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Dick Averns
News from the Flood
June 25, 2013

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 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 20:22:10
Thank you for this article, Dick. To participate in the Flood Evacuation Photo Project, please visit our blog here:

Posted by Calgary Arts Development, on 2013-06-25 13:46:54
Thank you, Dick, for highlighting some of the impacts of the flood on Calgary's arts community. Our sympathy goes to all Calgarians affected by the flood, and our gratitude to the city workers and volunteers who continue to help their neighbours during this crisis.

Calgary Arts Development will act as an arts responder hub to help support the city's arts community in the aftermath of the flood. We will be providing an assessment of the floodâs impact on Calgaryâs arts sector to all orders of government and key partners by Friday, June 28, and we encourage artists and arts organizations to report immediate needs and the impact the flood has had on them at We will also continue to post additional resources as they become available.

Our best wishes to everyone as our city recovers from this emergency. Please feel free to contact us at

Posted by Sandra Vida, on 2013-06-25 12:24:27
Great article; here's another source of help for artists.

Elephant Artist Relief (EAR) has a mandate to help improve the living and working situations of visual artists in Calgary.

We are inviting DONATIONS at this time which will go into our special EMERGENCY FLOOD FUND, and will be distributed in the form of small grants to individuals through a streamlined application process with a quick turnaround time.

To donate, please go to the EAR website and push the DONATE button for a PayPal link:

This is also the link to apply for Relief Funds

We have also been offered the generous support of Pith Gallery in holding a fundraiser on Friday, June 28 from 6 to 9 PM: details at this link:

Thanks and best wishes to all,