Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Urban Infill: Art in the Core in it's 7th Year

     The Urban Infill: Art in the Core event runs from this Saturday to Tuesday. The gala “downtown wide” opening reception for the art show and launch for Urban Infill is this Saturday at 7pm at the Definitely Superior Galleries at 250 Park Avenue. 
     The DEFSUP gallery is a good place to start your tour of Port Arthur, and hit the venues offering live music, dance performances, a drag queen show, live window displays, along with art featured in retail locations, including paintings, drawings, ceramics, wearable art, photography, and sculpture. This is work by members of the DEFSUP gallery, Lakehead University Visual Art student graduates, Confederation College film and multi-media students, and the Die Active Youth Collective. With an additional space provided by the former RBC Bank, and other locations, there is an extra 10,000 square feet to display work. Work from the Anishinabee Art Gallery will be displayed, along with shows at Gallery 33, The Picture Store, and the Painted Turtle.
     If you’re not sure where to start you can take advantage of the map and/or the high energy “Performative Tour Guides.” 
     An event like this infuses people and hope into the north core, an area that still suffers from ugliness and frightens some residents away. With great restaurants and a couple more opening up, along with new retail experiences and new prospects envisioned by city planners and politicians, it’s very likely that businesses and landlords will do more to help beautify the north core further.
     The DEFSUP gallery’s commitment to infusing the arts into the community performs a primary function of art, that of beautification. As experimental, egalitarian, and short term as it might seem, this event has resulted in a majority of the empty spaces it used in the past to “become vibrant commercial shops and galleries.” So, as the title of the event suggests, Urban Infill, does in fact fill in the spaces.
     On a spiritual and emotional level, events like these bring a needed alternative vibrancy to the city. It used to be, especially in Europe, that the average literate citizen, businessperson and politician, intuitively understood the benefits of mixing art and business.
     Once artists did too, during the days when galleries didn’t exist. They were employed for their ability to beautify, and focused less on the emotional and introspective. Today our contemporary artists, whose goals are very different from artists of the past, often claim business and marketing an anathema to their goals, but they too are discovering the value of investing themselves and their art into the community. Quid pro quo; and we all benefit.

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