Alberta Culture Days is here

Former Minister of Culture Heather Klimchuk was a great proponent of Alberta Culture Days, so was Lindsey Blackett before her, as I'm sure is current Minister of Culture and Tourism Maureen Kubinec.  The idea is to make diverse and plentiful artistic and cultural experiences accessible to Albertans over three days in September.

I like the idea and support it wholeheartedly.  There are so many artists, groups, companies and programs that barely scratch the surface when it comes to making it on the general public's radar.  Alberta Culture Days provides a framework, and some funding, to create a focus, spark activity and nurture engagement with the arts.

Sitting as a member of the Premier's Council on Culture, we have long discussions about these things.  What is our Alberta story?  Are we providing enough encouragement and enticement for Alberta artists, writers, musicians, dancers, actors, and filmmakers to create content that begins to articulate what it means to live in this province?  Alberta Culture Days provides a platform for expression that I'm pleased to say has many dimensions and opportunities here in Wood Buffalo.

The list of options over the next three days is impressive with activities, performances and exhibitions happening at Keyano College, Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts, Suncor Community Leisure Centre, Holy Trinity High School and at several spots in the downtown core (Borealis Park, Jubilee Plaza, MacDonald Island and Poplar Crescent Park) as the igNIGHT: art illuminated, kicks off.

When I'm not busy painting and participating in United Way fundraising events, I'll be taking in as much as I can this weekend with a special focus on the NorthWord event happening in the Keyano Art Gallery space on Saturday from 2 to 5 pm.  I'm looking forward to hearing from Buffy Close who guest edited Issue #11 of Wood Buffalo's only literary magazine with the theme of Superstition.  I'll be listening for as many tips as I can gather as I've been tapped to guest edit Issue #12 which will be informed/inspired by another S-word: Surprise!

I have always felt that NorthWord is a cultural gem in our region.  It contains marvellous poetry and prose that begins to chronicle nuances and novelties about Wood Buffalo and its people that are incredibly valuable and revealing.

I also hope to make it around to the igNIGHT locations to bask in the literal glow of our first wisps of public art.  These are temporary installations, but ones that are already drawing people in and showing up on Twitter and Facebook.

While I'm running around, I'm going to make a stop at the Gallery at Frames and More.  If you haven't been yet, get off your sofa and into your car and go there.  It is an artistic oasis where, during their "Saturday at the Gallery" event, running from 11 am to 4 pm, you'll have a chance to see the talent of David Ball, who does incredible things with pastels.  I'm blown away by his talent, especially his portraiture. His landscapes are pretty breathtaking, too, as you can see above.

There is so much more to see and do during Alberta Culture Days.  Pick one, pick several, or try to see everything.  The next couple of days is about appreciating the depth and diversity of arts and culture that we have in our region, and in our province.  For all the details, check out the complete listing by clicking here.


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