Ur Room aims to create an inclusive artspace.

PHOTO COURTESY: RAVEN LAM

RU artists open Ur Room

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By Alexandria Lee

Looking for a welcoming environment in the art community, a group of Ryerson students is opening Ur Room, a multimedia art space based on inclusivity.

“We feel like the [fine art] industry is a little difficult to break into and thought this would be a good way to motivate ourselves, and others as well, to just do it, just get out there and create,” said co-founder Fiona Kenney.

The artspace — started by Kenney, Camila Rocha, Raven Lam, Maggie Alpaugh and Madeleine Etmanski — showcases “up-and-coming Toronto designers, artists and troublemakers.” And instead of focusing on specific mediums, Ur Room’s founders look to include all photographers, videographers, fashion designers and more.

“We were tired of having ideas of wanting to create, but feeling that we couldn’t do it because we’re not actually in arts programs ourselves,” Kenney, a creative industries student, said.

So, the founders created Ur Room, welcoming new artists looking to join the community.

“[Your bedroom] is the most comfortable space you could ever think of and where you’re yourself,” Rocha said. “It’s your room, [where] you can be the most true form of yourself.”

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29 Huron St. Photo: Al Downham

The five second-year students are either in interior design (Etmanski), creative industries (Kenney, Alpaugh, Rocha) or media production (Lam).

The Ur Room founders draw inspiration from their own academic backgrounds, and undertake new projects in different mediums.

“Our whole idea is being able to explore our identities and being able to branch out — it’s unrestricted,” said Rocha. “So much of what we’ve seen in the past is separation, like, ‘Oh, you take pictures? This is your space, this is only what you can do.’”

Lam — whose piece focuses on “looking yourself in the mirror and seeing objects from your past, present, and future” — and Rocha  made seperate three-dimensional works, while Kenney’s graphic design prints depict “women trying to be cute and naive whilst also mature and independent.” Alpaugh’s fashion focuses on combining “words of rebellion with innocent looking clothing” and Etmanski is creating a resin sculpture, something she said is “completely out of her element.”

In addition to the founders’ art, local musicians Lithe & Free and KIDSHELPPHONE will be DJing. For future openings, the group encourages anyone to join.

“[We’ll accept] anything that somebody wants to call their art, and if we can accommodate we will show it,” said Lam.

The theme of the gallery will change each month, but loose interpretations are welcome.

“We want to be this blank slate — who are we to say whether or not your art’s good, we think that art is subjective,” said Rocha.

The founders of Ur Room are looking to recruit anyone wishing to submit for next month’s gallery.

The opening reception is Friday at 9 p.m. at 29 Huron St. There is a $2 entrance fee.

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