Now What

Checking the site

It looks good.  It has been designed to look good.  The floors are perfect for cleaning up after busy workshops…

The patch bays between rooms for tech hookups and communications are done.  The sound proofing in the music room is done…

The industrial plugin is in for the kilns.  The plumbing for the big sinks for washing up is installed…

Now what?

For those of you who have been following this exciting developing cultural spaces building…what now…not much.  Apparently nothing done well is done quickly.  And that statement is not applicable to this building in any way.  There have been some flaws, a few errors in construction.

We get disheartened.  Just this week we had to tell an artist her exhibit planned in 2013 for August 2014 would not be possible.  Heartbreaking news for any artist…and family that have planned time in the Rockies to celebrate the completion and exhibition of a new body of work.

The process of dreaming up a cultural space and programs for engaging as many people as we can is unshakable though.  As we stand in the incomplete facility we can almost hear the chatter and music that will happen there soon.


The studio space for independent study or resident instructors sits eerily quiet for now…but we can almost hear the guitar lessons – we can almost envision the author pulling the doors closed so they can work in solitude on their writing.

pottery with a view

So while the tarps blowing in the wind may be the only sound at the end of the day still…we dream.  Because without out dreams we would be looking for a certain building contractor to hang in the elevator shaft!  KIDDING

As the sign says that is hanging over our desk… ‘Another failure!  Success is imminent!’

See ya soon in this amazing space.




O manusha khelevan tut

The people make you dance.  (Romani/Gypsy – Said if a place is nice.)


Wow.  The last post was all about the stuff we were going to do for Culture Days.  And here we are – two months later…ready to tell you the stories of a festival well lived!!

Our theme for 2013’s Culture Days was that of ‘homelessness’ or more romantically…that of being a gypsy!  (we eagerly await – still – the opening of Jasper’s new cultural spaces building) BUT the arts are never really homeless…instead we will think of them as subject to movement, colour, sound and entertainment, like a gypsy caravan!

Marie Helene took the lead again this year with a workshop in puppet making.  Some puppets went on to perform on the street during our day of Street Art…and even welcomed folks to the Raven’ About the Arts Awards night.

Every year, actually every time there are events for community to gather, we try to create interesting events that will entice all ages.  Well, this year we thought that, rather than having the Harvest Dance at the community hall and then go pickup our amazing seniors, why not host the Culture Days Harvest Dance at the seniors lodge and have them invite the community to join in!  And what would a Harvest ‘anything’ be without scarecrows.

Our second year of building scarecrows grew substantially…and the voting was done at the Dance for the scariest, the most recycled and of course…the Jasperiest!

Music was presented by the lovely Ms Monika Schaefer and two fabulous musicians from Tight Squeeze.  The evening opened with The Jasper Dance Program dancers…followed by great food, music, family, dancing…it was quite a party!  (actually we had a hard time shutting this evening down!  They could have danced all night!)

Scarecrows had three categories…Jasper the Bear (now one of our senior community!) awarded Ursula for the Jasperiest scarecrow.

Awards were from Jasper’s artistic community, this image by Judy Gieselman was met with great enthusiasm!

And of course – the Culture Days swag was a big hit!

The week of Culture Days was shared with the schools…they not only designed a few of their own scarecrows – they added to their rock garden and hosted an art exhibition.


Culture Days offers us an opportunity to celebrate all things art…to invite all ages to play, to create as many ways to engage with the public as possible.  So what would a weekend of art be without buskers!!!  Art in the streets…

And while downtown enjoying the sights and sounds of Jasper artists…there was also the opportunity to stop into the Chaba Theatre to take in two French Films, one for the kids and one the big kids!  Les Jour de Courneilles and Les Gamins…thanks to our new partnership with the Alberta Media Arts Alliance and cInaMAGINE Lethbridge!

As we move closer to moving into the new Jasper Cultural Building we are making new partnerships…the new building will hold the Library, the Jasper Artists Guild, L’ACFA’s French Library and the of course…the Habitat for the Arts.

