Live music, family art activities, artists in action, and a beautiful garden setting set the tone for another summer arts festival at the Coutts Centre for Western Canadian Heritage near Nanton. The annual Coutts Centre Arts Festival, hosted by the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Fine Arts and Art Gallery, returns on Sunday, July 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We look forward to hosting this event each summer,” says Dr. Edward Jurkowski, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts. “If you haven’t yet had a chance to see this stunning property that Jim Coutts donated to the University then I encourage you to take this opportunity. Stroll the grounds, take in live music by Faculty of Fine Arts alumni and faculty, take part in art activities, and cap the day off with a performance by Lethbridge’s Shakespeare performance society. It’s a great day for families and art enthusiasts of all ages.”
The U of L Art Gallery hosts monthly En Plein Air events over the summer, this month pairing up with the arts festival. En plein air is an opportunity for artists to be inspired by the immaculate gardens as they change throughout the summer. Artists are encouraged to submit their work for an exhibition at the Foster James Penny Building in Lethbridge in December. En plein air kicks off at 10 am, along with Brown’s Enterprises decadent menu of brunch, lunch, lattes and more, served until 4 p.m.
Entertainment for the day includes an exciting line up of Fine Arts students, alumni and faculty. Beginning at 11 a.m. is the Southern Alberta Trombone Collective (SATbC) performing a mix of popular film music and classics for trombone quartet. SATbC features the talents of Nick Sullivan (BMus ’04; Music faculty), Kevin Jackson (BMus ’15; B.Ed. ‘17), Brittany Collins (BMus ‘13), and Andrea Norman (BMus ‘17).
At noon, the Groove Apostles return for their fourth performance at the Coutts Centre, with a fusion of jazz and funk. The Groove Apostles are Mathew Hellawell (BMus – DAA ’13) on drums, Daniel Best (New Media student) on bass, Vaughan Henning (BMus ’14; B.Ed. 16) on saxophone, Daniel Yaretz (BMus/B.Ed. student) on keys and Shelby Wilson (BFA – Dramatic Arts ’17). Closing out the live music for the day is percussion and classical guitar duo Joe Porter (BMus ’11, MMus ’13) and Dale Ketcheson (guitar instructor) at 1 p.m.
As the musicians pack up, the actors prepare to take the stage. The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society return for their fourth performance at the Coutts Centre. This year they present Comedy of Errors directed by Drama faculty member Ron Chambers.
“We are now in our sixth season of Shakespeare in the Park,” says producer, and drama alumna Kate Connolly. “And as usual, our cast and production team are drawn from current U of L theatre students, alumni and community theatre members.”
The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare’s shortest and fastest-paced play with physical and slapstick humour and a severe case of mistaken identities. Adding to the hilarity, this version is set in an 1880s frontier cowboy town.
“We are lucky to have the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society bring their Shakespeare in the Park experience all the way to the Coutts Centre each summer,” says Jurkowski. “They put on a great show all summer long in Lethbridge, so it’s a great opportunity to let more of southern Alberta enjoy the show.”
Admission to the Coutts Centre Arts Festival is by donation. For directions to the Coutts Centre for Western Canadian Heritage, near Nanton, visit ulethbridge.ca/finearts/events.