The Open Storefront Project is an initiative of On The Boards Staging Company. The goal of the project is to provide artists with a temporary space in which to create, as well as to bring life to unleased storefront spaces. We partner with retail businesses and building owners to provide the space free-of-charge to artists. We hope that our animation of the different spaces allows the public to see into the process of the arts and to promote the leasable space to potential buyers or renters. With every leasing of the spaces we animate, we feel a lot of pride and are excited to see where we go next.
The Open Storefront Project launched at the end of September 2016, in collaboration with Brainsport. Using their old store space on Broadway Avenue, only a few groups were able to work in it before it was quickly leased by Wanuskewins’ pop-up store. Artists producing Apple as part of Live Five’s season, were one of the groups to work in this space. (pictured above)
Next, we moved across the street at the invitation of Calories Restaurant and Bakery to use the empty storefront next to them. Before that space was leased, we hosted many artist groups including The Short Cuts Festival, The U of S Senior Studio Art Class, the team behind Live Five’s Pink Unicorn and Sum Theatre.
The Open Storefront has moved to Confederation Mall and has already seen a significant increase in use. This space is much larger than our previous spaces and has many additional benefits, such as free wifi, access to the food court, and charging stations for phones or laptops. “Confed” has been renovating its building and remodeling its role in the neighbourhood, becoming a hub for the community, not only a place to shop. Having an arts presence is an important part of that.(Confed Open Storefront pictured above)
The fact that we can only use space temporarily and have to move around at first seemed to be a negative. But it has proved to be an asset. Now we look forward to being able to provide all of Saskatoon with an opportunity to see into the window of an artist’s world, and all artists with the opportunity to use this free creation space.
Sometimes one space isn’t enough to support all the artists who want to work. Or the space isn’t suitable for the type of work being developed. On these occasions, we have partnered with others to provide a “pop-up” location for a specific project. e.g. The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra let a group use their storefront office space for rehearsals evenings, after their work day was finished. So, if you know of a suitable storefront or pop-up space for The Open Storefront Project, we would love to hear from you.
For artists wishing to rent The Open Storefront, it is FREE and we accept bookings on an ongoing basis. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
See someone working in the storefront? Let us know about it by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or using the hashtag #osfproject