The Museletter

There is so much coming on for September that we decided to put out a Museletter.  They are now available at the Habitat, Snowdome Cafe, Video Stop, Mondos Cafe, the Activity Centre, the Museum or here…

Here are a few of the highlights of our first edition!


ARTS WITH ALTITUDE—-Check the right hand column of this webpage for more details!!


Some changes to the MUSELETTER


Deadline to submit something of interest for next Museletter- Sept 7th

Its all about the journey…

It’s been just over a year now since the Yellowhead Rotary Arts Festival Society was granted funding to build a regional ‘Creative Campus’.   A year since I got the part time job of assisting that society in building arts capacity in my region of the Yellowhead.  I am amazed at the amount of intensive administration that is involved.  Keeping track of phone calls, and promotional materials, and photographs and time as required for reporting to the funders.  Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I am lucky if I can keep track of my phone let alone the calls!

That is not to say that I am ‘disorganized’ as much as just busy…chasing new things, putting out fires (usually ones I have started) and trying to educate myself along the way.  As I sit at the desk tonight surrounded by gas receipts, magazine clippings and business cards scattered amongst the jump drives, sticky notes and camera batteries  I wonder if I am truly accomplishing anything!  I mean – this blog for community updates is even 2 months out of date!

Well, I think its time I told you what this regional arts coordinator has been up to since the Cinderella Ballet – the last blog on this site.


The Glass Managerie followed quickly on the heels of the ballet.  Two fantastic presentations that the community flocked to at the end of this years Arts Jasper programs.

March also saw two of Jasper’s finest ‘string’ musicians – Lisa MacDonald and Monika Schaefer take on a Celtic Hour performance.  Before the month was out Anna Carnell and Friends had a month long exhibit at the museum, Anna and the other artists gave us a whole new appreciation for art and the use of rock in imagery and context.

The edit suite has been extremely busy finishing up on Grace Kohn’s production of the Children of Autumn, which is now available in DVD format.  (contact Grace for your copy!)

Then out of the blue we were asked to babysit a hostel while friends went out of town.  So from an edit suite surrounded by screens and technology to outdoor plumbing and no running water…a bit of a culture shock.  But what an amazing treat.  After a long day of ‘administrative stuff’ we were driving up the road to the hostel and the clouds were low enough to be meeting the land – tiredly I looked at David and said ‘Look at the air – its just hanging there’.  Falling asleep in extreme silence and all you can hear is your heartbeat took a couple of days to get used to.  I am still unsure if a heart is supposed to be that noisy!

While we left our urban abode for the rustic cabin in the woods we were graced with a visit from Tessa Nunn and Jeff Collins.   These artists are always a wealth of information about the bigger picture – being from the big city – and we were glad to share our art world with them.  Tessa is involved in arts programming at the UofA and will be sharing her expertise with us when the Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts is brought to life this summer.  Jeff’s experience with board governance and non profit etiquette have already been put to use.

The annual Yellowhead Rotary Arts Festival took place in April.

Over 1000 entries this year in music, voice, instrumental, writing, pottery, visual arts…venues and performances all over the region, some of Alberta’s top artists in their genre are brought in to adjudicate the works and after 10 years a team of 15 core volunteers bring the arts alive for two weeks!  Amazing. 

Jasper had two days of events in the schools for band and voice.  Our elementary school students even wrote their own prose this year!

The Campus has two intensive workshops in Jasper this summer/fall – FilmCamp for youth at the Palisades and Artists in the Pines for ArtsDays/Culture Days.  Posters, emails, postcards, press releases.  And when the Habitat comes on line these types of events will be monthly!  Traveling exhibitions, lunch programs, after school programs….   There’s that heartbeat again!  (or is it an art beat?)

Thank goodness for outings like the groundbreaking at the Activity Centre or my excursions to the outdoors would be even fewer.  New spaces, new ideas…like the artists call for new bike rack designs.

The details should be finalized soon and you can contact Barb Dyck at the Activity Centre to put in your design ideas.   A few more stats on Jasper’s cultural identity and the application to the Cultural Capital program will be complete…all fingers crossed that Jasper is a Cultural Capital for 2011 on time to celebrate the Thompson Bi-Centennial.

And then there was the horoscope in April:  There will be good news coming your way that involves your entire community or perhaps an organization you have recently become involved with.  Its an excellent time to begin long term projects. The horoscope was followed quickly by a letter from the province saying they approved of the Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts.  This lead to measuring the elevator to see if the piano would fit and finding a temporary home for the 12 computer systems that Computers for Schools have donated to the Habitat!

(I think at this point in the story I should mention that I am only one body in a team that works on some of these initiatives. )  (and it might be worth mentioning also that the artists I frame for have the patience of saints!)

The computers are headed into the communities of Jasper Hinton Edson and Grande Cache as part of the Creative Campus learning materials for the filmmaking courses that run regularly.

This in turn lead us to the Banff Centre to learn more about artists user agreements, studio space use, programming for public spaces, non profit corporate status, copyright…

As I stood on the Banff Centre grounds surrounded by inspiration I realized that there is a lot of supportive people in our lives, and while there are a lot of things our Habitat for the Arts won’t have right away – we have the same natural Rocky Mountain inspiration.  I didn’t know if I was jealous of what Banff had or thrilled to know that that amazing place is only 3 1/2 hours down the road!  A friend told me to always go with the positive so I am excited for what we found and can build relationships with.

By now you are probably wondering what the Jasper Community Habitat is.  Well…we are almost ready to tell you.  A few more crossed t’s and a few more dotted i’s and we can share it all!!

Hope springs eternal at Building 54!

For many years now we have been working on projects that incorporate a little history, offer a present day view of things and that will hopefully leave participants with a sense of direction…possibility for new ideas…

Going to conferences and seminars where the same old scenarios are worked over by people from the same ‘old’ demographic almost always leads to the same results.  Where are the next generation of leaders?  Not just the ones with concerns and issues to bring forward…but ones with some answers or ideas on what next?!

As we work in the arts we get to talk with a lot of interesting people – with different ideas.  Some based on reality and feasibility…others not so.  BUT this year we have met some amazing ‘Gen X’ers’ – all who have left us with this overwhelming optimism that things are gonna be alright!  Fresh minds with direction…

Like Julie McMath, Joel Cooper and Ryan McQuaig.

Julie appeared early in 2009 at Building 54 – almost the ‘if you build it they will come’ kind of appearance.  We had two old pottery wheels salvaged from an ailing pottery club and as soon as we set them up Julie found them – added her own wheel to the group, got a business license for Dish Pottery and took over the space with energy and ideas…

Joel Cooper and Ryan McQuaig are two of the trio that make up the Art of Street Studio down the hall from Julie.  First contact with these artists is almost unfair.  (here is where my age shows)  If you chance into their studio with the music on and see them spray painting you could be mislead as to their sincerity and talent.

As with many artists they have other jobs…Ryan cooks at one of the town’s more notable establishments.  Joel, while between seasonal jobs, keeps busy at promoting Art of Street’s unique capacity for working the arts into community.  Like?  Like his moonlit trek about town during a recent snow storm building snowmen that greeted us all the next morning as we made our way to the post office or the cafes…

So if you had asked me 12 months ago what I thought of the future of Gen X or even Gen Y – I would have expressed my concern that they are less ‘verbal’ than I would hope.  But as we crest a new year I can see that perhaps they are going to show us a new future vs get involved in our ‘talking’ about it.  And coming from a visual storytelling background…that suits me just fine.