At the end of 2012 we received a phone call from Brandon Dalmer, a tenant in one of the houses we had recently acquired on 5th Avenue NW in Sunnyside/Kensington (the future home of VEN Condos). While Brandon lived on 5th Avenue he also created an art gallery in the property’s garage, known simply as the “EIGHTOHNINE“.
When Brandon learned that Bucci had purchased the 11 homes on the street, and planned to demolish them as part of the preparation for building a new condominium project, he got an idea: How about using the homes for a temporary community art installation! Brandon reached out to Bucci for support in donating the use of the homes for one month prior to their demise.
We loved the idea as long as we could work around the timing and sort out a few insurance and liability items. These items were dealt with in due course and voilà, the temporary community art installation, aptly named WRECK CITY, was born.
With the help of Caitlind Brown, Brandon assembled an amazing group of artist/curators to help organize and execute WRECK CITY. The team consisted of:
Matthew Mark Bourree (Artist-Curator of 805 5th Ave NW)
Jennifer Crighton (Artist-Curator of 803 5th Ave NW)
Andrew Frosst (Artist-Curator of 819 5th Ave NW)
John Frosst (Artist-Curator of 807 5th Ave NW)
Shawn Mankowske (Artist-Curator of 621 5th Ave NW)
Ryan Scott (Artist-Curator of 809 5th Ave NW)
Together, this ensemble has founded galleries, instigated long-term collectives, run festivals, toured art around the world, and measurably influenced the structure of independent art in Calgary. Members of the ensemble have been involved with similar pre-demolition projects, including The Leona Drive Project in Toronto and The House Project in Calgary.
As Artist-Curators, these folks differ from formal Curators in the sense that they are free not only to organize and direct spaces within the project, but also to participate as artists.
WRECK CITY was held from April 19 – 27th, 2013. Over 5000 people toured the homes.
On April 23rd Mike Bucci, Shane Styles, Troy Abromaitis and Greg Nelson of Bucci Developments toured the homes. Collectively we were beyond impressed at the time, energy and creativity that went into the art installations.
On behalf of Bucci, thank you to the team of curators, artists and volunteers who helped to put together such an amazing event and perfect send off to these homes before they metamorphosize into VEN and new homes for 115 families.
Cheers, Shane Styles