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Arts Foundation gets Alberta Culture Days grant

Local artist leads community art project

ST. PAUL - The St. Paul and District Arts Foundation has been successful in getting a grant to celebrate Alberta Culture Days - and is now looking for people to help create a unique work of art for the community. 

Mosaic art will be the medium used to celebrate. Mosaic art involves taking colourful tiles, stones, jewels or glass and breaking it into shapes, then sticking it onto a surface, be it a ceiling, wall, floor or other substrate. "Mosaics appear fragmented close-up, revealing their true beauty through the reflection of light and the position of the viewer," explains Eric Spoeth, a local artist who is helping head the event.

"The St. Paul and District Arts Foundation received $4,500 to be a host celebration site for their community mosaic project," confirmed Michael Forian press secretary with the Office of the Minister Culture, Multiculturalism & Status of Women. He noted that the project is an "excellent way to connect the community together through art and support a local artist during Alberta Culture Days and Month of the Artist."

After seeing how common mosaic murals are in South America and Mexico, and how the creation of these murals bonds communities, Spoeth says he felt the same idea could be used in Alberta.

"The idea of a community-driven art project in St. Paul greatly appealed to me. Firstly, anybody can do mosaics, even if they don't have an artistic background. Secondly, we have many people of diverse backgrounds in our community, and I'd love to use this project as a means of bringing those people together," says Spoeth. "This project is as much about sharing, storytelling, and camaraderie as it is about creating art."

An adult workshop will run from Sept. 2 to 5 and will be led by Argentinian-born artist Christian Pérès Gibaut and Spoeth. Participants will learn the basics of mosaic art, while collaborating on the group project, which will be displayed on the north wall of Myrnam Insurance.

Those who are interested in participating are invited to send a letter of interest by Aug. 28. While the workshop is free and open to everyone, there is only a limited number of spaces available.

A youth workshop will be held on Sept. 5 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for kids between the ages of six and nine years old, and noon to 1 p.m. for kids 10 years old and over. Space is limited, so pre-registration is required. 

"As the pandemic has forced the cancellation of many planned events, people have turned to learning a new hobby or skill - like sewing, drawing or gardening. I'm hoping that people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, including those who may feel like they're too old or too inexperienced to try art, will give this workshop a try," says Spoeth. "It's surprisingly easy to do, and an incredibly satisfying experience to create a piece of art with other people."

Safety measures will be taken with COVID-19 in mind, and groups will be kept small. Workspaces will be spread out to allow for safe distancing, mask wearing and sanitizing protocols will also be encouraged.

Letters of interest can be emailed to: [email protected]

Alberta Culture Days are celebrated throughout the province from Sept. 1 to 30. The provincial government has encouraged groups to explore new ways to celebrate Alberta Culture Days, due to the global pandemic.

“Alberta Culture Days connects us to an endless array of cultural celebration that makes Alberta so special. It is a wonderful way for communities to experience Alberta’s largest celebration of arts, heritage, diversity and community spirit. I look forward to seeing what our dedicated event organizers have in store for the thousands of Albertans who will be attending,” said Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, in an email supplied by Forian.

Both the Town of St. Paul and County of St. Paul have agreed to support the project, each with $500 donations.

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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