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Art’s Alive and Well in the Schools cornerstone of new local exhibits at SAAG

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The Southern Alberta Art Gallery  (SAAG) showcases artists at different stages of their careers as they open three new exhibits on Saturday, May 13. Best of all admission to the exhibits is free thanks to a sponsorship from ATB.

 Arts Alive and Well in the School is in the Lower gallery and in the hallways.



“We always try to have all local artists when we have Arts is Alive and Well,” said SAAG interim curator Adam Whitford.

“ We have Arts Is Alive and Well in the Schools which is students at the beginning of their careers, Lonnie Powers’ #RAINTHATSRTUCK who is sust starting and April Matisz ’ “ Gathering near and far, still. She  is more established. She has had several exhibitions of her own, but is still up and coming, ” Whitford summarized.


Art’s Alive  and Well in The School focuses on over 100 young artists Grades 9-12  from the Lethbridge School District. It also features projections of works from artists in K-Grade 8.

“ Art’s Alive and Well In the Schools is back for the 43rd year. It started in 1977, the year after the SAAG opened.Other thana. couple of years during Covid when it was online, it has run continuously since then,” Whitford continued.


April Matisz’s Gathering new and far, still is at the SAAG. Photo by Richard Amery

“ We get a lot of families and see a lot of new faces who don’t usually come to the SAAG. We also get a lot of field trips,” he said, adding Art’s Alive and Well in the Schools helps give young artists their first exposure.

Art’s Alive and Well opens  with a reception between 2-4 p.m. and runs  until June 17.


April Matisz’s “Gathering near and far, still ” is in the upper gallery.


“It’s her first solo exhibition at the SAAG. April explores  the idea of gatherers rather than hunters. April is interested in biology. There are cutouts of figures of different  sizes  going gathering in the distant past and ceramic feet which reflect ancestral footprints of these gatherers,” he said, adding, the exhibit also includes ink paintings reflecting that theme.


Tenth anniversary celebration for casa features arts for everybody

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It’s hard to believe casa has been home to local artists for the past 10 years.

So Saturday, May 13 is a great day celebrate that milestone with a variety of free, family friendly activities, culminating with a concert from Latin musician Oscar Lopez, who also performed at the official opening of the downtown community arts centre.


“ Everything is free,” enthused Allied Arts Council Executive Director, Jana MacKenzie, adding a lot of people have been using the facilities at casa.


Oscar Lopez returns for the tenth anniversary celebration of casa this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery

There will be an open house  from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. featuring a variety of activities including gallery and facility tours, studio demonstrations in the clay studio, wood-shop, 2D studio and textile studio, art  documentaries. There will also be dance demonstrations in the dance studio.


 There will also be fun for families including face painting, corpse drawing, a cupcake  cake at noon, button making, community painting and chalk drawing in Rotary Square, where Oscar Lopez will be performing at  7 p.m.


 The event will also be the debut of the new shade sails over Rotary Square, where Oscar Lopez will be performing.

“We have 200 tickets available, but because it looks like the weather is looking fantastic, we’ll be releasing 200 more,” she said, noting tickets are free, but need to be obtained  in advance.


“This is a chance to get a look behind the scenes  even for people who go there and especially for people who have never been there. You never know what will catch your interest,” MacKenzie continued.

 “It’s amazing that it has been 10 years. I was working at the Bowman Gallery and we were at capacity then, so we knew the need was there for casa,” she continued.



Jana MacKenzie taking the helm of the Allied Arts Council

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Jana MacKenzie is excited to take the helm of the Allied Arts Council  as the new executive director and  filling the huge shoes of Suzanne Lint, who retired this year after 23 years.

Jana MacKenzie is the new executive director of the Allied Arts Council. Photo by Richard Amery

“Suzanne Lint has been here for 23 years. She has been a dedicated supporter of the arts,” MacKenzie said.


 MacKenzie has been involved in the Southern Alberta Arts scene for many years as an artist and working with the Bowman Arts Gallery, Allied Arts Council and  South Country Fair.


“ I’m excited about it. I started with the Allied Arts Council in 2006 as part of the staff at the Bowman and when they moved to casa,” MacKenzie said.


“ There is so much happening in Lethbridge, we want to make it accessible to everybody,” MacKenzie continued, adding it is the Allied Arts Council’s duty to support Lethbridge’s creative people.


MacKenzie has been a big part of the Lethbridge arts community for many years as an organizer through her work with the Allied Arts Council and in the community. She is also a textiles artist who has had two solo exhibitions as well has participated in several group exhibitions, she recently joined Ammena Dance Company. She know most of the people in the local arts community.


She noted it was a long hiring process before  she was hired.


“ I have to take a more macro approach to things for this job,” she said adding the Allied Arts Council is there to support local artists. 


Casa opens a cornucopia of new exhibits this weekend

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Casa is plotting a murder (of crows)  this weekend.

Darcy Logan looks at “Plotting Murder,” one of eight new exhibits opening at Casa, Jan. 28. Photo by Richard Amery

 Lethbridge artist David Dunlop’s “Plotting Murder” features a cornucopia of crows in a third of the main gallery.

 It is one of eight new exhibits opening Saturday, Jan. 28 with an opening reception from 7-9 p.m.


“These exhibits feature a variety of different artists from veteran artists to emerging artists,” summarized Casa curator Darcy Logan.

The main gallery  also features  Adrian Cook’s  “Wood Works” and Julie Duschenes’ “Pack Ice.” 


 Myken McDowell’s “Space Talk” is in  the project space. Jordan Mudrack’s  WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) is in the Passage Gallery. Jessica Colley’s “the weight’ is in the Platform Gallery.


Upstairs  focuses on Blackfoot artists. John Calf Chief’s  “Past Present and Friendship” is in the concourse gallery. 

And Hali Heavy Shield’s  “Postcards from the Rez” is in the Saokitapi Gallery.


“ David Dunlop has curated a murder of crows in the gallery no matter what perspective you’re looking at , ”Logan said “ he’s explored the folklore and  and symbolism of crows through paintings, drawings and  sculpture,” he continued.


Julie Duschenes was inspired by the river bottom for her exhibit “ Black Ice.”


“She has text, drawings and paintings inspired by  exploring the  river bottom during spring break up,” Logan said.

 Veteran artist  Adrian Cook’ “Wood Works”  is also in the main gallery.

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