By Ada Brzeski and Susan Cartwright
In 2019, a group of dedicated Ottawa artists established Studio Space Ottawa, which now comprises 28 studios, home to 40 artists working in various visual arts disciplines – from painting to photography, ceramics, printmaking and sculpture.
Studio Space Ottawa plans to build an additional 13 studios and a spray booth and has set a fundraising goal of $150,000. To achieve this, they will be hosting a fundraiser, Warehouse Art Café, on Friday, May 5 from 6 to 10 p.m.
The “café” will allow the public to experience various forms of visual arts such as live-model drawing, print making, pottery wheel throwing and mural painting. There will be music and an art sale and raffle featuring the works of Studio Space Ottawa artists.
Christine Fitzgerald is an award-winning photographer living in the Glebe. Her photographs evoke a sense of the past, offering viewers the sense of looking at century old family albums, but with contemporary subjects.
A graduate of the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa, and Acadia and Dalhousie Universities, Fitzgerald completed an artist residency at the Ottawa School of Art and was a visiting artist in print media at York University. She was one of 15 visual artists selected for the historic Canada C3 Expedition on Canada’s 150th anniversary. The work inspired by her Expedition experience was part of the Open Channels national exhibition in Âjagemô Hall at the Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa, Canada.
Fitzgerald has been the recipient of grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts and numerous awards including the 2016 International Fine Art Photographer of the Year from the Lucie Foundation and was one of the 2017 winners of the International Julia Margaret Cameron Award for women photographers. In 2018, she had the privilege of creating a portrait of Dr. Jane Goodall for her 85th birthday. Her work is in public and private collections and has been featured by the CBC, the Washington Post and the National Geographic. In 2020, her artwork hung at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. as part of the featured exhibition, New Light: Canadian Women Artists and was part of the Canadian Open Channels Exhibition at the 2020 International Frankfurt Book Fair.
Like many artists in Ottawa, Fitzgerald has struggled to find a studio in which to pursue her art practice. Her former studio was located behind Southminster United Church. When redevelopment forced her to move out, she approached Studio Space Ottawa with an offer to co-fund a studio build. Her new studio was completed in March of 2021.
However, many artists are not so lucky. In the next year or so in Ottawa, over 100 artists will be displaced from buildings and locations scheduled for redevelopment. This displacement means artists can no longer find appropriate spaces at affordable rents that will allow them to pursue their artistic practices and contribute to Ottawa’s cultural vibrancy.
Studio Space Ottawa was built with an initial 20 studios, with the help of their landlord, Kaladar Holdings, who invested $150,000 in the project. Two more studios were added on the first floor in January 2020, for ceramics and metal working with specialized electrical service and ventilation. A second ceramic studio was completed in December of that year. The construction of four more studios on the first floor in October 2021 was the last project to be completed. The 13 planned new studios will cement Studio Space Ottawa’s place as a critically important fixture in the Ottawa art scene.
This expansion allowed another Glebe resident, co-author Susan Cartwright, to find a home for her printmaking practice – and her two etching presses. She trained at the Ottawa School of Art under the tutelage of Robert Hinchley and creates both relief and intaglio prints, primarily based on images of nature. She has exhibited, and has collectors located in Canada and overseas.
Studio Space Ottawa is located at 2477 Kaladar Avenue (near Bank and Heron). Visit studiospaceottawa.ca for more details and fundraiser ticket purchases ($25 on Eventbrite)
Come out and support this important part of cultural Ottawa, meet our members and try your hand at making art! Help us create new studios for emerging and established artists. Make this a date night with a difference and support your local artists.
For more information, contact Ada Brzeski. Ada.email@example.com or 613-222-1810.
Ada Brzeski is a ceramic artist living in Old Ottawa South, and Susan Cartwright is a printmaker living in the Glebe.
Courtesy Studio Space Ottawa