We’re about to enter into an impossible project. Why do we do this to ourselves?
There are eight of us – the “Artist-Curators” behind WRECK CITY: An Epilogue for 809. We were rallied together by the battle calls of Brandon Dalmer and Shawn Mankowske, two of the original cool-cats behind 809 Gallery. “809 is being destroyed,” they said, “and all the houses surrounding it. Could we do an 809 House Project?”
809 was (and is) a beloved DIY art space based in a little green garage in Sunnyside, Calgary. Devoted to showing the work of a diverse collection of artists from Calgary and beyond, the gallery was hatched as the mad scheme of a clan of fresh ACAD-grads in 2007, and while it was intended to remain open for only eight-hundred-and-nine days, the gallery was revitalized in 2012 and has since been hosting a Residency Program. But the (second) end is near! For REAL this time.
To clarify, 809 was Calgary’s first prominent pop-up garage gallery. The gallery played a pivotal role in shaping Calgary’s contemporary DIY-subculture, allowing emerging and established artists an accessible space to show and view art together, and influencing a growing trend of awesome alternative art spaces that includes Haight Gallery, AVALANCHE! Institute of Contemporary Art, and many more. Some fabulous artists got their start at 809 – everyone from rising art stars to established artistic cool-cats (Kris Karklin, Elaine Cameron Weir, Richard Brown, Josh Holinaty, etc). By the end of WRECK CITY, three of our Artist-Curators will have been with 809 from start to finish: Brandon Dalmer, Shawn Mankowske, and Ryan Scott.
Still, nostalgia for 809 aside, ahead of us is an impossible project! Within the next three weeks we are accepting Submissions from Calgary’s best and brightest artists, musicians, and performing artists to re-imagine not just 809, but the surrounding 11-houses/garages/yards. WRECK CITY is a BEHEMOTH of project. Boy are we in for a wild ride.