A creative space for all
The Outpost, a new art gallery and venue in Kitchener, is a place for sharing community art and self-expression
The Outpost is a space for many types of artists to display their work in a variety of methods.
Run by long time friends Goran Dmitrovic and Syd Ursa, The Outpost came together after years of brainstorming and thinking through the logistics of operating such a venue.
The two met in their second year of economics at the University of Waterloo through a mutual friend while making music in a basement studio. They currently still hold their jobs in high-risk sales, however Ursa and Dmitrovic didn’t forget to take the time to bring The Outpost to fruition and continue working towards growing the venue to its full potential.
“It’s been close to two years now that we’ve been working on [The Outpost] … [although] the space has been here for two years, the concept goes back to us jamming out in the basement talking about what kind of venue would be interesting to create,” said Dmitrovic.
When you walk into The Outpost, you’re met with a surprising office-like welcoming area. However once through the doors beyond the desk, you’re introduced into the art space and fully immersed into all the different expressions of self.
Immediately, a projection on the wall ahead drew me in. I wondered how it functioned and what it signified. Two programmers from British Columbia, Michael Horniak and Mike Savage, created the webcam-detected light display which is operated by pointing a light into the webcam. It immediately casts streaks of colour onto the projection screen. Stimulated by the intensity and angle of light pointed into the webcam, this display kicked off my experience with a very interactive exhibit.
As I moved through the exhibit rooms to the right, I entered the Music Room where artists from across Canada have come to play. Another floor to ceiling exhibit is projected onto the far wall, except this particular exhibit is stimulated by sound, hence its perfect placement within the Music Room.
The unique atmosphere at The Outpost begs the question, which musical acts are usually most drawn into playing this venue?
“Electronic is the genre of music that envelopes the artists who primarily play at the Music Room, but it’s inaccurate to put them all under one umbrella term. You see one-man bands, to DJs, to full bands with equipment,” explained Dmitrovic.
Some bands that come to play also morph the projections to better set the mood for their show by projecting movies, clips and sometimes even digital clones of themselves.
Back stepping to the beginning of my experience and past walls well adorned with sculptures, paintings and drawings, I entered a dimly lit room to the left. This room, dubbed the Social Room, allows for guests to escape the Music Room if they want to take a break and lounge on the eclectic furniture.
The Outpost presents such stark separations between atmospheres of different rooms all within one unit, which gives guests the opportunity to experience multiple nights out all in one space. A taste of music, art and socialization come together and manage to create different energies, but also harmonize together.
Along the walls of the Social Room, I noticed one of the more seasoned artists’ work. Wendy Bones’ collection of drawings comes together on the walls to form a fairytale, which she’s been working on for a couple years.
“It’s about lost love and heartbreak. It’s the rise and fall of a princess named Justice, and there are around 14 images that create plot arches, a climax and resolve,” Ursa said.
While snacking on food laid out on the tables, you can make your way across the room to read the story of Justice and dissect the pop art-esque images.
The Outpost’s creators manage to maintain a level of quality by working alongside artists to curate the displayed content. They also mentioned many of the interested artists come from professional backgrounds.
Although they have been working on The Outpost for two years, they said it still has a long way to go, and for this reason, Ursa and Dmitrovic set up a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo. They hope to replace many of the space’s structural limitations to realize its true potential.
“We want to get better gear, lighting and generate money to create a schedule of particular nights that the public will grow to know as our themed nights,” said Ursa.
With so much going on at The Outpost, at times it may seem a bit cluttered with a mix of rough-edged and professional pieces of art. Reaching their goals with the campaign will help them to curate even better content to enhance the overall experience.