FIND the next dimension of the CUBE
Transitions are bittersweet and that’s certainly the feeling in the community with the recent closure of the bricks-and-mortar version of CUBE gallery. Their newfound freedom will allow its formidable owners to focus on other curatorial efforts in a variety of venues and formats throughout Ottawa.
Establishing and nurturing CUBE Gallery has been a labour of love. After opening near the Parkdale Market in 2005, Don and Becky bought the building (now for sale) on Wellington Street West that became CUBE’s new home in 2010. Since then, the gallery has mounted over 200 shows and helped to reshape how many people experience contemporary Canadian art. “We called it CUBE because there is an old saying that the modern art gallery has become a white cube accessible only to the elite and anointed. We intentionally turned that model on its head,” explains Don.
Innovation was woven into the fabric of CUBE. The gallery hosted video shoots, book launches, birthday parties, live theatre, weddings, concerts, business meetings and celebrations of life. The same philosophy of making art accessible to all also saw Don curating exhibitions at the nearby Fritzi Gallery at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. In a unique artistic partnership, Don paired artwork with the plays mounted during GCTC’s mainstage theatre season.
Don – a successful artist in his own right – was also responsible for spearheading innovations such as the First Thursdays Art Walk, which saw galleries throughout Wellington Village and Hintonburg keep their doors open late to encourage strolling the area to enjoy world-class art, good vibes and good conversation.
A hugely popular event at CUBE was the annual end-of-year Great Big Smalls exhibition, which Don says was always near and dear to their hearts. The show offered an expansive collection of small works by artists currently hanging in the National Gallery of Canada alongside the up-and-comers who will be there next.
Another annual event that garnered rave reviews was CUBE Gallery’s Nocturne, a free, community-based, family-friendly art show and festival dedicated to the night sky. It featured free lectures, music, sidewalk telescope parties and offerings from other local businesses.
While the Ottawa art scene is undeniably richer thanks to CUBE, its closure is by no means the end of the road. “I always looked at the gallery as a project and as an artist I have a short attention span so fourteen years is a significant accomplishment,” notes Don. “The first step in this new chapter will be to take a long-overdue vacation, after which we will begin to shape our new role in the Ottawa arts scene,” he explained. “We are excited about transitioning into a new way of promoting Canadian art and artists and are optimistic that the steadfast support that kept the gallery going all these years will continue.”
They also hope to continue seeing their many patrons, friends and other business owners along the Wellington strip. “Wellington Village is blessed with many fabulous galleries, restaurants, live theatre and other independently-owned small businesses,” Becky says. “It’s not an easy way to make a living, but they are at the heart of our community. We urge you to continue to support them and help grow that vibe that is so uniquely Wellington West.”
Details on future projects will be unveiled on CUBE’s website, as well as its social media feeds.
Keyword tags: WWBIA, Wellington West, Ottawa, art, art gallery, contemporary Canadian art, accessible, community, small business