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Covid inspires the Summer Salon at Casa

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Covid 19 got the creative juices flowing during quarantine. In addition to about a dozen local musicians releasing CDs in the past few months, local visual artists have been hard at work.

Darcy Logan examines one of the paintings in Casa's new Summer Salon exhibit. Photo by Richard Amery
 The 68 artists’ recent works culminates in The Summer Salon, the new exhibit at Casa, which officially opened on Monday, July 6.


“We have everyone from emerging and self taught artists all the way up to academic and professional artists,” said Casa curator Darcy Logan.
 The Exhibit, on all floors of Casa, runs until Aug. 21.


 “So it runs all summer,” Logan continued, adding he was impressed with the quality of the art submitted.


“We weren’t even sure if we  were going to be able to open casa,” he continued, adding organizing the exhibit came together quickly.

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New video examines Robert Bechtel’s “Studium” exhibit at Trianon Art Gallery

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The multi-talented, multi-disciplinary artist Nick Bohle has killed two bird with one stone, so to speak by filming a new video with local artist Robert Bechtel and helping out the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.

Nick Bohle performing with Dead Army. Photo by Richard Amery
Bohle, who wears many hats including actor, film maker as well as a solo musician and guitarist for local hard rock band Dead Army, just released his video last week.
The video, under Bohle’s company name Hat Chap Productions, is about Bechtel’s exhibit ‘Studium’ which now has an extended run until July 31 at the Trianon Art Gallery thanks to Covid 19.


“I was walking in the coulee after work  on the west side between the wetlands and the dike and ran into John Savill (owner of the Trianon). It’s a nice place to walk. And we got to talking. I’ve known John for a long time because his son and my younger brother went to school together. And he told me about the new exhibit, which nobody could see because of Covid 19. So the idea of a making a documentary about the came up,”  Bohle related, noting he filmed it in between a lot of other projects including a new solo single due out in August and auditioning for acting jobs.


“I composed the music  for the  video too. it was a challenge to create the right mood for the exhibit. I didn't get it finished until  two weeks after the video was finished,” he said. adding he  only had a passing knowledge of Bechtel’s work before the video.


“I always liked art. I studied it in school. I’d heard of Rob and  walked by his works at Casa, but I didn’t really know him. He is an exceptional artist. He has a very Van Gogh painterly style,” he said adding Bechtel has an impressive body of work.

“There’s 200 pieces in this exhibit all from the past two years. He paints about a painting a day. And he graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 1995 and has painted steadily since then for about 25 years,” he enthused, adding he was glad to support Bechtel with the video.

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Casa cautiously reopening after Covid

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Casa is slowly and cautiously reopening this month.
“I think people are getting tired of  doing things through a screen and are excited to have real life experiences again,” said the Allied Arts Council executive director Suzanne Lint.
“ But our priority is the safety of staff and patrons,” she emphasized, noting 168,000 people visited Casa last year, based on door counts. The University of Lethbridge Conservatory attracted 5,000 students last year.
“It’s a lot. It’s a very busy building,” she said.
“ We won’t be able to accommodate all of them at once,” she said.
 The Allied Arts Council is excited to present new , albeit limited programming in the first reopening phase..
 Registration for children’s summer camps  is this week.

“ But  while we had  40 last year, we’re down to seven now. We want to give kids an opportunity to make art”Lint said, adding the camps will teach single cohorts of children with one teacher per class. Each class  will  have between six to eight members.


“They’ll be working with both two dimensional and and three dimensional art,” she said, adding teachers will not be teaching more than one class and children will be  staying  in the same class throughout the week long camps.

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CASA exhibits focus on photography

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Casa’s new exhibits feature photography.Darcy Logan examines Wes Bell’s exhibit On the Line, running at Casa until April 10. Photo by Richard Amery
“ We’re  featuring a series of photography exhibits which are here in conjunction with Exposure Fest,” noted curator Darcy Logan.
“So it’s a celebration of photography.”


U of L BFA graduate Angeline Simon looked into her family history for “With Warmest Regards” in the main gallery.
“Angeline explored archival photographs from her family history. She manipulated them to explore ideas of identity and culture,” he said, adding that examines the concept erasure.


“It’s about considering yourself while and your family while being separated by them geographically,” he continued.


“It’s about imagination and the effect of family moving,” he said.
 The other half of the gallery features four suites of photographs, which make up Wes Bells’ “ On The Line.”


“ it is four bodies of work that reflect impermanence,” Logan said.


 The first suite features stairs in various states of disrepair.
“He took these photographs of places people used to live in upstate new York,” said Logan, noting the Medicine Hat based  Bell was a fashion photographer in places like New York and Milan before he moved back to where he was born.
“ They are of place people used to live and then fell into a state of disuse and disrepair,” he said.

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