Friday, October 9, 2015

Once A Courthouse

Arts Court houses a collection of galleries and arts groups in an old courthouse downtown near the Byward Market, and for Nuit Blanche, it was one of the hubs of the festival. This is a view of the building in daylight the following day. The structure dates back to 1870, built in the Italianate style, and was previously known as the Carleton County Courthouse.

This art installation of DeHavilland Beaver planes was set up in the SAW Gallery downstairs. It's titled Beavers, by the artist Frank Shebageget.

The offices of Opera Lyra can be found here at Arts Court as well. The company regularly performs at the National Arts Centre- at the end of September, they were doing a production of The Barber Of Seville, which will factor into a series I'll be doing down the line from a visit to the NAC I made a week after Nuit Blanche.

In one of the corridors, this cabinet contains stage masks belonging to Odyssey Theatre, which has facilities here as well. The company does outdoor performances during the summer, and inside performances across the city at other times of the year.

This space had been given over for the evening as a lounge for the animation festival also taking part in various venues in the city.

One of the groups here is the Ottawa Dance Directive, which had dance artists on hand for Nuit Blanche. A couple of those acts were a bit risque; the Sisters of Little Or No Mercy would have been shocked. This space was left open, with music playing as I passed by- and a girl dancing to the music.

Nearby, a winding corridor led to three company members engaged in two different acts. I photographed the second act at the end of the corridor- where the act consisted of two people painting. 

I have more from Arts Court tomorrow, but I'll leave off with this exterior night view of the north entrance.


  1. I love the look of the building from the outside, and I'm glad to see so much interesting work going on inside!

  2. I love the exterior of the building!

  3. There ar some interesting artpiece inside, the planes and that fallen lady make me smile.

  4. The planes are nice, but I can't really take seriously performance art.

  5. I've admired DeHavilland plane designs since I was very very young.

  6. I like the installation of DeHavilland Beaver planes in that wonderful building.

  7. Beautiful building. I like the hanging planes.

  8. They've made very good use of the old courthouse. You spent good time to get photos to show us this fine old building.

  9. @Halcyon: it's a well used building, and an expansion is underway.

    @Linda: I do too. It has a lot of character.

    @Marianne: it was a peculiar performance- there were other elements of the Directive I should have photographed, including three women who were silently going through a collection of signs, changing clothes regularly, and making their way through other performances.

    @VP: tomorrow's post might change your mind!

    @Revrunner: they're great planes, very handy in hard to reach places.

    @Jan: I saw that installation, and knew I wanted to photograph it.

    @Nancy: thanks!

    @Red: it's quite a conversion, but it's worked out well.

    1. I forgot to mention my favorite "the Beaver". I've flown many hours in a beaver so it's sentimental for me.

  10. my Dad raised to love plane. he would work on the Beaver (not sure of the #'s, or right name, whatnot) over in Germany during his time in the Army. he loved it & I am blessed to have a loved for all planes. it is awesome to see the old birds flying over. they have an awesome sound too.

    love the masks too. we made similar ones in my senior art class. have a nice weekend. ( :

  11. What a fabulous place for arts groups to gather. I love it.

  12. So many 'arty' events here on this special night William. I love this kind of event, can be a lot of fun and sometimes a little weird :) The old courthouse itself is wonderful old building.

  13. It's wonderful that that fine building has been turned into an arts centre.

  14. I really like the Beavers installation!

  15. You must have spent a lot of time on this one!

  16. I'd be drawn to the balsa wood aircraft... and the masks. LOVE masks of all types. You know that. Seen my avatar?

  17. This looks like a very interesting place. I would like to go there.

  18. It's exactly the opposite of what happened to the courthouse in my home town of Townsville in Australia. It began as a school of fine arts then was turned into a court. Eventually a new modern court house was built and it became an administrative centre. then burned down. (It was a wooden building).

  19. @Beth: the Beavers really are beautiful planes. I liked this installation.

    @Sharon: it is definitely well used.

    @Grace: I'm surprised that I haven't photographed Arts Court before now.

    @RedPat: it's an ideal use- and one can still make guesses as to which rooms were courtrooms.

    @EG: me too.

    @Norma: I did!

    @Marleen: it is.

    @Birdman: oh, I figured you would!

    @Denise: it's quite a place to visit.

    @Tex: I agree.

    @Loire: the current city courthouse is not that far away from this one, and looks quite a bit different.

  20. That must be a year-round festival with all that activity.

  21. Great! I have seen courthouses previously converted into art spaces. I wonder what it is about courthouses that makes them so nicely amenable to art? Maybe it is the openness.

  22. Very interesting things to see there.

  23. It looks like the courthouse is being put to good use - it looks like a buzz of activity. Lots going on.

  24. @Red: the Beavers are such a versatile aircraft.

    @Mari: no, just one night, though Arts Court gets used all year around.

    @Jack: in this case it really works beautifully.

    @Janey: indeed!

    @Kay: it was quite busy that night.

  25. Liked all your interesting things to see. Thanks.

  26. The masks looked creepy. Like that might talk or something.

  27. I like creativity even when it gets strange.

  28. @Carolann: You're welcome.

    @Whisk: they are!

    @Shelly: that's the idea.

    @Linda: so do I. I wish they'd revisit this event.