Art Gallery Moves to Former Cinema on Thunder Bay’s North Side

Story by Kris Ketonen

After a tumultuous few months, Thunder Bay’s Definitely Superior Art Gallery has found a new home. Work has begun on transforming a portion of the former Cumberland Street movie theatre into a new gallery space. And while much remains to be done, Definitely Superior executive and artistic director David Karasiewicz is already seeing a world of possibility.

“You can’t help but be a little anxious and nervous, because it’s all new,” Karasiewicz says. “We haven’t had to move in 20 years, so moving, as everyone knows, is painful. You just have to rethink exactly how you do things, because this is a totally unique and different space than what we had. It’s going to be a totally new experience, and that’s kind of exciting.”

Definitely Superior spent two decades in Thunder Bay’s north core, located in the basement of the former Eaton’s building. However, they—along with the building’s other tenants—were forced out several months ago due to a pending sale of the building (a deal which has since fallen through). And while operating out of the new location—which Definitely Superior will be doing with the support of sponsor R-II Realty Holdings—will require some adjustment, Karasiewicz is confident it will open up a “lot of doors, a lot of opportunities.”

Definitely Superior doesn’t have access to the entire building, but there’s certainly a lot of space to work with, including the lobby, projector rooms, a mezzanine, and the large hallways that run to the old theatres themselves. Plus, Karasiewicz says, the building is an industrial one, and was used for manufacturing purposes prior to its time as a theatre. That means it’s sturdy enough to support large—and heavy—installations.

“This is a really workable space,” Karasiewicz says. “And really conducive to being adapted to what we want. You can drill into the floor, you can drill into the ceiling, you can do anything you want.” However, while work is underway, much needs to be done before the new Definitely Superior opens its doors to the public. Karasiewicz says the to-do list still includes things like installing new walls and lighting, and painting.

“We have an occupancy set for October 1, so that means we’ll be in here,” he says. “We’ll probably still be setting up. We should have the gala opening before Christmas.”

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