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…

Peeling back the hide

January’s mark new beginnings, new years full of promise and dreams.  For Habitat, just over a year old, we are now looking at our old age – in a sense.  We created a space for exploring the arts, a place to show art, create art – regardless of age or skill.  The community jumped on board with regular workshops, film nights, demonstrations and events.

Music in the Street!

And as the Habitat prepares to take down the walls of accessible creative space – the walls for Habitat II are going up.  You see, in 2011 we were invited to be part of the new Library that the Town of Jasper is building.  They have opened up the northwest end of the new structure to be a home for Jasper’s Arts and Cultural industries.

So, as we get into the groove of booking events and opening doors for the varying community orgs to create programming in Hab I for 2012 – our attention and energies are twisted towards making sure that, when Hab II opens its doors in 2013, it reflects all the gusto and intensity of seasoned arts and cultural workers!  We will transfer the excitement of our original opening, such a short time ago, and pour it into the new foundations.

Habitat and Jasper Artists Guild on the far left

And if that isn’t scary enough, we have taken a deeper dive into the world of advocacy and lobbying for this great industry by making sure our funders and future funders are confident in what we bring to the community of Jasper.  To do that, we have to ‘peel back the hide’ on the carcass of Hab I and ‘pick some bones’ to make sure we are getting every possible scrap of information on what we have done and where we can go with what we know.  What are our strengths?  What are our weaknesses?  (feel free to tell us!)

BUT first and foremost, before we go to the big house…before we go to the bright and shiny ‘in the public eye’ cultural spaces being built just for what we BELIEVE we are…lets define the what and the why.

What will it be?  If we learned anything from the past 14 months it’s that not everything we felt the community needed was needed.  At least not in the form that we presented it in.

Our efforts to include all ages – check.  From wee ones to seniors – they came to be engaged or to share their skills.

Our efforts to tie the arts into as many community and extended community (tourism) events as possible – check. From the annual Jasper in January Festival to the Dark Sky Festival to Heritage Day…we built related workshops or displays and even full on festivals to complement what was there (or missing).

Our efforts to co-ordinate the different organizations in the community through art – check.  Arts Days and the annual Arts with Altitude Festival not only got every possible org from the Folk N Blues Society to Arts Jasper to the Film Club doing what they do best – they did it all over town.

ArtsDays 2011

So that takes care of the WHAT.  Now the WHY.

An initial glance at any ‘arts centre’ initiative and you can deduce that it was about the ‘centering’.  It was about creating a ‘hub’ where information on art, arts groups, arts events, arts education…could be found.  Our passing grade on this – check.  Evidence is in the offshoots of success that can be seen in artists, that are now teaching and sharing their art, that found their audiences and students through Habitat’s ‘people place process’ mandate.  Further evidence is in continued support and lobbying efforts made by IOTAD to keep groups alive, and prospering.  This support reaches far and wide…from reviving ToastMasters (fingers crossed for their continued success…we need great speakers!) to offering volunteer support to Arts Jasper to offering space for community to meet.  Continual searching for funds to enhance and financially support others – instructors, artists and even actors – round out the relevancy of Hab’s ‘centre’.  A lengthy pursuit of ideology and philosophy on the detrimental effects of ‘silos’ in community we wont go into – Jasper’s past ‘silos’ are slowly merging and creating a strong diversified cultural industry.

This industry – in Alberta – is responsible for 3500 jobs and a 1:12 return on investment – turning $13 million dollars (in Alberta Foundation for the Arts grants alone) into $153 million for the Alberta economy.  This impact is felt throughout the province from tourism, accommodations, transportation to agriculture and education.  We find the potential to grow this industry in Jasper very exciting, we find the Town of Jasper’s insightful move to create dedicated ‘cultural spaces’ in the new Library very advantageous.

Ok, this is getting very long…and we still have pictures to post!  One final reason for todays post…to educate those that wonder what Habitat is doing, what we stand for, why…

Almost every conversation we have – be it with teachers or students or seniors or parents or politicians…leads to economics.  Well, while we are not artists in the pure sense – we dont paint, we dont dance [where you can see us], we dont sing –  we sure do dream.  And we believe.  We believe that the arts can be a poignant economic driver if we learn from those that have succeeded, if we listen to those that are trying to tell us something, if we watch the signs and enthusiastically grasp and build on opportunities like a new facility.

