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Kat Kado telling the story of Cougar Annie at SAAG

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Vancouver Island based musician Katrina Kadoski combines art with music as she recounts the tale of Vancouver Island character and all round touch, resourceful woman Cougar Annie in her one woman show “Cougar Annie Tales.”Kat Kado brings Cougar Annie Tales to the SAAG this week. Photo submitted
 She brings Cougar Annie Tales to the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Sunday, April 22 with a multi-media presentation including video, photographs and music, followed by a performance  by The Edgedwellers, her duo with Peter Wahl.

“Cougar Annie moved to Canada to avoid  marrying a man her father wanted to marry. She outlived four husbands and six of her children  (she had a total of 11 children) and  is reputed to have shot 70 cougars, which is why people call her Cougar Annie,” said Kadoski, who performs under the name Kat Kado.

“ You have to be  pretty resilient person to lead a life like that, so that really inspired me,” she said, adding she found a lot  of inspiration in Annie’s story and decided to create a multi-media performance based on her life  from 1915-83.

“It’s a one woman play, but there are other components like visual and audiovisual aspects as images of letters and photos are displayed behind me during the show,” she said,” adding moving to Vancouver Island and learning about Cougar Annie inspired her.

“I  was between jobs and got a job as a caretaker north of Tofino. I actually first learned about her on a first date, so that encouraged me to research her life. She spent a lot of time at the Cougar Annie museum and read  Margaret Horsfield’s book“ Cougar Annie’s Garden” about Cougar Annie as well as  talked to some of the people who knew her.


Bring in Spring with the Home and Garden show this week

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Bring in spring by improving your home, perhaps with a little help from the 2018 Home and Garden Show, taking place at Exhibition Park, March 21-24.

Doug Kryzanowski is ready for Home and Garden show 2018., March 21-24. Photo by Richard Amery
 “With the dollar being down, more people are staying at home and want a comfortable space perhaps adding a pool or hot tub or changing their back yards,” noted Doug  Kryzanowski, Exhibition Park manager of corporate relations and marketing.

“If the Ag Expo is the grandpa at over 60 years, then the home and garden show is the grandma at 42,” he said.
Exhibition Park has played host to the Home and Garden show for the past 42 years. Kryzanowski observed the event attracts an average of 20,000 people throughout the week checking out some 300 exhibitors.

 “We don’t have a waiting list this year,” he said.

“ But that (attendance) depends on the weather. Most of our audience are urban,” he said.

 There will be a cornucopia of vendors offering services and ideas for anything you can imagine.

“There are booths  for landscapers, home renovation, kitchen and cooking, accessories, clothing  and hair and spa items,” summarized event co-ordinator Lisa Ludwig, noting there will be no tiny houses this year, which have been a favourite of past Home and Garden Shows.

“Everything you want to  know about renovations and building and going camping is going to be available,” she added.


Galt exhibit explores why people collect

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What’s the difference between a collector and a pack rat? Check out the Galt Museum’s new exhibit and find out.

Graham Ruttan with a selection of items in “For Keeps: Collecting Memories.” Photo by Richard Amery
“I think it depends on how the collector defines their own collection. Things that may seem like throwaway items to one person can be highly valuable to another person, for their own reasons. A lot of collectors have an emotional connection to what they choose to keep, and other people might not understand why,” noted Jane Edmundson, guest curator of a new exhibit at the Galt Museum “For Keeps: Collecting Memories.”

The exhibit opened last weekend, Jan. 28 and continues until April.

It combines collections from the Galt Museum archives with unusual collections from Southern Alberta collectors plus several multi-media presentations  featuring some of the collectors explaining the stories behind their collections.

“Jane Edmundson worked in our collections department for two years and the exhibit came from her curiosity about the stories behinds some of the items in our collections,” said Galt Museum Marketing and Communications officer Graham Ruttan, noting the exhibit opened to the public on Sunday, Jan. 28

“Because it is more difficult to find items from an event that happened 80 or 90 years ago,” he said.
“The exhibit is about exploring what transforms everyday objects into treasures that we want to collect and preserve,” related Jane Edmundson via e-mail.