With Saturday afternoon winding down we headed over to the Legion to setup for the annual Raven’ About the Arts Awards!

As folks arrive they are greeted by an unexpected host!  Marie Helene and her puppet characters…

Alan Butler accepts the evenings program…one of two presentations he will be part of this evening.  Alan did receive an arts award for Fine Arts this year.  You can find Alan’s work at the Jasper Artists Guild!

The Raven’ About the Arts Awards is one of Jasper’s key Culture Days events!  Jeremy Derksen was our MC for the evening, Mayor Ireland recited some of his own poetry, the Library’s poet in residence Shirley Serviss graced the stage as well.

See end of story for the poem written just for the awards by Mayor Ireland!

This year’s awards were created by Enzien and Christian of Urban Pottery Designs.  They work in fused glass as well…and just happen to take lots of photographs of the ravens on Chip Lake…making for amazing awards.

Foods were presented by Elizabeth Prinz…a great evening of recognizing all the great art and artists in our community!

Patron of the Year award went to Wayne Kennedy for his amazing community connecting he does for all the orgs in town…making sure we all know what is going on.  He had an important message for us all…regardless of all this social media – we still need to get out and communicate to our neighbours one on one about what we are doing!  Well said!

Check out these artists, eloquently sharing their love of their art…

Entertainment for the evening – besides our noted poets – was piano by Alys Thomas and guitar by Edwin Richards.

Night Two of Culture Days concluded…on to SOUP FOR THE SOUL!!

This event began 4 years ago when Julie McMath told us about an event from her days at college in Nova Scotia…the ceramics students would create bowls for an event…they would be filled with soup and you kept the bowl.  How absolutely perfect for Culture Days.  She had several students from Dish Pottery School help her create the 100+ bowls that we would need for the night.

In 2013 we changed it up a bit…as Julie has moved out of town – and until our own pottery school is in place – we now call the event SOUP for the Soul…we find misc bowls…you come for the soup which is provided by restaurants in town.  Soups are voted on…and the community awards the soup maker with the most votes the annual GOLDEN LADLE award.  This lovely mini chef is about 2 inches tall, created by Tracy Templeton for us.


If you think soup is a ‘so so’ meal…you will have to come out next year!  Purple cauliflower, boar chorizo, all kinds of veggies and curries and cream and colours.  And yes, our servers were dressed in gypsy attire. The theme this year was ‘homelessness’ – as we await our new building we are ‘gypsies’!  The music on the stage was even gypsy themed as Cam Neufeld and friends treated us to excerpts from the ‘Road to Django’ show.

This event would never be as smooth and successful as it is if it were not for Clayton Anderson and his team at Mountain Park Lodges!

Success!  Another great year of music, food, friends and art.


And the poem!  By Jasper’s very own Mayor Ireland!

Raven about the Arts

Raven about the Arts pg2

Raven about the Arts pg3

Culture Days AGAIN!!

Next weekend we will once again celebrate all things art…in as many ways and places as we can!

An Afternoon at the Chaba!

Friday evening, September 27 join us for an evening of music and dancing at the Alpine Summit Lodge.  Our elders are throwing a party and we are all invited!   Live music by Monika Schaefer and Friends, with an opening dance presentation by the Jasper Dance School!  Starts at 6:30pm!  FREE (by donation if ya’ got it!)

This year we see the Scarecrow Festival building for a second year…spearheaded this year by the Jasper Chamber of Commerce!  Create a scarecrow and let us know where it is so we can add it to the weekend.  Jasper the Bear will choose the one most ‘JASPERY!’ at the Alpine Summit Dance.

Scarecrows and a Dance!

Saturday afternoon take in one of the two French films being offered by the Habitat for the Arts, L’ACFA, the Chaba Theatre and cIneMAGINE.  The second film for us bigger kids is called Les Gamins.  $5 for Le Jour and $8 for Les Gamins.

