NO VACANCY at the Bluffs Gallery

Posted on February 22nd, by scararts in Recent News. 4 comments

Photo Courtesy of the Scarborough Archives.

Photo Courtesy of the Scarborough Archives.


March 10 – 31, 2017
Bluffs Gallery, 1859 Kingston Road

Sandra Brewster, Nadijah Robinson, Curtia Wright
Curated by Alyssa Fearon

Scarborough Arts is thrilled to present NO VACANCY, an exhibition that examines the vibrant history of Kingston Road’s once-bustling motel strip and the evolving use of the seemingly desolate motel spaces today. Through archival photographs paired with contemporary artworks and a participatory installation, NO VACANCY tells the stories of places and the people left behind by neighbourhood gentrification and evolution.  

Join us for free events happening throughout the month of March at the Bluffs Gallery:

Opening Reception
Friday, March 10 | 6 – 8 PM
Be the first to see the NO VACANCY exhibition! Enjoy an evening of art, architecture, and history over music and light refreshments. All are welcome!

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Guided Walk of the No Vacancy Exhibition
Saturday, March 18 | 1 – 4 PM
Drop by the Bluffs Gallery to hear curator Alyssa Fearon lead a Guided Walk of the NO VACANCY exhibition. Find more about the inspiration for the exhibition, the history and significance of the Kingston Road motels, and contemporary artist responses to the vibrant history of the strip.

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Live downtown? Get on the Myseum X Shuttle Bus and experience Scarborough Arts’ No Vacancy Guided Walks and Y+ Contemporary’s exhibition, In the Shadow of Paradise, plus a panel discussion with Deirdre Logue, Anique J. Jordan, and Annie Onyi Cheung. Register to get on the free Myseum X Bus here.

SA Talks: Vacancies for the Arts in Scarborough
Thursday, March 30 | 7 – 9 PM
Arts leaders and city builders discuss the vacancies and potential for arts spaces in Scarborough. Panellists include Claire Hopkinson, Director and CEO of Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation; Heela Omarkhail, Manager of Community Partnerships, The Daniels Corporation; and Alyssa Fearon, Curator of the NO VACANCY exhibition. The panel will be moderated by Sasha Kovacs. 

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Take the conversation online! Use the hashtag #SANoVacancy and follow Scarborough Arts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

No Vacancy is presented by Scarborough Arts in partnership with Myseum of Toronto and the Scarborough Historical Society as part of Myseum Intersections (Myseum X), Myseum of Toronto’s annual festival of exhibits showcasing different perspectives of the city’s natural, cultural, and historic diversity. Myseum X takes place citywide from March 6 to 31, 2017.




Sandra Brewster is a Toronto born visual artist creating work engaged in identity, representation and memory. She is particularly interested in people of African descent who arrived from the Caribbean during the late 1960s and how this move impacted subsequent generations. Sandra is a recipient of grants from the Toronto, Ontario and Canada art councils and her work has been cited and reviewed in numerous publications and exhibited internationally. Her practice also includes work as an arts educator and community arts facilitator and she has coordinated numerous exhibitions involving local Toronto artists. Sandra holds a BFA from York University. In April of this year she will graduate from the Masters of Visual Studies Program of University of Toronto.

Curtia Wright’s art practice revolves around the idea that the human body is in constant collaboration with its surroundings; often in ways that exceed the boundaries of physical reality. The images that Curtia creates exist on both analog and digital planes through their production and execution. Curtia Wright believes that these alternating layers of production reference the discourse between the human body and its environment. Curtia is interested in the ways in which society’s perception of bodies, specifically Black bodies, have the ability to form and deform them while changing their narratives without consent.

Nadijah Robinson’s practice embodies the spirit of remixing found materials with the stories of her various communities. Community becomes both the source and the purpose of her work, as stories are reframed for the purpose of healing. Mixed media work is by nature hybrid. Working with skills developed from diverse practices such as sewing, silkscreen printing, batik making, painting, and graphic design, Nadijah Robinson’s work combines what is needed to construct a particular affecting image or experience. The historical, contextual, and sensory implications of the materials are all involved in the narrative of the artwork. A refusal of the premise of a white canvas or a blank slate, the use of found fabrics, images, and other materials acknowledges that no thing comes from nothing.


Alyssa Fearon is an arts educator, independent curator and digital marketing strategist. As a graduate of York University’s MBA & MA Art History dual degree program, Alyssa’s research and academic endeavors have won several awards including the SSHRC Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

A first generation Canadian of Jamaican heritage, Alyssa was born and raised in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough and now bases her creative practice in the community. Alyssa currently works in marketing at the Art Gallery of Ontario and her independent practice combines community building with art, education and social justice.



The Myseum of Toronto is a celebration of the evolution of our communities, cultures, and urban and natural spaces. It connects our recollections of the past with our visions of the future through the ideas, art and artifacts we share. Through the Myseum, we aim to bring about a deeper, more personal understanding and appreciation of all that is Toronto.



The Scarborough Archives is operated by the Scarborough Historical Society — an organization that promotes, preserves and stimulates an interest in the history of Scarborough, Ontario. The Archive collects and shares the history of Scarborough from its earliest development to the experiences of its newest residents.


4 responses to “NO VACANCY at the Bluffs Gallery”

  1. […] Bus to Scarborough on March 18, which will also include a Guided Walk of Scarborough Arts’ No Vacancy exhibition. Register your spot on the bus […]

  2. Alanna English says:

    I read with interest the article in the Globe and Mail of No Vacancy and the Bluff’s Gallery. I lived for a time at the Hav A Nap Motel in the mid 1950s as a 6 year old girl with my Mother. I would like to drop by the gallery to see information or photos next Saturday…..please provide exhibition hours on Saturday March 18th. I understand there is walk in the area scheduled for 1-4. I would, however, be interested in seeing the exhibit at other times.

    Thanks kindly

  3. Gary C says:

    I was looking forward to coming to see this exhibit this weekend but just saw that the Bluffs Gallery is only open weekdays from 10am-5pm. Those times are far too limiting. Please consider opening on more Saturdays when you have exhibitions so more people can see them.


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