The Works Art & Design Day: Gallery Tour 2013

Posted by Sarah Flowers, Volunteer Assistant

As interns at The Works, we are focused on the mission of bringing art into the public.  We strive to encourage everyone to engage with art, whether it be by attending a performance in the Big Tent during the Festival, talking to one of our volunteers about an exhibit on the square, or perhaps visiting an exhibit that remains long after other festivals have taken our place during Edmonton’s busy summer festival season.  On a summer day after the last of The Works posters had been removed from Winston Churchill Square, the Enbridge Arts interns assumed a role that was both new and familiar at the same time – that of a gallery patron.  We were given the day to explore several of Edmonton’s art institutions, including the Nina Haggerty Center for the Arts, LightForm Edmonton Inc, Art Hab, and several members of the city’s Gallery Walk association including the Bearclaw Gallery, Scott Gallery, and several others that dot the landscape of 124 Street. 

Each gallery was arguably unique with an independent mission statement and sense of purpose.  From Nina Haggerty’s belief that everyone who enters should be treated as an artist to SNAP’s focus on providing established artists and novices alike with a space dedicated to print making, each of the different galleries displayed a strong sense of individualism alongside the art on their walls.  As interns, we were encouraged to not only engage with the art, but also with the various spaces we were in.  We were given thought provoking questions to ponder on our tours such as: How do you feel in this space?  What is the layout like?  What kind of energy exists in a specific gallery?  

As interns with The Works, we have learned about so much more than art over the course of the past few months.  We have learned about people and their feelings about art.  We have developed our own understandings about how those feelings influence interactions with art.  During our time visiting various galleries, we interns allowed ourselves to slip into the role of patrons, developing new feelings – or perhaps rekindling old feelings – about art through our interactions with the numerous types of art and design that we encountered that day on our gallery tour.

Gallery Tour Itinerary:

-Nina Haggerty Arts Centre (9225 118 Ave)

-LightForm (10545 124 St)

-Society of Northern Alberta Print-artists (SNAP) (10123 – 121 Street)

-Alberta Craft Council (10186 106 St)

-Gallery Walk on 124 st and Jasper Ave, including: Bearclaw Gallery, Douglas Udell, Peter Robertson, Scott Gallery, Front Gallery, West End Gallery

-Latitude 53 (10242 106 St)

-Harcourt House ( 10215 112 St)

-ArtsHab (10217 - 106 St)

Christine FrostComment
What a Thrill It Is: BGL's Carrousel

Posted by Alyssa Ellis, Production Assistant

If I asked you to run in a circle for a designated period of time would you gladly say yes? If I asked you to run in said circle while pushing suspended shopping carts, would you change your mind? If I told you those shopping carts where to be filled with smiling visitors of the Works Art and Design Festival would your whole perception of my questions change? In the middle of this year’s 2013 Works Art and Design Festival a jaw dropping, eye popping, heart pounding installation and performance piece by Montreal based group BGL stands waiting to be brought to life by human energy. In simple terms this work of art is a carousel constructed of crowd barriers and shopping carts. It contains no motors or fancy contraptions to run, only the strength and stamina of a couple individuals willing to give up their time for the pleasure of others. What a thrill it is. As soon as the crowd lines up, the barrier chain comes down, and the carts are filled and then balanced with excited patrons, you can’t help but smile and partake in their anticipation. The moment your hands connect with the back of the shopping cart and your legs begin to push forward to embark on the first rotation, your heart begins to pound faster and faster. And as you pick up speed and let go you ask yourself, “why did I sign up for this?” as my muscles ache, my breath becomes uneven and my throat quenches with thirst. But as I step back and look at the joy I’ve created on blurred faces, I remember precisely in that moment why I am here.    

Festival Nostalgia

Posted by Melissa Cayford, Production Assistant

Being part of a festival begins as a nostalgic affair.  It starts off with a small spark in the air as we began talking about it at orientation. Then, as all romances you fall in a sort of lull.  There are daily duties to be done, from scrubbing banners to painting walls.  Trading designer jeans for grubby t-shirts and old sweatpants.  Just when you begin to think,  “ will we ever get there? ”, and “how is this festival even going to take shape with a few walls?”. Then, the moment you step foot on Churchill Square, you know for a fact that this festival is gonna happen! Suddenly tents are popping up all over the place and you get that nostalgic feeling back.  The excitement begins to build up all over the square.  Even the people of the square know it.  They feel it in their bones, as we scurry over the square like mice on a mission, determined to get all those walls up in order to install art.  Our grand finale is opening for the first day.  Hearing the words, “what is this?”, then seeing the people interact and react to the art.  Two fun exhibits are the Carrousel, of course, which although powered only by human energy, still gets laughs, excitement and amusement from all ages as they ride over and over again.  The second one, is the Criptease tent.  Definitely an exhibit I would check out, it appears to be scandalous at first site, the prints give the illusion of an obese woman being photographed nude. However, the delightful twist is that they are pictures of a woman’s hand close up.  I can’t say anymore, you have to come down and check it out yourself! See you on the square!

 Victoria Stanton’s Group Listening Session, part of the No Rhyme or Reason show curated by Terrance Houle!

Victoria Stanton’s Group Listening Session, part of the No Rhyme or Reason show curated by Terrance Houle!