 The bulk of the main room features a variety of items from the Galt Museum collection including a collection of anti- Trump protest signs collected last year from a simultaneous women’s march in Lethbridge held simultaneously with the women’s march on Washington  after U.S. Donald Trump’s inauguration and a police revolver used in a police shooting in 1982.

He noted the Galt Museum is taking a more proactive approach to collecting items from events in Lethbridge which will have historical significance, like the protest signs.

 The smaller room features collections from local people from the expected like buttons, Levi Cox’s collection of Barbie dolls to the unusual like a 12-year-old’s collection of egg cartons.
“The idea for the exhibit started when I was working as the Collections Assistant at the Galt, doing research to uncover the histories behind objects that had incomplete records or unknown stories. The research involved looking through newspapers, archival records, and tracking down donors or next-of-kin to try to talk to them about the artifact, and what it meant to them before they donated it to the museum. I learned that the stories behind artifacts are what makes them special and important to preserve for the future,” Edmundson added.

“While I was working in Collections, I became interested to specific objects; some with detailed, recorded human histories that relate to Southwest Alberta, some with known histories that do not relate to Southwest Alberta, and some about which very little or nothing is known (despite research efforts). I wanted to include a selection of artifacts from each of these three categories for the exhibit, to show the public about the work that Galt staff are constantly doing to improve the relevancy of the museum’s collections,” she added.


Galt Museum explores life of bootlegger Emilio Picariello

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Southern Alberta has a pretty wild, wild west history, with plenty of interesting characters who might as well have stepped right out of  a movie, and in some cases inspired movies and opera.

Aimee Benoit stands with a family portrait of the Picariello family which opens the Galt Museum’s exhibit the Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello. Photo by Richard Amery
 The Galt Museum explores the life of one of these characters, Emilio Picariello— a young Italian entrepreneur,  councilman and bootlegger who was arrested, tried and executed with family friend Florence Lassandro for the murder of Alberta Provincial police Cst. Stephen Lawson in their exhibit “ The Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello,” which continues  until Jan. 7. It opened on Sept. 30.

“ A lot of people know his story, but guest curator Adrianna Davies looks at it from a little bit of a different perspective — what if they were innocent,” observed Galt Museum Curator Aimee Benoit.
“ She even found documents suggesting there may have been another  shooter in the alley,” she added.

 The exhibit is on loan from the Fernie Museum.
“He arrived in Fernie in 1911 as a young Italian immigrant. He was quite a prominent businessman and entrepreneur and he even served as a town councillor. He was well respected and well liked, but he became known as a bootlegger during prohibition, running alcohol through Coleman and Blairmore and into the United Staters,” she continued, noting he had a variety of businesses including an ice cream shop and gathered empty bottles, which he sold back to breweries and bottling plants.


Postcards and paintings at new Casa exhibits opening tonight

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Casa presents several different perspectives on painting with five new exhibits opening tonight, April 29 with an opening reception from 7-9 p.m.

Darcy Logan adjusts a painting in the Castle River & Porcupine Hills exhibit before the opening reception tonight. Photo by Richard Amery
“The exhibits are all paintings, but they are all very unique, so what I hope  people will take away from them is that they take a moment to see all of the different possibilities  painting offers,” said Casa curator Darcy Logan.

In the main gallery, Pauses and Transitions features paintings from Montreal born artist Anne Laure Djaballah. She earned her MFA from the U of L two years ago and has been working out of the McNally School studios.

“These paintings are more abstract. They represent landscapes and alleys she has seen while walking and reflecting,” Logan described, indicating an abstract painting of a pile of trash in an alley.
“ She also asks the view to explore the  nature of painting with brush strokes and colours,” he continued.

 The adjacent gallery features “The Castle River & Porcupine Hills featuring the works of Lethbridge artist Blake Wilson and  Mike Judd, who lives in the Castle River area.

“These paintings  capture  the poetry of natural environment,” Logan said, adding Blake Wilson is an active member of the Lethbridge art community.
“ He’s been involved in multiple group exhibits here,” Logan said.

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