s most famous anthropologists,” the Globe reports. “It remained in France for decades. But [this weekend], after nearly two years of negotiations, a ceremony [was] planned to welcome it to the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, B.C.” (Globe and Mail)

Making Space

On Friday, July 19, SAW in Ottawa opened a new 15,000-square-foot space to the public. It’s a big move for the artist-run centre, tripling its footprint, and cost more than $1 million. The centre aims to keep an bold activist spirit: the first show, “Sex Life,” features drawings and ceramic works related to sexuality.  (CBC News, Artsfile)

Vancouver DIY art space Duplex is fundraising for a new home after being faced with what it says is a 216% lease increase. The space, which houses studios, workshops and a gallery, is run by artists Gabi Dao, Julia Feyrer, Maya Gauvin, Frieda Raye Green, Kara Hansen, Liam Johnstone, Scott Kemp, Jordan Milner, Stephan Wright and Setareh Yasan. They are holding an online fundraiser in hopes of raising $5,000 to outfit a new space on Franklin Street. (It was formerly on Fraser.) Monies will go toward constructing walls, electrical work and other renovations. (GoFundMe)

Announcements & Appointments

OCAD U has selected Bonaventure Ndikung as the first curator of its new International Curatorial Residency. The program, supported with a grant from Partners in Art, involves the resident curating an original exhibition at Onsite Gallery that will then travel internationally to promote Canadian creators abroad. Ndikung was curator-at-large for Documenta 14 and guest curator of the 2018 Dak’Art Biennale. His project, which begins in January 2020, will explore sound in curatorial practices. (press release)

Janice Price is due to lead the Banff Centre to 2023. The board of governors has extended Price’s contract as president and CEO until the centre’s 90th anniversary season. Price, formerly at Luminato in Toronto, took the helm at the Banff Centre in 2015. (press release)

HOLD FAST festival in St. John’s has announced its featured artists for 2019. They are Arianna Richardson, Craig Francis Power, Ethan Murphy, Lucas Morneau and Teresa Connors. The festival will run September 18 to 21 at various locations in the city. (press release)


The Society for Arts and Technology in Montreal has just received $3.3 million in funding for its Metalab. The funds, to be spread over three years, come from the Ministry of Economy and Innovation of Quebec. The funding will go to facilitate immersive content creation and new types of acoustic experiments with virtual and augmented reality. Partners include the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, American Dysonics and Audiokinetic software. (press release)


Warren Kanders resigns from the Whitney board following artist-led protests. (New York Times)

There are some Canadian artists at the just-opened Edinburgh Art Festival. Especially notable is Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s new work, Night Walk for Edinburgh, offered through the Fruitmarket Gallery, and “Corin Sworn: Habits of Assembly” at Edinburgh College of Art. The festival runs July 25 to August 25. Cardiff and Bures Miller will be giving a keynote lecture on July 26. (Website)

Instagram breakout Maria Qamar (aka Hatecopy) is having her first New York solo show. The exhibition runs August 1 to September 2 at Richard Tattinger Gallery and is titled “Fraaaandship.” (press release)

Parisian Laundry is participating in the new NADA Chicago Invitational. The fair, with a total of 35 dealers, will take place in Chicago September 18 to 21. (Artnews)

And Urban Shaman Gallery is opening a new show at its Santa Fe satellite location. Kent Monkman’s “Dance to Miss Chief” runs August 14 to September 28 and features video work by the artist. (press release)