Success Story: Glory Hole Gallery

We’re continuing our fabulous 2020 Rainbow Grant Success Stories with one of our community’s most well-known art galleries, Glory Hole Gallery! Recently moved into its new home on the 2nd floor of The 519, Glory Hole Gallery has been showcasing the perspectives of diverse and intersectional experiences through collaborations, exhibitions, and talks since 2017. Enjoy our chat below with co-creator and curator, Emily Peltier

Could you tell us a little about the initiative your 2020 Rainbow Grant has supported?

We were honoured to receive another Community One Foundation Grant in 2020 in order to support the continuation of our programming of 2SLGBTQ+ artists in the GTA. The programming that the Community One Foundation assisted in funding were two exhibitions and artists engagements presented in co-partnership with Whippersnapper Gallery in Toronto, Ontario. The exhibitions and programming included two solo exhibitions by emerging Canadian artists: “Peep/Show” by Brittney Appleby and subsequent artist talk, and Glory Hole Gallery’s first annual exhibition series “First Date” which seeks to provide barrier-free access to a solo exhibition by a GTA based emerging artist. The first exhibition of this series,”Don’t Go Unspoken,” is a solo exhibition of work by Scarborough-based artist, Jega Delisca, and also involves an artist talk and gouache painting workshop free to the public online. 

Jega Delisca, “Don’t Go Unspoken” online exhibition:

Peep/Show screening and artist talk:

Was there a particular thing that sparked this idea/initiative?

Glory Hole Gallery has been showcasing the work and lives of 2SLGBTQ+ artists in Toronto and around the world since 2017. In it’s 4 years of programming the gallery has hosted nearly 100 artists as a part of public programming, events, and exhibitions. The initial focus of Glory Hole Gallery was to be a low barrier way for emerging and established 2SLGBTQ+ artists to exhibit their work in a unique way. Considering the lack of access to physical exhibiting spaces in the GTA due to high living and rental costs, and the censorship and other oppressive practices that 2SLGBTQ+ artists often experience in public funded spaces, this miniature concept provided an alternative to the gallery or museum. Although initially conceived as a miniature exhibiting space, the gallery has expanded over the years to become a collective of GTA-based 2SLGBTQ+ artists and curators, and has partnered with Toronto based galleries and collectives in order to continue to provide 2SLGBTQ+ artists with low-barrier exhibition opportunities and CARFAC standard artist fees. 

What was your goal in making this initiative happen?

With funding from the Community One Foundation, Glory Hole Gallery has been able to launch a long-anticipated exhibition series, “First Date,” which aims to provide an emerging 2SLGBTQ+ GTA-based artist with artist fees and exhibiting fees to have a solo exhibition. Our goals for making this particular initiative happen was as a space and collective we are trying to continue to evolve from our original miniature concept as a gallery, and partner with local collectives and organizations that share in our mandate and values. Partnering with Whippersnapper gallery for a series of in-person exhibition series also allowed for us to have fully-fledged exhibitions that could be experienced safely from a street-view of the gallery (COVID-19 made interacting with the Glory Hole Gallery exhibition boxes entirely impossible due to safety and the shut down of The 519 community centre). 

Many organizations have been faced with a set of new challenges, due to COVID-19. How is your team adapting?

We experienced expected delays in hosting our scheduled exhibitions and in-person programming with the Community One Foundation grant directly due to COVID-19. Thankfully, with the assistance of Whippersnapper Gallery, we were able to produce our scheduled exhibitions and public programming safely for viewing in person, and we were able to pivot our public programming to be hosted online. We were thankful for the opportunity to support artists during this precarious and stressful time through the Community One Foundation grant, and provide artist fees and exhibition fees, despite many organizations and galleries being forced to cancel programming indefinitely due to the pandemic.

What has the response/impact been like so far?

The response to our programming has been very very positive so far. For both our exhibitions and public programming we received a great deal of support from the public and attendance, even with the exhibitions and programming only being held online. We believe that having the online option enhances our programming and allows for a much larger reach across Canada that we otherwise would have not have had if our programming had been exclusively in person. 

How do you see this project evolving into 2021?

We hope to continue to receive support from the Community One Foundation grant in the future. For the past 2 years this funding has significantly supported us and our programming, which has involved multiple exhibitions by emerging and established 2SLGBTQ+ artists, as well as free public programming including screenings, artist talks, and instructional workshops. For the future we hope to continue to partner with Toronto-based galleries and organizations in order to continue our reach in the city, and continue to support 2SLGBTQ+ artists and people. 

Are there any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to tell us about?

Glory Hole Gallery continues to have programming into the summer of 2021 and we encourage Community One Foundation and it’s network to stay tuned to our website at and our partner gallery, Whippersnapper Gallery, to see updates on our programming.