Happy Anniversary, Arts Underground

Arts Underground recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a small party and the launch of a show commemorating the anniversary, called ten. ten features art by the Yukon Arts Society Members, and it includes a variety of mediums.

Since 2005, the small gallery/workshop has hosted a variety of shows, ranging from the political to the exploratory. Some notable artists that have held shows at Arts Underground include Emma Barr, Nicole Bauberger, Jesse Devost, Samantha Dickie and Misha Donohoe.

Arts Underground got it’s start in 2004, when Mary-Jane Warshawski approached the Hougen Group of Companies with the idea of creating an art space to support arts groups, artists and the community.

The Hougens, strong supporters of the arts and long-time community advocates, offered to house the facility in the lower level of their Main Street facility.

They also offered a 5-year rent- and utility-free lease, which was eventually extended.

The concept grew to showcase Yukon Heritage, so Friends of the Yukon Archive Society and MacBride Museum also joined the Hougen Group and created the Hougen Heritage Gallery.

As is well-known, Rolf Hougen was an avid photographer, and a number of his photographs still grace the walls of a variety of places today.

The Hougens’ appreciation of the arts has been long documented, both in this publication and beyond. Such is their appreciation that in 2011, Rolf Hougen received a Globe and Mail Business for the Arts Partnership Award.

The current show at the Hougen Heritage Gallery, called Many Voices: Music in the Yukon 1896-1996, explores the history of music in the Yukon. Included in the show are reminders of the talented artists who have called this territory home for a long time.

Moving forward, it’s imperative that such a space remains available to Whitehorse residents. Beyond the art, the space also contains pottery and glass kilns, pottery wheels, easels, and a meeting space. The space is a boon for artists all of mediums.

Arts Underground is a valuable asset downtown, and since its inception, it has openly encouraged artists of all sorts to work there, spend time there, and enjoy Yukon artists. Such a space guarantees exposure for new artists, while at the same time allowing established artists to mentor and support the upcoming talent.  

Community members are encouraged to check out the show ten, perhaps while doing some Christmas shopping downtown. The show runs until Dec. 31. Any art purchased can be picked up in time for Christmas.

The Arts Underground is located at 305 Main Street. It’s open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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