Wednesday June 20: I'm driving through Death Valley, CA, stifled by 110 degree Fahrenheit heat and trying to comprehend a landscape that averages only two inches of rain a year. Thursday: my wife emails to tell me of rising rivers in southern Alberta and expanding evacuations. Friday: flying back into Calgary, I'm in awe at the aerial view of muddy waters churning through downtown streets. McLeod Trail is a river: Stride Gallery and Avalanche are taking in water. How have the arts fared? Here's a snapshot.
Evacuated Masters Gallery window (photo: Bogdan Cheta)
Avalanche Arts flood (photo: Bogdan Cheta)
Sled Island Festival was cancelled after only two days of mid-week events. The festival office had to be evacuated and many of the main weekend live attractions were in evacuation zones without power. The Mission neighbourhood, home to the long-established Masters Gallery, was hard hit but the gallery moved their art out in a hurry on Thursday. Bogdan Cheta, whose work I've reviewed in the past, snapped a cell-phone pic of the empty gallery frontage. The books elevated on a plinth speak volumes.
Jenny Tzanakos, Flood Evacuation Photo Project, 2013
Some artists are already commencing flood-related projects. Jenny Tzanakos, an evacuee, is collecting photos of items that people grabbed when evacuating house and home. And although it's too early to provide a realistic estimate of recovery plans, the Calgary Arts Development Facebook page has posted its intent to help coordinate relief efforts. Stride Gallery director Larissa Tiggelers is hoping for community support once power is restored. Volunteers can email firstname.lastname@example.org and donations are being accepted via their website. Insurance generally doesn't cover overland flooding, so watch out for many-an-upcoming fundraiser.
Dick Averns is an interdisciplinary artist and writer whose exhibitions and performances have been presented internationally. He teaches at the Alberta College of Art + Design, and his writing has appeared in Canadian Art, Front, On Site Review, and many catalogues. He is Akimblog's Calgary correspondent and can be followed @DickAverns on Twitter.
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Posted by Jenny Tzanakos, on 2013-06-26 20:22:10Thank you for this article, Dick. To participate in the Flood Evacuation Photo Project, please visit our blog here: http://abfotoflood.blogspot.ca/