Artists in a Pandemic: Studio Space Ottawa brings “fun” to fundraising
Above: Fenced, 36" x 24", Acrylics on canvas byJadzia Romaniec
Located off that stretch of road north of Ottawa South but below Billings Bridge, in one of the more industrial buildings near the Canadian Tire, you’ll find Studio Space Ottawa (SSO). Providing “stable, affordable, open, healthy and safe working spaces for practising artists.” The location opened in 2019, and the group has had to face the pandemic’s challenges early in its life.
“SSO is a place for visual artists and makers at all stages of their career pathways. This includes the established artist, the-mid career artist, and the emerging artist,” the organization writes. “We foster an environment where people can conduct their practice independently while maintaining a high level of artistic professionalism, personal development, and peer relationships.”
“Because SSO spaces are generally private studios, they are conducive to social distancing,” says Jadzia Romaniec, a representative with SSO. “This has allowed many of our artists to keep working through Covid and keep the creative energy flowing.”
She is not alone—other artists with SSO have also been productive during this challenging time. Vivian Törs’ Permission to Speak exhibit is running at Ottawa City Hall, and Lorenza Ziraldo’s exhibition “We Meet Again?” is on display at the Orange Art Gallery. Both shows run until November, while Atticus Gordon is on an art residency in Berlin with SomoS.
Romaniec is an artist herself, and says that the pandemic has been fruitful for her work. “Like many people, I found myself becoming more introspective during the pandemic,” she says. “With that, I developed some ideas that I have been thinking about for a long time. This resulted in the start of a new body of work. An element in my new series is the figure taken out of any specific context. I believe the increased social isolation during the pandemic played a role in painting ungrounded and decontextualized figures.”
That is not to say that everything is as it was. SSO artists have had to deal with similar pandemic issues as other people have. “An impact of Covid was that supplies such as certain paints and painting mediums became scarce,” says Romaniec. “Several of the artists resorted to online orders which took a long time and have significantly increased their costs.”
Currently SSO is kicking of a campaign called “Funfair Bags*”; a limited run of 75 bags containing valuable art, treats and access to live shows. Funfair was a former tenant of the SSO location, so as a throwback they’re holding a fundraiser with its name. “Funfair Bag is inspired by the history of our building…and celebrates our current organization of artists,” notes Christos Pantieras, an artist and member of SSO. ““We are fundraising to build more spaces for Ottawa visual artists.”
Each SSO Funfair Bag will include two artworks from SSO donor artists, a one-in-75 chance at a beautiful mosaic ring, and access to exclusive live shows by musician Andrew Parton and magician Chris Pilsworth.
Live shows have changed in the pandemic too, of course. Pilsworth will bring his illusions to buyers via a ZOOM call, via a special link. Parton, a singer-songwriter based in Ottawa, will pre-record a set exclusive to the SSO Funfair Bag supporters, which will be viewable over November 26th to the 29th via a date-limited link.
Many artists have had to find new ways to make ends meet in these challenging circumstances. Through a mix of in-person exhibitions with some new rules, and by creating unique products that make their patrons feel special, SSO is doing just that.
To support Studio Space Ottawa's campaign order a Funfair Bag at www.studiospaceottawa.ca
*Artists participating in Funfair Bags include: Tiffany April, John Archer, Kathy Bergquist, Ada Brzeski, Bilgin Buberoglu, Willem Deisinger, Julien Delannoy, Niki Economo, Atticus Gordon, Victoria Palmer, Jadzia Romaniec, and Vivian Törs.
About the header image "Fenced":
“Like many people, I found myself becoming more introspective during the pandemic. With that, I developed some ideas that I have been thinking about for a long time. This resulted in the start of a new body of work. An element in my new series is the figure taken out of any specific context. I believe the increased social isolation during the pandemic played a role in painting ungrounded and decontextualized figures. I have attached an example of the work in my new series.” – Jadzia Romaniec