Jasper Culture Days 2014

Five years and going strong.  So many ways to bring community together through art.

Starting in early September a partnership with Arts Jasper (celebrating 42 years of bringing art to Jasper stages!) brought some amazing musicians to town.  Christine Hanson, Bruce MacGregor and Andrew Hillhouse filled the Legion for an evening of celtic music, tales and even had some folks up dancing.  Bruce, on the left, Christine in the middle are not strangers to Jasper.  And in the fall of 2015 Christine will return to present her composition commissioned by Arts Jasper to honour the life of Edith Cavell.

Bruce is always full of tales, with a Scottish accent!

A Taste of Scotland

With Culture Days only a few weeks in the future and the volunteer room filling with programs and Culture Days swag and white board calendars being edited on a regular basis…we saw the second lead up event come together out at Pine Bungalows.  Fitting place for a Film Festival fundraiser.  Pine Bungalows owner, Mike Wasuita, has been a supporter of Alberta Film and filmmaking for years.  As an IATSE member he has offered up the Bungalows as a base for all kinds of productions.

The Karvonen family are also no strangers to Jasper.  And what better place to show a documentary on Albert Karvonen made by his daughter Ava than in one of the wilderness locations that inspired his work.  Albert often visited Jasper National Park to film.

Alberta Karvonen

Screening the documentary on Albert produced by Ava Karvonen.

Screening the documentary on Albert produced by Ava Karvonen at Pine Bungalows.

Any evening at Pine Bungalows is a treat and this one did not disappoint.  In attendance for this Jasper Short Film Festival fundraiser was Peter Wunstorf to the left of the easel above.  Peter created a short called ‘Patiences’ that was selected for the Festival.

Alberta has no end to great talents and Jasper has connections for many.  It is unfortunate that Culture Days is only a weekend long…so we cheat.  It’s difficult to get artists to come to Jasper when the entire country is celebrating Culture Days!  For that reason we called on Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail to come do a writing workshop through the Library before Culture Days weekend!

Danielle grew up in a family with a passion for aviation – and she just released her newest book ‘Polar Winds’ on flying in the North.  She did a book signing at the Snowdome Coffee Bar and then a free workshop for a room full of inquisitive writers and wanna-be writers!

And then the countdown was on…less than 7 days to Culture Days…

Time for Marie Helene to bring life to some inanimate objects…the annual puppet making workshop is always a treat for all ages.

These creations were on display during the Community Fair on Culture Days weekend!

One of the key events to come from this weekend dedicated to art and culture…is the annual Raven’ About the Arts Awards.  An evening that has ranged from a black tie affair at The Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre to fabulous gatherings in the Jasper Artists Guild.  This year we had the opportunity to host the event at the Jasper Museum…surrounded by works from the Artists Guild in the Showcase Gallery.  The Guild did a Sketchers crawl on a fabulous fall afternoon and then the day evolved into the evenings awards.

Jasper is a wealth of heritage sites to sketch...and a sketchers crawl for Culture Days!

Jasper has a wealth of heritage sites to sketch…and a sketchers crawl for Culture Days!












Awards were created by Urban Forest Pottery Studios - glass fused photography.

Awards were created by Urban Forest Pottery Studios – glass fused photography.







And thanks to Jasper's very own engravers...Lucia's Gifts...we have some very nice plaques for the awards too! Thankyou Vera Forabosco for doing these up for us!

And thanks to Jasper’s very own engravers…Lucia’s Gifts…we have some very nice plaques for the awards too! Thank you Vera Forabosco for doing these up for us!

An evening to honour those who inspire, create and share their art …

Watch how they express their work in their own words!

The Fitzhugh also did a very nice writeup of the evening… http://www.fitzhugh.ca/locals-celebrated-at-arts-awards/


Close the doors on another Raven’ About the Arts Awards Friday night…and open the doors on Saturday morning for Jasper’s FIRST ‘madeforjasper’ Film Festival!!

Starting in April the call went out across as many channels as we could think of…other festivals, websites, friends…and over 35 submissions came into the Film Fest office.  From all over Canada, Quebec, Manitoba, BC…and even one from LA!  Documentaries, dramatic shorts, animation…from nature to comedy…over 14 hours of programs.  And the selection committee watched them all, sometimes twice.  We have a fantastic small town theatre, the Chaba Theatre, that was opened to us to use for one day…6 hours…a big screen!

Having the films, the theatre and even banners on the street were all good…but what about an audience!?  Being the first ever short film fest in Jasper, on a beautiful sunny fall day…lets just say lots of fingers were crossed.  And it worked!  Thank you Jasper and all the filmmakers who came from away…thanks to the volunteers who kept the tight screening schedule tight.

Toddske, from Fort Mac...got away before the day ended...interestingly he was involved in the short Ninjavention.

Toddske, from Fort Mac…got away before the day ended…interestingly he was involved in the short Ninjavention.  Coincidence?

Peoples Choice was chosen by ballot during the day, second choice was Ancestors Calling…and third place was shared by Exquisite Taste and Through Ice and Time.  All of the award winning films and runners up for Peoples Choice will be collated into a BEST OF THE JASPER SHORT FILM FESTIVAL program to travel the region as a fundraiser!

And of course…what is a film festival without the chance to meet the filmmakers and have some fun…dance…

One of the more famous actors to grace Jasper soil...Marilyn made an appearance!

One of the more famous actors to grace Jasper soil…Marilyn made an appearance!

Chad Krayenhoff of Jasper’s blues fusion dance group brought some life to the floor…what better way to get a room of strangers mingling?

And who better to play blues for blues dancers than Jasper’s own Brian Lackey…who was this years award winner for music at the Raven’ About the Arts Awards!






Mingling at the Jasper Inn!


