CHESTERMERE — Local artists and performers are gearing up for what will arguably be the biggest celebration of arts and culture that the Chestermere community has ever seen.
Alberta Art Days is coming up at the end of this month, and everything from dance to painting will be showcased locally.
The Government of Alberta is providing funding to many places across the province, so that they may offer family-friendly activities for free. In Chestermere, there will be a variety of workshops and other events to showcase local artists and musicians.
The weekend will kick off on Friday, Sept. 30 with the Beatnik Cafe. It will be held at the library from 3:30 to 9 p.m. There will be poetry readings, refreshments and a National Film Board presentation of the documentary “Ladies and Gentlemen…Mr. Leonard Cohen.”
On the Friday there will also be a celebration of art and science at the recreation centre beginning at 7 p.m. There will be a show and sale from the Chestermere Fine Arts Guild, and the Evergreen Theatre will perform “Making a Splash.”
On the Saturday, Oct. 1 there will be a variety of dance workshops, including hip hop, salsa, merengue and bachata, belly dance and bhangra dance. The workshops will run from 10 a.m. til 5 p.m. in the MPP room at the recreation centre. There will also be a variety of art workshops also taking place at the recreation centre from noon to 3:30 p.m. Participants will be able to learn all about rug hooking, scratch art, watercolors, drumming and more.
For the book worms and film buffs, there will be storytelling adventures and film showings happening at the library from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Lakeside Quilters will be on hand showcasing their craft from 11 a.m. til noon, and from 2 to 3 p.m. at the recreation centre in the Blue & White room. Raffle quilts will be on display, along with community quilts that are donated to local organizations.
There will also be henna art available for $5 in the recreation centre’s MPP room from 10 to 11 a.m., 12 to 1 p.m., and 2 to 3 p.m.
Also happening on Saturday will be the Art Walk, hosted by a local painting group, the Artisans of Chestermere. Maps that will show where the various studios are located around town will be able to be picked up at various local businesses the week before Art Days. The Art Walk will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On Sunday, Oct. 2 there will be additional belly dance and bhangra dance workshops in the MPP room at the recreation centre from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will also be art workshops, this time featuring glass fusion, bath bombs and children’s crafts. The Art Walk will also continue on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Musical performances by local artists will happen both Saturday and Sunday at Boston Pizza and British Isles Fish & Chips.
Chestermere event coordinator Nancie Hunealt said that Art Days will be an opportunity for residents to get out and get exposed to different kinds of art.
“We’re encouraging people to come and just try things out, and see if it’s something they’re interested in,” she said. “It’s something a little different for Chestermere, and we mostly just hope to bring awareness to the community about what is here and what we have to offer.”
Hunealt said that it will also be a great opportunity for local artists and performers to get some exposure and be showcased in the community in a different way.
“We’re very excited about it,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of great people working hard on it, and it’s going to be a unique thing that will be good for the town.”
Alberta Art Days originally started in Red Deer in 1974, was revived in 2008 as a way of achieving the province’s cultural policy. It ties into The Spirit of Alberta’s keystone principles of access, capacity, excellence and sustaining cultural industries. Last year, 91 communities hosted 681 events province-wide. Visit www.AlbertaArtsDays.ca for more information, or go to www.chestermerefestivals.ca to learn about the local event.
All of the events and workshops are free of charge, but pre-registration is required. Call 403-207-7060 to register, or go online to find out more about each workshop.