Films at the Chaba

Saturday evening join us in honouring the artists of Jasper with the annual RAVEN ABOUT THE ARTS awards night at the Legion 7PM.

Saturday and Sunday watch for artists in streets for the third year!  Music under the trees…

Saturday WRITING workshop at the Library…FREE!  Call 780.852.3652

Friday Saturday and Sunday catch the Open Studio of Claude Boocock!

Studio Tour

Sunday – come join us for a bowl of soup in the annual SOUP FOR THE SOUL event at the Jasper Activity Centre!  Music starts at 6:30 with special guests Cam Neufeld & The Django Collective…what better music for homeless artists and patrons (while we await the opening of new cultural building) that that of the gypsy!

Road to Django!

Watch our facebook page for updates on these events as they evolve!  If you have an idea for an event or wish to volunteer…contact us at arts @

Puppet making workshops with Marie Helene…First Nations art workshops with Carmen… watch our events page for details

Puppets with Marie Helene!

Films from the Vancouver Mountain Film Festival…

Films from the Alberta Media Arts Alliance…Prairie Tales presented by the Jasper Library…

I am sure I am forgetting something!  It just keeps getting better…

Slow Art

  Jasper is located in a National Park, and April is the month previous to the busiest time of year for the residents of Jasper.  The opportunity to look at art slowly, to be welcomed into a Museum to look and forget about the hectic world outside was met with great anticipation.  Such unfamiliar territory…

I suggested as the ‘viewers’ arrived that they each take a journal and select one or two pieces from the exhibition to focus on.  The following text is from the journals.

Paulette: I walked into the room.  Bear called.  There was Raven.  Bear called again.  From the centre of my brain he was calling, he was calling and I kept circling.  Then the moon and her phases catch me on the left.  Bloom into dark places where things are born.                  Red chakra bleeds down his legs.                 This bear has no claws. No mouth. Such small eyes – those two can be liars.                  The ears, are the big part, one dark one clear.  No gold here like on his feet.  He stepped in the honey is all.  Sometimes, the sweet things in life are there to slow us down.  Like walking through honey.


I am drawn again to the eyes and the frost, the pattern on the face.  I wonder how an artist can ‘contain’ ‘produce’’coax out’…’birth’’vision’…’dream’’pray’ such elegance and not go insane.                  This is not a sculpture.  The inside is hollow hello, it is speaking from the inside.  It’s still moving, I wonder if there is a room big enough for this piece?  I wonder if it will fit under my coat?  He belongs outside? 

(for the full text from this viewer please ask)

                Small remote communities are often full of treasures yet can lack a sense of inclusion that larger arts communities have.  Jasper’s humble ‘small town’ museum has the usual walk through our history displays, high points along the way include famous people who have been here, connections to the rest of the world through world events like war and peace.  AND then it has a beautiful big room for exhibits and gallery showings.  Behind the displays of patronage to the monarchy and institutional colours is a room that the Museum has created for showcasing the art and soul of the region. 

Love Spell by Marla Pollock

Sharon:  Love Spell.  Little child, wings, infinity.  Raven, cosmic joy, moon, freedom.  Love.  The dreams of magic and what the future will hold.  Its all happening, past present future.  This picture for me is about infinity.  At first it was childlike wonder that attracted me to it.  But in the end I felt the whole continuum of life and a sense of wholeness completeness.  Love the colour and the name.  I felt love, the innocence of a child, protective and unemotional.  Lavender moons, feminine energy.

Sharon is the clay artist…if anyone can understand the process of slow…it is a clay artist.  The stages of creating from clay to bisque to glaze to completion is not for the impatient.  Even after working through the winter on her exhibition pieces she finds the time to stop and look a valuable exercise.

Earth Keeper by Sharon Anderson

Sharon:  Earth Keeper, by Sharon Anderson.  Interesting she hasn’t found a home yet.  She looks like stone not so much like Raku.  It seemed to me that the Goddess came from the cup…I didn’t see that before.  The intent is the same as when I created her – but I think I need more introspection – maybe that is why I am taking her home.  This piece seems to be in my life right now in some form or another in conversations.   There is a letting go as you put the piece in the kiln.  Time is very important to my work.


