Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Ladies Get Your Wish List Ready!!!

Introducing Suzy Q's Quilt Shop MEN’s Shopping Night

On Thursday, December 2nd, 2010, from 5-9pm!

Ladies, get your wish list into the shop to ensure you get what you want!

Gift wrapping available upon request!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Alberta has Canada's biggest appetite for culture - again

A statistics Canada study released this Wednesday has ranked Alberta as the country's biggest spenders on cultural goods, services, and activities.

The report showed that in 2008 Albertans' per capita cultural spending was $963 nearly 15 per-cent higher than the 2008 national per capita average of $841.

The statistics were derived from a study of almost $10,000 households nationwide and listed Calgary as the country's most cultural city by expenditures. Calgarians spent $1020 each on arts events and art works, Saskatoon was 2nd at $1000 per capita. Canada's most populous city, Toronto, ranked 7th ($868), Vancouver 11th ($795) and Montreal 12th ($722).

Among Canadians, Albertans spent the most per capita attending movies - $48.15, with overall theatre admissions totalling $160-million. The most astounding statistic was that in 2008 overall consumer spending on culture reached 27.4 billion dollars.

Other findings in the report include

  • In 2008, Canadians spent $1.4 billion attending live cultural events, more than double the $650 million they paid to attend live sports events.
  • In 2008 consumer spending on culture totalled $27.4 billion - three times what Canadians spent on hotels and travel accommodation that year (9.2 billion).
  • Adjusted for inflation, cultural spending rose by 28 per-cent between 1997 and 2008, double the 14 per-cent increase in Canada's population.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Pepsi Refresh Project - Local Submission


Pepsi is giving away grants to fund “great ideas” and one idea from our region is in the running.

The “Create a book compiling the stories of immigrants to Fort McMurray” project by Amanda Nielsen is one of the potential ideas that the public can vote.

“This book project will capture a better picture of why people immigrate to Canada and in particular to Alberta's northern oil sands community, Fort McMurray. This community is very high-paced with a large turnover in residents. Knowing why people come here and what appeals to them is important in opening dialogue between people that might not otherwise take the time to do so.”

If this project is one of the top two voted 'ideas', it will receive a grant for $25,000.00 to help fund its completion.

To find out more about the project and to vote, please go to the website:

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Alberta Artography

Yardley Jones, Four Girls in Jasper

Hello Wood Buffalo residents,

I was once again, searching the Internet for Provincial art activities and this time I stumbled upon Alberta Artography.  This is a provincial art initiative being taken on by a group called, It Only Takes A Dream or more commonly know as IOTAD. From my understanding Alberta Artography is a site where artists who currently reside in Alberta are able to upload images and didactic information about their practices to one site. Alberta Artography is a part of the larger Artography project which includes other provinces in an effort to highlight artist working within Canada. The image at the top of this post is an example of an Albertan artist's work, which is currently highlighted on the IOTAD Artography site.

Here is some information straight from their website:
IOTAD is committed to advocating for and supporting a creative sustainable economy by the transformation of ideas into value based enterprises. In doing so we build a community of sustainable 'creative class' businesses through the IOTAD focus on people, place and process. We believe that if we consistently work on getting patrons and artists together Alberta’s Arts and Cultural Industry will surpass all other industries in longevity and sustainability. And since this is the industry we choose to work in we are constantly working towards that goal.
This year we began our dream project – ALBERTA ARTOGRAPHY. Who wouldn’t want to travel the province and see all the artists studios and festivals?? Who wouldn’t want to know where the best coffee in the area can be bought when out there trekking? (Traveling as much as we do means we can’t be wasting time and money on a bad cup of coffee!) Who wouldn’t want to pay less for clean simple accommodations and stay a bit longer near that festival?
SO – Its pretty simple. You contact us, give us your details…we work with you on designing your ad for the most comprehensive ‘Culture Seeker’ travel guide that there is in Alberta. (We say in Alberta because BC and the Yukon and the Maritimes have the most amazing studio guides – with years of success.)
Contact us soon to be listed for next years travelers! Deadline is January 1. Brochures on the shelves by May long weekend and promotions in place for Alberta ArtsDays to have the BIGGEST province wide studio tour to celebrate!!
More information and online forms available at http://www.albertaartography.com/

