[Image via Open Space Victoria]

Social innovation is an ambiguous beast, a phrase with definition that spans all the way from modern “connected” social to social as an ad-hoc for “impact.” The best of both worlds comes together sometimes in creative ways, be it through the arts, entertainment, or a down-to-earth venture that captures our hearts and voices. One such project is an inconspicuous organization that has been running in Victoria, BC over the past 43 years – inspiring artists and bringing together the voices of community.

Open Space is a project housed on Fort Street, minutes away from the iconic downtown inner harbour. Physically set at 510 Fort Street, the Open Space Society owns the parent building, leasing out space to a couple smaller businesses on the street level. Operating out of the upper level of a two story building, Open Space is a quaint, fluid setup ready to be changed at a moment’s notice for the newest installation or to accommodate for performance gatherings.

What makes Open Space impactful is its trademark “openness” and the culture that it has created and curated. The majority of displays, offerings and events surround collaborative artistry and community engagement at some level, bringing in different walks of people to create unique pieces and inspire creative individuality. Potentially the best part of this is the duration – Open Space has been operating over the past 43 years, and seems set to continue running in the foreseeable future. By continually connecting local artists and artists from abroad to the larger community, Open Space has created a social innovation concept for the arts that motivates and inspires while also teaching in a collaborative environment. Their musical theme may not be completely modern (you won’t find hard dubstep or Katy Perry here for the most part), but the melodies played and developed are acoustic masterpieces built through people and products working in harmony.

Open Space has a pretty jetset agenda for year end and the new year; from now until January 9th an open studio is available to the public, featuring an interactive sound installation through feedback loops. Observers can listen to and be part of a hanging sound installation, where various pitches and frequencies create music along with surrounding environments – those being your movements, sounds and voices. We recommend checking out the hanging piece and learning a bit more about Open Space as one of Victoria’s long standing social projects. You can view location, events, and connect with them through their website at Open Space Victoria.

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