Midweek Mugging: Gallery 101

By Drew May

Each week, OttawaMatters.com features a local business doing interesting things in the community through its 'Mid-Week Mugging.' If you know of a business which you think should be featured, send a note to news@ottawamatters.com.

Gallery 101 is settling into its new digs at 280 Catherine Street, after moving from the Little Italy area.

“Artists tend to be isolated in their own studios and they’re doing their own thing,” said Laura Margita, Curator and Director of Gallery 101. “It’s really important that we have spaces where we can come together and talk. That’s what Gallery 101 is.”

The art gallery serves a wide range of functions. Margita said it is a place for artists to show off their work to the public and refine their skills, but above all Gallery 101 is a place for people across communities to make connections.

The gallery makes it a priority to bring together Indigenous people, non-Indigenous people and new immigrants to Canada. Margita said Gallery 101 took the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action seriously and does outreach to help people better understand each other through art.

“It’s important that we connect,” she said. “Gallery 101 is here to make the connection between as many people as we can and between ourselves because there’s all sorts of things we can learn.”

One of the ways the gallery does this is by organizing workshops around making art and hosting discussion groups. Gallery 101 recently hosted a workshop on making tobacco bags, a form of Indigenous art. She said this is also a way the gallery celebrates different types of excellence in art, separate from what many people think the “best” art is.

“We might see something that someone dismissed as not art, such as maybe a tobacco bag or some sort of different kind of thing like that, it won’t be dismissed anymore. We make a space for it.”

Gallery 101 also hosts free movie screenings to reach out into the broader community. Margita said the gallery partners with outside organizations to show films both at festivals and in the gallery. She said at Winterlude they projected a movie onto a wall of snow and over the summer the gallery will host a viewing of Maker of Monsters: The Extraordinary Life of Beau Dick outdoors in Dundonald Park.

“We try to go beyond our footprint.”

The first showing in the new space is artist Lee Henderson’s The Known Effects of Lightning on the Body, a collection of video, prints and sculptures in three display areas, which is on until July 6. One of the contemporary pieces by Henderson currently on display is an urn containing the burned ashes of a published first edition Franz Kafka story, which the author didn’t want publicly released after he died.

The gallery’s new location is across from the Greyhound bus station in Centretown. Margita said the plan was originally to move and complete renovations in three months, but the process ended up taking twice as long. The space gives the gallery two floors to display on and large windows for natural lighting. She said they also plan to host events in the parking lot behind the building and project movies outdoors on the back wall of the gallery.

Gallery 101 is open Thursday and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Art aficionados can also book tours of the gallery from Tuesday to Friday starting at 10 a.m.



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