Snail mail Alberta Artography Bx 2397 Jasper Alberta T0E 1E0

To book time in your studio with our cinematographer for your web post! Email video@iotad.ca
Email:  artography@iotad.ca

Galleries West

Oh what a snowy morning we are having here in Wood Buffalo, I hope you are all safe and warm, out of the weather.

I’ve realized that we have yet to create posts about the art based magazines to which we subscribe and/or read regularly. In order to rectify this oversight, I’ve decided to do  overviews of said magazines over the next few months. If you have an overview of magazine that you read, or know of a magazine that you would like reviewed,  please forward that information to me for consideration - connor.buchanan@woodbuffalo.ab.ca

To start I've chosen:

I started reading Galleries West a few years ago while I lived in BC. It was a fairly standard magazine to see in gallery sitting rooms or within classrooms of Fine Art programs throughout Vancouver Island as well within the Greater Vancouver Area. It’s a great publication to read to keep your bearings in the Western Canadian art scene. The articles are directly relatable to shows and artist available within traveling distance of the Wood Buffalo region. Often the magazine will highlight a show or an individual that you’ve seen or met if you are a practicing artist within a Western Canadian context.

For example, the most recent issue included a feature article on Keith Langergraber; Keith was one of my third year professors at Emily Carr University. After I graduated in 2009 I moved directly to Wood Buffalo, and I haven’t taken the opportunity to travel to Kelowna to catch his most recent show. However, by reading this issue I was able to see a preview of his work and I read up on his currently projects and practice.

Keith Langergraber, Rattlesnake Island, installation detail.

Galleries West is a Canadian owned and operated publication, with the majority of its staff is housed south of our region in Calgary.
"[The magazine] strives to heighten awareness of the visual arts scene in Western Canada. Professionally written, accessible features on regionally relevant issues and events, profiles of art makers, critical essays, online exhibition reviews and detailed listings of over 475 fine art galleries serve to stimulate, engage, entertain and enlighten art-interested readers including artists, collectors and dealers across the West”.
(Galleries West Website - see below link for more info)

Each issue includes reviews of current shows, artistic practices of immerging and mind career artist, with the intent to spread the word and highlight those who may not already be well known, as well the issues often include reviews of established artist from or residing in Western Canada. There is also a selection of editorials on events, ideas, activities, shows and news pertaining to the art scene within Western Canada.

For more info I suggest taking a look at the online version of the magazine, it gives a good glimpse into what the publication is all about.

Monday, 15 November 2010

2010 Big Spirit Youth Art Competition

The Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Arts and Crafts Guild is presenting the 2010 Youth Art Competition being hosted at the Fort McMurray Public Library. Information for the event is listed below:

Age Categories:
  1. 5-7 year olds
  2. 8-10 year olds
  3. 11-14 year olds
  4. 15-18 year olds

Art Categories:

  1. Two dimensional landscape
  2. Two dimensional figurative
  3. Two dimensional abstract


  1. Graphite, Pastel Drawing, etc...
  2. Painting, oil, acrylic, water, etc...

Art Drop Off Date:

Friday, November 26th from 1 pm to 7 pm, at the Fort McMurray Public Library, Suncor Community Leisure Centre on MacDonald Island

Reception and Prize Awards:

Held on Sunday, November 28th from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Fort McMurray Public Library, main floor children's library

Open Days for Viewing:

November 27th - December 10th during library hours

There will be a limit of two pieces per person in each category. Each piece will be judged on or before the day of the reception. The chosen pieces will be exhibited at the Fort McMurray Public Library for the designated time. All pieces must be gallery ready (painting/drawings must be mounted or framed ready to be hung with proper hardware for hanging). All artwork must be original and cannot have been entered in the 2008 or 2009 Big Sprit Art Competition. Other prizes include publication in the Fort McMurray Tourism Leisure Guide, Art Show Exhibits, Cash, Gift Certificates, and much more!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo's Culture Area Looking For Local Works of Art

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Culture area is looking to highlight works of art created by local artists in an upcoming promotional campaign. Artists may submit up to five images of their work for consideration. Each artist must complete an entry form which they can find on the Culture page of the Municipal website at http://www.woodbuffalo.ab.ca/residents/culture/submit_artwork.asp?subnav=84.

The entry form gives the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo permission to reproduce the submitted images for the purpose of promoting visual artists within the region. For more information on how to submit you work, please visit www.woodbuffalo.ab.ca/residents/culture or contact Culture Coordinator Connor Buchanan at connor.buchanan@woodbuffalo.ab.ca or 780-743-7044.
The deadline to submit your artwork is Friday, December 3, 2010 at 4:00 p.m.

International Guitar Night

On Wednesday November 10, 2010, I had the pleasure of attending the International Guitar Night presented by Syncrude Arts Alive at Keyano Theatre. This show featured four talented guitarists/composers who dazzled the audience with their most recent original songs.

Brian Gore, guitar poet from San Francisco, founded the International Guitar Night in 1995. He began this show with a beautiful composition where he used a pair of capos to adjust the pitch. Thankfully, for those of us with limited knowledge about the world of guitars, he gave a bit of information about the use of the capo tempered with his offbeat sense of humor.

Alexandre Gismonti, son of legendary Brazilian guitarist Egberto Gismonti, delighted the crowd with his clean style of play during his solo presentation. Alexandre was announced as an “up and comer” who has an incredible family history of guitar composition. He ended his solo performance with a touching song dedicated to his great grandfather.

Pino Forastiere from Rome, Italy has a unique two-handed technique the steel guitar that mesmerized the crowd. His music combines a percussionist sentiment of tapping and slapping with beautiful rhythmic melodies. Forastiere’s music resembles a dance as he fully engages with his steel guitar. I was captivated by his quirky sense of humor and Latin charm.

Clive Carroll, from England, rounded out the quartet during the solo portion of the show. Carroll shared his background through an Irish composition that had the crowd tapping along to the upbeat tune.

The second half of the show continued the musical magic through a combination of duets and quartets that emphasized the unique styles of each musician and the beauty of combining all of their talents. The guitarists were casual and playful, which offered an intimate and endearing evening that I enjoyed very much.

For more information about these musicians and the International Guitar Night, please see their website: http://internationalguitarnight.squarespace.com/

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Veteran's Week 2010

The above image is of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, which sits on the highest point of Vimy ridge, France. This monument is the largest of Canada's war monuments.
  "Throughout the site the grounds are riddled with, trenches, wartime tunnels and mine craters, these have been preserved and enable the visitor to easily imagine the horrors of trench warfare. The battlefield park was handed over to the Canadians in perpetuity in 1922 in recognition of their war efforts."

Each year, Canadians observe Veterans' Week from November 5 to 11. Veterans' Week is a time to honour and remember all those who served Canada in times of war, military conflict and peace. Throughout the week, commemorative events and activities will be held in communities across Canada. November 11, is a Canadian Statutory holiday known as Remembrance Day.

Many people throughout our country have family members who have fought in the Canadian Armed Forces in both past and present day wars. I moved to Wood Buffalo in 2009, and was unable to attend Remembrance Day celebrations that year. I was determined not to miss them again this year but was unsure about where Remembrance Day services were being held in our region. I decided to give the local Legion a call and was able to speak with Gail MacDonald who filled me in on how the Wood Buffalo community remembers our fallen soldiers. Gail also informed me that in Wood Buffalo we have only three remaining locals, who served in WWII. During this week our vets have been manning a table in the Peter Pond Mall, their last shift in this regard is Today November 10 from 12 – 4 PM. If you have a free moment this would be a great opportunity to stop in, buy poppies and thank them in person.

