An almost black image of Dana Buzzee’s Smoke Show
Dana Buzzee’s Smoke Show | Image: Courtesy of Arts Commons

Summer at Arts Commons

Go on an adventure and treat yourself to great visual programming

Amy Jo Espetveidt

If you find yourself downtown this summer with a bit of spare time, trust us when we say a seasonal exploration of Arts Commons is worthwhile. Featuring a new lineup of visual and media arts to check out, you’re sure to find a few surprises in its unique halls.

Smoke Show

June 1 – August 24, 2018
Ledge Gallery, Arts Commons (+15 level overlooking Centre Court

Using beauty to veil subversive intent, Dana Buzzee’s Smoke Show uses domestic handicrafts to offer a narrative about queer femme identity, nature, survival, fortification, protection, and the desire for community of like-minded thinkers.

Seven, The Shadow & The Trace, and Dear Aino

June 1 – August 24, 2018
Window Galleries, Arts Commons (beside Max Bell Theatre)

Four unique exhibits from artists Blake Chorley, Brittany Nickerson, and Susanne Aaltonen, each showcases the beauty of the Canadian wilds and unique moments from rescued antique and family photos.

In Still Time

June 1 – August 31, 2018
Broadcast Lab, Arts Commons

The Treaty 7 Film Collective is a group run by four women of colour dedicated to uplifting the stories of local filmmakers from the Indigenous, Black, POC, immigrant, and LGBTQ2S+ communities. With a variety of shorts included in this curation, go on a journey through addiction, Indigenous relationships to the land within the city, a look at our digital lives, and a journey through a coder’s eyes. The films loop throughout the run.

starting and not necessarily ending 

June 5 – July 31, 2018
Untitled Art Society’s +15 Window

Jaime McDonald is a queer Métis woman working toward her BFA at the Alberta College of Art + Design with a major in media arts. Focusing on her Indigenous heritage, her sexuality, and her mental health, McDonald works in a variety of media including documented and live performance, installation, sculpture, video, and sound.

Projections ± Predispositions

June 6 – July 31, 2018
TRUCK Contemporary Art’s +15 Window

Considering the parallels between exclusion from public and private spaces, Brandon Giessmann uses the dual lenses of marginalization and trauma along with soil from past installations to create a bed. A place for potential growth, reflection, and rest, a distressed sheet evokes intimacies between those who have been, are, and will be.

Poster for Brandon Giessmann’s Projections ± Predispositions

Brandon Giessmann’s Projections ± Predispositions | Image: Courtesy of TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary

The Water Collector

July 6 – August 27, 2018
Lightbox Studio, Arts Commons (beside Martha Cohen Theatre

A temporary laboratory for the collection and experimentation of water, Lane Shordee will be plotting out regular trips to different locations that are part of Calgary’s watershed. Each sample is archived and entered into a database that will help build a picture of water in Calgary, helping Shordee to explore different ways to store it, display it, and work with it.

+15 Window Galleries Closing Reception

July 19, 2018, 6:00 – 7:00pm
+15, Arts Commons

Celebrate each of the exhibits hosted in the +15 at this closing reception. Artists will be on hand to speak about their work and everyone is invited to head to the Palomino (109 7th Ave. SW) for drinks afterwards (save 15% off your bill by showing a card from one of the exhibitions). Admission is free and all are welcome.

To the Hillcrest Mines and Other Landscapes 

August 5 – September 30, 2018
Untitled Art Society’s +15 Window

The worst coal mining disaster in Canada took place in the small town of Hillcrest, Alberta, shortly after 9:30am on Friday, June 19, 1914. A gas explosion within the mine took the lives of 189 people, leaving a profound effect on the town. Declan Hoy is an artist and writer whose projects explore photography, semiotics, and time—the photographs used in this installation were recovered from a roll of undeveloped film found inside a camera at a Calgary thrift store in 2016.


August 6 – September 30, 2018
TRUCK Contemporary Art’s +15 Window

An installation incorporating a series of resin sculptures casted from the inside of hollow Virgin Mary statues, Rosalie H. Maheux removes both physical and psychological aspects. By treating the negative space inside the statues as the new icon, the piece offers a contrasting new perspective on the representation of women.

Happenings #13

August 10, 2018, 6:00 – 9:00pm
Arts Commons, Mezzanine Level of Centre Court (above Ca’Puccini)

In addition to celebrating the work of all the current visual art exhibitors, Arts Commons throws the spotlight on Calgary’s own circus artists and takes inspiration from the free presentation of Machine de Cirque’s Truck Stop.

Love Notes and Coffee

August 14, 2018
Arts Learning Centre

After a highly successful first event at Philosafy Coffee, artistic matchmaker, poet, and author Harpreet M Dayal brings Love Notes and Coffee to Arts Commons. A free event, spoken word artists flirt with painters, dancers, and musicians, creating a love note to Calgary and sharing it with the universe. Make sure you RSVP and mark your calendars.

Ongoing Exhibitions

Magic Girl

Until June 29, 2018
Lightbox Studio, Arts Commons (beside Martha Cohen Theatre)

By creating an intimate space where stories are told, dreams are formed, and curiosity is explored, Rachel Zwambag uses make believe to tell ambiguous narratives to make something out of nothing like a potion or an imaginary friend.

Leah Gravells’s Fibre Art

Until July 12, 2018
Alberta Craft Council’s +15 Window

Edmonton fibre artist, Leah Gravells, began quilting in 1997 through classes with local, national and international artists. Gravells found an immediate and personal connection to working with fibre, and you can explore her work this month.

…Very quietly I take my leave, as quietly as I came here

Until July 27, 2018
The New Gallery’s +15 Window

Henry Heng Lu is a Chinese-born, Toronto-based artist and curator. Lu primarily works with photography, video, and performance to investigate often overlooked narratives surrounding cultural identities and inequalities during the 21st century, in terms of values, doubt, insecurity, and vulnerability.

A Moment of Quiet Reflection

Until August 31, 2018
+15 Soundscape, Arts Commons

Tona Ohama is an electronic recording artist based in Western Canada who bought his first synthesizer in 1975 at the age of 15. Listen to his meditation about finding a moment of quiet reflection within your busy day. Repetitive bass and piano notes act as constant breathing and heartbeat while field recordings from downtown Calgary ebb and flow and are reflected in the synthesizer tracks that move in and out like waves.