Indulge your inner artist
The picturesque natural landscapes and unique history of the Clairmont and Grand Prairie areas have long been a source of inspiration for artists. If you are artistic yourself and looking for ways to get involved, or are just interested in checking out the local talent, these three highlights should help you get going.
The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie
The second largest art gallery in Alberta, the mission of the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie is to “preserve, inspire and explore the world of art to share with the community and the region”. Located in the Montrose Cultural Centre, the gallery reopened in 2009 after it’s previous home partially collapsed.
Over 10,000 people visit the gallery every year to enjoy the free admission, frequent tours and ongoing programs. If you are considering being one of them, make sure to stop by an area called The Green Space. It’s an interactive studio designed to inspire creativity with art activities that share the same themes as the gallery’s current exhibitions.
Upcoming highlights include a weekend workshop (June 13,14 ) with exhibiting artist and educator Ken HouseGo, that focuses on the artistic process. Kids ages six through twelve also have the chance to participate in the “Art For the Curious” sessions that run on select Friday afternoons through 2015.
You can read more about the current exhibitions and upcoming activities on the gallery’s website.
The Centre for Creative Arts
The origins of The Centre for Creative Arts actually dates back to 1934 when the Grande Prairie Art Club started offering its first classes. Today the Centre operates as a non-profit society, offering affordable classes, exhibitions and events from its location at the Old Provincial Courthouse.
If you are interested in trying out painting, sculpture, ceramics, drawing, photography, crafting or so-called fibre classes (sewing, textiles, weaving) you can find something here to fit the bill regardless of your age or ability. If you have young kids who like art, register them in the multi-art summer camps through July and August, or the week-long art workshops for teens.
Many respected local artists started their careers at the Centre and several of them now teach the next generation of aspiring talent. The Centre also offers workshops with internationally recognised artists with the goal of “enriching the local culture”.
If you’d rather just have a look and be inspired, the Centre exhibits twenty-four new shows each year. There is also gift shop featuring 100% locally made fine art and craft items. Find out more about The Centre here.
The Reel Shorts Film Festival
Not a place but an annual event, the festival’s program has grown from 38 films in 2007 to over 100 short films last year. The event has two goals: the first is to celebrate short films and filmmakers by screening “gems of storytelling brilliance” from around the world, and the second is to support the growth of the filmmaking community in the Peace Region by “inspiring, developing and showcasing the region’s filmmakers”.
Several of the festival’s films have gone on to receive critical acclaim elsewhere, such as 2013’s short titled, “HB”. It went on to win both the Young Filmmakers Program Competition Grand Prize at the 2013 Austin Film Festival and Best Overall Youth Short Film Award at the Calgary International Film Festival.
Interested in joining the ever-growing list of entrants? You have until December to submit but keep in mind that this year’s festival screened over 4000 films to select the relative few to be shown. Interested in seeing them? You have until May next year to wait, but check out their website’s blog for more info on other film events in the region. While there, you can also find a list of this year’s winning films if you want to try and catch them elsewhere.