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The Centre For Art Tapes is at the centre of it all

As the artist-run centre celebrates four decades, it continues to be a flexible, fluid space for creation.



The Centre for Art Tapes' 40th Birthday
Aug 15, 7-10pm
Art Bar + Projects, 1873 Granville Street, free

Tori Fleming works in the thick of it. Unlike many programming directors holed up far away from the art they help bring into the world, her office is in the heart of the Centre For Art Tapes—and she sees the blood pumping around her everyday. "Watching all these people I really respect struggle and take time and fail and then pull it out of nowhere: They're working and trying things out," she says, speaking by phone.

As the Maitland street artist-run centre celebrates its 40th anniversary, Fleming says she's been reflecting a lot on its history and what it brings to the art scene in Halifax. "One of the most important parts of CFAT is it's flexible. When folks got together in the '70s to develop an audience and have a place to show their videos, they weren't envisioning what we do today.

"We provide resources—both physical, like gear, and conceptual, like space to create ideas. We're the only dedicated media arts space in Nova Scotia," she continues.

Suites of editing software, VR technology and the Centre's popular media arts scholarship are just some of the things CFAT has become known for in recent years. (On the scholarship showcase, Fleming adds people "come because they have no idea what to expect.") "We do artist talks, programs, exhibitions to educate the public on media art, and we give artists room to showcase what they're working on.

"Media arts straddles fine arts and media production," Fleming says, meaning she sees people creating everything from documentaries to art installations in the run of a day. "A lot of the movements of folks left behind have done work here—like the queer movement of the '80s or the feminism of the '90s.

"People are scared of media art," Fleming continues. "Tech is hard—there's so many stereotypes. But CFAT is welcoming for people to make mistakes. Come to shows, talk to the artists—they were just people with good ideas who came to us to see how to make it happen. It's all just formulas you can learn, the same way you can learn to paint."

As the centre continues to await your next great idea with open arms, it'll also be blowing out some candles at Art Bar on August 15, to cap off the space's 40th birthday celebrations with a free, all-ages party. "What we're really hoping for is to bring together all the generations, an amazing celebration of the last 40 years of media art."

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