Culture, community and creativity abound at the annual Artwalk event, to be held throughout the city, Sept. 17 to 18. And, no art festival in southern Alberta is complete without the participation of the University of Lethbridge.
"The U of L Art Gallery is one of the few venues outside the downtown core during Artwalk," says Jane Edmundson, curatorial assistant. "We participate to encourage visitors to come enjoy our exhibitions and activities, and to provide yet another good reason to cross the river and see what the University has to offer."
A map of all the venues participating in Artwalk is available at the U of L Art Gallery, which joins in the festivities on Sept. 18 with an exhibition entitled, Jamelie Hassan's At The Far Edge of Words, and a hands-on Culture Vulture activity for the whole family. The Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition to viewing the exhibition, art enthusiasts of all ages are invited to participate in creating a project of epic proportions that allows visitors to respond to the larger ideas that Hassan explores in her work.
"We are creating a mandala, to cover the entire floor of the University Hall Atrium in the Centre for the Arts," says Rosalind Jeffrey, Culture Vulture program co-ordinator. Using archival photos from Lethbridge's past, text and other materials, Jeffrey anticipates the mandala's colour and size will be awe-inspiring.
"Mandalas are used in multiple cultures and may be familiar to people in Lethbridge because the Buddhist monks made a sand mandala a few years ago at the Lethbridge Centre," she says.
The U of L Art Gallery project is inspired by the work of Hassan, who uses cultural symbolism to speak about place.
"Helping to create the mandala is a creative way for everyone to engage with the overlap of different cultures and explore a time honoured, non-permanent art practice," she says.
Instead of creating an individual artwork to take home and keep, participants help make a collective project that will be swept up and then disappear at the end of the day.
"What stays with people is their memory and experience of having helped create a piece of art that reflects Lethbridge's past and its significance in our world, rather than a physical object," says Jeffrey.