                As a curator (not of this show) and observer for the day I imagine the journals of the two artists talking about their own work were the hardest to write.  I find artists are often immediately their own worst critics…but after an hour of sitting with their own creations…

Athena by Marla Pollock

Marla:  Athena, by Marla Pollock.   This busy highly decorative piece appeals to me because of its joyful central figure.  The whole effect of scattered jewels in contrasting colours.  The more you look the more you discover!  The hand turned into bird, the feathers turned into fern branches, the dominant snake come to tempt or embrace Athena?  Do you see the claws, antlered fish, skull, heart, waves, a palm laden with fruit…what was Marla thinking?


                Needless to say the lunch after the hour in the gallery gave way to much chatter.  Not only do we seldom spend an hour inside our heads and hearts looking at art…it is equally seldom that we spend an hour in silence.  Recurring themes and thoughts from the morning were obviously very relevant to the subject matter of the exhibit.   The journals overflowed with the ideas of compassion, wisdom, healing, earthy, imaginative, harmony, richness, beginnings, portals, movement, freedom,…playfulness.

                Would an exhibition of more dramatic imagery/black and white photography/or digital media result in a different conversation?

                Would a different group of people have written different journals?  Or does the art have the power to direct the writings?

                Does looking at art slowly change the viewer and/ or the viewing?

                We look forward to next year to have some way of comparing the process.

Yes. We can!

One thing we have learned about running a three week arts ‘festival’…there is no such thing as NO we can’t.  It’s yes time.  All things are possible…all things are subject to change – but there is no NO.

Let’s start with the annual Raven about the Arts Awards.

This year’s funding was a bit less than expected and at least four of our hard core volunteers (and when you have four hard core volunteers you really have eight volunteers!) were going on vacation, a couple had work related issues and some had even moved on to new horizons.  The remaining crew took over the gaps, filled them in or the event was simply changed to work with what we had.  The doors opened, the MC welcomed the full room of artists and art lovers and the night went off without a hitch.

The photos are up on our Flickr site…

And there is a youtube video where the award winners tell you about their art in their own words.


The awards night was followed by the third Artists in the Pines weekend with instructor Tessa Nunn.  Sunday afternoon music provided by the Artists Guild with guests The Fiddle River Band.

Visits with the Alberta Minister of Culture and Premier Redford…

Tours through the new cultural spaces…scarecrow building, puppet making, dragon drawing!!  (you really have to check out the photos at

Wrap that up in a Variety Show of Jasper talent, a community coming together for soup…a photo workshop in the most beautiful time of the year…

So while volunteers can fall victim to jobs…or vacations…Jasperites just seem to be able to bring it together through all kinds of circumstances!

Like the awesome theatre troupe that brought Jasper two nights of live theatre this month.  We heard some back stage jitters about minor nervous stage stumbles or bumbles but unless you had written the script – it was perfect!  Congrats Jasper Theatre Company!

More pictures on Flickr @

And in case you are wondering…throughout the photos you can catch our painted skulls and South American theme…well…its 2012.  Yes, it is a year of change.  Jasper’s arts community is getting a brand new building for 2013.  In early 2011 the Municipality of Jasper invited both the Habitat for the Arts and the Jasper Artists Guild to be part of the new Library/Cultural Building presently under construction.   Definitely a time of change!  Culture Days and Arts with Altitude 2013 will be bigger and better with the new dedicated artspaces!


On to the Yellowhead Arts Festival Spring 2013!!  Another two weeks of art that YOU can be part of.  Ask us how!

Mayan year for change, scarecrows and looking for you!

Hard to believe that another year has passed and we are looking at the 4th annual Alberta Culture Days month of festivities in partnership with the ARTS WITH ALTITUDE Festival and Arts Jasper and Jasper Artists Guild and the Jasper Theatre Company and the Library…!!