People Place Process, IOTAD mantra – put them in whatever order you want.  We believe they are the keys to success.   Not unlike the 3T’s of Creative Class fame.  Talent, technology and tolerance.

Talent: The driving force behind any effective economic strategy is talented people. We live in a more
mobile age than ever before. People, especially top creative talent, move around a lot. A community’s
ability to attract and retain top talent is the defining issue of the creative age.
Technology: Technology and innovation are critical components of a community or organization’s ability
to drive economic growth. To be successful, communities and organizations must have the process for
transferring research, ideas and innovation into marketable and sustainable products. Educational institutions are paramount to this, and provide a key hub institution of the creative age.
Tolerance: Economic prosperity relies on cultural, entrepreneurial, civic, scientific and artistic creativity.
Creative workers with these talents need communities, organizations and peers that are open to new
ideas and different people. Places receptive to immigration, alternative lifestyles, and new views on
social status and power structures will benefit significantly in the creative age. Define it as proactive inclusion.

Jasper might be a bit behind on the PROCESS or the TECHNOLOGY to make the arts a viable economic pillar today.  And Habitat II or IOTAD’s dream of a ‘Banff Centre’ atmosphere in Jasper might be a bit reaching…but that’s what we do.  That’s why we are here.  Imagine a world without art.

Welcoming Year Two

Habitat for the Arts is a year old.

Since November 10th 2010 the big space located on the corner of Hazel and Patricia Streets in downtown Jasper has been home to the Yellowhead Regional Creative Campus, Library Film Nights, music jams, painting workshops, beading and knitting afternoons – heritage arts, author readings, information sessions from the Banff Centre and Volunteer Alberta, public gallery shows from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts collection, regular meeting space for over six community arts related orgs including a startup for Jasper’s Toastmasters, square dancing, childrens theatre games (lots and lots of children), adult theatre practices, video classes, pottery classes, multimedia art exploring, NFB webcasts, language arts for outreach education, Whats On Jasper wall, volunteer store and centre, afterschool programs, annual cultural celebrations like Celtic Hour, lunch bag programs, studio for visiting artists…

…we were hoping to create a SPACE for community to engage, teach and demonstrate arts and culture.  It looks like ‘it only took a dream’.

Photos of the past year can be seen on our the link to the right here called ‘A Photo History’ – it will take you to a Flickr photo site.  Or catch some sidewalk cinema as we showoff the year on the window screens at Habitat this month…hey – if it’s going to get dark at suppertime…we are going to use the dark!!

The Habitat has been supported by many and supports many arts programs in Jasper.  In 2011 over $20,000 was spread through the community for three culturally related arts ‘festivals’.  Artists were employed, musicians were hired, art was purchased, instructors taught, restaurants and hotels were booked – are we bragging…you bet we are!  In 2010 the social return on a ten day festival was calculated to be a 200% spin back of dollars into the community…we haven’t finished this years SROI.


But we can tell you:

The ANNUAL JASPER CHRISTMAS FAIR – November 20…make a gingerbread house for Santas Anonymous and maybe you will win a day in the JPL Fairmont Bakery…secrets will be shared I have heard!  To be on the voting ballot please register your house by the 18th..and deliver it to the Activity Centre on Sunday morning between 9:30 and 10:30 please.

And Go to the FAIR!!


NOVEMBER 21 and 28 – animation NFB short films at 4pm and animation projects for Christmas gift making workshops, $5 and $10 drop in fees for the Craft Stations (might be good to phone and let us know you are coming so there is enough materials!  Hate to turn anyone away)

Facebook page:

Habitat will have a wish tree outside this year.  We will decorate on the 28th with some of the items we have made in the workshops.

Lantern Making workshop with Ursula is November 16.  And a lantern walk…with her other students…

There are Friday noon hour music jams at the Habitat as well…just until the sun returns to shine on the outdoor ones with some heat!

NOVEMBER 16 – Food Society Film – check out Jasper-Food Local-Society on Facebook.

And while you are on Facebook don’t forget to become Friends of the Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts!


