The city might be bundled under the white stuff right now, but that doesn't mean that the graffiti scene in Ottawa is in hibernation. This city has struggled over the last few decades with a fear of 'funk' and now there is a neat little place in town that is doing something about it.
Fall Down Gallery opened last year in May when House of Paint plans were going up. Since then, the folks that make this new scene happen (Robbie and Tarek) have found creative ways to kill the winter blues with a mad mix of DJs, local artists, clothing, bar in a welcoming performance space. Seriously: check 'em out!
Falldown Gallery Open Mic Night from Philip K on Vimeo.
Most recently, they hosted their second open mic night! It was just the right amount of 'welcoming community' and 'wild talent' that would attract folks to both watch AND play. Who knows, I might just get brave enough by the next one to tag that sign up sheet. It is a refreshing spin on your typical 'open mic' in this town, and it is definitely a great way to fully exploit the gallery space! More importantly, this galley is helping foster a legitimacy for urban art in a City that has attempted to legislate it out of site, out of mind.
By the way, this is my 'old' guitar made new by local writer Doll. I pulled it out in all its glory for a quick set with my partner at Quinn's last open mic of 2011. The guitar was a hit, Doll. My guitar playin'...less so; but hey! We had fun! =)
Doll and Dems recently hosted a show over the holidays collaborating on some sharp work. They appear to be having a smashing time as well. I heard through the grapevine that they will be painting at Winterlude this year too, so watch for em!
What a way to get through an Ottawa winter!
A final shout out to Kenji, a cultural planner with the City of Ottawa, who is trying to make some noise in Ottawa by putting together an Action Plan for Arts Heritage & Culture. Its another way to hopefully get local folks more comfortable with some kinds of urban art. Certainly, with the City making plans to work on the 'mobility' of the downtown core over the next few years, the issue of who's voice is going to be allowed is one that we should all be concerned with.