Atomic Centre

Atomic was an interdisciplinary place for creative producers and socially conscious projects working at a grassroots level. It was an effort to help local makers grow relationships with their respective communities through the building and sharing of common energy and resources.

Atomic was a rather unconventional venue in that and we operated as a non-profit even though we were not officially registered as such. Our goal was to offer alternative space for alternative ideas and production, so everything hosted at Atomic was negotiated on a case by case basis depending on whether it was a radical/non-profit/indie for-profit/commercial venture and it’s specific requirements.

Ultimately, we volunteered our time and made space available at highly subsidized rates to projects we wanted to support personally. We therefore made a point of being involved in activities that were mutually beneficial and we aimed to to juggle this with other areas of work in our lives. Atomic was therefore not a full-time venue/project.

Atomic hosted a range of events including screenings, live music, theatre, performance, discussions, craft shows and exhibitions. We’ were also open to our space being used for short-term rehearsals, auditions, photo and film shoots, and more.

Why did we do this?

Despite Winnipeg’s excess of empty buildings, it is surprisingly difficult to find affordable studio and presentation space. Production facilities and expertise can also sometimes be difficult to obtain at a reasonable rate. We tried to help make it easier to create and connect through the provision of space, equipment, and skills.

What kind of activities could take place at Atomic?

We preferred to involve ourselves with projects in the arts and/or concerned with progressive social action. Alternative indie  projects led by artists, musicians, designers, etc., were also of interest. Performances, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, installations, meetings, screenings, debates, fashion shows, small concerts, film and video recording, swaps and sales, fundraisers….

Did Atomic apply for grants?

Nope, Atomic did not apply for grants because we wanted to try something a little bit different that involveed a combination of approaches. For example, business activities (i.e. technical services and rentals) supported other non-profit/non-commercial endeavours. We were also interested in work working out non-monetary transfers such as energy/skill exchange, and we were pretty big on good old fashioned sharing, as well. That said, we had quite a bit of experience writing successful grant applications, so we offered advice when requested. Atomic ultimately ran on passionate volunteerism in support of people and projects that we feel good about.

Why Atomic?

Shortly after moving in, a tag appeared on the side of the building that read: “atomik”. Through conversation with a friend and colleague in Montréal, we were reminded about atomism in the Epicurean sense, and we began to see intriguing parallels between the values motivating this place and the values espoused by the ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus (341 BCE – 270 BCE).

Epicurus’ atomic materialism framed his belief that superstition-free knowledge about the workings of the world, and the pursuit of pleasure founded on mutually beneficial interactions, were essential to living justly. His advocacy of moderation can be understood as an early call for voluntary simplicity, and while it is true that his vision was considerably more ascetic than we necessarily want for ourselves, the basic points he raised prioritize sustainability and the importance of minimizing harm. Most significantly, Epicurus’ philosophy emphasized friendship as the basis for happiness and we were definitely in support of that!

The depressing update was that, as of October 5, 2011, the tag for which the building as named was buffed by the city without any request/approval on our part. This is truly a shame since we really did plan to preserve this for the long haul.  Atomik never came back and this is all that remains:


The hiatus that proved to be a closure (as posted Oct 18 2013)

Some of you might have already heard that Atomic is going on hiatus. This is true.

C & I have thoroughly enjoyed hosting a diverse group of artists and events over the past three years, but we sadly overestimated the amount of time/energy/resources we could volunteer/donate, so we’re pretty exhausted and really need a break.

Two studios are still in use by artists, while the others have been re-allocated for our own needs (i.e. Just the Goods is growing, growing, growing!), and the multipurpose room is likewise going to be occupied. We might do a few pop up events in the lobby if/when we can manage it, but we actually stopped booking new programming back in March making ((( send + receive ))) v 15 our last event as “Atomic”.

That said, there is a little something being planned for Saturday December 28 (details forthcoming), and *maybe* a few other things in the lobby in 2014, but we’re otherwise looking forward to going out and supporting other people in other venues more often than we’ve been able in the past. We plan to re-assess everything at end of 2014.

Thank you so much for your interest and attendance these past few years! We had tons of fun, and hope you did, too =-)


Atomic’s website will soon be deleted and the following info has been retained:


What did people have to say about Atomic?

  • “They even have anarchist toilets!”
  • “This place is so random! Look! A pencil sharpener!”
  • “I was here, like, a long time ago and they had an upstairs. Is that still there?”
  • “I thought this was supposed to be a proper establishment.”
  • “I don’t even understand what this place is.”
  • “It says 167 on the door, but it could be somewhere else.”
  • “What is this venue? Is this, like, an april fool’s joke?”
  • “I couldn’t find the place because I didn’t write down the address and thought there would be a sign.”
  • “There are two types of people in this world. Those who can find atomic, and those who can’t”