Tuesday, 21 March 2017 08:00

Project to commemorate Fort Macleod’s noted resident Annora Brown underway

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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Last summer from July until September the Galt Museum in Lethbridge presented the first-ever retrospective of one of Alberta’s most significant early artists, Annora Brown (1899-1987) of Fort Macleod, pictured above. Assistance is now needed to help complete a commemorative project underway in Fort Macleod to honour Brown. Last summer from July until September the Galt Museum in Lethbridge presented the first-ever retrospective of one of Alberta’s most significant early artists, Annora Brown (1899-1987) of Fort Macleod, pictured above. Assistance is now needed to help complete a commemorative project underway in Fort Macleod to honour Brown. File photo by Pat Ness

Assistance from the public is needed to complete the commemorative project for Fort Macleod artist Annora Brown.


The work that Brown produced between 1930 and 1960 was the highest quality about the landscape and life of southwestern Alberta.
Brown was a passionate conservationist, prolific artist, accomplished historian and educator.
Due to deteriorating health conditions, Brown left Fort Macleod and retired in the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island.
To date, many of her paintings can be seen in private homes, galleries and offices.
The Glenbow Museum Archives has a collection of 260 paintings of landscape, flora and Blackfoot culture and only recently have those been photographed, digitized and then made available to the public as images and prints.
There has been little done since Brown’s retirement in 1965 to celebrate her work and identify her legacy.
“From the first time I saw her paintings, I was struck by their beauty and by the fact they were all about us. I worked in Waterton when I was a student in (the) late ’50s and early ’60s,” says Joyce Sasse, facilitator for this legacy project. “When I read her autobiography Sketches from Life I realized how hard a life she had and how much still remained buried in archives and people’s memories.”
Sasse has created a partnership with the Fort Macleod Library to launch the Annora Brown Life and Legacy 2017 Project.
She invites citizens of southern Alberta to participate in this project by volunteering to help search for the legacy aspects of Brown’s multi-faceted life.
Throughout the year, Sasse says they will collect and collate their learnings, trying to find Brown’s diaries and sketch books and make an inventory of privately-owned paintings as well as seek out the numerous ways they can name and celebrate Brown’s legacy.
Sasse says it doesn’t matter one’s interest, organizers need the public’s help with this project.
“Annora Brown was able to make such a great contribution while remaining a rural person. Now, as a rural region, we are so happy to be able to celebrate her life and identify her legacy,” adds Sasse.
Through the work on this project, Sasse has come across many memories of how Brown’s story has influenced individuals. She hopes to create a book of Brown’s paintings and have it published. 
“I’m in a position where I have the time, opportunity and connections to draw the diverse details of this project together. The many volunteers working with me are a great asset as we continue trying to build healthy communities,” adds Sasse.
At the end of 2017, Sasse says they will look at the work that was developed throughout the year and will see what further needs to be done in 2018.
Organizers hope to “identify the legacy, recover the memory, affirm the abilities of rural people and involve the community.”
When the project is complete, there will be books published with Brown’s paintings, and re-publication of her books and published materials on how her legacy is being honoured and can enhance lives.
Sasse wants to establish an Annora Brown Collection of information, pictures and memorabilia at the Town of Fort Macleod office. This collection will be able to be shared throughout the community and throughout the region.
Sasse says they may even dream of an Annora Brown Centre that would be a cultural and tourism feature for the region.
People can contact Joyce Sasse at 403-627-5659 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if they’re interested in helping with this legacy project.

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