After years of “couch-surfing” their art gallery around town, YK ARCC finally has some new digs in Old Town — at least for now.
The city’s artist-run centre has struggled to put down roots since its inception and has been largely homeless since last summer, until its recent move into the old theatre between the Government Dock and the boat launch.
“It’s more or less a work in progress,” Batiste-Foisy, ARCC’s brand-new coordinator, says of the new location at 3541 McDonald Drive.
Unlike the previous venue, ARCC’s new home doesn’t include rooms for studio space, but is more like a one-room workshop for exhibitions, classes and work parties.
“It’s a bit rough, so it’s good for artists. It works fine as a workshop space and can be prepped up to host,” Foisy says.
Foisy is hoping to keep the space open as much as possible, with frequent exhibitions and gatherings that draw in the foot traffic of Old Town.
“Hopefully people are tempted to casually walk in and check us out,” he says. “It will rely on people’s initiative to make it a place where art can be produced.”
Just how long it will last, however, is questionable. Batiste says they have it guaranteed for at least two months, but their financial situation is always tenuous.
“To be very honest, I don’t know how long we will be in this space,” he says. “I hope we stick around for the next while, but we go with the flow. It’s been like that (the whole time that) ARCC has existed… Finding art space in the North — you go where you can go when you find a good spot.”
ARCC had previously discussed keeping its presence downtown to support arts in the city’s core, especially around the 50-50 lot. Foisy says that mission hasn’t changed, but will be supported through programming rather than physical space.
“Our downtown work is ongoing,” he says. “We have a program ongoing called This City, that is a residence program focusing on public art in the downtown. This is still happening — every summer we run the program, and we still plan to do it this summer.”
Though most of ARCC’s money comes in the form of project-based funding, which doesn’t offer much stability to the organization, Foisy says he will make good use of his time by fundraising.
“It would be nice to have base funding, but that’s not the situation we’re in right now. So I’m not going to sit idle until the money falls on me.”
While the space is new to the organization, it isn’t empty. ARCC is making use of its newfound location with an artist in residence who has already moved in. Neil Dyck is a painter and collagist from Manitoba who will be using the workshop for the next two weeks.
Following a meet and greet Tuesday night, Dyck will be hosting a master class on the weekend to share his unique acrylic techniques with other painters in Yellowknife.
“This is what ARCC is about,” Foisy says: “spaces where we can work and make art happen.”
YKers are invited to meet with artist-in-residence Neil Dyck tonight at 6 p.m.. The gallery is located at #3 3541 McDonald Drive and will be open daily throughout the residency. Work produced by Dyck during his residency in Yellowknife will be exhibited and sold at a vernissage on Friday, February 26 from 6 to 9 p.m..