A look through some of the major changes and new updates that happened in 2017
Edmonton’s arts have grown significantly in recent years, but 2017 marked some particularly special changes that have made arts more accessible and approachable in the city overall. Here are a few of the city’s influtential happenings and key players from the past year.
The Art Gallery of Alberta now boasts free admission for students and youth/children under 17, making some of the city’s biggest art exhibitions more accessible than ever before.
Udell Xhibitions traded hands from father to son this year, marking a new era in the galleries history of opening up to a slightly younger crowd that may also drink PBR. Their exhibitions this fall since the reopening have been promising, bringing a fresh take on the 124 Street walk.
Harcourt House’s Art Incubator Gallery has hosted some brilliant experimental exhibitions from local artists over the its first formal year and the Main Gallery has marked milestones for local and national artists with highly developed bodies of work. Marking 30 years in Edmonton’s art community next year, Harcourt has continually been on the razor sharp edge of new programming and education with no plans to stop now.
Architecture and design were added to Harcourt’s core exhibition programming this past year, allowing for more cross-artistic collaborations in the future. 2018 holds plans to redesign the first floor of the artist-run centre to hold a third gallery space for artist tenants, and other local and national artists, architects, and designers—proposed to be known as “Koolhaus Gallery,” opening in September.
The Front Gallery switched spaces down the street, marking their 40-year presence in Edmonton’s gallery walk district. Their new space at 10402 124 St. also allows them to support local musicians the first Saturday of every month, bringing the best of both worlds.
dc3 Art Projects opened the city’s first ever art bookshop this year, creating easier access to the broader art community around the globe and some of the exciting new ideas and perspectives that are shifting within that community.
Mile Zero Dance has continually held up their vanguard reputation as leaders in the category of societal mirroring with their many challenging pieces this past year. However, the studio also felt the continual exodus of talented performance artists moving away for training and more opportunities this year. This included the departure of Ben Gorodetsky, mastermind behind the Dirt Buffet Cabaret series and Todd Houseman, a well-known actor in Edmonton’s Treaty Six lands. Next year promises more thought-provoking and unique performances, classes, and workshops.
The Nina Haggerty ended the year in a deficit for the first time in a decade. This was largely due to a heavy decline in funding from the provincial funding source of PDD (Alberta Disability Services). But with a newly approved government funding contract signed for three years, the tides have hopefully turned for the city arts fixture and programming will continue to succeed.
Bearclaw Gallery has fostered some of Alberta’s notable Indigenous artists since the ‘70s—and 2017 was no exception. Cree artist Jane Ash Poitras was appointed to the Order of Canada this year “for her contributions to Canada’s artistic landscape as an influential First Nations visual artist.”
Latitude 53 had some exciting exhibitions come into their space that used the building in new ways and split the gallery space more equitably. There are also plans in the works for 2018 to hold collaborative exhibitions that introduce artists to one another, challenging them to work with a space together.