live drawing

A model poses for an Alternative Life Drawing class at the Wzrd Gng Gallery (photo Phyllis Papoulias)

Almost everyone who knows me in Montreal is aware of the loft space that I lived in for the 2010-2011 school year. The apartment was handed to me from my older brother’s friends and handed to them before that from friends, etc.

The reason for keeping the space in the hands of familiar faces each year is that the loft is truly one of the more unique places to live in Montreal. It started out as a recording studio in the 1960s and therefore featured a small stage and various windows in the walls for recording.

Since becoming a student apartment, the open space and amazing location deemed it the perfect place to throw a party and over the years tons of memorable events took place. When my roommates and I lived there, we held a Pop Montreal showcase, among other events that don’t usually mix with a living space.

At the end of the year, it was clear we could not continue living there; having been beaten down over the years, the apartment could not handle another year of student living and the landlord decided it was time to renovate. So we packed our things and left the magical place, wondering what would become of it, and more importantly, who would get to live there next.

After the summer I found out the apartment had been renovated beautifully, and my curiosity of who/what had taken over the space heightened. Luckily, the beloved 3772 St. Laurent had been found by a group of artists known as Wzrds Gng and they transformed it with love into a unique gallery and studio space.

The Wzrds Gng is a group of individuals who are predominantly working in the street/graffiti art movement. They were seeking a space where their art could be created, exhibited and be viewed as a merged collaboration between individuals working under the same stylistic goal. The gallery currently is showing the work of 10 artists, and is the permanent home to three of them.

The group explains that the space was perfect for what they had in mind, a wide-open “blank canvas” space that already possessed a gallery vibe. Next, they painted the walls with colourful murals and installed a pulley system for hanging paintings and installations. The gallery also features some friendly critters running around as the artists also foster animals.

Apart from using the space to showcase and sell their art (at affordable prices, might I add), these artists have begun to offer unique classes and events out of the apartment. Every other week, you can attend an “Alternative Life Drawing” class, which gives the public an opportunity to sketch unique models, contortionists and dancers wearing costumes made by the artists themselves. You can catch this class two Thursdays a month, 7-9 pm. Yoga classes are also offered on Wednesday and Sunday evenings (7-8:30 pm), as well as bboying on Wednesdays (9-11 pm) and an upcoming Friday art house movie night.

The artists living in and running the show of the Wzrds Gng Gallery describe themselves as all being a key part to the space: the heart, brains and spirit. Their philosophy shows through their work and the life put into the gallery. I am pleased to see the once run-down student loft has been transformed into a beautiful artistic space and I highly recommend anyone to go check out what they have to offer. Check out their Facebook group for more information on the artists, classes offered and upcoming art shows and events!