Melissa Loughnan directs the non-profit, curator-run Utopian Slumps in Collingwood - a gallery renowned for its hip openings. She says: "Launches are important because I'm only open two days a week and evenings are a doable time for more people. I want them to come in and buy the beer; that's part of it. And you need to have these attendance figures when you're going for grants. Mainly though, a busy launch is encouraging for the artist."
But, do people look at the art? "I worry sometimes that I'm getting a hipster crowd," says Loughnan. "We had the Snawklor performance here as part of Nathan Gray's show recently and it felt like some people were more interested in being seen than listening to the music. I don't turn away an audience though. If people are hanging out in the alley talking to their friends, I say 'Why don't you come inside and have a look at the work?' I think it's important for them to understand why they're there."