This summer, anyone wishing to tap into their artistic side will have plenty of opportunities, be it writing poetry, making lanterns, or participating in an art night.

Poetry in the Park 

On Thursdays from 7-8 p.m. at Giovanni Caboto Park, Leif Gregersen leads participants through journaling and a prompt, and then transitions into more complicated forms of poetry. Participants are free to share their poems with the group. All materials are provided; no experience is necessary.

Gregersen, who has published five poetry books, says, “The idea of having [the classes] outside is to sort of have no boundaries, and one of the most important things about poetry is to use honesty when you write.” Being outside also contributes to the feeling of community, and connection to nature, he adds. 

“It’s the first public open program we’ve done since COVID, and so it has been a bit of an adjustment,” says Kathryn Rambow, community development manager for e4c. “Doing something outside also helps with [participants’] comfort level.”

A major goal of the event is to reanimate the community and heal from COVID experiences. Classes are free for participants and funded by e4c and through Alberta Health Services’ Wellness Network. 

“[Leif is] so great in his gentle and kind of generous way of helping people to open up and to access their voice and to speak about things that can be hard,” Rambow adds. “And I thought, wouldn’t it be lovely to have an opportunity to do that and help the community again.”

Interlude: A Summer of Lanterns

Gabrielle deGouw has fallen in love with the magic of lanterns, and she’s excited to share that magic by teaching free beginner and intermediate lantern workshops.

Beginner classes focus on origami paper folding, while intermediate classes teach wire bending, lashing materials with thread, and washi paper. Both classes give participants the opportunity to solder an LED light to a battery pack and run that into their lantern. 

These workshops are the building blocks for Kaleido Festival, the annual September arts festival in Alberta Ave. “The goal is to teach the community the beginning and intermediate levels of lantern making, and then they can watch the advanced artists work, and see how those skills that they learned over the course of the summer translate into something much bigger and much more magnificent,” says deGouw. 

Participants can bring their lanterns to attach to the Kaleido trailers. “They’ll be floating through the community,” says Christy Morin, executive director of AOTA.

deGouw and several other artists are working on lantern trailers for the festival, including a giant moth, a rainbow with glowing clouds, and a 30-foot whale with jellyfish!

The main goal is just to have some fun, “Ultimately, everything The Carrot Coffeehouse does,” says deGouw, “is to bring the arts to the community and bring us together in a fun, lighthearted way.” 

Interlude will also include other workshops like sketching, painting, and jewelry making to be held on Wednesdays at The Carrot Coffeehouse. 

Free Art Nights 

Community Art Night and Family Art Night are back with two summer dates in Alberta Avenue Community Garden. These classes are perfect for anyone curious about art and just as fun for those with prior art experience. Lorraine Shulba will lead participants through an art project which could be painting, clay, ink, or any other project that catches her fancy.

Extra funding means that this is the first time the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts will be hosting summer classes. “The neat thing is that we can actually be in person again,” says Shulba. 

All materials are included. “The only thing you have to bring is your imagination!” Shulba says. 

Contact Shulba at 780.919.9627 to register. 

Poetry in the Park 

Free poetry classes with Leif Gregersen. 
Thursdays, 7-8 p.m. for the rest of the summer.
Giovanni Caboto Park (9425 109a Ave)

Interlude: A Summer of Lanterns

Free beginner and intermediate lantern workshops with Gabrielle deGouw.
The Carrot Coffeehouse (9351 118 Ave)
July 24: Beginner rabbit lanterns (1-4 p.m.)
August 3, 10, 17: Intermediate cat lanterns (5-8 p.m.) 
August 7, 14, 21: Beginner bumblebee lanterns (1-4 p.m.) 
Register on the Arts on the Ave (AOTA) website.

Free Art Classes

Free art classes through Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts with Lorraine Shulba.
Alberta Ave Community Garden (9210 118 Ave)
Community Art Night: July 27, Aug. 3; 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Family Art Night: July 29, Aug. 5; 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.