Lethbridge Arts Days 2019 will happen from Sept. 21-29 all over Lethbridge.

“Lethbridge Arts Days is a week-long celebration of the arts in Lethbridge held in conjunction with provincial and national Culture Days,” says Kelaine Devine, Communications Manager for the Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge. 

“The Allied Arts Council works to help support and celebrate a variety of events throughout the City of Lethbridge.”

On Saturday, Sept. 21, Arts Days will feature the ‘Word on the Street Festival’ at the Lethbridge Public Library, a performance of BUDDY: The Buddy Holly Story at the Genevieve E. Yates Memorial Theatre, and a performance by Lethbridge Symphony at CASA’s Community Room. The highlight of Sunday, Sept.22 will be ‘Mimosas, Muffins & Movies' at CASA's Community Room. 

Monday, Sept. 23 will feature the ArtWalk Quilt Show at Lethbridge City Hall, a performance of A Streetcar Named Desire' at Theatre Outre, and a ‘Historic Theatre Walking Tour within Downtown Lethbridge.’

“At one point in time, we had over 30 theaters in the downtown core,” Devine says. “During the tour, we'll talking about what used to be here, but also there are some musical surprises to be had along the way.”

Devine says that Tuesday, Sept. 24 will again feature the ArtWalk Quilt Show at City Hall and another Streetcar Named Desire performance at Theatre Outre'. The day, however, will also feature an Indigenous History Program at the Galt Museum and Archives ; a ‘Welcome to the Northside’ presentation by the Lethbridge Historical Society; and a Drink and Draw with music by Slaughterhouse Slough’s Eric Dyck at Owl Acoustic Lounge. 

Wednesday, Sept. 25 will continue the highlight the ArtWalk Quilt Show – Lethbridge Centennial Quilters Guild – Lethbridge City Hall?, the opening of an exhibition called “Outside, In "– at Mortar and Brick. and Soar Cabinet Night 1 at CASA's Community Room. A 'Streetcar Named Desire' will also be performed at Theatre Outre' on this night. Mortar & Brick | Arts & Events. Thursday, September 26 will feature the same events as Wednesday. 

Friday, Sept. 27 will be the beginning of the 16th Annual Art Walk in downtown Lethbridge, which will feature exhibits from local artists, Buskers, and performers all over the downtown sector. In addition to that, the City of Lethbridge will be holding a ‘Renovation Celebration’ at the Genevieve E. Yates Memorial Centre. Sandra Meiggs from ArtNow will also be performing at the University of Lethbridge Centre for the Arts.

“You can have backstage tour of the Yates and look into meeting spaces that they've created behind the scenes and the things you wouldn't normally see,” Devine says. “They're doing free tours throughout the day and the City purposely planned it to be during Art Days, which was really exciting for us. Taking the veil of mystery away from the arts is a really important thing to do.”

The ArtWalk will continue on Saturday, Sept. 28 and include a pancake breakfast, a Gallery Stroll, Skunk sculpting at the uLethbridge Art Gallery, a woodturning demo at CASA’s Community Room, a feature by the Lethbridge Handicraft Guild of Weavers in CASA’s Textile Studio, and Broadway Open Mic Karaoke at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. 

There will also be a Soar Visual Arts Project involving AAC Works Kiosks at the Rotary Square at CASA.

Devine says, that Sunday, Sept. 29 will mark the end of the Arts Days and will feature ‘Family Affair on the Square’ at Rotary Square on CASA’s grounds. A writing workshop with David Balzer will be offered at Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG).

The Allied Arts Council established Arts Days in Lethbridge before the federal and provincial governments created Culture Days, Devine says. When the Art Walk first started, according to Devine, there were a lot of studios downtown that were run by artists wanting to be noticed. The Allied Arts Council, Devine says, wanted to showcase the artists and that simple desire has led to what the event is today.

“It's an event that has staying power,” Devine says. “We have regular attendees every year and they look forward every fall regardless of whether the weather's good or bad. The event used to take place in May,but it was moved to September so that more people would attend.”

Devine says planning for Arts Days is a year-round process and at the end of each event, planning for the next year begins immediately. A call for artists and performers is put out in the winter with a deadline of June first being set because the Allied Arts Council needs time to put the event’s program and map together. 

“We need ample time to plan this because I think it's harder to communicate now than it was in the past,” Devine says. “It used to be that you could pick out a newspaper ad where everybody would know about an event and now you have to be on social media and want to be on radio; you gotta have a multi-pronged kind of approach.”

Lethbridge Arts Days gets funding from the Alberta Foundation for the arts. The event is also receiving funding from Heritage Canada for their Culture Days program this year because Lethbridge is serving as a celebration site, which means being featured on a federal level. 

“We're a great art city; we're a great art country; and we’re a great arts province,” Devine says. 

“Before I started working for the Allied Arts Council, I was an artist in the community and I did my work or I'd be part of a performance. As an artist, I feel it's important to be a part of that sort of a community kind of spirit.Art days is about sharing parts of the arts that the community doesn't normally get to see.”

For more information about the Art Walk or Lethbridge Arts Days, visit: http://artslethbridge.org/

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