CANMORE – There is always something novel and engaging being worked on at artsPlace.
The Canmore creative hub is working on a new exhibit called Stories of Resilience, which will focus on artwork created during the pandemic and explore how the Bow Valley community has shown resilience through creativity during this time.
“We’re going to create a great big rambling beautiful exhibition in the artsPlace space,” said artsPlace programs manager Nicole Fougère.
The exhibition is built around a collaboration between community partners including the Canmore Museum, Kristy Wolfe Photography, and the Bow Valley Immigration Partnership. Photographs taken by Stoney Nakoda knowledge keeper Thomas Snow documenting a Stoney cultural camp in the summer will also be prominently displayed in the gallery.
Fougère said artsPlace will also be asking for submissions from community members, exploring how creativity has helped their emotional wellness during the pandemic.
“I think there is something really powerful in inviting the whole community to place their art in the artsPlace gallery space," she said. "It is a true community collective exhibition.”
Once completed, the exhibition made up of photography, painting, textile work, sculpture, pottery, stories, music recordings and video will include artwork by children, hobbyists, and local professionals – coexisting together.
“When we create art, we are sharing who we are with the world," Fougère said.
"In this time when so much has changed in our society, in our work, in our families – coming back to expressing our identities is an important place in wellness.
“Being creative is an action that shows resilience. I am just incredibly passionate about showing how resilient this community has been throughout this pandemic.”
When the pandemic started last March, many different community organizations recognized this was an important time in history and the importance to record and hear people's stories.
That is how Kristy Wolfe became involved in the porch portraits. Throughout the early stages of the pandemic, Wolfe photographed more than 100 families on their front steps.
“I started the project with a few friends and then my friends' friends and from there it really just kept on growing. It was way bigger than I could have imagined,” said Wolfe.
“The project provides a snapshot of history. People were so willing to share their stories, I think really as a way to cope and or heal with everything that was going on.”
The Canmore Museum and the Bow Valley Immigration Partnership soon became involved, adding to the diversity of people included in the project.
Amy Herr, collections manager at the Canmore Museum, started interviewing the families documenting a comprehensive history through the pandemic, creating a snapshot of life in Canmore at the time.
“The COVID experience, in a strange way, is this common experience we have all shared, but one we also had separately,” said Herr. “This is a way to capture the whole experience. Telling the communities stories is what the Canmore Museum is all about.
“This project has documented people's resilience, but it also had a part in helping people to be resilient and get through this time.”
Fougère said the exhibition will take place from Jan. 27 to Mar. 3, whether artsPlace is open to the public or not. ArtsPlace will make the exhibition available online through 3-D tours.
Submissions for the Stories of Resilience project will be accepted between Saturday (Jan. 16) to Jan. 24.
Visit artsplacecanmore.com for more information about the exhibition.