Creative Director, Rally at 12 Ossington
RALLY Ossington was an urban intervention and first-of-its-kind placemaking project in Toronto, Canada. It was designed to spark the creative economy in a changing west-end neighbourhood through the creation of a destination hub for ideas, creative entrepreneurs and cultural showcase.
A contemporary destination for Ossington, RALLY was blueprinted as an economic incubator for the creative community and welcoming space for accessible art and culture. The strategic mix of enticing commercial use, events and art exhibition allowed the hub to reinvest in itself, its programming, and exist as a cultural centre and community intersection place without public subsidy. It positively reinforced the known cultural identity of the area and neighbourhood.
Concepted in partnership with real estate developer, Hullmark Developments, RALLY welcomed thousands of culture seekers from October 2015 to January 2017. A creative placemaking initiative and pilot project designed for the neighbourhood, it was produced and managed with Hermann & Audrey. From 2015-2017 RALLY Ossington created multi-faceted benefit: entrepreneurial success in the creative sector, development of an authentic culture destination, place for community galvanization, launch-pad to local independent business, and stage for the innovative ideas forming Toronto’s cultural landscape.
RALLY lived as a cultural community centre and space incubator balancing curated shops, commercial spectacle, art exhibitions and installations, contemporary events, thoughtful talks and spaces for creative work.
From October 2015 to January 2017, RALLY produced or hosted 62 events from weekend retail pop-ups, art exhibition, public art, to branded events, to private parties and heated debates.
The 8900 sq ft creative hub, sub-divided into flexible zones rotated permanent and temporary uses, market rate commercial rents and community partner events, artistic exhibition, and full takeover events and residencies.
Specifically, in its 15 month run Rally piloted:
• 17 retail pop-ups (3 of which became permanent in the area)
• 12 art exhibitions (putting net $120k direct into artist pockets)
• 11 commercial pop-ups (featuring global artists the Weeknd, Kanye West, Big Sean, Scott Campbell)
• 22 community events (including events with OCAD, Ryerson and charity fundraisers for ArtBound, Lifeline Syria + Warchild)
• 10 murals painted in the Ossington area (with the grand help of Hebru Brantley, the Love Letter Projects, Pangeaseed's SeaWalls, Friends of the PanAm Path.
Praise for RALLY:
“The Rally Ossington cultural incubator set an early pace for our placemaking strategy in the neighbourhood. It brought thousands of new people to the street, spearheaded new public art programs and supported an ongoing destination build for the Ossington strip.” Jeff Hull, President, Hullmark Developments.
“The location could not have been better for our purposes. Our sales far exceeded our expectations and although we did have lots of our core customers and friends come to see us at Rally, we also had a surprising amount of walk-in traffic, which is really key to growing the brand.” Jill Woods, 18 Waits.
"From the opening reception to the very last day of our event, everything was well conceived and executed. Everyone at Rally is friendly and professional and made us feel part of a lovely community.“ Saria Moubayed, Cabinet Éphémère.
RALLY empathized and responded to the rapidly gentrifying Queen West and Ossington neighbourhood by offering local and international art & culture content at a moment when 18 galleries were economically compelled to move out over the previous 24 months. It experimented with pacifying a surging commercial real estate market by offering alternative retail opportunities to brands in the form of pop-up, micro-retail and incubation space.