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Art shows combine text, paintings and textiles

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A  couple of unique art exhibitions open this weekend.
Metamorphosis, opening at  the Waterfield gallery upstairs in the Yates Theatre, opens  March 6 and runs  until April 3, combines poetry and visual art.
 “We put out a call  for submissions last year for poets to team up with  visual artists for an exhibition,” said Darcy Logan, curator and gallery manager of the Bowman Arts Centre.
“They had the option of  creating a piece of art incorporating a poem , or they could create a painting based on a poem. Or they could come up with some other kind of radical experiment,” Logan said adding there are 22 participants in this exhibition including familiar faces  like Robert Bechtel, Aaron Hagan, Sonis McAllister and Fraterm Tham (aka Darcy Logan), Two Spirit Sage Walker as well as some relative newcomers like Sarah Christensen and Most Vocal Poets’ Blain Greenwood, plus numerous others  including Indigo Iris, Loralee Edwards, Val Falconer, Lisa George, Jeff Godin, Dale Herrrington , Haley Herrrington, Becky Johnston, Sylvia Klassen, Eric Martens, Ellen McArthur, Ian Randell, Mandi Schraeder,  Kylee Sorenson and Richard Stevenson.
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Arts groups ecstatic over proposed arts centre

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Some people think the world will end in 2012 but for local arts groups, that year marks a new beginning with the addition of a new community arts centre to be located on the site of the downtown IGA store and  across 7th Ave into the  Galt Gardens.
“I’m ecstatic. I’ve been  actively involved in advocating for this for five or six years, but I’ve got records on my shelf of motions brought to city council about this going back to 1979,” said Darcy Logan, curator and gallery manager of the Bowman Arts Centre.  Tenders will go out to build the new $12.6-million community arts centre  in 2011, with construction to build the first portion of the project later that year.
The new project will encompass the entire 700 block of 3 Avenue South. It has been vacant since the end of May last year when the city’s sole downtown grocery store closed.
The Bowman Arts Centre will close their existing facility and move into the new facility upon its completion in 2012. Further down the road a new performance facility is to be built as well.
“This will benefit the entire community,” Logan continued adding the new arts centre will include rooms for visual arts including tapestry makers, photographers, dancers, painters as well as  rehearsal rooms for dramatic groups, plus meeting rooms, open rooms for individual use and an art gallery.
“It’s not just for visual artists, it’s for all elements of the community,” Logan said.
While the Bowman Arts Centre was under consideration for renovations, this new project works better. Tenders for the 27,000-square-foot community arts centre will go out in2011. Construction is to be completed in 2012.
“It’s size works better, the Bowman Arts Centre was too small 30 years ago. And we’ve grown. It’s full and we’ve had to turn people away,” Logan continued, who wouldn’t even hazard a guess as to how many people use the Bowman Arts Centre.
 “It’s packed to capacity almost every night with artists, people  enrolled in speech and dance classes, people with developmental disabilities,” he said.
“This is going to meet our current needs and leaves room for future growth,” he continued.
“We were never sure whether we were going to expand  the Bowman Arts Centre or not, but now it’s nice to be able to do some firm planning,” he said.
“There’ll be rooms for people who want to rehearse or put on a small production. We weren’t able to do that before, ” added educational facility manager Claire Hatton.
The Allied Arts Council is also ecstatic about the coming arts centre.
 Allied Arts Council executive director Suzanne Lint, noted the organization  spent a lot of the past three years  putting out surveys evaluating  Lethbridge arts facilities and gauging the community’s wants and needs for such a facility, so it is great to see all that hard work come to fruition.
“The result was to upgrade the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, which is well underway, and to expand the Bowman Arts centre,” she said.
“But to do that, it would eliminate all the parking,” she said adding that was one of several options which were explored.
“Those locations either wouldn’t work or weren’t for sale. In the process the IGA site came available which reasonably fit for a community arts centre,” she continued adding the central location and close proximity to other arts facilities will go a long way towards revitalizing the downtown core.
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New writers’ group learns the art of writing

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Do you like to write? If so, the Lethbridge Writers’ Group is for you.

Professional freelance writer Michelle Greysen, who has recently moved to Lethbridge, has started this collective of enthusiastic southern Alberta writers who meet monthly at Humpty’s Restaurant downtown.

Seven people attended the first meeting, Feb. 9 including a 16-year-old and her father.

“This group includes all genres, from people who want to freelance to poets,” said Greysen, among whose many achievements, used to publish the Calgary Straight Magazine.

The group meets to discuss writing strategies, trends and techniques and has formed a  Facebook group.

The members all receive assignments for each meeting. The latest one is to come up with a six word memoir— summarizing an original story in six words.

Members are also expected to bring a hard copy of something original they have written which will be filed and put aside to gauge how the members have improved over time.

Though they don’t have to share it with the group, sharing is encouraged.

“We want to offer accountability, Support and a sounding board for each other,” Greysen explained.

“It’s about improving writing. We’ll see how it develops, but people will buddy up with each other,” she said adding the group is not only a learning experience, but also includes a lot of fun and challenging activities.

“Next time we meet , everybody will write a 250 word postcard— a story written around their favourite word. It doesn’t have to be a real world, they can make one up,” Greysen laughed adding her favourite ‘magic’ word is ‘abracadabra.’

The group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.

L.A. Beat welcomes Michelle Greysen aboard as our new books columnist. Look for her debut column coming soon on www.labeat.ca

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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New art collective combines art and music at new home

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A new art collective, while still seeking a name, no longer needs a home.Fist City includes former members of the New Danger kids and Endgangered Ape.
 They officially opened the doors to their new north side studio (255-12C Street), Feb. 12 with special guests, local band Fist City, who they are sharing the space with.

Artist Andy Davies said the 1,200 square foot former yoga studio and photography studio, upstairs from the Grapevine, makes a perfect home to be creative for Davies’s paintings and sculptures,  photographer Mike Maguire, painter Chad Patterson and circuit board (sound) artist Nic deCosson.

“We have about 150 names to choose from now,” said Davies, whose group was taking suggestions for the new name at the opening. The event attracted approximately 80 people

The artists, who met though the university and mutual friends, weren’t part of  a current art collective, but just wanted a place to work together. They have only been in their new home for three weeks so as soon as the group has time to create new works, they will be holding more events to combine art and music.

Local punk/ rock band Fist City, who has the other studio, also performed at the opening gala event, combining the music community with the art community.

Because the event combined art and music, it lead to an unusual  cross-over between the two crowds —  the art crowd who might not usually attend music shows as well as the music crowd  who don’t usually attend art shows.

“We had the two different crowds there. We had people from the music scene here  checking out art who never come to the openings. Two completely different groups of people. We saw a great mix of people. And everyone had a fantastic time,” he said.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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