Make Your Own XPACE

In a recent post I wrote titled, Get the Crack/Yuppies/Condos Outta the Neighbourhood, I had mentioned that XPACE, the cultural centre to many great events such as What The TTC Could Be, I Want To Go TO Africa and the Film School series to name a few, had been forced last October to move from Kensington Market. I was therefore pleased to find out that XPACE has finally found new digs @ 58 Ossington. Tonight I will be at the reopening shin-dig from 9-12pm, Make Your Own XPACE so keep watch of the blogTO flickr pool for my pic-snips.

I conferred with Megan Kotze, Director of XPACE, via email regarding the move, the past and their future. A condensed copy of our discussion follows below with my questions in bold:

Why did XPACE have to move and how did you feel about your move out of the Market?

XPACE moved out of Kensington Market, because our lease expired and the "fair market value" for the space was out of our price range. The issue was not so much the rental rate, as 303 Augusta had more square footage then we could afford, only half of which was actually usable space. We were sad to leave the market, we loved the neighbourhood and felt like we belonged to and contributed to a vibrant community. But we are also excited about the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and we are excited to be a part of the community on Ossington.

How is XPACE different than most galleries/cultural centres?

The main difference between XPACE and other galleries is our membership, which is comprised of students from OCAD. We are mandated to represent students and emerging artists, and every year some of our members graduate and move into the professional art world and new students enter OCAD and become involved with XPACE. I think that as a result we are continually being redefined and that is very exciting.

Before the move, XPACE seemed to be caught in an upward momentum. What strategies did you develop in the interim to keep the momentum from waning?

We approached our two moths of homelessness, with the idea that XPACE was more then a physical space. XPACE is what we (the membership) make of it. Karen Kraven* really dealt with this issue head on. She curated a show in XPACE's storage unit called "Moving Facility", where we picked people up in a moving van from XPACE old location and transported them to the storage space.

*Karen Kraven is Programming Coordinator.

What kind of events can we look forward to seeing?

We are trying to develop the professional practice side of things. We believe that XPACE is professional venue where student should be learning real world experience that compliments what they are learning in the classroom. To meet these new goals we are launching an artist talk series this winter, as well as workshops on CV's, artist statements and resumes. We are also working on finding more ways to involve design students, and will be part of OCAD type show in March.

Photo Credit: Tim Shore

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