Arts Seen – week of Feb 13 2014

Three theatre companies take over former Dancers’ Studio West space

Three local theatre companies are teaming up to take over the Dancers’ Studio West space on 10th Avenue S.W. Ghost River Theatre Green Fools and Calgary Young People’s Theatre have entered into a joint venture agreement to share the 75-seat venue which will also be available to other companies as rental space. Dean Bareham co-founder and co-artistic director of Green Fools which has been homeless since the flood says the three companies will remain distinct from each other but will form a joint society to run the building and will share all costs. “I think the model is something that Calgary really needs right now just because we have so little available space” he says. They are currently in the process of giving the venue a facelift and raising money for equipment. Bareham says they expect to open in mid to late March.

Contemporary Calgary the result of the recent merging of three local arts organizations opened its Made in Calgary: The 1990s exhibition on Saturday February 8 in the former Art Gallery of Calgary space on Stephen Avenue. The show is held in collaboration with the exhibition of the same name at Glenbow . Both shows curated by Nancy Tousley run until May 4. Contemporary Calgary also has a new exhibition on the top floor Deadly Lady Art Triumvirate featuring works by First Nations artists in residence Tanya Harnett Amy Malbeuf and Brittney Bear Hat. Meanwhile the H2O exhibition at the former MOCA location in the municipal building wraps up on February 23.

In another shift for the local arts scene Glenbow itself is undergoing changes as part of a new direction announced last week. The plan includes showcasing more of the museum’s existing collection (with more than 30000 works it has the largest art collection west of Toronto) “refreshing” the floors to create brighter spaces improving signage adding a café or bistro on the main level and using new colours and branding (it has dropped “museum”). Glenbow is also hosting three films as part of the ongoing Exposure photography festival the first of which is Finding Vivian Maier (which sold out at the Calgary Underground Film Festival) on Thursday February 13 ( glenbow.org ).

Theatre Junction continues to focus on politics with its latest offering Alexis. A Greek Tragedy by Italy’s Motus theatre company (pictured). Following the successful presentation of Seeds in January this is another exercise in documentary theatre inspired by actual events. In this case the story revolves around the aftermath of the shooting death of a 15-year-old teenager by a police officer in Athens Greece on December 6 2008 and uses video of the subsequent riots as well as interviews with residents and intellectuals. The play also draws comparisons to the character Antigone in Greek mythology who was known for her stubborn determination to ensure a proper burial for her brother Polynices even though he was seen as a traitor. Alexis runs from February 19 to 22 ( theatrejunction.com ).

The artistic side of Greater Forest Lawn is on display at International Avenue’s Art Box (1807 42 St. S.E.) with a new show called Open Box ( internationalavenue.ca/artbox ). Organized by artist-in-residence Ann Craig a retired school board trustee who lives in the area the show includes an eclectic mix of neighbourhood artists — from seniors to East African artists to a retired instructor from the Alberta College of Art and Design. The artists had their artwork professionally photographed by Joe Kelly another artist-in-residence who also lives in the neighbourhood.