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Word on the Street to be an exciting blend of books, music and much more

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Get the Word at the Lethbridge Public Library as the thirteenth annual Word On The Street returns to the Lethbridge Public Library, Saturday Sept. 23 from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.

 There will be live music, workshops  face painting, family fun and lots of authors on seven different stages including an Indigenous stage inside the library.


Elisabeth Hegerat examines a Word on the Street volunteer T-Shirt. Photo by Richard Amery

 Word on the Street is the keystone event for  Arts Days, so with that in mind,  The Allied Arts Council will be collaborating with Word on the Street for a variety of activities this year.


“We‘re excited to  have Word on the Street as a live event. It’s going to be a wonderful experience,” said Elisabeth Hegarat Word on the Street organizer and Lethbridge Public Library manager of Community Advancement.

“We  were online in 2020 and 2021 and were live last year. And we‘ve got another milestone coming up,” Hegarat continued.


 She said there is a usual mix of non fiction, fiction, First Nations , local authors and  children and teen authors scheduled to speak and read from their works.


Some of Hegerat’s festival’s highlights include prairie poet Syd Marty, who has a new book about the Oldman River, Ann Marie MacDonald, who has a new historical fiction book about  a family  living on the border of England and Scotland in the nineteenth century called ‘Fayne: A Novel.”


“ I can’t wait to read that,’ Hegerat said, adding she is also excited to see artist and author Hali Heavy Shield’s new picture book and John  Vaillant’s new book  on the Fort McMurray wildfires “ Making of the Beast.”


Hegerat is excited about a new collaboration with the Allied Arts Council who will be  adding demonstrations of a variety of artistic endeavours including woodturning and  a one pound clay challenge which means the Allied Arts Council will be bringing the clay turning wheel d from casa  and the first 200 people will get to make something and have it fired in casa‘s kiln.


Waking Death explores different perspectives of death and grieving in new casa exhibits

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Discussing death  doesn't have to be a scary or depressing experience. But get ready for Halloween anyway with a cornucopia of spooky activities beginning with Waking Death, a new group exhibit running at casa from Sept. 9-Oct. 28. The eight artists explore the concept of death and mourning in their works, which encompass First Nations and western perspectives on death and grief.


The Waking Death artists, David Garneau, Faye Heavyshield, Don Gill, Mary Kavanagh, Annie Martin, Bryce Singer, Kasia Sosnowski, and Adrian Stimson, utilized a variety of mediums for their contributions to the exhibit including acrylic paint, photography, sculpture and textile art which are in the main gallery.

Annie Martin, Mia Van Leeuwen, Shanell Papp  and Darcy Logan welcome people to new  exhibits at casa, Sept. 9. Photo By Richard Amery

Waking Dead member Don Gill has a wall dedicated to his photographs of actual death masks created from prisoners in Australia. Bryce Singer created a vividly coloured painting inspired by a dream he had about talking to a relative who passed on.


Local artist Shanell Papp is excited to see her 40-foot gigantic crocheted skeleton, which was on display in the casa in October 2020 come to life in a parade featuring University  of Lethbridge actors and alumni during the happening at casa  at 8 p.m. in the middle of the exhibit’s opening reception, Saturday, Sept. 9. The opening reception runs from 7-9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9.


“It’s going to be great,” said artist and co-curator Shanell Papp, who contributed a crocheted skull ossuary plus some other death themed pieces to the Passage gallery.


“I’m thankful casa keeps letting me exhibit. I’m hoping  other groups will be able to offer me a room some day,” she said, adding crocheting skulls and bones inspires different , more playful dialogue about death than other mediums.


“ There’s a different dialogue about death then if they were in a different medium like ceramics,” she said.

Her exhibit “Resting Place” is in the Passage Gallery.


Get to know Van Gogh through Immersive Van Gogh Experience at Enmax Centre

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Get immersed in  the life of post-Impressionist Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh with Beyond Van Gogh : The  Immersive Experience which runs  at the Enmax Centre July 14- Aug. 6.


Beyond Van Gogh: the Immersive Experience Curator Fanny Curtat Photo by Timothy Norris Paquin Entertainment Group

 When most people think of Dutch born , French artist Vincent Van Gogh, they think of “ the ear cutting incident” and a few key paintings  “ Starry Night,” Sunflowers” and “ Iris,” but curator Fanny Curtat wanted to explore the man’s mindset, so she worked with Paquin Entertainment Group and a team of animators and digital arts professionals to condense letters to his brother Theo and  some 300 paintings and 850 sketches and designs into 300 pieces to tell Van Gogh’s story.


“ We worked own this exhibit from our homes during the pandemic,”  Curtat said, adding since Spring 2021, it has toured to over 60 cities before coming to  Lethbridge.


“It’s a really unique way of experiencing  Vincent’s life. It’s like walking into the middle  of a painting,” summarized  curator Fanny Curtat from Montreal.


“If you have an art history background, it’s great. But you don’t need one. Even if you don’t know anything abut Vincent, it is an immersive experience,” she continued, adding people have a lot of different reactions to the exhibit, which is a blend of history and technology.


“We’ve had kids and adults twirling in the middle of it. We’ve had people who are mesmerized, people who  share it and discuss it with other people,” she said.

Von Gogh had a troubled life battling depression, poverty, mental illness and insecurity and eventually committing suicide at age 39.


“Vincent was a very polarizing character. But he’s very relatable. When you consider most of his work was done in the last 10 years of his life,” she said.

“When you walk into the  first room, we have letters to his brother Theo that you can read. Then in the next room, it’s 30,000 square foot and  all four sides including the floor are covered with images. You get a really clear sense of his evolution,” she described.


“It would be cruel not to include his works ‘Starry, Starry Night’  ‘ Sunflower’ and ‘Iris,’ so they’re there,” she continued, adding they chronicle his life growing up in the Netherlands, then his moves to Paris and then the South of France.

“This exhibit is an opportunity to experience Vincent in a different way than just a historical context.  But also  his relevance today,” she said.


“His art is all about the joy of appreciating nature and experiencing nature.”


Local artists ‘Make it Big’at Summer Salon at casa among new exhibitions opening this week

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Lethbridge artists are ‘making it big’ for the annual Summer Salon, which officially opens at casa, Saturday, June 17 with an opening reception from 5-7 p.m.

The show “ Making It Big in Lethbridge” is a group exhibition featuring 52 local artists who explored scale while embracing the theme of “ Making it Big In Lethbridge.”


It is one of three shows opening on Saturday.


Eric Dyck works on his piece for Make it Big at casa. Photo by Richard Amery

“It’s an open community group exhibition. I was able to  select at least one pice from all 52 artists,” said casa curator Darcy Logan, noting there are a lot of familiar  faces including  Jason Trotter, who has a massive stencil  about homeless Canadian Forces veterans and comic artist who was frantically adding an expanded version of  one of his autobiographical wood cut prints to one of the walls of the main gallery.


The works take over both floors of casa except for  the showcase outside the main gallery.


“ I was really impressed with all of them because you never know what you’ll get when you have an open call,” Logan said, adding there is a mix of age levels and experience in the exhibition from established local artists to University of Lethbridge students.


There is a also a mix of artistic mediums.


“They’re exploring scale, so if they usually  have smaller pieces, they will have larger pieces in the exhibition,” Logan said.


“They are throughout the entire building,” he continued.

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