The theme this year is CHANGE…its 2012 and the Mayan calendar is not the only ‘icon’ of change in Jasper!  The new cultural spaces the Municipality are building will mean a lot of change for the arts organizations and relationships for the future of Jasper arts and culture!

SO- lots to say and do…lets get to it!  (VOLUNTEERS…we need some photographers to make sure we capture all these events for history!)

SEPT 21    RAVEN ABOUT THE ARTS AWARDS, 7pm at the Jasper Artists Guild.  $5  (VOLUNTEER opportunities: door, hospitality, setup and takedown)


SEPT 21    PRAIRIE TALES 14, 7pm in the Mandala Room at the Jasper Artists Guild.  $5, entrance to the Awards Night is entrance to the films.  The annual touring anthology of short films and videos made by Albertan media artists. Every year, Alberta’s filmmakers bring out a new batch of works from the shining lights of our province’s media arts scene and assemble them into a feature-length package for distribution across Alberta and beyond.  (VOLUNTEER opportunities: door, setup and takedown)


SEPT 17-28    SCARECROW CONTEST, build a scarecrow in your neighbourhood, register it at jasperscarecrowfestival@gmailcom to win great prizes!
SEPT 25 and 27    PUPPET MAKING WORKSHOPS, $10 per night.  6:30-9:30pm both nights

SEPT 28    SCRIPT WRITING for puppetry, $10.  6:30-9:30pm

Take all three workshops for $20.

Register at


SEPT 28    The Best of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) will host a Three Part Series this Fall!

Part One : Bike Climb Paddle Run Fly : September 28
Part Two : Pipelines and Playgrounds : October 26
Part Three : Stoked on Snow : November 23

$14 in Advance at the Jasper Legion (after September 10)
$16 at the Door


SEPT 29   A WALKABOUT with heritage character MONA MATHESON…learn a bit about Jasper heritage and then drop by the Library for storytelling and a writers afternoon!!

Then stop into the Jasper Library for an afternoon of storytelling with writer John Strugnell at 3pm.


SEPT 29 and 30, watch Jasper’s streets as Artists appear – to register to play outside…contact Peggy at or call 852.4747.  (VOLUNTEERS needed to make performance badges)


SEPT 30    BOWLS WITH SOUL, the annual night for sharing a bowl of soup with your community, and you get to keep the HANDMADE IN JASPER bowl!  Only 70 bowls this year…$20.  Community event, no charge if you don’t want a bowl.  This year we will be voting on Jasper’s soup makers…and someone will get to take home the GOLDEN LADLE!!  (VOLUNTEER opportunities: take tickets at the door, hand out ballots for the GOLDEN LADLE, dish duty!)


SEPT 30    VARIETY STAGE SHOW, an annual stage production for Culture Days…to get on stage email  Dance, sing, share your poetry or play your fiddle!  Great honorariums.  Free, all ages welcome.


Jasper is home this year to HOME ROUTES house concerts…check them out on facebook!  Or contact Nancy Addison to see what great musicians are coming to Jasper this winter!  First concert is Sept 30 with guest artists THE SATURDAY SAINTS!

OCTOBER 1     Jasper Legion is the place to be with great music by MATT ANDERSON!!


OCT 6 and 7    ARTISTS IN THE PINES, share the weekend with an amazing instructor, Tessa Nunn.  Tessa Nunn graduated from with a Masters in Fine Art from the New York Academy of Art in 2002. Since her return to Canada, she has been teaching figurative painting, drawing and sculpture, as well as courses on painting techniques.  Tessa began to teach painting and drawing workshops because she felt a need for a new approach to teaching art, one that embraces the many levels of our being. The curriculum she has developed is based on her artistic processes which are influenced by spiritual principles, as well as traditional painting techniques.  Through meditation, gentle Yogic movement, and lessons on art techniques, participants explore different ways to look at the human form, and then ultimately at the world around them.  $225 please register at 780.852.0359 or


