Open Sesame

Written by Jude Doble | Photography by Brian Limoyo

Photo of Lauren and Sarah inside Open Seseame  

The magic words for local arts. 

The floor-to-ceiling windows at Kitchener's newest arts and culture hub, Open Sesame, provide the perfect lighting for the large-scale gallery wall. This is one of the few places in the region that local, emerging, and mid-career artists, can showcase their work.

Open Sesame owner Lauren Weinberg, a recent transplant and arts writer from Chicago, opened the shop-meets-gallery last fall in response to a gap in the region's art scene; artists were in need of a home base. The thoughtfully designed items for sale are intended to subsidize the exhibitions, concerts, and workshops hosted in the space. While a roster of exciting arts events are in the works, a key feature of Open Sesame is the gallery space, and Lauren has enlisted the help of local curator and artist, Sarah Kernohan, to curate the gallery.

"I met Sarah when she was CAFKA's artistic director," says Lauren. "I was impressed by her curatorial work, knowledge of contemporary Canadian art, and connections to local artists."

Sarah, a landscape artist, is passionate about finding ways to present the work of regional artists. "There are many talented local artists, but there aren't many local platforms to show their work, outside of Toronto," says Sarah. "Open Sesame can help change that."

The gallery exhibits will run in six to eight week cycles and they are consciously focusing on affordable work, hoping to encourage gallery visitors to become art buyers.

"We want to help people discover local talent, develop their sense of curiosity, and find something beautiful to bring home,"
says Sarah.

They are optimistic that the workshops, concerts, and art exhibitions will help entice people to visit downtown in the evenings and weekends.
"We've started to build great momentum and I can't wait to see how things unfold," says Lauren.


@OpenSesameKW  |  opensesameshop.com


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