When Barbara Leighton called on her neighbours to help her start the Leighton Foundation in 1974, she dreamed of turning her beautifully crafted home into an art gallery where people could feel comfortable and inspired by the art and nature that surrounded them.
She had designed and built the home together with her late husband A.C. Leighton, one of the founders of the Alberta Society of Artists and Banff School of Fine Arts, and knew that their legacy could be more than just a lovely private home with a spectacular view. Barbara also hoped to move an abandoned local school house onto her property and fix it up, turning it into an amazing art studio that would be open to the public. She believed that anyone could be an artist, if only they had the opportunity to explore art until finding at least one medium they truly loved.
Forty-five years later, the Leighton Art Centre’s stewards are working hard to stay true to Barbara’s dreams.
These photos depict part of the creation of our current Main Gallery exhibition just turn your head a little (on through April 13, 2019). Verna Vogel spent a full week in the gallery, creating a series of installations using natural and man-made materials like paper, twigs, stones, acetate, ink, and string—and generously explained her ideas to visiting school groups as she worked. The resulting installations blend and contrast beautifully with the series of mixed media cold wax paintings contributed by exhibition co-creator Frances Vettergreen.
Local artists, mixed materials, varied methods, engaging with young people… this exhibition demonstrates that Barbara’s dreams are alive and well at Leighton Art Centre.
On April 6, 2019, Verna Vogel will engage another audience as she presents just turn your head a little – Ink & Twig Drawing. Held in the historic schoolhouse art studio, this one-day workshop is open to adults and teens, as well as children 7+ who attend with an adult caregiver. Participants will engage in perception exercises and discussion both inside the gallery and during an exploratory walk though the 80-acre grounds, before returning to the studio to get hands-on with inks, papers, found objects from the walk, and their own creative impulses.
Situated on 80 acres of magnificent foothills landscape 15km southwest of Calgary, the Leighton Art Centre includes a historic home art gallery, museum, gallery shop, and education centre. The Leighton Art Centre exists to keep the Leightons’ legacy alive by offering opportunities for artists, visitors, and students to explore, appreciate, and create.
Show us how you live a creative life by tagging your Instagram snapshots with #yycLCL, and we may feature your image next month.