DECEMBER 10– the Habitat will be open from noon-4 or later for its first birthday party.  Come by for cake and check out Jasper’s very own Jazz Band (I would say High School Jazz Band…but if I don’t tell you how old these musicians are – you would never know by their skill!).  Joel Cultur of Art of Street will do a live demonstration of his art during their music…Amber Hayward will read to us from her latest book…Shara will have some awesome handmade dolls for sale as well as Paintings by Paula and Jewelery by Sandra!  Both of the Art of Street artists Joel and Ryan will have some artworks on display…

Door prizes, and open stage for busking and tours through the building…


Habitat’s office is open Tuesday to Friday – noon to 5 in November.  780.852.4747

Year of the Rabbit is off and running!

It is hard to believe that it is already the end of January.  Opening a space for people to work and play in at the busiest time of year (Christmas and New Years) was not something we had planned…yet it was what we had to work with!  The subtle beginnings in November tapered off in late December after some fantastic children’s concerts and when the doors reopened after the holidays on January 4th the Habitat was very much like a rabbit (2011) leaping forward!

Municipality Of Jasper officials, Town Manager George Krefting – Mayor Richard Ireland – Councilor Mike Day,  do the honours and open the Habitat!  In tribute to the space and its potential for our community one of Jasper’s young thespians sang of the things she hopes to do at Habitat.  ‘One day we wished upon a star and now look at where we are…look around me!’  (lyrics sang to the tune of Somewhere over the Rainbow)  Some of our images from the opening will be added to this posting as we access them…


The classroom was then transformed, along with the rest of the studios, into the stage for the Grand Opening of the Habitat.   The evening opened with Jasper High School Jazz Band, followed by appetizers by John Riedler of Fiddle River Restaurant.  The pottery studio was in full swing with Jamie and Lily on the wheels, the video studio was setup and several people took a chance to engage in the edit suite.  Further down the hall was a mock artist in residence demonstration by Jasper photographer Ron Brown.  The private studio was setup with his vintage cameras and new technology.  Two doors down from there the prop and costume room for ACT (A Community Theatre) was setup and reminiscent of a childhood dream…dressup clothes and masks that reminded many of a tickle trunk!

The circle continued down to the final classroom where Ursula had designed a printmaking workshop that captured innocent passers by for time well spent.  Marie-Helene shared the painting venue with her puppetry.

A picture speaks a thousand words…so this little slide show should sum it up!


Last week we realized that Habitat is now being used daily!!  Mondays Brown Bag Lunch program, Tuesdays Theatre practises, Wednesdays ACT classes, Ursula’s Creative Arts workshops, Folk n Blues meetings, ToastMasters, IMPROV on Sundays at 8 (only $5 for actors or audience!), Library Film Nights, Arts and Culture meetings, Video, Fabric Arts and Pottery classes.


Drawing with Deke’s first Saturday was a little slow with a small group of future cartoonists…followed the next week with barely enough chairs in the room.  It was great to see all ages in the classroom – supporting our belief that you are never too young or too old to learn new things.

The Fitzhugh ( did a great story on Deke that I am sure was responsible for such a great turnout.
January 13, 2011
The wildly popular Fitzhugh cartoonist, Deke Hammel, is sharing his knowledge with Jasper youngsters.Beginning on Jan. 8, Deke shared his knowledge at the Habitat for the Arts and will continue to do so throughout the month, Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. 

Deke was the first person to host an interactive program at the Habitat, when he ran the lunch-time “drawing with Deke” sessions in November, 2010. The sessions had a “reasonable” turnout and at the end, he was approached by Director Marianne Garrah to participate in the Jasper in January festivities by holding more drawing classes.

“I told them that I’d be willing to do a course for kids,” said Deke. “I did one for the Summer Fun program a few years back and it was a lot of fun.”

Deke insists that anybody can cartoon, but that younger audiences seem to really enjoy his approach to teaching cartooning.

“I wanted to try it [teaching a course] again with children,” he said. “I prefer a kids audience to an adult audience.”

When queried as to how he got started, Deke said he never learned how to cartoon in a classroom sense, he just picked it up as he went along.

“So I will be teaching Deke cartooning,” he said of his teaching methods.

Deke created his very first cartoon in partnership with a former park warden. He explained that he worked with the talented artist, creating the punch-lines for the cartoons they came up with. Deke would envision the drawing, his partner would draw and then Deke would come up with the captions. One of his first cartoons poked fun at the “turkeys” on the ski hill.

Eventually, Deke’s drawing partner moved away.

