Run, swim, skate! It's your last chance to see, touch and fondle Allyson Mitchell's Finger of Craft, the shag-tastic installation between the front doors of the Khyber Institute of Contemporary Art (1588 Barrington). The Coast and Canadian Art cover gal transformed the peeling walls into a purple and red forest of discarded rugs, macrame and knitted toadstools that will make you wish you had wall-crawling capabilities so you could roll on the ceiling. Maybe that would change the city's mind—HRM owns the building and has asked for the installation to be taken down immediately. Khyber director Brian MacNevin says, "I thought there might be some issues down the road, but not this soon. But I think Allyson was aware from the beginning that this might happen." Concerns like a tea-cozy wrapped around a sprinkler have been dealt with and now MacNevin is consulting with experts and curators on the "proper way of taking it down and taking it seriously, not just torn out."
Technically, the Khyber Society doesn't control programming in the front foyer, just the second-floor Ballroom Gallery and its offices. And after December 15, it also won't have access to additional programming spaces—like the main-floor bar or the top-floor Turret room—for events such as FemFEST, while the city hires a consultant to study turning the building into a "creative cluster" arts centre.
MacNevin, in discussions with the city about its future position within the 1888 Church of England building, says, "We don't have a budget to rent the whole building, but we do have, on an event-by-event basis as we have in the past, for the community and our own projects. It seems, in this civic-owned building, totally a shame to have these rooms locked up. Activities in the other rooms build an audience for our programs in the Ballroom. And, for instance, someone doing a dance rehearsal in the Turret one night makes the space feel alive."
Do your best to make the Khyber feel alive at the closing reception for the art school-questioning exhibition, End of Term, on Saturday at 7pm, followed by the annual yeast-y party tradition, Holiday Toast.