Alberta Culture Days about to get a lot busier

Red Deerians will have more opportunities than usual to celebrate Alberta Culture Days in 2013.

Red Deerians will have more opportunities than usual to celebrate Alberta Culture Days in 2013.

The city has been designated as one of five “celebration sites” in the province this year, meaning the Red Deer Arts Council has received a $20,000 grant to put on events over three days spanning Friday through Sunday. In recent years, it has received only $5,000 to go towards events in the city.

“This is an exciting year because there’s so much going on,” said Twyla Joy Lapointe of The Hub on Ross, which is hosting an aboriginal showcase on Saturday and Sunday.

It will feature dance, drum and other musical performances throughout Saturday and two film screenings at the City Centre Stage on Sunday.

The showcase events, like all others over the weekend save a Friday night piano concert, are free to attend, although donations for the Red Deer College student food bank will be accepted on Sunday.

Other events in the downtown over the weekend will be a dance extravaganza featuring many culture groups, heritage and public art displays and tours, a pop-up gallery show and sale and a sidewalk chalk art display on Saturday afternoon.

Attendees will also have the chance on Saturday to design their own photo frames to match a photograph from the Red Deer and District Archives’ collection or visit an art show and sale put on by retired teachers at Pioneer Lodge.

On Sunday, a curatorial talk and reception on the works of James Agrell will run at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery.

Part of the Culture Days grant will go towards the arts in local schools, said Diana Anderson of the Red Deer Arts Council.

In addition, more than 1,000 Red Deer elementary students will be taking in performances of Tree House Youth Theatre’s I Met a Bully on the Hill at Red Deer College on Friday.

Other Central Alberta communities are hosting events on the weekend as well, and over the three days, all provincially-owned museums and historic sites across the province will offer admission free of charge.

In 2012, there were 1,200 events across 81 communities during Alberta Culture Days.

The numbers are not quite as high this year, but Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk said there will still be something for everyone — from an Art of the Harvest event to “knit-bombing” in High River.

Klimchuk said she hopes Albertans will take advantage of the myriad of weekend events to try something new. She said in past years, hands-on events have often proved the most popular, with people getting to try things like pottery or knitting.

And with promising harvests across the province, she said the weekend presents a good opportunity to visit farmers markets and to learn all that is produced in the province.

New this year is an Alberta Culture calendar app, available through iTunes.

With the app, people will be able to search for events by location or genre, and a built-in GPS will guide people travelling to all the events in a particular area over the weekend.

Klimchuk also mentioned Alberta Culture’s Vine contest, which encourages Albertans to make six-second videos and upload them to the web where they talk about what culture means to them. The contest runs until Monday; visit the Alberta Culture Days website for more information.

The winner will earn two tickets to a show at either Calgary or Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditorium, one family season pass to Alberta’s provincial historic sites and museums, and a Culture Days prize package.

For a complete schedule of events in Red Deer, visit reddeerartscouncil.wordpress.com or the Red Deer Culture Days Facebook page. For listings covering the whole province, visit culture.alberta.ca/culturedays.

mfish@bprda.wpengine.com