Closing of Two Fernwood galleries Opens up new possibilities

Collective Works and the Ministry of Casual Living are both closing their doors at the end of the month

Ministry of Casual Living's current Minister Aubrey Burke in front of the collective's window-front gallery

Fernwood is about to lose half of its gallery space. Two of the trendy neighbourhood’s four art galleries will be closing at month’s end — both of them are artist run: Collective Works Gallery (1311 Gladstone) and the Ministry of Casual Living (1442 Haultain).

Both galleries closing their doors means a great loss for the neighbourhood, but it doesn’t mean they won’t continue to exist in one way, shape or form.

Collective Works is closing because the rent was increased significantly (and would continue to increase for three years), say members Arlene Nesbitt, Diana Durrand, Al Williams and Pete Rockwell.

Each of the 11 members pay $100 to help cover the cost of the gallery, and they weren’t making ends meet. When news came of the rent increase in June, they had no choice but to finish out the lease and close the doors. A yoga studio will be replacing the gallery once closed.

To close out their four year run, Collective Works is paying homage to Jan Johnson, a former member of the gallery who passed away in late September.  Jan Johnson 1943-2011 Retrospective Show opens Nov. 25 (reception from 7 to 9 p.m.) and runs until the doors close Dec. 4.

The Ministry of Casual Living has been occupying the small drafty space on Haultain for more than nine years, with the minister (who does a one-year term of planning programming, doing publicity and paying the rent) actually living in the space behind the big front window gallery.

They have been evicted because the landlord plans to sell the building. Even though MOCL is out of a home, they  have something to look forward to: their 10th anniversary in March.

“It’s a really exciting time for us because we have a decade of shows behind us and incredible perseverance. Being evicted has been a good kick in the ass,” says minister Aubrey Burke.

Look out for MOCL pop-up galleries in window spaces downtown in the future. For now, they are offering a new window-front surprise everyday, with 24-hour shows running until the gallery closes at the end of the month. The Burnout Extravaganza features the work of Theresa Slater Nov. 24, followed by Bridget Fairbank Nov. 25 for the closing party, Caleb Speller’s SurpRise Nov. 26, sleep over slumber party and movie night, Nov. 27, story night and MOCL kissing booth Nov. 28, Shadow Jam (with Mind Of a Snail and Friends Nov. 29 and the Last Day eviction/alter/wall paint/draw/music party and speeches Nov. 30. Visit their facebook event page for details. http://on.fb.me/t9VyXV. M

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