“And I couldn’t draw, but I had [so] many ideas. I learned with patience. I wear out my eraser faster than my pencil,” he joked.

Deke said he planned to start his lessons by having the kids doodling right away and then go from there.

“I will start with the basics,” he said, adding that he would begin with stick figures, adding faces then expressions and eventually movement to the drawings.

Deke said that for him, teaching the classes are a way to give back to the community.

“If you claim to be a part of the community then you shouldn’t be afraid to give something back.”

He hopes that he will generate enough cartoons to fill a page in the Fitzhugh, dedicated to local up-and-coming cartoonists.

Deke has been drawing cartoons since the mid-90s starting with the Jasper Booster and moving on to the Fitzhugh.

“I started drawing a few years before, creating my own Christmas cards because I was too cheap to buy them,” he said.

Be sure to stop by and catch one of Deke’s drawing sessions throughout the month at the Habitat for the Arts.

To register for use of the Classroom or Peoples Gallery…contact, for the first three months of 2011 we have great deals on the cost recovery fees!


FEBRUARY Happenings

Feb 7 – 7pm, free film, DAREK DAWDA

Come out and check out Canada’s foremost SLAM POET… get inspired for Jasper’s Slam in March!


February 14th



Fabric Arts workshops

Bored? Board…a painting workshop, grab your board – skate or snow and change it up a bit!

TOASTMASTERS –  Feb 21 at 7pm

and more….postings soon.

Jasper Habitat for the Arts is on Facebook




Rockin’ at the Farmers Market

...if you can imagine it, she can build it!It’s harvest time.  Time to go to the Farmers Market and check out the fresh veggies, apples, honey…and, of course, what would a market be without its artisans.

Anna Carnell’s booth of mosaics and artworks made from natural and recyled elements showcase her amazing talent – bringing customer’s realizations to life or by using total freedom in her creations.  Like a stone teapot.  Her work has such unique possibilities that I was surprised when the lid didnt come off…it looked so real.

It’s no surprise that Anna’s work is so ‘elemental’.  I met her years ago when she lived in a National Park.  Nature and appreciation for the beauty in nature are evident in every aspect of her life.  She has since moved to the Calgary area – somewhere where she could live closer to her second passion – her horses.  When not in her studio you can find her and her partner riding or playing Polocrosse.  A cross between Polo and Lacrosse!  And when not tending horses, creating stone mosaics, working the Millarville or Calgary markets, or working with her many student projects…you can find her putting the final touches and details on her newest building project – her new home in the Foothills.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the southern Alberta Farmers Market yet – no problem!  Anna is one of over 30 artisans coming north to the Jasper Christmas Fair on Nov 22nd.

A river of fire…at the Urban Forest Pottery Studio

Urban Forest PotteryIt never fails to amaze me how after driving the same highway for over 20 years we can still find new creative things to see on the way home.  Often the four hour drive ends up in sleepy silence but this week we got away from the city in daylight and found the time to stop at the Urban Forest Pottery Studio.  The smell of fresh rain on autumn leaves and wood smoke were welcome distractions on this much needed break after hours of being in the car.  Potters Enzien Kufeld and Christian Barr were home and we got the tour!

They are the perfect example of why our advocacy work for the past 20+ years still keeps us passionate about the artistic process.  We have seen their art in several galleries around the province but this brief tourist trek around their world surpassed any gallery visit or exhibition.  To stand in their – yes IN – their kiln and imagine four days of stoking the fire to produce 40 foot flames to push through the claywork…mind boggling.  Christian compares the firing of the kiln and the flames to water flowing over rocks in a riverbed.  The smaller kiln (also woodfired) has a smaller firebox so while it doesn’t require monitoring by several people to keep it stoked – but it does require stoking every few minutes.  For days.

‘Wood firing is an ancient technique used in many global cultures and was the first process to reach the high temperatures necessary (1200 to 1300 degrees Celsius is common) to vitrify stoneware and porcelain clays.  It is the most labour and time intensive, and most expensive way to fire.  With near limitless variables, it presents the most mentally, physically and emotionally challenging firing process.  To be a wood-firer one must be passionate about it, as there is no other way to create its result in finishing one’s work.”  C.Barr and E.Kufeld

While telling others about the things we find when we travel the province(s) is a lot of fun – we hope you get out and seek these adventures on your own.  Let the Arts speak for themselves!