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Galt Museum exhibit explores the influence of Geishas in Japanese culture

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The Galt Museum explores Japanese culture and pop culture with  a new travelling exhibition “From Geisha to Diva: The Kimono of Ichimaru,” which runs Sept. 25- Jan. 9.


Geishas to Divas runs at the Galt Museum from Sept. 25 to Jan 9. Photo by Richard Amery

“It’s an exhibit from Barry Till from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. It’s been travelling for two decades,” said Graham Ruttan, Galt Museum Marketing and Communications Officer.

 “This exhibit tells the story of  Ichimaru,” he continued, noting  she  transitioned from geisha to pop diva in the 1930s.


Geishas have a long and honourable  history in Japan as entertainers and hostess/ courtesans. They were trained in many of the Japanese arts including music.


“ The local connection is there is a large Japanese Canadian community in Lethbridge,” he said, adding the Galt Museum has partnered with the Nikka Yuko Japanese Centre to bring this exhibit to Lethbridge.


 Ichimaru (1906-1997) was one of Japan’s most famous geishas of the twentieth century, who mastered singing and shamanism. She began recording music in the 1930s. One of her songs is part of the exhibit in a motion activated box.


“She was quite active from the 1920s to the 1980s,” he said.

There are several kimonos and a few Obi, long sashes wrapped around the kimonos. There are also some wood cut paintings plus personal effects  and wigs.


Exhibition Park introduces new website for virtual Home and Garden show

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As expected, due to Covid restrictions on large gatherings, the Lethbridge Home and Garden Show, originally postponed to April 7-11, is now pivoting to an online event.

“We’re not allowed in person events due to safety restrictions,” said Exhibition Park Marketing supervisor Mike Wurchterl, noting there will be an online directory to allow vendors to connect with their customers at

The online platform goes live on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, coinciding with the previously scheduled opening of the in-person Southern Alberta Home & Garden Show 2021, which will not be taking place this year due to indoor gathering restrictions.
Wurchterl noted there is an interactive  map to allow  visitors to locate businesses of interest closest to them.


New ice sculptures a highlight of Nikka Yuko's festival of lights

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The lights are staying on at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens for their annual winter lights festival.Lee Ross installs one of his ice sculptures at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens. Photo by Richard Amery
 Organizers were concerned new Covid measures would mean they would have to flick the off switch for their fifth annual Winter Festival of Lights..
 But the event will proceed as planned, including moving in new ice sculptures on Saturday, Dec. 12.

“We’ve been working with the City of Lethbridge and Alberta Health to work with these new restrictions,” said Nikka Yuko Marketing and Events manager, Melanie Berdusco, adding it has been a tough week, worrying about being  cancelled then having to  pull everything back together  again in a day to get things going.
“It’s one of the benefits of being an outdoor  event, so we’ve been working with Alberta Health Services. We’re excited to be able to do it,” she said.
“ There isn’t a lot to do anymore, so it is really important to the community,” she continued.

“And we’ve been sold out every night so far,” she continued.

Unfortunately Shakespeare Meets Dickens in the Garden as well as horse and wagon rides have been cancelled. Ticket buyers can still check out the  lights, but refunds are also available upon request.

Berdusco noted there are 167,000 lights for the fifth year of the event. There were 116,000 last year.
This year,  10 ice sculptures will be installed on Saturday, including three created by Calgary based artist Lee Ross of Frozen Memories as well as another seven  works from Lethbridge College Culinary Arts program students, for which Ross teaches an ice sculpture course.
“ We had eight, but one of them didn’t make it,” she said.


Pockets pondered in “Pockets of Possibilties” in new Galt Museum exhibit

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 A new exhibit at the Galt Museum hopes to answer the question of why women’s clothing doesn’t have any pockets.Kirstan Schamuhn presents Pockets at the Galt Museum, Oct. 17. Photo by Richard Amery
The new exhibit, “Pockets of Possibilities,” opens Oct. 17.

“Women’s clothing did have pockets in the early twentieth century and latte  nineteenth,” observed guest curator Kirstan Schamuhn, who drew much many of the pieces from the exhibit from the Galt Museum’s archives.
She will be giving an online presentation about pockets and how women‘s clothing styles have changed on Oct. 14  at 2 p.m..

“I’ve always been curious about  why that is, so this this seemed like the perfect time to do it,” Schamuhn said, noting the lack of pockets  is a relatively new phenomenon that arose, simply to ideas of style.



Galt Museum explores refugees in new traveling exhibit

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The Galt Museum explores the plight of refugees in Canada in their new travelling exhibit “Refuge Canada,” which runs until Jan 10.

The exhibit was created by  the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.Aimee Benoit introducing  the new exhibits at the Galt Museum. Photo by Richard Amery

“These first person accounts really call into the question of Canada’s attitudes towards refugees,” said curator Aimee Benoit,” noting the exhibit focuses on first person accounts of refugees moving to Canada through panels, artifacts and video testimonials.
“The goal is to start a discussion about refugees,” she said.

The oldest item is a star of David, which belonged to a Jewish refugee who was in a POW camp in Germany during the Second World War.
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