And creates opportunities for residents to connect and express themselves while learning new skills!
Writers. Painters. Photographers. Woodworkers. Dancers. Fibre artists. Gardeners. Sculptors. The list of creative talent in Bowness can go on forever. There’s something in the air, in the water, in this community that beckons to artists. The Bowness Community Association wanted to find a way to create opportunities to connect creative types with residents in and around the community. And so, the Bowness Artist in Residence Talent Share Program was forged – Bowness ARTS, in short!
The Bowness ARTS Program launched in early 2022 following a call for proposals in the previous fall. The intention is for artists to introduce themselves to the community through their art; this can look very different depending on the artist – some might host workshops, or perform at a BCA event, or create a community art project, and some might do all of those things. Thanks to generous grants from United Way and The City of Calgary, artists will be compensated for their labour and all Bowness ARTS activities will be free.
As this is a pilot program, we hope to make the Bowness ARTS Program a permanent initiative, so stay tuned for updates as they become available, and for your opportunity to apply as an Artist in Residence in the future.
Q&A with Kyra Newton, Artist in Residence for January - April
Tell us a bit about yourself and your art.
My name is Kyra Newton, and I am a contemporary dance artist. I have a degree in contemporary dance and sociology. I have branched out into the realms of dance for people with disabilities and also conscious dance, which is basically connecting the mind and the body, and connecting our emotions and our spirit. I make a lot of programs for people — children, adults, seniors — that really encourage them to connect to their bodies. I also create mindful choreography that is either encapsulating my experiences in the world and in nature, or is embodying emotions. I make a lot of work. I love it.
How long have you lived in Bowness and what drew you here?
I’ve lived in Bowness for about two years. We chose to move out here because it’s so close to natural areas. We love being by the river. It’s nice to be in a community that is well connected. There’s strong bonds in Bowness and we were drawn to that. And we love Bowness Park.
Why did you choose to apply for the arts residency?
I’m really interested in creating more opportunities for community members to access art. I love that this opportunity integrates community workshops. I also have this burning desire to create choreography based on my experiences with the elements. I’ve done a workshop on it before, and I was really feeling pulled to serve people through performance and workshop.
How can communities better support the arts?
Communities can better support the arts by attending events and workshops, by being curious about art and what is being made. And also engaging in conversations with artists, asking: “What are you making?” and “How do you hope to influence people?” Remove the idea of barriers like “that’s an artist and I’m not an artist” and allow those lines to blend, blur. Get involved in workshops and attend events and allow that to pull creativity out of people.
From this opportunity, what would you like to see for yourself, for others in the community, and for the arts in Bowness?
For arts in Bowness, I’ve always dreamed of living in a community where there are a lot of different art programs being offered — dance and visual art and pottery and writing — that bring people with different lived experiences and of different ages together as participants and as audience members. I feel like it contributes to creating a really rich community, but also gives people a stronger sense of belonging. When you’re attending things in the community it really supports the sentiment of ‘I belong in this community and this is my community.’
For the people I serve as participants and audience members, I really desire for them to have an experience where they can connect to nature and themselves. [For example,] how does the element of earth actually exist within you? And how can you embody it? And when you see it, what does that bring up for you? I’d like to have it influence their mind and the way they look at nature.
And then for my craft, I tend to work where I just do things and see what is unearthed. So, to have a really specific entry point is going to support me to be focused and also to challenge my habitual ways of creating work. It’s something new for me to be working on, so I imagine there will be wonderful discoveries and challenges and question marks, and that’s always really nourishing for the process.
Sign up for Kyra’s Workshop here!
And save the date for her Embodying the Elements Showcase event on Sunday, April 24 from 4:00 – 5:00 P.M. or 7:00 – 8:00 P.M. in the BCA South Hall (7904 43 Ave. NW)
Becky McNabb was born and raised on Saskatchewan prairies where the colourful skies and vast landscape provided unending inspiration. Becky holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Calgary.
A self-proclaimed non-representational painter, Becky works in acrylic and mixed media, and she is often influenced by unique patterns or distinctive colours found in nature. As an abstract artist, a focus on texture is key to her personal style.
Residency from May – August 2022
Margaret Jessop is an Art Quilter known for her portraits, landscapes and use of colour. She is a graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design in Fibre.
Margaret has been creating art quilts since 1983 and teaching quilting for over 30 years. She has been doing trunk shows for the past 10 years, and her quilts have been shown internationally. In 2016, Margaret was honoured as Quilter of Distinction at the Calgary Festival of Quilts held at Heritage Park.
Residency from September – December 2022