Ausgang Plaza’s Mandate Ensures That Nobody Gets Left Behind

Venue Management Makes a Point to be Inclusive; From Hiring Practices to Party Protocols

Fouki // Zay album launch. Courtesy Myriam Menard

Located on St. Hubert St., Ausgang plaza is known for intertwining activism and art while presenting in it snapping fashion.

Formerly known as Artgang plaza, it is a hub for Montreal’s arts and culture community. As they keep local artists at the forefront of their direction, Ausgang functions as a pop-up shop, gallery space and party venue.

But it wasn’t always that way.

When Malick Touré, Ausgang’s director, first walked into the FAKE streetwear store, the original space it was three years ago, he couldn’t help but notice the potential.

“It was supposed to a boutique-gallery space with a bar to have networking events, but when I started I was inclined to do more than that,” says Touré. “I’m involved in non-profits so I work on trying to pull off events with a certain artistic direction”.

“It’s a pretty cool window of what’s going on in Montreal so we can get in touch with a lot of inspiring people,” continues venue coordinator Jessye Thomas. She uses words like “people-oriented” and “inclusive” to describe the multidimensional space.

Intrigued by the notion that a venue can cater to both my hippie dippie friends and my snapback-wearing homies, I am stoked to learn more.

“We have a pretty wide range of events, and we can accommodate everyone, from OBNL to startups, local artists from Montreal to international artists like Dam Funk,” says Thomas.

The space itself is large and sleek, an open concept that can be divided by curtains to accommodate the needs of various productions.

When I entered the space, I was greeted with warm smiles by the workers at the bar. Touré shares how the practice of building from the ground up is echoed in Ausgang’s hiring practices.

“The business is made up of individuals that we hire based on energy and contacts. It’s very human scale and that affects everything we do,” says Touré.

P.L.U.R. presented by GAYBASH & Ausgang Plaza for Nuit Blanche. Courtesy Myriam Menard

Originally a DJ, Touré is part of a group called Qualité De Luxe that hosts monthly nights at Ausgang, featuring music from all over the African region.

He has come a long way from promoting mixtapes when he was 15, and now works on organizing an array of events in the Montreal cultural scene.

Despite being newbies in the business scene, Ausgang is pulling it off with zest. One only needs to skim through their programming page to witness inclusivity in practice.

“The key of our direction is to be as diverse as possible,” shares Touré. Alongside parties, Ausgang caters to art shows, documentary screenings, festivals, yoga, and much more. Their strategy revolves around showcasing avant-garde contemporary art with cutting social significance.

Events that emphasized the importance of collaboration were also a huge hit, such as “Rap Battles for Representation” where women, femmes of all spectrums, trans folks, non-binary folks and others under-represented within Hip-Hop were celebrated on stage.

“When doing collaborations, we look for strong content,” says Touré. Ausgang supports up and coming brands by linking them with various actors and providing them the visibility they need.

“I check their website pretty much weekly because there is always so much going on there,” says 21-year-old McGill student Stas Petrushkevich. He sports a minimal tank top that says “Plateau” on the cover, a shirt that can be found at Artgang’s Boutique.

With cutting-edge art, a 4,500 square foot unifying space and 500-person capacity to accommodate the parties, Ausgang encourages eclecticism. Check out their Instagram at ausgangplaza.