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Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens opens new Bunka centre

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The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens is proud to reopen their new building The Nikka Yuko Bunka Centre after six years of hard work, planning and collaboration.

“ We could not have done this without the co-operation with the city,” said Lethbridge & District Japanese Garden Society president Brad Hembroff.

The Nikka Yuko Bunka will be open for the Festival of Lights, Nov. 26. Photo by Richard Amery

 The new building will be officially completed and open in time for the Nikka Yuko Festival of Lights on Nov. 26.

 

“We’ll be opening it in three phases,” Hembroff continued, adding the first phase is Nov. 26 after final  pieces like inside doors to the main room and office carpeting will be completed. It will feature the opening of the café, gift shop and large event space.

 

The second phase features the opening of the programming spaces in the spring, weather permitting. 

 

The final phase will be the official grand opening for Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens’ 55th anniversary celebrations, July 14 next year.

 

 The new building features a front desk and gift shop greeting visitors. Right behind that will be a room dedicated to costumes, so people can come and dress up and tour the gardens in costume if they wish.

 There will be a café and coffee shop, next to a big set of windows showcasing the gardens themselves.

 There is a bigger room for special events and presentations and smaller rooms for special cultural activities including bonsai tree creation, cosplay and Sumo wrestling.

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Arts Days features music and outdoor events

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It looks like Arts Days will be blessed with good weather for Arts Days this week.

 

Makiisma Plays Arts Days, Sept. 24. Photo by Richard Amery

 It’s not like a couple years ago when we had snow,” said Allied Arts Council Projects manager Tara Gillanders, noting due to Covid , most events will be outside this year.

 

“We’re working hard to ensure that everything is safe. So we had planned to move as much as we could outside even before the current restrictions came into effect,” she continued.

 

 Lethbridge’s annual celebration of the arts begins on Thursday, Sept. 23 with local artists painting the outside windows of of several downtown local businesses including Classique Dance Works, The Allied Arts Council shop, Casa and Sill and Soil.

 

“It’s an excellent opportunity for people to stop and chat with the artists about their work,” Gillanders said.

 

 The musical portion of ArtsDays begins on Friday, Sept. 24 with doom folk band Makiisma and local garage rock/new wave band Body Lens, who perform on Rotary Square outside Casa from 7 -9 p.m.

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Casa celebrates Southern Alberta Art with Inside Outside

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CASA reopens with a bang as  new exhibits “Inside Out” and “Summer Salon” opens July 3, showcasing a burst of creativity for 74 Southern Alberta artists .

Darcy Logan is excite to have Inside Out  featuring 74 local artists opening at Casa, July 3. Photo by Richard Amery

“ It”s been seven or eight months since we had an exhibit here,” said Casa curator Darcy Logan.

 

“Originally it was just going to be an outdoor exhibit, because we didn’t know what was going to happen at this time, but we put together a great team to make it work,” Logan said, noting they put out an artists call in May, which southern Alberta artists answered in force.

 

“ None of it is directly related to the pandemic,” he said.

 

“ There’s a wide range  of works in all sorts of mediums. There‘s abstracts and realism. And we have works from all kinds of artists from teens to well respected professionals,” he said, adding the  main gallery focusses on paintings including a variety of subject matter including birds, landscapes, wildlife and  a quirky submission of a horse riding another horse.

 

 There are also several outdoor exhibits.

Troy Nickel and  Michelle Sylvestre have larger installations in the kiosks.

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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.

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