Who knew magic was so much fun!

Who knew magic was so much fun!

Sometimes things can get out of hand…but no filmmaker was harmed in the making of Culture Days!

Daniel Foreman of Groove Soldier Productions...just keeping things in order!

Daniel Foreman of Groove Soldier Productions…obviously making new friends!

Saturday also meant street performers!  This year we found a young man – Ryan Lackey – who we like to think brought the MAGIC to Culture Days!

If you ever need a little magic for your event...give this guy a call!!

If you ever need a little magic for your event…give this guy a call!!

And on the other side of the street!!  Stephen Nelson entertained at the SnowDome Coffee Bar.  (Stephen also takes a lot of the photos we use for Culture Days archives…a couple of years in a row now!)

Sunshine, coffee and music…gotta love Jasper in the fall.

We like to bring the season into the weekend if we can…and scarecrows just seem to be the thing to do for a workshop, to decorate and to entertain!






A workshop midday by Ann Hoffele was supposed to be for kids…but it soon became apparent that kids in Jasper have no age!   (Ann also offers weekly workshops in all kinds of crafts…ask us about them arts@iotad dot ca)











Isara arrived in Jasper last week...on time to join the weekend!  She sang at the Raven' About the Arts Awards.  Thanks Isara!

Isara arrived in Jasper last week…on time to join the weekend! She sang at the Raven’ About the Arts Awards. Thanks Isara!












Hula Hoops and Drums rounded out the workshop offerings (excuse the pun)!  Matricia Brown shared her love of song and drumming.  Shawna Woelke shared her passion for movement with whoever was brave enough to pick one up!  (Shawna is also this years award winner for dance for her amazing choreography on the hoop.)







Sundog Tours let us put up the Astrodome so Jasper could get excited about the Dark Sky Festival that is just weeks away!  A lot of Jasper residents didnt even know we had a DOME!  Jasper has a lot of well kept secrets 🙂  but now that over 40 people got to get inside this amazing attraction…the word will get around!  Thanks Sundog!

The Dome was nominated this year for a TIAC (Tourism Association of Canada) award.  It is the only dome (we know of) that has taken the songs and drumming of a Cree storyteller and put that audio track to the visuals of the night sky.  Good Luck Matricia Brown and Sundog Tours and Delphinus 18 Productions – lets bring TIAC notoriety back to Jasper again!  (Delphinus 18’s parent AV production office was a finalist for a TIAC Globe and Mail award in 2008)

And so we come to the end of the weekend…to the most anticipated event of the weekend…the one that started when a young potter told us about an annual fundraiser at her college.  Julie McMath inspired the BOWLS WITH SOUL weekend in 2010.  Simply set out handmade bowls, people choose the one that they like, fill it with soup and keep the bowl for a modest fee to support the arts.  It has been 4 years now…and while Julie and her bowls are temporarily not available (rumoured to be around for 2015!) the artist was chosen for 2014, the bowls were picked up at the Connie Pike Studio in High River Alberta…and soup was had!

In 2012 we took the idea one stop higher and have the public vote on their favourite soup of the night.  The soups are marked with ingredients only…so its fair.  2012 and 2013 saw Mountain Park Lodges’ Riley Black take the Golden Ladle award…two years in a row.  The challenge for 2014 was not only to make great soup…but to unseat Jasper’s two time winner Riley Black.

As the soup was warming I asked Clayton Anderson what the chances were of someone new taking the Golden Ladle from Riley.  Clayton thought it was likely as Riley had made a humble tomato soup.  Well…it was a very good tomato soup…with chorizo meatballs…and again – third year in a row the community chose Riley Black!

Arts Jasper always there to help keep order!

Arts Jasper always there to help keep order!

Decisions Decisions...what the heck...take one of each!

Decisions Decisions…what the heck…take one of each!

Aw...someone brought a bowl from a past year...Julie McMath will always be part of Bowls with Soul!

Aw…someone brought a bowl from a past year…Julie McMath will always be part of Bowls with Soul!

The man who makes Bowls with Soul a wonderfully smooth running event!  Clayton Anderson!

The man who makes Bowls with Soul a wonderfully smooth running event! Clayton Anderson! And thanks Kaitie Worobec too…couldnt have done it without you!

Soup, scarecrows, music, dance, films, hula hoops, drumming, writing workshop, book signing, Scottish music, an Astrodome, awards, new and old friends, puppets, street performers, Marilyn Monroe!  I think that’s it!

We will post MORE photos on our Flickr site, and of course follow us at the JASPER COMMUNITY HABITAT FOR THE ARTS and THE JASPER SHORT FILM FESTIVAL on facebook to see what’s going on next!  Arts Jasper and the Jasper Artists Guild, the Library and the Museum have facebook pages too!


If I forgot someone...apologies...we can always add as the memories flow in!

If I forgot someone…apologies…we can always add as the memories flow in!


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, http://www.bestofanalytics.com/category/blog/ )

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, http://www.robertkelly.ca/home-page, Scott Noppe-Brandon, http://lcinstituteblog.com/2011/03/23/the-%E2%80%9Cici-continuum%E2%80%9D-imagination-creativity-and-innovation/ )  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.”  (http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Imagination+Conversation+explores+creativity+role+student+success/6614802/story.html )

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, http://www.creativechallengeindex.org/ )

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.     http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2012/creativity-and-the-everyday-brain/transcript.shtml

‘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.  ( http://www.lexthinkllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Matthew-Homann-One-Page-Bio.pdf )  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.’  (www.albertaclimatedialogue.ca)

The theme of Imagination Conversation is part of the project undertaken by i150 (http://i150.net/who-we-are/).  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. ( http://thelaboratory.harvard.edu/concept/artscience/ )

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!!