OCT 11 and 12    DINNER THEATRE for Arts Jasper, Jasper Theatre Company and the Arts with Altitude Festival Finale!  Beyond Therapy, adult content, tickets are $50 and for sale at the Library and Tekarra Photo.  BEYOND THERAPY…Trying to find that special someone can be quite a trial in our hectic, fast-paced society. In Christopher Durang’s play Beyond Therapy the already difficult situation of trying to build a new relationship is given an extra twist through the creation of a unique love triangle.  The story centers around Bruce , a neurotic bisexual thirtysomething; Prudence , the equally neurotic thirtysomething who answers his personal ad, and Bob, Bruce’s high-strung, jealous lover. Add to the mix Bruce’s and Prudence’s therapists, and the stage has been set for confusion, conflict, and lots of comedy.  (VOLUNTEER opportunities…please call!)


OCT 13    Join us at the Jasper Park Stables on Pyramid Lake Road for some ‘Flashlight painting’ for the Dark Sky Festivities.  Details on the Tourism Jasper Dark Sky Festival website.


OCT 13 and 14    DARK SKY PHOTOGRAPHY workshops at Pine Bungalows with YUICHI TAKASAKA!  $55, 2-4pm.  Register at

OCT 13 noon to 4pm take in the Animation workshop ‘Drawing Dragons’ with Deanna Dence.  Ages 12 – 100, $50 materials supplied.


AND because sometimes we all need a little help planning our days when there is so much going on…we have CULTURE CACHING PASSPORTS coming out soon.  Follow the arts and culture map of your community and get the passport stamped at participating merchants or locations!   Then hand in your passport at the Activity Centre for a chance to win a Culture Caching prize!

Ask us questions…we have more details…or stop by ROOM 12 in Building 32 Tuesdays through Saturdays in September from 1-3pm (thankyou Chris and Sharon Diamond) for a chat about how you can be part of ARTS WITH ALTITUDE…

Thanks go out to Delphinus 18 Productions for all the help with technical and digital services.  Thanks go out to Julie McMath, Jason Munn, Zaybee McGregor, Kim Wallace, Marie Helene, Randy Daniels, Peggy Munn, David Baker, Marianne Garrah, Jasper Artists Guild, Phat Cat Event Planners, Arts Jasper, Jasper Theatre Company and many more to come we are sure!!

Thankyou to Yellowhead Regional Creative Campus for administration assistance with these many events.

AND watch the JASPER COMMUNITY HABITAT FOR THE ARTS on facebook for details and more…

Keeping up with the ‘speed of change’

Change is the only constant, and if you work with the non-profit sector you know all about change.  After 20 years of workshops, seminars, webinars and social networking it is obvious that change is happening at an ever increasing speed and if we want to survive, and make a difference, we will have to learn the language that will take us into the future.  Where better to learn a new vocabulary than at an event called an ‘IMAGINATION CONVERSATION’.

These conversations are a practice of the Performing Arts Dept at New York’s Lincoln Centre where they have been imagining a more creative community for over 35 years.  The one at the Winspear this week was Canada’s first Imagination Conversation.  The intent of the organizers is to have 150 conversations before 2017 when Canada turns 150 years old.  So for three days we were entertained, fed and watered in both mind and body.

We were right in our sense that something is coming, changes that we need to be able to address…in all facets of society – Economics, Socio-demographics, Regulatory and Technological.  Here in our wonderful remote community we don’t feel the emergence of cell therapy or fusion energy.  Those combined with access to technology, as never before, coupled with the retirement of over 78 million people within the next 10 years leaves our world with changes not unlike those of the middle ages or the invention of the printing press.  These changes will challenge all structures – our institutional systems are becoming archaic.  And as leaders we cannot address these changes by simply moving faster and learning more.  Information is everywhere…no longer do we see our clients (the people that we serve in our nonprofits) as needing information…they have access to as much information as professionals now.  This is a profound change in the service provider’s relationship to clients.  Alberta is already applying analytics to much of its professional sector – displacing the need for professionals – in everything from studying energy to crime to consumers.  (Dr. Pierre Kinkaide, Alberta Council of Technologies, )