The local Royal Canadian Legion Branch No 165 will be hosting the annual Remembrance Day Service this Remembrance Day (Thursday November 11), at Keyano College’s main theatre. The service will start promptly at 9:30 AM with opening hymns and speeches. After an intermission, phase two will in involve the cenotaph service and wreath laying. After the playing of Last Post, two minutes of silence will be observed starting at 11AM. The moments of silence may be observed anywhere, so if you’re unable to attend the service know that you can still participate in this Canadian tradition from wherever you are.

Following the moment of silence there will be a wreath laying service on the main stage. After the wreath laying service there will be a March Past from Composite High school through to the Keyano Parking lot. A March Past is an official march of the various Royal Canadian and Common Wealth forces. Included in the March Past will be the Legion Colour Party, the Legion Pipes and Drums, Army and Air Cadets, RCMP officers, members of the Fort McMurray Fire Department. As a special honour this year, a military escort of twelve soldiers from the Edmonton based PPCLI will be joining our local March Past to honour the 2010 Silver Cross Mother, Angela Boyes and her son Lt. Justin Boyes, who died while serving in Afghanistan in October, 2009.

After the March Past, the Legion will be hosting a free public lunch at the Royal Canadian Legion McMurray Branch #165 Hall, located at 9317 Huggard Street, Fort McMurray.

For more information regarding the services or the lunch, please contact Gail MacDonald at 780.743.2329

For more information on traditions and the history of Canadian Remembrance Day, please visit the Veterans Affairs Canada webpage: www.vac-acc.gc.ca

“Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a silent moment of remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace. We honour those who fought for Canada in the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945), and the Korean War (1950-1953), as well as those who have served since then. More than 1,500,000 Canadians have served our country in this way, and more than 100,000 have died. They gave their lives and their futures so that we may live in peace.”
A Day of Remembrance, Veterans Affairs Canada: http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/


Connor Buchanan

Monday, 8 November 2010

Alberta Art Speak

Hello Wood Buffalo folks,

I found an interesting website through the a call for entry (which was included in last weeks Culture e-list).

The website is Alberta Art Speak's blog, it has lots of information about the various arts communities around the province as well as upcoming shows, opportunities and news. I have posted and link to the blog on our  "Culture Organizations, Individuals & Websites" section on the right hand side of the homepage.



Where is Fort McMurray?

An Update post:
As I promised in my comment on the October 1st, UnWrap the Research post, I have collected some images and great information from Andriko J. Lozowy regarding his project titled "Where is Fort McMurray".

During the month of February 2010 be sure to stop by the public Library to see all 21 images from this project on display.  

Youth Picturing Place
There is no unmediated photograph or passive camera obscura in scientific accounts of bodies and machines; there are only highly specific visual possibilities, each with a wonderfully detailed, active, partial way of organizing worlds.
- Donna J. Haraway, 1991.

Where is Fort McMurray? refers to both the series of 21 images before you as well as the collaborative process of working together to create the images. Between May 2009 and October 2010, young people representing the three high schools of Fort McMurray came together to consider questions of landscape, geography, community, social connections and photography. These questions were motivated by a University of Alberta qualitative research project titled Social Landscapes of Neoliberal Growth: the Case of Fort McMurray, Alberta, led by Sociology professor Dr. Sara Dorow. Social Landscapes... is an ethnographic inquiry into local ideals and practices of community, with its shifting physical, social, and imagined boundaries, in the context of a neoliberally-governed growth economy. Where is Fort McMurray? functions as a element within the larger research framework in which a diverse group of youth volunteered to participate.

