By: Tiffany Tse

While the Hundred Dollar Gallery may have recently concluded its final exhibition, its gallerists have been quick to begin a new project in the very same space.

Located at the corner of James Street North and Cannon, The Assembly co-op art gallery will re-open in the same location as the Hundred Dollar Gallery.

The low rent and supportive Hamilton community have encouraged the gallerists to prepare the space quickly to begin showcasing their artwork.

This time, an additional team of artists that will share the space to display their work which includes a diverse variety of abstract work, textile, 3D art, and more.

Stephen Altena, a local artist and gallerist, describes The Assembly as a natural fit for this gallery space.

His primary interest lies in Hamilton’s art scene and he believes that The Assembly will be a nice continuation from the Hundred Dollar Gallery he started with Andrew McPhail.

Altena’s colleague, Andrea Carvalho, agrees and reflects upon the established history of an artist-run co-op in downtown Hamilton.

The original art studios that inhabited the area in the 1970s were run often run on the co-operative model. The presence of popular restaurants, bars and cafes on their street provide The Assembly’s unique combination of being a co-op in a commercially-driven space and neighborhood.

A total of 16 members will work together to present this gallery, each of whom have been previously involved in the Hundred Dollar Gallery project.

“As things are quickly evolving and spaces are becoming more difficult to access, it’s important to continue having a foothold within the area for initiatives such as The Assembly,” explained Carvalho.

“When the idea of a co-op was first discussed, it was something that a few of us right away wanted to see happen, so we moved quickly to make sure it could happen.”

This is by no means the collective’s first venture together, having met through local art initiatives in the community. Altena describes a level of comfort amongst them that allows them to work together successfully in this capacity.

“Everyone is working on a professional practice and has similar goals and ambitions,” explained Carvalho.

Despite the challenge of making decisions with all 16 members, Altena and Carvalho welcome the new and unexpected challenges that may occur.

In fact, these challenges will bring them together as they share their passion to bring artists together to form connections with the public to create a sense of community.

The most significant goal of The Assembly is to present an opportunity for artists, emerging or established, to showcase their works.

It encourages experimentation and will allow local artists to develop their skills and build connections.

Join The Assembly for the presentation of their first exhibition, “Working in the Dark,” by John Haney on Nov.11, from 7-10 p.m.

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