August at Arts Commons
Donna Miller’s Wonder Valley | Image: Courtesy of Arts Commons

August at Arts Commons

Get ready to explore diverse visual arts programming under one roof

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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As summer rolls along there’s a good chance you haven’t checked out the visual arts programming at Arts Commons.

Maybe it’s because you’ve been too busy soaking up the sun. Maybe your calendar has been packed with Calgary’s amazing summer festivals. Or maybe you just haven’t gotten around to it yet. But trust us, you’ll want to give yourself a chance to explore.

With a bunch of new exhibits in the +15 and your last chance to check out the Window Galleries before they close, not-to-mention Happenings #5, August is the perfect time to do so. Here are a few of our favourites currently on display:

Mountain High and Inhospitably ours

Until August 29, 2016
Window Galleries, Arts Commons (beside Max Bell Theatre)

This unique joint exhibition from Donna Miller and Philip Kanwischer definitely deserves a visit or two. Mountain High is inspired by Miller’s Rocky Mountain hikes. Using photographs as the base, she creates large, colourful, and expressive acrylic paintings that draw you in. And Kanwischer’s Inhospitably ours uses photography to comment on the relationship between humans, animals, and the environment. Side-by-side, the two very different styles complement each other and make for a wonderful combination of new perspectives in Canadian landscapes.

The Graces of Wilderness

Until August 29, 2016
Lightbox Studio, Arts Commons (beside Martha Cohen Theatre)

In the Lightbox Studio, Calgary artist Janine Bennett has been examining how the feminine manifests in nature. This continuously evolving exhibition uses detailed graphite drawings, photographs, and the installation of found objects to create a space inspired by English gardens, dreamy landscapes, and Dutch still-life vanitas. Swing by and you might even catch Bennett working away.

Shared Singularity

Until August 29, 2016
The Ledge Gallery at Arts Commons (+15 level overlooking Centre Court)

Have you seen the bright and colourful garden oasis in The Ledge Gallery yet? Created by Calgary’s Natural Real Supreme (Sara Rennie and Sean Teal), the gallery space has been transformed into a summer rooftop patio full of natural and artificial touches. There will also be series of video performances within the garden space, which will be edited and displayed at the end of the residency amongst the sculptures and objects.

VARIATIONS with Mark Templeton

Until August 31, 2016
On the Arts Commons three video monitors

On the TV screens around the Commons look for Gallery of Alberta Media Arts’ unique collaborative project with 12 Canadian visual, media, and sound artists interpreting a poem by Michael Snow.

Bad Growth

August 1 to September 22, 2016
The New Gallery’s +15 Window

The Arts Commons +15 is also full of window galleries run by Calgary’s artists run centres and August is the start of a new rotation for many of them including The New Gallery’s +15 Window. Calgary artist Alyssa Ellis’ work revolves around plant exploration and botanical life. In Bad Growth she explores the relationship between poison ivy and its constant state of flux due to climate change.

calm down, it never ends

August 1 – September 31, 2016
Stride Gallery’s + 15 Window

This exhibition showcases Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter’s animation, The Jade Show—a collection of crude hand-drawn frame by frame animations that include a humanoid cat flipping a bird to a floating head ripping its face off.


August 8 – September 30, 2016
Untitled Contemporary Art +15 Window

In Untitled Contemporary Art’s +15 Window, Emily Lendl’s Unhinged subverts Barbie dolls and female mannequins to play with gender stereotypes and expectations, female shame, and the ironies of female experience.

Happenings #5

August 11, 2016, 6:00 – 9:00pm
Arts Commons, Mezzanine Level of Centre Court (above Ca’Puccini)

And a great way to check it all out is at Happenings #5. This free artist reception and self-curated art party on August 11, 2016 is themed around plants, nature and environmental sustainability. Be on the lookout for artist panel discussions, live music, a chance to see a poisonous plant collection, and much more.