A building of one’s own

All Citizens, Bruno, SK

I spent a good part of my afternoon today reading through the blog archives of All Citizens, an artist-owned shop and periodic performance/art venue in Bruno, Saskatchewan (90km east of Saskatoon, population 495, as of the 2006 census). Two Vancouver artists, Serena McCarroll and Tyler Brett, evidently purchased the building for $6500, and they keep it open as a shop one day each week (Saturdays) in addition to maintaining a farily active events calendar. Because one can do that.

This bears repeating: one can do that.

Spaces are exciting. The same empty building or floor can be, depending on the occasion, a gallery, a shop, a cafe, a meeting place, a performance venue, a studio—a lab, if you will. Places like Load of Fun in Baltimore are exciting; Chicago’s apartment galleries are exciting; BCL’s space downtown this month is exciting; the forthcoming storefront exhibitions for Windsor’s Visual Fringe Fest—despite the unfortunate association with fringe theater—will no doubt be exciting (I did one last year, and I may yet do another one before I pack it out west, this summer).

Now, there aren’t quite buildings to be had in Windsor for $6500, but I happen to know—because trawling real estate listings is one of my stranger hobbies—that there are vacant commercial properties available in this city for the same cost one might pay for a new car. In fact, if I was going to be staying in Windsor past July (I am not), I would be sorely tempted to make an offer on this cigar shop downtown (on Ouellette between Park and Wyandotte), which is listing for $25k. To put that into human terms, a mortgage on the place would be comparable to what many people pay each month for cable television.

I mean, really now.

3 Replies to “A building of one’s own”

  1. Quite appropriate and interesting use of the Virginia Woolf writing by a very similar and famous name (if intended).

  2. I have to say that after yesterday, I’m thoroughly excited about the prospect of having a more permanent collaborative studio / meeting / gallery space.

    Great links too, gives me a much better idea of how these spaces function in real life. I’ve only ever been to one apartment show and that was to see the Microphones four or five years ago somewhere on Ottawa I think.

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