Coupled with the 78 million retirees and their ‘knowledge’ leaving the workplace is the incoming ‘idea generation’ and their concepts and use of the digital world.  This imaginative generation takes problem solving out of the language and replaces it by facing challenges through ICI – the imagination-creativity-innovation continuum.  (Robert Kelly,, Scott Noppe-Brandon, )  Changes in educational environments are leading to ‘sustained creative potential’ programs.  Some institutions in the States are already admitting students through an ‘academic blind’ process – where creative portfolios, not the traditional academic ratings, are key.

“In a Grade 11 English class at McNally High School this year, students chose their own novels, worked at their own pace, and the teacher didn’t lecture at the front of the room.  These students, though they had limited success with English previously, made great progress — everyone finished all assignments, from poetry to the persuasive essay — before the end of term. They worked on what they did best first. They got better grades.  That’s what happens when creativity, flexibility and student engagement are built into the classroom — and when teachers aren’t constantly teaching to a test and the class isn’t obsessed with marks, says principal Dale Skoreyko.”  ( )

Educating a creative workforce is a global issue.  CEOs around the world were asked the following question: “What are the top qualities you seek when hiring someone?” The answer was “the ability to deal with complexity.” When they were asked what qualities they find lacking in today’s workplace, they said “creativity.”

A sustainable future depends upon imaginative, creative, innovative solutions to profound and complex challenges. The very future of our communities and institutions depends on our ability to nurture and harness imagination to creatively solve problems.  Alberta is already moving towards changing education to reflect the ‘Creative Challenge Index’.  (Dan Hunter, Hunter-Higgs LLC, )

If this seems like a lot of information to absorb…it was.  Guest speaker ‘rapid fire’ sessions ranged from political scientists, economists, a neurosurgeon, lawyers, and educators all with one theme in their talks…creativity.  How to harness creative energy, how to help educators plan for creativity, how to value creative assets in your organization and how to apply these concepts to our own organizations once we got home – all topics laid out in just 48 hours.

All traditional ways of working in committees, ways of leading and solving problems will be challenged by the socio-economic, demographic and cultural changes of the fast paced technological future.

And of course, what would a conference on the future be without the future being included!!  Over 100 children got on stage and did this exact song…wasnt a dry eye in the building.  The Yellowhead Regional Creative Campus will be bringing these fantastic ‘ARTISTS IN NATURE’ to our region, to work with our youth, next spring on time for Earth Day!!

“A time of inbetweenity.”  Psychologist Ellen Langer, known for her work in ‘mindfulness’, tells us that we should be ready to embrace uncertainty.  We learn from noticing differences, we learn through uncertainty.  We cannot continue to look at the world through a ‘deficit based perspective’ (problems to be solved).  She goes on to say that this kind of thinking leads to ‘rearranging the furniture’ – keeping the status quo…a linear approach that focuses on inabilities rather than abilities.  Yet we value abilities as they are the inspiration for leadership.  Embrace the uncertainty and focus on abilities, non linear thinking allows for individuality – acknowledging strength based assets.  (Dr Peter Gamwell, Ottawa, Peter’s philosophy is simple: the health and prosperity of any organization is directly proportional to the value, autonomy and creative freedom given to the people who make up that organization.)

Rex Jung, a neuroscientist from the University of New Mexico, spoke of the processes the brain goes through when thinking creatively.  The way the brain uses creativity is related to intelligence – but not necessarily in the way we think it is.

‘Selling creativity to a bean counting culture’ by Matt Homann talks about the need to measure things that make life worthwhile – in the future the GDP will not have the same status it has today.  Measuring the economy will be done on new curves.  ( )  Matt had an intense view on the economic concept of creativity…arts are communication – have been around for thousands of years, cave art, stained glass windows of cathedrals were storytelling for those who couldn’t read…business has lost that connection.   These communicators, artists and teachers, are often the lowest paid persons…sell your product – give them value, no one wants to buy karma.

