Imagine walking into a condominium lobby where it’s not another cookie cutter design and merely a space to hypnotically walk through to get to a bank of elevators. Better yet, imagine standing in front of that bank of elevators and not staring at the numbers above, internally cheering them on like you were at a horse race. Cheering it to come to the main floor and not make one more quick stop at parking level three. Better yet, the more you focus on the numbers, the more you don’t have to talk to the other resident or residents waiting beside because you don’t really know them. “I can’t see you…. you can’t see me …c’mon “M” …c’mon “M” …you can do it!”
Imagine further, a condominium that regularly tries to get everyone together on a day other than the annual general meeting. A condominium that wants you to get to know the person standing beside you so you can say hi when you see them.
Sound too good to be true?
Well, not at the Liberty Market Lofts at 5 Hanna Avenue, in Liberty Village. Not with their engaging and stunning art gallery placed right in the lobby and directly in front of the elevators. Not only will you not mind waiting for your elevator to arrive, you may just happily miss a few before needing to press the call button again.
I have recently been asked with some fellow artists to provide the artwork for their lobby gallery for the next four months. What an exciting thing this has turned out to be. To bring the art to an audience rather than have them come to us! And what a breath of fresh air meeting with a condo board that looks for ways to engage their residents and create a greater sense of community.
Each month new art is added and then there is an RSVP “Meet the Artists” evening on the first Tuesday of the month where the residents and invited friends and guests can attend. A chance to interact and talk with the artists – and with each other. You do know artists like to meet you in person, as much as for you to be engaged with our artwork right? It’s a great evening! Neighbours get to know each other, we get to know them, and we all get to enjoy art.
The best part? The residents don’t have to look at the same pieces of art day after day, month after month and year after year. The truth is, after a while, most don’t even see the art on the same wall anymore. The wall may as well be blank. But not at Liberty Market Lofts. The art changes every four to six weeks to completely re-invite and re-engage both the space and the people who inhabit it.
Recently, I overheard a condo resident come downstairs to a waiting guest and apologize for making them wait. The friends’ response was: “Are you kidding? I’m loving waiting, these artworks are great!“ Pointing to one in particular they mention: “ I’ve actually been looking for something like this.” They then took the time to look at the work and discuss it, instead of just rushing off to do whatever they were going to do with their day.
Before they left I said “If you like that artists’ work…you can grab their card over there.” And they did. Who knows? Maybe the artist just made a sale.
Yet, another win for this gallery-in-a-lobby idea.
I think more condo’s need to take notice and follow their lead. We seem to talk a lot about the outside of buildings in Toronto and not enough about the inside. Where we actually live.
A lot could be learned from what is going on at the Liberty Markets Lofts. And let’s face it, you can never have too much art in the world.
Andrew Stelmack is a Toronto Abstract artist and you can find more about him at his website www.astelmack.com Instagaram: andrew_stelmack
Email: [email protected] Cell: 416-690-3422
The collective he is showing with is called The Abstructionists and you can learn more about them at www.abstructionists.com