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Galt Museum explores life of bootlegger Emilio Picariello

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Southern Alberta has a pretty wild, wild west history, with plenty of interesting characters who might as well have stepped right out of  a movie, and in some cases inspired movies and opera.

Aimee Benoit stands with a family portrait of the Picariello family which opens the Galt Museum’s exhibit the Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello. Photo by Richard Amery
 The Galt Museum explores the life of one of these characters, Emilio Picariello— a young Italian entrepreneur,  councilman and bootlegger who was arrested, tried and executed with family friend Florence Lassandro for the murder of Alberta Provincial police Cst. Stephen Lawson in their exhibit “ The Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello,” which continues  until Jan. 7. It opened on Sept. 30.


“ A lot of people know his story, but guest curator Adrianna Davies looks at it from a little bit of a different perspective — what if they were innocent,” observed Galt Museum Curator Aimee Benoit.
“ She even found documents suggesting there may have been another  shooter in the alley,” she added.


 The exhibit is on loan from the Fernie Museum.
“He arrived in Fernie in 1911 as a young Italian immigrant. He was quite a prominent businessman and entrepreneur and he even served as a town councillor. He was well respected and well liked, but he became known as a bootlegger during prohibition, running alcohol through Coleman and Blairmore and into the United Staters,” she continued, noting he had a variety of businesses including an ice cream shop and gathered empty bottles, which he sold back to breweries and bottling plants.

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Postcards and paintings at new Casa exhibits opening tonight

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Casa presents several different perspectives on painting with five new exhibits opening tonight, April 29 with an opening reception from 7-9 p.m.

Darcy Logan adjusts a painting in the Castle River & Porcupine Hills exhibit before the opening reception tonight. Photo by Richard Amery
“The exhibits are all paintings, but they are all very unique, so what I hope  people will take away from them is that they take a moment to see all of the different possibilities  painting offers,” said Casa curator Darcy Logan.


In the main gallery, Pauses and Transitions features paintings from Montreal born artist Anne Laure Djaballah. She earned her MFA from the U of L two years ago and has been working out of the McNally School studios.


“These paintings are more abstract. They represent landscapes and alleys she has seen while walking and reflecting,” Logan described, indicating an abstract painting of a pile of trash in an alley.
“ She also asks the view to explore the  nature of painting with brush strokes and colours,” he continued.


 The adjacent gallery features “The Castle River & Porcupine Hills featuring the works of Lethbridge artist Blake Wilson and  Mike Judd, who lives in the Castle River area.


“These paintings  capture  the poetry of natural environment,” Logan said, adding Blake Wilson is an active member of the Lethbridge art community.
“ He’s been involved in multiple group exhibits here,” Logan said.

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From Pianos to Power Chords strikes a chord in Lethbridge music scene

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 It is no secret Lethbridge has an amazing music scene, and it has for a long time.

Tyler Stewart is excited to present From Pianos to Power Chords at the Galt Museum, Feb. 5- April 30. Photo by Richard Amery
 So the Galt Museum attempts to chronicle the scene from Blackfoot drumming back in the day to local music today in their new exhibit From Pianos to Power Chords, which runs Feb. 4 to April 30.
“This was a really cool opportunity to tell the stories of this great scene and it’s importance to the community,” said curator Tyler Stewart, who also plays in local bands Sparkle Blood and A Trozzo and the Electric Few.
“Lethbridge punches well above it’s weight for a city of 100,000 people,” Stewart said.


“It clearly shows where we are and where we’ve got to and how we’ve evolved,” Stewart said.
 The exhibit begins chronologically with a panel on the contributions of the Blackfoot people to music. Another panel touches on turn of the century NWMP and police bands. The exhibit also includes a case dedicated to Second World War POW camp bands featuring an accordion as well as a flugelhorn bugle which were among the instruments auctioned off to the public when the camp closed.


 Another section chronicles the technology people used to listen to music. Another case featuring Lethbridge’s oldest radio station CJOC includes one of their early mixing boards as well as photos of some of the original DJs.
“CJOC was and is an important part of the community,” Stewart said.


Another case focuses on a piece on classical music in Lethbridge features a piano and a panel dedicated to promoter Ron Sakamoto.  A wall next to the exit features some of Lethbridge’s popular music venues and another wall charts the members of local bands past and present going back to the early ’90s.
“That was the most time consuming part of the exhibit. But it was worth it,” Stewart said.
Local cartoonist Eric Dyck designed the lettering for that part of the exhibit as well as the evolution of music technology.

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Galt Museum explores Lethbridge music in From Pianos to Power Chords

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The Galt Museum explores Lethbridge music history in their new exhibit, From Pianos To Power Chords, which runs from Feb. 4-April 30.Tyler Stewart is excited to present From Pianos to Power Chords at the Galt Museum, Feb. 5- April 30. Photo by Richard Amery


“This was a really cool opportunity to tell the stories of this great scene and it’s importance to the community,” said curator Tyler Stewart, who also plays in local bands Sparkle Blood and A Trozzo and the Electric Few.
“Lethbridge punches well above it’s weight for a city of 100,000 people,” Stewart said.


“It clearly shows where we are and where we’ve got to and how we’ve evolved,” Stewart said.


 The exhibit begins chronologically with a panel on the contributions of the Blackfoot people to music. Another panel touches on turn of the century NWMP and police bands. The exhibit also includes a case dedicated to Second World War POW camp bands featuring an accordion as well as a flugelhorn bugle which were among the instruments auctioned off to the public when the camp closed.

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Galt Museum welcomes Aimee Benoit as new curator

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The Galt Museum’s new curator Aimee Benoit has some big shoes to fill in taking over from Wendy Aitkens who retired last year.

Aimee Benoit is excited to be the Galt Museum’s new curator. Photo by Richard Amery
 But Benoit is excited to return to Lethbridge, where she graduated from the University of Lethbridge with her BA in History in 1998. She also has a MA in Geography and is currently working on her PHd in Communities and social inclusion.


“I lived in Lethbridge from Grade 6 on and got my undergraduate degree at the U of L, and then I left the city for a number of years, ” Benoit said adding she lived in Saskatoon and taught English in Japan for several years before returning to Alberta to take a job at the Glenbow Museum. While there, she also worked as the Calgary Stampede’s archivist and historian.


She has a long history with the Galt Museum.


“When I was working on my degree, I started volunteering at the Galt Museum as a collections assistant. That’s when I decided I wanted a career working in museums,” she said.
“ So it feels like a treat to come back and reconnect with that early experience.”
Benoit, who started her new position at the end of November, is looking forward to the job.

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