Focus on the user of the product, provide an experience that is beyond what is already available.  (Our ‘Come for the Smiles’ program at Habitat last year, where town employees and other corporate offices were invited to come and play in the arts, allowed for creative communications.)  Matt has taken executives into tango classes where he provides each dancer with a secret card…the card might say things like ‘teacher’ or ‘student’ or ‘superintendent’.  No one is told what the other person’s card reads…imagine trying to dance not knowing if you are the teacher or the student…  Rather than putting executives through ‘Toastmasters’ to teach them public speaking…incorporate storytelling, and theatre and song and writing into what these public speakers will need to communicate.  He also talked about the knowledge transfer that is occurring as the boomers leave the workforce…that knowledge is an organizations assets.

Don’t let reality be the end of an idea…if x or y won’t work…what about a or b.

Dr David Kahane from Alberta Climate Dialogue wanted us to know that diversity should not only be represented by the different people in a room but should be found in each person as well.  Alberta is not a province of diversity.  Ideas sometimes must die so great ideas can live.  ‘His broader research deals with theories and practices of democratic dialogue and deliberation, with focus on features of process design that make public dialogues more inclusive and transformative.’  (

The theme of Imagination Conversation is part of the project undertaken by i150 (  To mark Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017 Governor General David Johnston has asked ‘where are we now as a nation, where are we going and how are we going to get there?’  ImagiNation 150 is a Calgary based organization focused on those questions and working towards that commemorative date.  In keeping with this concept (150 and conversation and where our community is today) I wondered if perhaps our community would like to engage in a challenge where we attempt, as individuals, to meet 150 new people in our community within the year.  That would meet many of the concerns addressed at this conference here in our community…conversation, diversity, creativity and relationship building.  And by using technology a social network could be setup where we share who we are meeting.

Wordle: Jasper Habitat for the Arts

It is interesting to note that many attendees at the conference were there to talk about art and creativity, and were pleasantly surprised to find that, in actuality, the focus was on how creativity is incorporated into everything we do – and how important creative thinking will be to lead us into the next generation of change.  Most of us were hoping for the magic formula to take home and implement in our communities.  Showing yet again, how thinking is changing.  There IS no formula.

The nonprofit sector is being transformed by a broad range of trends – generational shifts, economic and political uncertainty, technology and networking, increased diversity, shifting nonprofit boundaries and virtual work.   Transformation is not optional, if we don’t move at the speed of change, we will be left behind.  (La Piana Consulting)


QUOTES I found:

Ideas don’t make change, experiences do.

You can’t jump chasms without taking a leap.

Follow the crowd, stop with the crowd.

Committee’s are cul-de-sac’s.  (Interestingly the new cultural spaces in Jasper are taking the Partnership Matrix beyond collaborations to actual Strategic Alliances…collaboration is just the beginning to building partnerships!!  The Creative Campus also takes collaboration beyond phase one – creating an alliance between five municipalities!)

Nonprofits want to ‘deserve’ money…ask for it.  Give value, not karma.

Only those who are asleep make no mistakes…


Perhaps the most exciting thing collected at this event was the concept of ArtScience.  ArtScience looks at the need to have our cultural, corporate and educational systems use both art and science in ways where the conventional line can no longer be seen; artists, industry and social sectors working together to meet the needs, and lead innovation, for the future.  And David Edwards book ‘Creativity in the post-Google Generation’ has many examples of how this happens every day without notice. ( )

We do not need to work harder or faster to meet these changes, in fact ‘busy’ doesn’t allow for conversation (or healthy relationships)…we need to be mindful of where we are in the process of addressing challenges and influencing change.

Should you have any questions or suggestions on how our communities can move forward into the Idea Generation…we can start conversations now!!