I don’t often go to the pub on an ordinary weeknight. However the other night, one hotel had something on offer that was anything but ordinary.

The newly refurbished Fox Hotel was launching its very own contemporary art and design space, Fish Lane Studios, during an inaugural exhibition event titled ‘En Masse’.

As you can imagine, I didn’t need my arm twisted to leave the couch this particular Tuesday evening.

The new multi purpose space at the Fox Hotel is going to be the home of regular events, showcasing the work of artists in residence and local talent, in a curated program that incorporates art, fashion, design and music. It will also feature creative workshops, giving residents and travelers alike an opportunity to gain an insight into Brisbane’s most creative and imaginative minds.

Fish Lane Studios are located on the upper levels of the Fox Hotel, so you have to negotiate a few stairs before you get there. However, it wasn’t just the stairs that left me breathless on arrival, the venue itself did a pretty good job of that.

120 guests were gathered to share a few drinks and get a preview of the studio’s future vision, including a first glimpse of the inaugural exhibition.

‘En Masse’ is a fabulous showcase of wandering art forms, interactive choreography, projections and diverse performances from a number of established Australian artists including Gerwyn Davies, Kate Rhode, Chantal Fraser, Hannah Gartside and The Wandering Room.

On an evening full of surprises, there were certain moments when I wasn’t too sure if the waiters, who were carrying the beautifully presented hors d’oeuvres, were part of the choreography or not. Wherever you looked, something interesting seemed to be going on, whether it be a lady dancing around in a strange colorful outfit, quilts made from ex boyfriends photographs or wall projections featuring underground car parks and trailers.

Perhaps less surprising, but equally enjoyable, was the musical performance by Michelle Xen and her band, which absolutely rocked the house. Apart from her opening night performance, Michelle Xen will also reside in the studio over the coming months, working alongside QUT fashion students to construct costumes for her forthcoming music clip, to be filmed at the Fish Lane Studio. I can’t wait to see the end result of that.

According to Curators Carmel Haugh and Renai Grace of iAM Projects, Fish Lane Studios aims to nurture creative talent, promote collaboration and give back to the community. A large portion of which has already been achieved, judging by the opening night.

Running through the month of August, ‘En Masse’ will form the backdrop to the August program of events including the Salone series, hosted by Brisbane based stylist Christie Nicholaides. It promises to be an interesting month, and with so much already on offer, I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

I think that it is genuinely exciting that we now have a new focal point for culture and creativity, not just in Brisbane, but right here in 4101. I’m sure you’ll agree once you experience it for yourself.

Lars