As participant collaborators we worked together to discuss visual compositions and narratives, workshop various photographic techniques, share our collected images, theorize the social implications of the photographs, and choose a striking selection of images that work as a set. The set you see before you is considered a snap-shot in time and, as Haraway states above, each image is imbued with a “wonderfully detailed, active and partial way of organizing worlds.” When observing the collection we must also consider the myriad images that were captured but not represented here, as well as the potential in those that were not created. This collection can also be considered as a catalyst for the creation of an online archive of images that work in relation to or as a kind of critical narrative to the images that dominate when one performs an online search of the name Fort McMurray.

Where is Fort McMurray? aims to gain perspective of place and community from the vantage of youth in a local context. The research project asks two kinds of questions: a) what are the variety of ways that youth understand and perceive Fort McMurray as a place; and b) what are the challenges and benefits of using photography as a way for youth to explore and express their experience of place. These questions function as a cyclical cue-card as you move from image to image, rather than a penultimate statement leading to concretized answers. Instead, the answers are more suggestive: Where is Fort McMurray? asks viewers to internalize and take up the questions themselves and engage in an open and supportive dialogue with creativity through visual representation and conversation with others.

This print exhibition is meant to be a physical manifestation of intermedia. The term intermedia, suggests movement from digital to analogue, analogue to digital and back again. In part, participants were drawn to participate in Where is Fort McMurray? because of the promise of learning photographic techniques. With digital single-lens reflex cameras in hand, participants began to feel the material weight of a DSLR. Some remarked that these cameras were too heavy and bulky to tote around, while others appreciated the manual control features and felt compelled to keep pressing the shutter. The time spent responding to the cameras, to light and to place is documented here with tangible representations of traditional photographic techniques from a swiftly passing era. Film and dark room chemicals have been traded in for sensors and data cards and as such we are left asking the questions, what is photography? And where is Fort McMurray?


Collaborators and Photographers
Amani Hachem
Aurooba Ahmed
Jaslynn Houle
Josiane Thibault
Milauni Desai
Nathalia Riordon
Paula Loutitt
Priscilla Gonzales
Sara Morrison
Veronica Laya
Yicuin Chen

There is no unmediated photograph or passive camera obscura in scientific accounts of bodies and machines; there are only highly specific visual possibilities, each with a wonderfully detailed, active, partial way of organizing worlds.

Facilitator, Collaborator, Photographer, Curator: Andriko J. Lozowy

Wood Buffalo Aritst Forum Meet & Greet

Hello and Happy Monday :)

Unfortunatly I was unable to attend the Meet and Greet hosted by the Wood Buffalo Artists Forum two weekends ago. However, Artist Forum board member Louise van Alenburg was kind enough to provide me with the following recap and images. Thanks Louise!



 Artists dress up for Halloween

When the Artists Forum invited artists for a Meet and Greet on Halloween Saturday at the ‘soon to be gallery’ at MacDonald Island, they knew they were in for something special. Leave dressing up to artists. So far for a meet and greet: we will hardly recognize each other after this! In future meetings we will refer to Charlie Chaplin, Einstein, Pippi Longstocking or the FMM Ink girl.

Approximately 20 artists showed up for the evening with yummy homemade appetizers and desserts. The artists had a change to get to know each other, chat about art in town and to see the gallery space for themselves. It may help to visualize the possibilities and to prepare for our Open Call for the first exhibition with the theme ‘Celebration’ in January. The deadline for submission is January 5th, 2011.

Artists can send a jpg file of their work with additional information on dimensions & medium to: woodbuffalo.artistsforum@gmail.com.

A huge thank you goes to the people of MacDonald Island for all the support.

