Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Divergence Night expands

An art opening and a dance party rolled into one

Edie's First Day, by Lily Butter. Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Caitlyn Pascal is rooting for the arts and she is doing it in her own unique way. The art lover, DJ and local cultural promoter is reinvigorating the Divergence Night brand.

Pascal’s monthly movie nights are already successful. Each month she shows queer movies to packed houses at either Raw Sugar CafĂ© or Shanghai Restaurant. This month she is taking Divergence Night to another level.

On Friday, July 8, Pascal will host an art show followed by an evening of underground music.

“An old-school-style Divergence party until two in the morning,” she says. “It incorporates all the great things about Ottawa.”

The evening will kick off at China Doll’s funky Shanghai Restaurant, which Pascal says is “an amazing homestead for community events in Ottawa.”

The decision to combine art with music comes from Pascal’s sense of aesthetics.

“I am an art fan, first and foremost. Everything I do comes from the sense of a curator: I curate movies, I curate music and I curate art,” she says. “For me, this is a chance to put my enthusiasm for fine art out there. Hopefully, people will appreciate it and support the artists.”

The art opening will feature the works of Stefan Thompson, Lily Butter and Alaska B. Thompson is from Ottawa and, according to Pascal, “a bit of a fixture on the local scene.”

“His works have evolved over the years. Many years ago he ditched all forms of caustic paint and started creating his own pigmentation through natural, environmentally sustainable means,” Pascal says. “He creates all of his artwork through recycled materials and homemade natural paints.”

Butter originally hails from Ottawa but moved first to Toronto and then to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“She does pictures of distorted physiology and cultural intensity coming out of a post-punk background,” Pascal says.

Alaska B also hails from Toronto. She is an illustrator, designer and mixed-media artist specializing in graphic illustrations and large-scale installations.

Pascal wants to promote the evening to a wider community. She has intentionally made the Divergence evening free as a way of encouraging active participation in the arts.

“There is so much Canadian contemporary art that is amazing and extremely affordable. Most people can afford it; they just don’t know it,” she says.

Pascal feels that if excitement is created around owning original art, “not only does it help the artists, but it is incredible to have on your wall.”

Her philosophy for buying art is simple: if you like a particular piece, speak to the artist and work out an installation payment.

“For many of us that have the luxury of working a day job and doing whatever we do culturally at night, that’s all fun and dandy, but it’s the lifestyle artists that really need the support from this community,” says Pascal. “They’re amazing, beautiful artists; they’re devoting their lives to it and it’s mind-blowing.”