Off the Grid art tour goes more mainstream

Julie Gennai and Aubrey Burke pose in front of a skyscraper-like sculpture at the Ministry of Casual Living on Haultain Street. The tiny windowfront gallery is part of Friday’s Off the Grid art tour organized by the pair.

Art crawl expands to more than 30 sites

The gulf between artist-run galleries and privately owned commercial exhibit and sales spaces has been rather wide in past.

An event happening Friday (June 10) from 6 to 10 p.m. aims to strengthen that relationship and give art patrons a greater sense of what’s happening in the arts community in Greater Victoria.

Organizers of the fifth annual Off the Grid arts “crawl,” have extended the olive branch to include commercial galleries on the tour.

“Off the Grid started as an event put on by the artist-run centres, all these little galleries, and was circulated mainly in artist-run networks,” says co-organizer Aubrey Burke of the Ministry of Casual Living gallery.

“As we grow, it’s kind of funny to keep with that theme, because we’re getting more and more encompassing and really getting to be more ‘on the grid.’”

This year’s free tour has expanded to 26 galleries and includes eight off-site projects, such as the pole-painting initiative in Fernwood and the balcony mural above XChanges gallery on Government Street.

Burke estimates between 60 and 70 artists overall will be represented at the various sites. Artists will be in attendance at most of the galleries.

To transport people around the tour sites, two 56-passenger school buses will do a continuous loop between six locations. A free after-party happens at Open Space gallery, 510 Fort St., from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., where people can meet and mingle with the artists.

Maps of Off the Grid sites are available at all the galleries. For a complete list, visit or call 250-857-8910.

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