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The downtown Art X Project launches today (5 photos)

The Rolling Pictures North project is a multimedia exhibition featuring local artists

Rolling Pictures North is a new post-production studio in Sault Ste. Marie, located in the community's downtown core.

"We make the magic happen after the cameras have stopped rolling," says Robert Peace, director of community relations for Rolling Pictures.

"We are involved in the editing, sound, special effects, colour correction and so many other technical aspects required to deliver a film or TV show to the screen."

The production studio is a northern offshoot of a larger studio based out of Toronto.

"Rolling Pictures has offices in downtown Toronto and here in the Sault," he says.

"Our Queen Street building was bought a couple of years ago and renovations took almost a year."

Although the company opened last year, COVID struck the film industry hard.

"We closed our office for several months and set up our network for staff to work from home," he says.

"We were fortunate enough to have enough work to keep all our staff employed throughout. As things ease back, we look forward to a busy spring and summer next year with many productions both up here in the Sault and throughout North America that we service."

Rolling Pictures North recently partnered with the City of Sault Ste. Marie/Future SSM and The Downtown Association to present The Art X Project, an on-going, interdisciplinary arts and culture exhibition that will be located at the Rolling Picture’s downtown facility coinciding with Downtown Association's Midnight Madness.

“As a new business in town we really wanted to be part of the arts scene in the city,” says Peace.

"Moving to the Sault ... and being new to town, I was really starting from scratch. I knew nobody. Near the end of the summer I approached Todd Fleet at FutureSSM with the idea of using our space to host new artists. Todd was quick to come on board. With all the work he has done through the City and elsewhere, his experience and contacts were invaluable."

Todd Fleet, arts and culture coordinator for Future SSM, saw the proposed exhibition as a great opportunity to help support the arts in the community.

“The project was developed ... to help implement action items from the city’s Culture Plan,” says Fleet.

Through the public consultation process for the City of Sault Ste. Marie's Culture Plan, it was identified that local artists found difficulty in finding public spaces to display their work.

“[W]e think this is a great format for providing that opportunity while connecting with the downtown community and local businesses.” 

The Art X Project is Rolling Pictures first public event. 

"We wanted to do something sooner but obviously COVID slowed things down. Although we would have loved to have a big party with food and drinks, we are still having a small intimate evening where we limit the numbers to less than half the allowed limit with all safety measures in place," says Peace. 

"We did all feel that having a small [event] was something we could start with and grow from here when it is safer." 

In addition to Future SSM, Rolling Pictures also partnered with the Downtown Association for the event. 

For the Downtown Association, the exhibition helps to bring more events and programming to the downtown core.

Ashlyn McMillan, interim manager for the SSM Downtown Association, says it was also an opportunity to connect its membership with local artists and musicians.

"Arts and culture are critical to make downtown a vibrant place to be,” she says.

The art exhibition is also a means of introducing Rolling Pictures to the community. 

"We love our space but we are not like a retail business with customers coming and going throughout the week," says Peace.  

"Our business is also not well understood. So I had the idea to use the space to expose the community to our business and celebrate the arts in Sault Ste Marie. This is a long-term plan that will include hosting new up-and-coming artists in the field of art, music and theatre in our small intimate space each month." 

The event also provides local artists with experience in exhibition development, a chance to build their portfolio, and a networking opportunity with other local artists.

The three partner organizations were involved in selecting the first group of artists for the exhibition.

This inaugural Art X Project exhibition features the visual art of local artists Mark Grandinetti, Annie King and Aaron Alessandrini.

Ava Nori will be providing musical ambience for the event.

Artwork created by these artists will be on display and for sale with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to the artists.

As not all visitors may get the opportunity to meet the artists, Rolling Pictures created videos of each of the artists to be displayed on monitors and the in-house theatre so visitors can find out more about each of them.

“We're excited to showcase new facility...[and] to let people see what is behind that giant horse,” says Peace, alluding to the giant mural on the side of Rolling Pictures' building.

The first Art X Project exhibition begins today with opening night activities continuing into Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. in order allow people to attend and still be compliant with COVID regulations.

Although the event is free, attendees must schedule their admission via Eventbrite with registrants scheduling time slots for up to 20 people per group to view the exhibition.

Visitors are being asked to consider support the artists with a “pay what you can” donation to help cover show preparation costs.

Rolling Pictures is located at 498 Queen St. E. Sault Ste. Marie (at the corner of Spring and Queen, just look for the Horse Mural and you're there). Entrance to The Art X Project will be via the Spring Street Door with parking available in the public parking lots behind the building.