The Woodbuffalo Artists Forum.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Frames and More

(from left to right): Lucas Seaward, Carol Breen, Rose Nickel, Florence Weber, Barb Howe (featured artist Rudy Pongo is missing from the photo)

A Great New Space to View Art

This past Friday, October 29, 2010, I had the privilege of attending the private opening of Frames and More. Now some of you may be thinking that Frames and More has always had artist’s works on display, and this is true however, the store now has a new space. Prior to this show, Frames and More consisted of one room in the front which served as a store selling works of art and frames, and a private work space in the back for the employees. Due to a lack of space and the desire to showcase as much local talent as possible, the storefront's walls were completely covered with art works; there were works leaning up against one another in piles on the floor and nary an inch between the works on the walls. Within this overcrowding it was easy for a viewer to think that the space had no apparent format for display or distinction between artists. This overcrowding is no more! Due to some construction and some real gumption, there are two new spaces available. This expansion provides additional wall space and thus dignity to each work, allowing viewers to spend time with one piece at a time, without having their attention stolen by the art next to it. This inaugural show highlighted works from five local artists; Carol Breen, Barb Howe, Rose Nickel, Rudy Pongo and Lucas Seaward. These five artists covered many mediums from acrylic paints and water colour, to glass mosaics and wood working.

When entering the gallery you are met by a collection of Lucas Seaward’s of large scale graphite drawings, as well as some beautifully made ceramics from Barb Howe and Rose Nickel. Seaward's body of work depicts various endangered species in photo realism. I was particularly taken by his sensitivity to detail and ability to render water in motion. Seaward is able to give his subjects a visible tactile quality. The fur of the Polar Bear and Lion seem to sit delicately on their host, appearing to almost shift in an imaginary wind or in response to a viewer’s movement. His rendering of the skin on an elephant's ears and hide, create the illusion that your fingers would dance and bump along the surface should you reach out to touch them. This rich texture is a nice dichotomy to his material of choice; slick smoothly applied powdered graphite.

Above: One of Seawards drawings.

Once you’ve visited with the menagerie in the front room you step through into the in-between or the atrium gallery which acts as a bridge between the front gallery and the new additon. This space is small, with the majority of the works hung above eye level; making viewing them it a bit of a challenge. The atrium housed the paintings of Rudy Pongo. I found Pongo’s work to be a bit rudimentary in subject and his handling of  materials. The brushmarks felt tentative, and slightly laboured giving each piece an overworked feeling. The lasting impression from these works was that  a majority of the photograph inspirations were not his own, and that the subjects were chosen for a base to study material and technique. These works read as practice pieces for an artist exploring realism and acrylics. I would like to see more from Pongo as his practice progresses.

So as not to spoil the fun of discovering this great little gallery space and the works within, I will leave a small interview I had with the gallery owner Florence Weber.

Let me know if you have stopped in to see the gallery yet and if so what you thought of the works, what did you like, dislike, what would you like to see more of?



Interview with Florence Weber
  • What prompted you to open up the extra room and start having shows?
    • We were excited to open up the extra room for the simple reason of having more space to showcase the surprising amount of artistic talent that is in our Municipality.
  • How did this first show come to fruition?
    • Very quickly! Lucas Seaward showed us his artistic portfolio and we were so excited about his art (17 original graphite drawings) that we decided an art show displaying all of his pieces would be the best way to introduce him to our city. From the initial catalyst we worked quickly to organize the show, drawing on the experience of local artist Carol Breen.
  • Does the gallery have a name? Or is it the same as the store, or do all three spaces have different names?
    • The new expanded room is named ‘Carol’ honouring Carol Breen. The large gallery area is “The Great Gallery!”, actually, it doesn’t have a designated name.
  •  Are you planning to have a regular calendar for shows in the space?
    • Our goal is to host four shows per year 
  • Will there be a curator for each show, or do the artists hang their work according to their own preferences?
    • I am the curator for the shows.
  • How will you choose which art to showcase in the space?
    • Our shows are exclusive to the local artists of Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. 
  •  How would you gage community support for the gallery?
    • This current show has shown outstanding support from the community for our gallery. A common response to our art show has been that it is so valuable to have a gallery that is dedicated to showcasing the local talent of McMurray. The community is excited to have ongoing events that honour the arts in McMurray.