Our History

Open Space building, 1976

As one of the oldest artist-run centres in Canada, Open Space, in conjunction with other centres like it, has played a signicant role in the development of contemporary art in Canada. Open Space has hosted thousands of artists and also publishes, manages a resource centre, maintains archives, and manages a commercial lease for the lower level of its building. 

 

1971 Gene Miller begins programming visual art, theatrical performances, and literary events at 510 Fort Street. 

 

1972 The centre is incorporated in October under the name The Greater Victoria Theatre Box Society. Music programming begins with Don Druik’s piano and electronic compositions. 

 

1975 510 Fort Street is purchased. 

 

1977 The Theatre Box Society changes its name to Open Space Arts Society. 

 

1978 New music begins with Bill Bartlett’s and John Celona’s Collaboratory

 

1978 Sat-Tel-Comp is one of the first telematic video transmissions utilizing satellite technology; this project identified Open Space as a leader in new media. 

 

1983 Diana Burgoyne’s performance Digital Body in the downtown areas of Victoria is one of the earliest experiments with electronic sound as part of an interactive performance. 

 

1986 Open Space initiates the Open Ears Series with the new music concert series Monday Nights at Open Space

 

1987 Open Space receives national attention for its Gallery on Wheels project.  

1996 Open Space board moved to dissolve Open Space; special members meeting reverses the dissolution decision and elects a new board. Volunteers James Lindsay, Roz McMurchy, and Dianne Searle manage Open Space for a year until funding and operations stabilize.  

 

1998 Open Space board and staff contract a facilitator to develop a Strategic Plan.  

 

1998 Open Space website is initiated as a programming space.  

 

2001 Open Space begins a partnership with Interactive Futures, an international symposium, art installation, and new media festival affiliated with the Victoria Independent Film and Video Festival. 

 

2004 Open Space begins developing a comprehensive print, audio, and digital Resource Centre @ Open Space in 1999 and launches it in 2004 with the support of the Vancouver Foundation.

 

2004 Audiospace extends the physical space of the artist-run centre by presenting audio works designed specifically for web dissemination. 

 

2008 Open Space establishes the Open Space Endowment, managed by the Victoria Foundation.

 

2013 Audiospace develops a physical exhibition space solely dedicated to sound.

 

2014 France Trépanier begins her residency as Aboriginal Curator.