I was recently introduced to the wonderful folks at Urban Source Catering and their adjoining Urban Gallery, the awesome event space and art gallery located at 400 Queen St East in downtown Toronto. I’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of artist receptions and salons at Urban Gallery over the past couple of months and wanted to share their story and promote their business to my readers. I asked Gallery Manager Calvin Hambrook and Event Coordinator Kaspara Albertsen to share the story of Urban Gallery and how artists can participate with shows and exhibitions.
What inspired the Urban Source Catering team to expand into an event space/gallery? We had always planned on having an event space and Calvin wanted an art gallery, too, so when the space at 400 Queen Street East became available, we jumped at the chance to have both combined in one…and right next door, too!
Do you have any specific criteria for artists considering a show at Urban Gallery? We’re a new gallery so we are open to artists in various media, working in a wide variety of subjects.
Allen Shugar is your curator – how did Allen join the team and what is his function as far as choosing artists/curating the pieces that are hung in Urban Gallery? Allen is Calvin’s life partner and a talented artist. He studied design at the Bauhaus School in Chicago and has a broad knowledge of the arts and art history. He also has a keen eye for the specialized task of curating art, group shows being more difficult and time-consuming than most but Allen always pleases the artists and the public with his curating. [Pictured below:Calvin (left) and Allen (right) flank recent exhibiting artist, Shannon Moyer-Szemenyei ]
How do you help promote each show for the artists? We advertise in Slate Art Guide (their magazine & online version) and on www.torontoart.com plus we have our own website & social media. Since opening in November of 2012, Urban Gallery has built a contact list of over 1,200 visitors & art aficionados so each exhibition benefits from a promotional e-mail campaign.
Do you have any relationships with arts associations, groups, etc.? We are currently part of the 2014 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival and World Pride Toronto 2014, and we are considering participating with other arts groups and associations in the future as we grow our reputation as a gallery.
How has the opening of the gallery impacted the neighbourhood? Have you noticed it attracts new visitors to the Queen East historic district? We have noticed an increased foot traffic since we opened, and we know that many of our visitors are pleasantly surprised by the vivacity and safety of the neighbourhood, and the many new businesses and shops opening along the historic Queen Street East strip.
Do you have plans to hold special catered events in the space? Yes, we will be hosting events during our Group Show Pride of Place in June 2014, as well as various events during Pride and World Pride. We’re also working on our 2nd Group Show in September, the visually delicious “Art of Food” when we will be featuring tasty selections from our catering menu during the Show’s run.
Urban Source Catering celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015 – any special celebrations planned in the gallery space? Yes, we will ‘kick off’ the 30th Anniversary Celebrations with the aforementioned Group Show “Art of Food”, and will also host events each month leading up to the 30th Anniversary on March 8, 2015.
Who/how can artists contact you for possible exhibitions? Calvin is the Gallery Manager and is the main contact for booking exhibitions, but they can also speak with Kaspara Albertsen to make their initial inquiry. Artists can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 647-460-1278.
Any special shows coming up this year? Upcoming Exhibitions: July: artist Alex Taves • August: artist Linda Langerak • October: artist J. David Murphy • November: photographer Karen Silver • December: artist Erik Chong
- I SEE is a photography exhibit in May 2014 for Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival
- Pride of Place is our gallery group show for PRIDE and WORLD PRIDE in June 2014
- Art of Food is our second group show in 2014, featuring food-themed art and our Chef Lyndon Wiebe’s food artistry
We have a number of “Art Salons” (pictured below) planned and also have several exhibitions already scheduled for 2015, and are receiving inquiries daily for exhibition opportunities!
And a final message from Gallery Manager, Calvin Hambrook:
I’ve been very happy with the interest and enthusiasm from the artists and gallery visitors, not only for the ‘No Commission’ concept, but also for the beauty of the space – its elegance and simplicity. I’m delighted by Kaspara’s pleasant and efficient handling of inquiries and events and, of course, Allen’s excellent curating talent. We are all very proud of Urban Gallery’s contribution to the local community’s well-being as well as the general Toronto arts community!
(L to R) Calvin, Kaspara & Allen – the heart, soul and artistic driving forces behind URBAN GALLERY