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Students to map history

Grade 6 students across Red Deer will map where their houses would have stood 100 years ago on a new fabric artwork for City Hall.

Local artist Alysse Bowd’s proposal to create a large fabric map of historic Red Deer with students was chosen by a local public art selection committee as a centennial project — and also to commemorate Red Deer hosting the 2013 Lieutenant Governor’s Distinguished Artist Awards on June 15.

Wendy Meeres, the City of Red Deer’s culture community development co-ordinator, said the committee was impressed with Bowd’s proposal for the two-panel project, Where We Would Have Lived, because of its strong connection to young city residents.

“They appreciated her approach to working with the children.”

The artist intends to mark the streets of historical Red Deer on fabric. Participating students will compare this to a modern map of the city, upon which the Grade 6 students will be asked to find their own houses and mark them.

Once that transparent map is “speckled” with the students’ markings of their homes, Bowd intends to move the modern map of Red Deer overtop of the historic one.

Her young project assistants will be able to look through the current map to see where their neighbourhoods would have stood a century ago: “Would they have been living in a forest or a farmer’s field, or perhaps they would have been in the bustle of a one-horse town?”

Once each student has discovered where they would have lived 100 years ago, they will be given a postcard-sized piece of fabric from to create an image of their own house.

The completed fabric houses will be stitched onto the cloth map of where the students’ homes would have been located when modern Red Deer was mostly fields or forests.

Bowd intends to use a different colour palette for each school so that the houses can later be more easily identified by the students on the two large panels, which will each be 2.4 by three metres.

Meeres said participating schools in the Red Deer public and Catholic districts have not yet been finalized. But the fabric panels will be created this spring so the finished artwork can be unveiled in time for the awards ceremony in mid-June.

The fabric hangings, with a budget of $10,500 from the city’s public art reserve, will be installed on two large walls on the main floor of City Hall.



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