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New SAAG exhibits focus on modern architecture

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As things start getting back to normal, that means there will be new art exhibits and openings happening downtown.

 The Southern Alberta Art Gallery focuses on architectural styles for their four new exhibits, which officially open, Saturday, July 3 with an opening reception at 7 p.m.

“That is deliberate. We like to have programming with a  special connection and a similar theme. these exhibits feature modern projects involving architecture,” summarized interim curator Adam Whitford.

Morgan Melenka’s exhibit There are No Walls, only shimmering membranes opens at  SAAG, July 3. Photo by Richard Amery

There will be  some familiar images in the upper gallery as Vancouver and Vienna based  artists Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber’s “Performing Educational Modernism” features images of works of Arthur Erickson, who designed the University of Lethbridge main building as well as Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.


“They explore egalitarianism and optimism from the ’50s-’70s,” he said.


“It’s how these open community spaces allowed students and  faulty to gather and cross -pollinate.”


The downstairs gallery features Edmonton sculptor Catherine Burgess‘s “Almost Actual.”


“She’s a senior Alberta artist. Her work plays with spatial  orientation, form and void and the basic  method of delineating  three dimensional space,” he said, adding burgess works in  steel and stainless steel. The names of the  works are an essential component as are the effects of the shadows the make on the walls.


“ She’s exhibited here three times. The first time was in the ’90s,” he said.

Another Edmonton artist Morgan Melenka’s “There Are No Walls, Only Shimmering Membranes,” is on the walls of the SAAG library gallery.

“We like to focus on emerging Alberta and Southern Albertan artists in the library,” Whitford said.


Casa re-opens with new summer programming and exhibits

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Casa has reopened just in time as Covid health restrictions loosen and Lethbridge artists are ready and raring to go as they unleash a year and a half of pent up artistic energy.
 Casa is offering a variety of activities, including outdoor classes, studio time and Summer camps for children in July and August.
 The week-long classes in clay, textiles, drawing, painting, collage, printmaking and sculpture. Camps will run full days from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
“It’s been a little slow so far. But it will pick up as word spreads that we’re open again. We’re in a bit of a transition period now,” said Allied Arts Council Communications manager, Kelaine Devine, noting artists can book studio time and classes are starting up again including the always popular clay and pottery classes.

“They always fill up fast,” she said, adding artists wishing to rent studio time must register in advance by appointment only. Studio access will be available 10 a.m.– 9 p.m.; Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays. Appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis by contacting 403-327-2272.

A lot of activities are planned to take place in Rotary Square including classes including still life painting featuring costumed models posing for artists of all skill levels.

Holding classes outside will take advantage of nice weather.

“They’re usually between 6-8 p.m. when there‘s no direct sunlight,” she said, adding  if you want to make art on you own, the Allied Arts Council also sells arts kits.


Helen Schuler Nature Centre reopens with new exhibits and programming

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The Helen Schuler Nature Centre has re-opened with a lot of new activities and art exhibits.Curtis Goodman examines Elaine Henderson’s “Landscaping Wilderness,”at the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. Photo by Richard Amery
“We’re open again after six months of being closed because of Covid ,” said Helen Schuler Nature Centre Resource Development co-ordinator Curtis Goodman.

“But the trails have always been open. We’ve done a lot of work to bring the inside experience outside,” he continued noting  there have been a lot of activities on the trail including choose your own adventure activities, children’s books and egg scavenger hunts.

“The scavenger hunt has been really popular. We had eggs placed where an actual nest would be. Some were really easy to find, others were almost impossible. We had people complaining when we took it down saying ‘I was going to bring my parents to see it next week,’” he recalled, adding the trails have been popular during the pandemic.

While they were closed, they built an outdoor amphitheatre for outdoor programming.
“It’s larger. It’s more accessible if you have a wheelchair or a walker. We’re getting larger groups like school field trips, so now everybody has a seat,” Goodman said.

 Now the Centre has re-opened, there is new programming inside.

Elaine Henderson’s “Landscaping Wilderness,” featuring paintings of beautiful landscapes, is open now.


Casa pops into spring with plant pottery

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Casa is planting the seeds of a new fundraiser to support local artists as they “Pop into Spring”

Casa's fundraiser Pop Into Spring begins Monday, May 17. photo by Richard Amery
Local artist Alexis Bialobzyski decided to try her hand at pottery as she spearheaded the fundraiser, featuring 21 pinch- pots and plants you can buy for $20 beginning Monday, May 17. They have all been named  with plenty of music themed plant puns like “Pot Plant in the City,”.“Safety Plants, ” “Unskinny Plot” “ Wake me Up Before you Grow Grow” and “You Light Up My Leaf.”

“We‘ve been closed since December, so it’s been hard for artists to gather, but everybody wanted to help out,” said Kelaine Devine, Allied Arts Council Communications manager.
“It’s just a little  fundraiser so we can afford artists fees for our exhibitions and pay them a living wage. Usually we’d be having a lot of fundraisers ” she continued.
She noted Bialobzyski decided to had fun designing the pots in a variety of different styles and themes from abstract to political.

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