Cinqhole, a not-for-profit DIY art space in Ottawa’s Hintonburg neighbourhood, is supporting the local arts community by providing space and equipment to upcoming and established artists.

Founded in September 2019, Cinqhole—which is located at 5b Fairmont Ave.—is led by co-founders Matías Muñoz, Anthony Cardozo, and Eric Scharf.

The idea of Cinqhole was inspired by the General Assembly, a collaborative project space that was run by Sothea Kham and Bruno Soulière at the same location.

“I was fascinated by how they ran their space, especially since this place was built in the ‘40s. We feel fortunate to continue their legacy,” said Muñoz.

Afterward, a friend pitched the name Cinqhole—referring to the address which includes the number five (or, “cinq” in French) and hole because of the high ceiling, which makes people feel like they’re underground. Ottawa is also known for its infamous sinkholes.

Muñoz is also the founder of Ottawa Showbox, a leading resource for Ottawa’s music news. He and his partners collaborated with Black Squirrel Books & Espresso to found and run Cinqhole. Black Squirrel added a unique touch to Cinqhole by covering one of its walls with their colourful books, which creates a nice contrast juxtaposed with the grey concrete floor. Muñoz and his partners also keep a souvenir—a poster from the band Jerusalem in my Heart—from the previous owners on the back wall of Cinqhole.

Cinqhole’s white walls are perfect for art/photo vernissages and exhibits. (Photo by Matías Muñoz)

According to Muñoz, attracting a wide variety of artists from varying disciplines is one of Cinqhole’s main missions.

“We want this place to be the go-to spot for artists,” said Muñoz. “We want it to be more than just a venue, we want it to be a multidisciplinary place.”

Cinqhole offers speakers, mic stands, PA equipment, and backline for no additional charge. Currently, Cinqhole has enough room for 66 people indoors and 40 people outdoors, with a bar located inside. Artists can use the space as a studio for photography, rehearsals, recording, or any other type of event that supports the artistic community. For anyone looking to book Cinqhole, it’s a minimum of two hours at a rate of 25 dollars per hour.

The owners believe that artists should be paid for their work, and have ensured that all events presented by Cinqhole fairly distribute the revenue generated. They also believe that artists who aren’t being represented in the mainstream art community should have the opportunity to be heard.

“We want to focus on elevating people of colour, marginalized groups, and people who are making great art at the ground level,” said Muñoz.

Shows at Cinqhole offer attendees a unique concert experience. (Photo by Matías Muñoz)

After the renovation, Cinqhole will have upgraded lighting and sound systems, with an art gallery area near the bar to provide a space where artists can think outside the box. By the time spring comes around, more art shows will be planned and more local art will be hosted at the space. Although Cinqhole offers the space for private office parties, workshops, and other events, the main focus of the venue will always be music and the arts.

“The music industry needs more not-for-profit places, more creativity-driven places, and more ground level, grassroots-driven places to support the art community,” said Muñoz.

Currently Cinqhole is only open when events take place—though hours may differ depending upon the event schedule. Come the spring, Cinqhole will open its doors for public walk-ins and visits on Sundays.