Saturday, December 15, 2007

ENCOUNTERS inspires The Gathering Space

After meeting Ruth Ben-Tovim and Trish O'Shea at the community/performance conference in Rhode Island in 2003 and seeing the work they were doing with their ENCOUNTERS shop projects in Sheffield, England, Loree Lawrence (Lead Artist of The Gathering Space) started fundraising to do a similar project in the Junction neighbourhood. For the last six years ENCOUNTERS has inhabited disused shops in diverse neighborhoods and used them as a base to create artworks around the themes of people, community, identity, and place. The shops attract hundreds of visitors, becoming neighbourhood magnets, drawing in people of all ages and cultures to leave objects, memories, journeys, thoughts and ideas about where they live. In Fall 2006, ENCOUNTERS was featured in the British Pavilion for architecture at the Venice Biennale. Loree visited Ruth and Trish in May 2007 to immerse herself in their world and came back to join with Lise Beaudry, Noah Kenneally, and Amy Kazymerchyk in starting The Gathering Space. To learn more about ENCOUNTERS visit

Monday, December 10, 2007

Home Movie Night in the Junction!

Our first of a series of Home Movie Screenings was a jam packed 2.5 hours of venetian holidays, beaver hunting excursions, and calgary stampede debauchery. The popcorn was flowing, and the audience provided nostalgic and entertaining narration to family and found films. Thanks to Jonathan and Sue from the HOMEMADE MOVIES Home Movie History Project for supporting and promoting such a stunning event. We have also set up our Junction Home Movie Hearth, which offers 8mm, Super-8 and 16mm viewing stations that are accessible in the Gathering Space during all open workshop hours. The Home Movie Hearth is available to anyone wishing to view and repair their own, or found, film. We will be hosting our second public screening on January 31st.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

2804 Dundas W. Opening!

Our grand opening was a huge success. Many Junction Residents, Artists, and Community Organizers turned out to support the Gathering Space and contribute their stories and ideas to a range of installations that we've been cooking. Junction Judy was on hand to collect stories of how people came to the junction; people mapped their fond memories of the neighborhood; and many opened their pockets onto the scanner flatbed to create printed images for a photo collage. Our good friend Iel provided us with delicious cornbread, foccacia and hummous, baked earlier that day in the Cool Hand of a Girl kitchen; and we all toasted to the beautiful 'Reflections in the Junction' Photographs that were newly exhibited.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Gathering Space found a home!!

Thankfully! Now that the cold weather is coming we are happy to announce that we've found a warm home for our project. Starting November 1st The Gathering Space with will open our studio at 2804 Dundas St. West. We'll be sharing space with 'Cool Hand of a Girl', popular coffee shop and local gem. Our studio will be open Wednesday to Friday from 12 to 6 and on weekends, while 'Cool Hand of a Girl' serves brunch, we will be out and about in the Junction neighbourhood gathering as usual.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Some things we've found

One of the research activities we've been doing for the Gathering Space has been finding interesting and unusual things around the neighbourhood, and here are some photos of a few of our found objects:
1) the strange remains of a lampshade, perched on a fencepost
2) an interesting piece of metal, maybe a belt buckle?
3) some very beautiful blue broken tiles at the construction site
4) a leaf among leaves

Junction Skies

here are some snaps of the skies above the Junction

Monday, October 1, 2007

Farm animals project

Another of our research activities is the Farm Animal Project. The Junction used to be home to the biggest stockyards in North America. To acknowledge and remember that, we've been leaving toy farm animals around the neighbourhood with tags saying "send us a story about a pet, the Stockyards, or another animal story" and our email address attached.
We've stared getting responses and it's so exciting!! We'll be posting some of them here on the blog soon. Stay tuned!

Junction textures

Here are some of the textures we found of the neighbourhood

The Gathering Space has opened it's doors...and windows and walls and alleys and garages and streets...

Welcome to The Gathering Space, a community arts project based in the Junction.

Our project is interested in collecting stories of all kinds about the Junction area and reflecting those stories back using art.
The neighbourhood is in a time of huge changing and shifting, and we want to document those changes, and the experience and history of the area that people carry around in their bodies and memories.

We originally wanted to open up a community gallery in a storefront on Dundas, but had trouble finding a place that was willing to rent for a shorter period of time. Instead, we've decided to turn the streets into our gallery! You'll find us walking around, taking pictures, asking questions, listening to stories, and getting to know the neighbourhood.

We're presently in our research phase, wandering around the neighbourhood talking to people and collecting things. During the Junction Arts Festival, you may have seen us at our partner The West Toronto Junction Historical Society's booth with our Journey story Judy. These days, you're likely to see us on our own with our mobile 'research station' bikecart, somewhere along Dundas Ave.

On this blog you'll find photos and stories and fragments and our thoughts and ideas of the Junction we've picked up during our time there.

Finally, we're getting the blog going!