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SOAR festival gives young artists wings

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 It is no secret that Lethbridge has an amazing arts scene  full of  super creative people.

So the second edition of SOAR takes flight in the first weekend of June to not only let  young artists aged 18-35 show what they can do during three cabaret nights at Casa, June 2 and 4, but also share some of their expertise during a series of symposiums simultaneously happening that week.

Muffy McKay looks at a couple of  works created by Kiley Grenberg and Arianna Richardson which will be part of the M.A.P.S art exhibit as part of the SOAR festival this year. Photo by Richard Amery
“We started SOAR in conjunction with the Lt. Governor’s Awards and part of hosting the event was to create an ongoing project that was sustainable, so we began SOAR for young emerging artists,” said Allied Arts Council projects co-ordinator Muffy McKay.


Local visual artists also have an event happening with M.A.P.S ( Making Art in Peculiar Spaces) which begins at the Casa Gallery on Friday. Patrons will take a tour of the downtown where original works in identical wooden boxes will be installed.
“ Last year we had the exhibition Loose Leaves, which exhibited work on paper,” McKay said.


“ This year we created plexiglass boxes for young artists to showcase their works,” she added, noting Casa curator Darcy Logan put out a call for artists to participate in M.A.P.S.


The SOAR cabarets  feature an array of entertainment including music, dance, drama, comedy and magic.The first SOAR cabaret on Wednesday, June 1 features Griffin Cork, Justin Many Fingers and Newman Mentalism.

 Cabaret 2, June 2 features Sundari, Tanya Plonka, The Bear, Kristin Krein and The Waif.
 Cabaret 3, June 4 features Improv with David Gabert, dance from Claire Lint and magician Ben Price
Admission to each cabaret night is $10 with performances beginning at 7 p.m.

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Nishikaze embracing Japanese culture for long weekend

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It is Nishikaze time again in Lethbridge as the fifth annual Nishikaze Anime Festival takes over the University of Lethbridge over the May long weekend, May 20 and 21.

Cynthia Cradduck is excited to bring an expanded Nishikaze back including  a matsuri market which feature games like Plinko. Photo by Richard Amery
As always Nishikaze, a celebration of Japanese culture focused on anime, features cosplay, photo opportunities, anime screenings, Cafe Ayako, a charity auction and an expanded  marketplace inspired by Japanese street festivals called matsuri.


“There will be more Japanese culture this year,” said organizer Cynthia Cradduck.


“We’re expanding. We’re trying things we haven’t done before,” Cradduck said, noting the matsuri is the biggest change this year.


“Think of a Japanese marketplace. It’s like a home town fair on a sidewalk with people selling  food and trinkets,” she continued. adding whole most of the events will be in Markin Hall at the university, the marketplace will be on the track in the U of L gym. There will be a Taiko drum group plus food, Japanese tea, crafts and games based on Japanese game shows including a Plinko board.


“There will be a scooping game based on the goldfish game where you have to scoop up as many  as you can with a paper scoop before it falls apart, though we won’t be using goldfish, we’ll be scooping balls of paper. And there will be a hook game where you use a paper hook to catch prizes,” she said.

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Casa’s new exhibits focus on crafts and music

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It will be a busy weekend at Casa with four new crafty art exhibits opening on Saturday, April 30.Casa curator Darcy Logan plays with a clay rain shaker which is part of Musicality, opening this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
“Musicality” is a milestone exhibit for the Old Man River Potter’s Guild, which turns 50 years old this year.


“That's a pretty serious milestone for  any arts organization in Lethbridge,” observed Casa curator Darcy Logan.


 The artists  Bridgitte Berke, Natalie Brewster, Louise Cormier, Karen Dormaar, Craig Fawcett, Rosemary Foder, Caroline Freeman, Vicki Gibson, Elaine Harrison, Sandra McKay, Gail Mckenzie, Eileen Schuler, Olivia Sieniewicz, Donna Schenher and Heather Sorochan really embraced the exhibit’s theme.


 Many  of them opted  to build actual functional instruments, including flutes, rain shakers, musical cups and even a  mandolin.


 Logan said patrons will be able to try some of the instruments out at the opening reception, April 30 at 7 p.m. Signs will be posted next to ones the can‘t.


 Another artist created a mosaic of music incorporating pennies and dimes.


“ They are all new pieces created just for this exhibit,” Logan said.
He was impressed with the artists’ work.
“The mandolin is fretted and everything,” he said.


“With a theme like musicality you will have as many different interpretations of it as there are people participating,” he observed.


The other exhibit in the main gallery, “Hanging By A Thread”  is a family affair featuring works from a couple groups of Canmore based ladies, their daughters and grand daughters.

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Amalgamedia amalgamates U of L New Media students’ ideas

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The imagination is the limit in the University of Lethbridge’s New Media program, so “Amalgamedia” is the amalgamation of the imaginations  of the program’s participants.

Allyson Cikor tests out her virtual reality demo. Photo by Richard Amery
 There will be several different projects on display at the Dr. Foster Penny building during the Amalgamedia exhibition, April 7. Projects include classic modulations of classic video games,  recreation of ’60s stop motion movie film techniques, music videos, posters,  an assortment of video games, home made board games and much more.


 The projects will be on display, April 7 and the students themselves will be giving presentations about their work on April 8-10.
“ We have a lot of studio projects the students have been working on all semester. There is a wide variety,” said University of Lethbridge New Media professor Will Smith, adding many of the projects are interactive so you can play the games and test out virtual reality for yourself.
He is impressed with his students’ work.


“ It‘s astounding,” he said.
“There  is  a 15 minute music video, hand drawn motion stop animation and there’s original games and they have created and board games on the tables so people can sit down and play,”  he said.
 While some of the students’ ideas have been gestating for years, they have been actively working on these particular projects since Jan. 6..
“They’ve spent at least 20 hours a week over the past 13 weeks. This is the cap stone course most of them take before they graduate,” he said.
 Allyson Cikor has always been interested in virtual reality.
“I wanted to play virtual reality games so I convinced my parents to buy me virtual reality goggles and I started playing around with them,” she said, adding that lead her to think about programming for virtual reality.


“I got the opportunity to do that last semester. I didn’t make a game for this presentation. I made a  demo to show what you can do. There’s no controller. It’s all hands and head motion. You can use your hands to touch things in it,” she explained, estimating she put 320 hours into her demo.
“ There was a lot of  programming,” she said, noting she is planning on creating a 3 D interactive online game.


“ This is really my toy box I’m playing with,” she said.
Emerson Scott incorporated his interest in pre-CGI  ’60s and ’70s action movies, into his project — a short film.
“I’ve always been interested in ’60s and ’70s films where they used models,∏ he said.

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