Category Archives: Arts & Culture

Camp organizers seek a spark of funding Local theatre camp unsure of what the future holds

A theatre camp dedicated to providing affordable and accessible arts education to youth is uncertain of the future. Spark! ran the first two weeks of July with students ranging from ages 7-14.

Unable to secure grant funding, organizers were forced to rely on donations and charge a fee for each student. This meant the camp is difficult to justify for students coming from low-income families. Chris dela Cruz, founder of Spark!, explained, “These kids are not normally afforded opportunities to be exposed to performance art as it can be an expensive activity.”

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There is no golden rule for creativity Shima Aisha Robinson talks about art and poetry

The best poets throw out the rule book and speak plainly to you with electric words they pull from their veins of consciousness and then pour like lightning into the reader’s bones. Shima Aisha Robinson’s electric first book of poetry, Horn, will soon be available in a second printing. 

Few acts are more courageous and electric than truth. Autobiographical poetry, as Robinson defines her work, is thought and truth aloud on the page. “My book is about personal experience, friends and family, all the major themes, love and pain and [it also] explores politics. I tried to choose the most potent poems that communicated the issues.”

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Organization builds bridges between cultures Offering dialogue and an open door to communities

At a recent intercultural event, a woman approached Ibrahim Cin and told him his people and his culture were not wanted here. They should return to their homeland. Cin, a practicing Muslim, is originally from Turkey.

He politely acknowledged her opinion and was going to leave it at that.

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See what happens when fun shapes art Artist Bernice Caligiuri is inspired by everyday objects

Ask Bernice Caligiuri about her art philosophy and you get a simple answer. “I just do it because I like it,” said the 70-year-old artist. “When I start a piece, it may be a wall hanging, a painting, or a sculpture. It’s so much fun that a whole day can go by in a flash while I’m creating it.”

Her exhibit, called What Bernice Sees and held at Bleeding Heart Art Space, confirms that fun shapes her art.

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The Aviary waits in the wings Struggling through setbacks to open the doors of this venue

I’d like to tell you about the Aviary’s grand opening. Edmonton’s latest arts venue seats 100, hosts concerts and art shows and brews a mean pot of coffee in the morning.

I’d like to tell you this but I cannot because it’s not true yet. “It’s looking like spring of next year is when we’ll be open,” said co-owner Philip Muz, “but I’ve kinda given up on a timeline.”

Continue reading The Aviary waits in the wings Struggling through setbacks to open the doors of this venue

Immersing in the mosaic of cultural stories Local festival channels the power of myth with art, dance, music, and theatre

On June 17-18, experience the vast cultures Edmonton is home to with The Thousand Faces Festival.

The festival, which offers art, dance, song, and theatre, is currently celebrating its fifth year. Every year, Mark Henderson, artistic director, carefully plans the itinerary. “Year to year I think to myself, what would be fun for audiences to immerse themselves into,” said Henderson. “It’s a multicultural, multidisciplinary festival. We want performances from all cultures in all disciplines.”

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Closing a decade-long chapter on a festival Bridge Songs gave artists a chance to share work

On June 18, Bridge Songs will celebrate its 10 year anniversary and its last year.

Bridge Songs focuses on music, poetry, and visual art and has given artists an opportunity to gain exposure.

“It feels like the right time and it’s felt like the right time potentially for the last couple of years,” said Dave Von Bieker, event organizer. Many early artists are either no longer making music or have become established. Von Bieker is also getting busier with his art gallery, Bleeding Heart Art Space.

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Remembering our past helps us learn and plan Sharing our connections with gratitude and a smile

I have a lot of blessings to smile about when I think about being nehiyaw, a Cree person.

Smiling is an act of gratitude and connection, and there are so many blessings I am grateful for as a nehiyawiskwew (Cree woman). The act of introduction in nehiyawewin (Cree language) is a reminder of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual response that evokes a smile (pahpiwânâkosiwin).

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Taking the time to foster inclusivity Thanking those who broke down walls

June is LGBTQ Pride Month. For many people in our city, it is a time for celebration and showing pride in who they are.

The Edmonton Pride Festival has become one of the largest festivals in Edmonton, drawing nearly 40,000 people to the parade alone. Edmonton’s Pride Festival, June 3 to 12, is officially endorsed by the city and attended by both the mayor and premier. Last year, even the future Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marched in the parade.

Continue reading Taking the time to foster inclusivity Thanking those who broke down walls

Helping immigrants settle and integrate Organization helps African immigrant youth and families make Edmonton home

Through the Sinkunia Community Development Organization (SCDO), Issa Kamara has translated a passion for helping his community in Sierra Leone into helping his adopted community of Edmonton.

Everyone in Kamara’s rural hometown supported him as he completed his bachelor’s degree. In 2000, he moved to Canada and completed a master’s degree in social work. In 2008, Kumara started Sinkunia as a way to return the support he had been given throughout his life. His hometown now boasts wells, a community garden, and a community ranch through his efforts.

Continue reading Helping immigrants settle and integrate Organization helps African immigrant youth and families make Edmonton home