By Chrissy Steinbock

On October 20, Triple 7 will be throwing a party to celebrate their first year cultivating creativity and community out of their arts space in Old Hull. There will be live music, media installations, and a vernissage featuring resident artists.

At first glance it’s hard to pin down Triple 7. There aren’t many places that host dance parties, slam poetry workshops, communal meals and tap dancing classes all under one roof.

It’s probably said best on their Facebook page: “Triple 7 is a lot of things, but at the core we are a community of like minded creatives leading a Counter Cultural Revolutionary Movement,” they proclaim, with enthusiastic capitalization.

Triple 7 is a meeting place as much as it’s a workspace where musicians, VJs and other artists can experiment in performance and rehearsal. It’s also a gallery, DIY venue and classroom. Members aim to have Triple 7’s doors open as often as possible so that the space is accessible to the community for drop-ins and jams, their weekly vegan potlucks, workshops, and monthly events.

Today Triple 7 might be celebrating their first anniversary but really “it’s a vision that has been percolating probably for over ten years,” says Adam.

The Leveller caught up with co-founders Julie Gauthier and Adam Vegys to learn more about how Triple 7 came to be and where it’s going.

Tucked into a long building behind the Terrasses de la Chaudière government complex, Triple 7 has a warm vibe just inside its door, with ambient electronica playing in the background, colorful walls displaying art, and psychedelic blacklight murals and sculptures in the stage area.

Julie and Adam appear relaxed in the way of people who are doing exactly what they’re meant to or people who dance a lot. In this case, both might be true.

They explain that the space was formerly the home of Le Temporaire, a diverse collective of visual artists and musicians who used it as a workshop and event space for nine years. By the time Julie and Adam came along – with psychedelic visions of Triple 7 dancing in their eyes – the collective was winding down their activities, so the timing was right for something new.

Aymara Alvarado Lang, a former member of Le Temporaire and friend, acted as a bridge helping to transform the space from Le Temporaire to Triple 7. The new venture opened to the public in October of 2017.

Today Triple 7 might be celebrating their first anniversary but really “it’s a vision that has been percolating probably for over ten years,” says Adam.  

Back in 2007 Julie started something like Triple 7 in Vancouver’s lower East side. “I had a vision to open a multifunctional space for people to come in and be inspired and then when people are inspired they have access to tools to release that inspiration,” Julie said.

After spending time abroad and landing in Toronto she met Adam. One day she casually mentioned her vision for a space she wanted to call ‘Triple 7. At that point “Adam’s like ‘What? I have a very similar vision actually and I wrote a business plan too and I called it Triple 7,” shared Julie. “It was a spiritual moment.”

They later married and spent their honeymoon hashing out plans to launch this vision together. They started in Toronto, putting on parties with an emphasis on building community and showcasing new artists, eventually coming to Ottawa, where they connected with Aymara.

The first year has had its fair share of challenges, with the biggest being financial stability.  The events and workshops have modest fees but Triple 7’s ideal would be to have more people join as members. There are guest memberships that come with discounts on events and artist memberships that give access to Triple 7’s space and equipment.

The Leveller also got in touch with George Pranschke, a musician and Triple 7 member. “I initially became involved mostly as a place to practice,” says George. “As time has gone on however, I’ve developed friendships with various people who are also members or just like to hang around the space.  There’s a great sense of community that’s made me want to get more involved. It gives people a space where they can feel free to be their genuine selves. It feels like home.”

“Oh!” he exclaimed. “And people there dance! I have been to countless shows where live musicians are putting out solid, energetic grooves and everyone just stands in a nervous little semicircle around the stage while tapping their feet or bobbing their head and hoping they don’t look too silly.”

The future will depend on attracting new members, securing some arts grants, and discovering new ways to generate revenue.

Another challenge has been in appealing to the surrounding francophone community without having a dedicated to translator for their promotional material. Julie and Adam are both anglophone, and though they acknowledge the importance of representing both languages, they don’t yet have a member to consistently cover translation.

They want to make it clear that everyone is welcome in the space regardless of language and hope that new team members will bring more language skills onboard.

If you’re looking for a safe space to express your creativity, connect with other artists, or are just curious about what goes on at Triple 7, their first year anniversary party makes for a nice introduction.

It starts at 7pm and runs ’till late on Oct. 20. Advance tickets are $15.89 on Eventbrite

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